Monday, September 30, 2013

Still Commuting

The League of American Cyclists 2013 National Bike Challenge wrapped up at the end of September and in the team competition I got second place, through I was going to pull out third but riding on Sunday and doing a Monday Bike Commute put me over the 2nd Place rider!

Trying some new stuff on the Singlespeed commuter.  I mounted this Topeak handlebar bag on the Qball because it wasn't getting any use on my tandem and thought it might be a good way to hold all my essential items.  Also threw a mirror on the bike to see if that might help on busier roads but it fell off on Pond Brook Road.  The handlebar bag fared well on Pond Brook but the Jury is still out on whether I am going to keep it there or not. 

It was pretty cold riding to work on the last day of the Challenge.  I have been seeing morning temperatures in the mid to upper 30s for the past two weeks now.  Seems a bit unusual.

One treat on my commute that has finally surfaced, the tail end of Walnut Tree Road in Bethel finally got paved and it is SMOOTH!  That just leaves the paved portion of Pond Brook Road, after Newbury, that needs to be fixed.  I will keep the dirt portion of Pond Brook, though.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Newtown Cyclocross

I found a really nice route through Newtown that hits most of the hills 
and has some great scenery, too!

There is one grass landing strip in Newtown called Flying Ridge that was once the home of Robert Fulton, a local inventor who came up with the idea of using a balloon to lift up a tow rope for stranded pilots or sailors so a plane could extract them from their predicament.  The strip even has it's own little air tower built on top of a barn.

But it's the view from Platt's Hill that is worth the climb

And the cows!

After warming up with almost 3000' of climbing it was time to hit the trails at Fairfield Hills

I love coming in on Old Farm Road.  It starts as a right of way and then turns into a crumbly, paved road

With it's own private railroad crossing, which I never understood why it's called a private crossing

Always a joy to ride the Fredmobile


There was a crafts fair on the central field.
It looked like a good time but I was having more fun on the bike


The trails at Fairfield Hills are excellent for cyclocross and I had no problem riding them!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hippy Ride: Hudson Valley Rail Trail

The last section of my ride was from Millerton, NY back to New Milford.  At the recommendation of Terry Burke, promoter of the Western New England Greenway, I had lunch at the Irving Farm Coffee House in Millerton, NY.  I sat outside and chatted with other cyclists and people hanging out drinking coffee.  Like most coffee shops they had free wifi and here the single was exceptionally strong!  The Tuna Salad was excellent and I downed two Pure Cane Sugar soda pops, one Creme, and the other Birch Beer.

Then it was back on the bike and over to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, Millerton to Wassaic, NY.

The Railroad Station is still there in Millerton and it's really cool. 

As for the Rail Trail, it's 10 miles of meh.  
There are some cool vistas and one chilly hill cut but that's it. 
No forgotten sidings or other stations.

I did, however, ride with a German Exchange Student who was on a self guided cycling tour of the East Coast.  She started in Boston, went to Cape Cod and now was headed to Philadelphia.  We parted ways in Armenia.  I didn't get her name but she was from Hamburg and going to school in Texas.

One historical fact that I learned in Wassaic was that it was the home of the first Condensed Milk Factory started by Borden's Dairy, in 1861!

At around the 60 mile mark I decided to bag the climb up the backside of Macedonia State Park and head straight back to the car in New Milford.  I wasn't bonking but the give-a-shit meter was pegged and I was looking forward to downing some nice cold Oktoberfest beers.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hippy Ride: Railroad Ramble

Using topographic maps from The Historic USGS Maps of New York and New England, I loosely put the 1899 Northeast Corner of Millbrook, NY map and the 1903 Northwest Corner from Cornwall, CT map together to show the original route of the Central New England Rail Road.  There is a Y in State Line, NY where the Newburgh, Dutchess & Connecticut Rail Road connected to the mainline.  Sections from Lakeville to State Line are visible but not all rideable (or allowed for that matter). 


There is a two mile section of rail trail that starts in Salisbury, CT and ends in Lakeville, CT called the Railroad Ramble.  Along with the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, this was another on the Rail Trail bucket list.  The entrance in Salisbury is quite unassuming and the exit in Lakeville is event worse.  It spills out into a playground with no signage indicating which way to go.  I followed my nose and came out using the Park's Driveway by a gas station.

The Railroad Ramble is much rougher than your typical dirt path rail trails but not a was rough as the Woodbury Trolley Trail.  Definitely mountain bike, cross bike, or even a comfort bike would be best suited for this trail.  The Fredmobile was perfect, the 1" travel shock was just enough to soften the roughest of routes.

There were no bicyclist on the trail and the only other trail users was two joggers.  Then again, noon in Northwestern, CT, with almost two miles of trail, this seems hardly the type of trail that people would go out of their way to visit.  Too bad there is no connection back to Canaan.  Of course, the Coup de Grace would be to have a rail trail that went all the way Winsted and then down to the Farmington River Trail.

Little did I know when I took a picture of my Garmin that I was at the half way point of my ride.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hippy Ride: Lime Rock Park

The view descending down from Skiff Mountain was breath taking!
Truly, a beautiful day to be on my bike.

Finally found some dirt on Modley Road!


Fancy that, a horse drawn cart but Amish I think not!

I knew this was somewhere nearby but not on my route.

SSCA racing was going on.

These cars were loud!

It was fun watching the cars go flying by but it was really buggy

I am sure the racers were enjoying this stellar day!

Fredmobile at the track.
I wonder is there is a Strava Segment on the track?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hippy Ride: Skiff Mountain

I had nothing planned on my calendar for Friday so I took the day off so I could end the summer with one, last big ride.  All week I had been planning this ride, I bought arm warmers because I was worried that it was going to be cold in the morning, since riding to work on Tuesday and doing a workout ride early Thursday morning was down right frigid each morning. 

 If you haven't figured this out by now, I am a planner, and what I love about riding roads is planning the next ride or adventure.  I think it's a way of reconnoitering all the possible routes should I decide to bail on a route that I would be following.

My original plan was to leave from home but that meant I wouldn't be able to hit some of the things I wanted to see, like Salisbury's Railroad Ramble, a two-ish mile rail trail of what used to be the Central New England Railroad, and the Millerton to Wassaic section of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail

Leaving later had it's advantages, too, dropping my boys off at the bus stop and playing Frisbee with them before the bus comes, and the chance that it could be warmer meaning less stuff I would need to wear/carry. In the end a snap decision to leave from New Milford cost me my heart strap.

Today I was riding Skiff Mountain and what a climb!  I didn't break any records of course but it had been on my to do list for awhile.  I thought it was going to be a dirt road but it turned out to be paved.  And of course nagging me the whole way up was I couldn't see my heart rate - it had to be up there - and also the fact that I still don't have the right climbing gears on the Cannondale.  It was a slow go but I made it!

Not much to see when you get up there but a pretty straight road.  Still it was a nice respite after climbing almost a 1000 vertical feet in the span of two miles!  Finally at the top, you are presented with a choice of riding Skiff Mountain some more!