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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
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    872

    May rides, may they all be wonderful

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    May day, today, and it's summer up here with temps in the 70s. All my trails are open, at last, and I'm riding trails I haven't even been able to see since last fall. Still some snow cover, but, I swear, I can see the snow disappear even as I watch it.

    The last few days have been combo rides, with some neighborhood riding paved roads with my husband and then me going solo on the trails. The trails are all dirt, but still very soft and slow for riding, even in the dry sections. That will change as things continue to dry and I get things packed down a bit with my riding. All fat bike riding on the trails, so far. Keeps the soft trails from getting too rutted and way, way easier too pedal in the gooey stuff than a skinnier tire bike such as my 29 plus Surly Krampus. Can't wait for things to firm up and give the Krampus a good workout, though. Been riding fat bikes all winter. Need a little variety in my trail riding and the Krampus is a purebred trail bike, after all.

    Have a great month, everyone! Let summer begin.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 05-01-2018 at 01:41 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    6,760
    Wow, nwg, hard to imagine you having 70s up there -- what a change! So glad that you were able to ride some different trails. I hope your snow will continue to melt fast, though I know what mud season is, and it's not pretty.

    Had a good May Day ride today on our usual route. A bit breezy but temps in the low to upper 70s over the course of three hours (same as in Wisconsin -- crazy!), sunshine, and continued low humidity, which won't last much longer here in central Florida! 36.3 miles on our ride, plus an extra mile or so cruising around the RV park on my cruiser bike later to take trash and go up to the office. Loving this weather!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    872
    Been another strange weather year, for sure. 70s for us is actually summer weather, not typical early May weather. We could still get snow. Have seen it, before.

    I'm hoping to get out and do more road miles, this week, to give the trails a chance to dry a bit. Just wanted to ride a bit on the newly opened trails. One of my goals for this summer is to strike more of a balance between trail riding and road riding. I think both types of riding have their health benefits. I'm really more of an all around bicyclist at heart, anyway. Love all kinds of riding. Especially looking for more more gravel roads in the area to ride to add to the fun. Certainly have the bikes for them. Might sound crazy to you gals that have no choice but to ride in congested areas, but I also want to ride into our little town for some riding and shopping, maybe stop for a coffee, just noodling around. Be a nice change of pace to be around people and, yes, even some traffic, too, compared to my usual solo rides back in the woods or out on our lightly traveled rural roads where it's uncommon to see another bicyclist. Don't laugh, but I do get lonely out there on some of those rural roads. Sometimes a little spooked, too. Just me.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 05-01-2018 at 05:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    I get this, nwg. Although I relish light traffic days on the roads and bike paths, I also know what riding on deserted roads feels like. It can be a bit eerie at times, and as a woman, I remember a few rural solo rides where I felt a bit nervous when a pickup truck with a yahoo or two passed me. Only once I was harrassed, but it is a rather vulnerable feeling on occasion. Aside from that, sometimes it's just fun to see other cyclists out enjoying the same activity you are; there's a sense of camraderie. I always wave and/or say "good morning" to other riders here and notice that only about half reciprocate. But the friendly ones always leave me pedaling along with a smile on my face!

    Our ride today will be a short one -- taking our Boston Terrier, Paisley, for a re-check at the vet in a few minutes. Did laundry all morning. Back to our usual longer rides tomorrow.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,280
    I have experienced that scary, rural road feeling, too. We used to do a ride named the "Chicken Ride," as it went by a chicken farm. The ride starts on the edge of western MA, about an hour and 10 minutes from here. It's a really, really hard ride, but near the end, you are a road that is pretty flat to rolling and it feels like you are in the Deep South or Appalachia. Surprisingly, once you get just a little bit west of where I live, Massachusetts is very rural, punctuated by some small, older, industrial cities, or larger small towns, often around colleges or vacation areas. We were riding with our friends, and of course DH and the male half of our friend couple were ahead. I could not see them. My friend was far behind me. This was way before GPS; I had a cue sheet, andI knew they would wait at turns, but I got really freaked out when 2 guys in a pick up (of course) bearing right wing stickers and a gun rack pulled out of a ramshackle house, scaring me. They slowed when they got beside me and yelled all kinds of stuff. All I remember is when they yelled, "Nice azz!" When I got to the turn where DH was waiting, I told him, and it turned out they had yelled the same thing to DH and our friend! This was in 2005, so they may not have ever seen lycra. We still joke about this today.
    Jealous of all of your riding. It's going to be 87 here today, but I had my colonoscopy this morning, so no riding today, or yesterday. Just starting to feel human, and I may go for a walk, before dinner. I will be out doing an early AM ride, when it will be in the 60s at 5:30 AM!
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    872
    87 degrees, already? That's just nuts. Oh, I can handle 87 if I have time to adjust, but we just had a major snowstorm only a couple weeks, ago. Right now 60s feels hot.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with being harassed and your feelings about riding solo in remote places. It does make me feel better to know that I'm not being too sensitive. I do think a woman traveling solo in a remote area is vulnerable. A few years, back, when I was getting back into trail riding, I did a lot of trail riding back in a remote area not too far from us. Honestly, I could travel miles down logging roads, far from access roads, that hadn't seen a footprint in years. Just finding me if I ran into trouble would have been a challenge. Exciting and neat to be in such unspoiled places, but than I would stop and ask myself what an old gal like me was doing all alone in such places. Really not smart. It also violated one of the basic rules of wilderness travel about never traveling alone. Finally got to me and I called it quits on those kinds of rides. Wonder Woman I am not.

    My solution was to build my own trails right at home on our property. Not as "adventurous, to be sure, but so much safer. Would love to go back to those remote places, but not going to do it solo if I do.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,548
    Went on my first road bike ride in ages on Monday and again today. It was difficult. I think I have a herniated disc in my neck, which is why I haven't been on a road bike since early December. Monday's ride aggregated it. Today's ride didn't. I felt it during the ride. But I maintained form, and it doesn't hurt at all now. So I'm optimistic. Anyway. Conditioning carefully. On Monday, I rode less than 10 miles. Today was almost 14. Both rides at high cadence with with no sprints. I'll continue to condition. And wow. My Pinarello is a lot smoother than the Surly...!!!! I missed it. The Surly does not cause any neck problems. So there is that.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
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    Surly Karate Monkey!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,243
    nwg....no no....you are a wonder woman!!!....i thought we settled that already...
    I’m picky about the rural roads I ride and my favorite long isolated ones just have a way of making me happy even when alone. I prepare well for personal safety and communication issues but I’ve haven’t needed it so far, mostly cuz of the roads i can pick...well maybe some faith as a backup too. I had more initial worry about biking and photographing in south central and east L.A. but found in that kind riding just stopping and interacting with people in an open and honest way is a big asset. I can also understand the reluctance of others too though....now getting nasty stuff said from a vehicle and once a breast grab has only happened to me in very urban riding.


    Shelia, hoping something simple like exercises for and massaging your trapezius muscles helps.....in anycase it’s good for supporting the neck/head when riding.

    Still solely on the fixie and just urban riding. Having the pedalling imperative focusing attention on fluid and smooth leg movements, especially on downhills, will help in my climbing too....plus track stands are easier now

    Too many work and volunteer commitments have ended weekend riding for a couple more weeks.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,280
    I had a wonderful very early AM ride this morning. Went to bed early (even early for me) and DH and I were out the door by 5:15 am. It was actually still a bit dark. I usually do these rides alone, so it was nice to have company. We chose a route that would take us across the highway that splits my town, around the perimeter of Concord Center, and back through West Concord. Only 10 miles, but flat except for a small hill in there beginning. This is sort of like the first early AM rides I did from my house on the other side of town, without the added thrill of having to climb the 10-13% grade to get home! It was a fast pace for me, especially at that time day, but I felt better we we returned. Pollen counts through the roof and the air quality is a bit off, too. I took my inhaler, as a precaution.
    It's going to thunder/rain this afternoon, so I won't commute. Tomorrow, probably ride to the gym and to work, because it's going to be a repeat of thunderstorms in the afternoon, so I won't be able to ride when I get home at noon.
    North Woods, 87 is about 15-20 degrees above normal for this time of year. We took the cover off of the AC compressor when we got home, so it will be cool when I get home from work. It's really humid, today, also, and was already 70 when we got home from our ride around 6 AM.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    Just heard on the Weather Channel that NYC was 90F yesterday. Much hotter than here in Florida; we were something like 82! So, I can see why you're getting such above-normal temps, Crankin. I suspect they won't last for long in New England.

    We are supposed to hit 90 here in central Florida for the first time this year tomorrow. I am not looking forward to it. We've had really nice weather for the past month-ish. Still not too humid or hot, but that is about to change. It's May now, so not at all unexpected. This is the latest we have stayed in this area (due to my orthodontia), and I'm not really looking forward to it, but hopefully I'll be acclimated. And at least there's a very nice pool for cooling down after rides!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    872
    Sheila, good for you on the road biking. I really like the idea of mixing things up on the types of biking, but not sure I'm up to contorting my body back and forth between flat bars and drop bars, anymore. These old joints get achy enough when I wake up in the morning.

    My sister-in-law in Philadelphia reports 90 degrees, too. Were in the 70s, again, but that is also well above normal for us, too. All but a few isolated patches of snow are left, now, but it was only three weeks, ago, that we had the biggest snowstorm of the year with over two feet of snow still in the ground. About the fastest I've seen the snow disappear. Have to wonder what summer will bring.

    Star is having a hard time adjusting so rapidly to the unusual heat. She still has her winter coat. She did find one lone mound of snow, though, and rolled in in it, giving herself a snow bath. Border Collies don't do well in hot weather so I halve to keep an eye on her..

    No precipitation for awhile, now, so my trails are drying out, nicely. Did combo ride just short 20 miles, today, spaced out over several sorter rides on different bikes though out the day. Half road and half trail work. Best ride of the day was with the Surly ECR on a very rough and sand/gravel road. It's a nearby local road, though, not at all isolated, with several homes along it, so I feel very safe riding it. Nice practice road and a lot of fun to ride, because it changes all the time. Never know what to expect. It would swallow a skinny bike, even a drop bar gravel bike or a cyclocross bike, but the ECR just took it in stride. No fishtailing at all, even in the deeper sand sections. That bike is just about unstoppable.

    Happy to report that we heard our first frogs singing, today. Our north woods are famous for spring frog orchestra music. In a couple weeks it will be almost deafening at night. Real north woods treat. Even better, a loon on our lake had been calling at night. Nothing for me is quite as beautiful and dreamlike as the call of the loon on a calm night. Such primitive beauty. If you've never heard loon music, your really missing something.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 05-03-2018 at 05:16 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,280
    Yes, the sounds of the "peepers" in our wetlands is deafening after dark. They were a little late in getting started this year, but they are full blown now.
    So,the forecast looked like it would be raining both at the time I go to the gym and to work. But, I got up at 4:45 and saw it wasn't going to rain until 7, so I rode there, with my rain jacket in my bag (the class is over at 6:30 and it takes me 8 minutes or so to ride there). No rain, though. When I got home, I looked at the radar and now it looks like the rain is all south of here. It's warm, cloudy, and humid though. I will be riding to work in about 45 minutes, with the same strategy. If it's not raining when I leave at noon, I will take a longer route home, so I'll have 10 miles for the day.
    Planning on a long ride tomorrow, where, I don't know.
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
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    nwg, I have only heard a loon maybe once in my life, other than on TV. I agree -- what a haunting and goosebump-inducing sound. I do envy you that!

    When we lived in the woods in NC, we built a small garden pond, which the peepers found pretty quickly. It was under our master bedroom window, and on what we called "party nights", the peepers were deafening, and we'd have to wear earplugs. I loved hearing them, but not when I had to be up for work the next morning!
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,280
    Well, I can't sleep with the windows open, or I'll be in allergy hell. So, I don't hear the peepers in my bedroom. If the AC isn't on, I have the ceiling fan on, to keep me cool. It went on last week, and won't go off until the beginning of October.
    So, it was spritzing very mildly when I rode into work. I wore my rain jacket, but I am not sure I needed to. I was sweaty a bit. It was actually raining when I rode home, but not enough to make me call my DH to come get me. It was a steady light rain, and because it's about 80 and humid, it wasn't bad, with the jacket. For 3 miles, I can stand it. I didn't take the longer way home, but I did take a loop around the village shopping area, which added about a mile. One good thing was, one of the streets I take on this loop was finally patched in several places. There were deep cracks and pot holes, going in the other direction, on a downhill, and some in the direction I was going. It's a pretty street, so I am glad it's fixed.
    Last year I bought the Terry transit dress; I wore it to ride to work a few times, as well as just wearing without riding. I got so many complements, I bought the new Transit tunic/sleeveless top and wore it today, with regular leggings. Again, tons of compliments, and it wicked well in the humidity, while riding.
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    872
    Glad to hear that others enjoy and/or endure frog music.

    Crankin', your reports on commuting bring back so many memories of my commuting days, especially my commuting days in Chicago. I enjoy reading them. Uncomfortable humidity is one thing I haven't had to deal with this spring, yet, but it's shaping up to be a hotter than average summer for us, so it's probably coming.

    As for me, having a ball riding my trails. After such a long winter, riding my trails without snow on them is almost like riding new trails. Still holding true to my combo riding goal of mixing up trail work with road work for the sake of being a better and more versatile rider, even though my heart is mostly in trail riding, right now. Figure for every mile of trail work, I'll do two miles of road work on a given day. So far, it's giving me a nice, but not exhausting, daily workout. The miles should pile up over the summer, though I may or may not keep a log. Haven't decided. The old mountain biker/utility biker in me just says get on the bike and ride. Forget the techy detail stuff.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 05-05-2018 at 07:56 AM.

 

 

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