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PEDALING AROUND OUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#1
Although today offered up some good flying weather, we chose to ride bikes. A couple of (fairly) easy miles away, is a Subway Sandwich Shop. Recently, we've been enjoying riding over there, sharing a "Sub of the Day" ($6 for a 12" sub!), a drink, and usually some chips. Darn! These are good.

Today, rather than return straight home, we diverted a couple of miles to get a cup of coffee. With outside temps at 50, and with a full, bright sun, I'd worn just a vest over my shirt. So, as we sat to enjoy the coffee, we were next to the gas log fireplace. Felt pretty good - for the first 20 minutes or so.

On the way home, several black squirrels were runnung around a tree, and up and down it. The story is that, about 25-30 years ago, a fellow brought a breeding pair of these black squirrels down to the East Lansing area from the Deadstream Swamp. Now, they are all over for about a 50 mile radius. They look to be about 80-90% as big as a standard fox squirrel.

The Deadstream is the first part of the Muskegon River, where it exits Houghton Lake's NW'ly corner. It's one of those big swamps with plenty of bears - and a few legends. Some of those legends include stories about hunters who went in, and never came out. Now, Michigan has a fair number of swamps, mucky areas, swales, bogs, etc. but only a couple are so big that you can get lost in them.

Further on, as we got closer to home, folks were walking dogs. The big Lab was pretty anxious to walk, run, and gambol about. After about 6-7 miles, we arrived back home, and relaxed a bit. According to my Fitbit, I'd just about ridden off the sandwich!
 

Wannabe

Well-Known Member
Apr 5, 2007
2,645
1
on the bank of Trinity Bay
#2
I am thrilled that ya'll had a glorious day. We had a beautiful 80 F. day. My youngest granddaughter had her first piano recital this afternoon.
Jack, I look at you then look at me and I am ashamed. You are as old as Lewis and Clark put together and you go bi-cycling to Hell and Back and I barely can make a two block ride. But I am working on it. For the last month I have been going to the County Fitness Center and walking on a treadmill at 5:30 in the morning, though I have not been there or the coffee shop aster since last Thur.
I am tickled that you two had another Grand Adventure. Enjoy the spring. It will be over here pretty quick.
Bob
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#3
Well, Bob, you're a lot more man than I am, to do a treadmill at all, but especially at 05:30!!! I hate to sneak up on that kinda stuff in the dark.

I want to be hearing your gardenibg reports. Fingers in the dirt is one of God's best tonics. Talk to those plants! Not the okra, of course. It's a foreign plant, and won't understand you. Grow some gree-itz; isn't there a gritz plant? Aye god there oughta be! ;-). And a gritz box plant too, so you have something into which you can put all those gritz you grow.
 
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oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,797
31
74
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#5
Your area with the 50's for a high and calling it Spring.........Around here we call that Winter.

We went from Winter straight over to Summer in a matter of a couple ( 2) days. Spring has sprung and Summer arrived early as usual around here.
Nice day today , 90 for a high with it going to 97 by Wednesday. No idea what the heat index will be but you can bet it will be higher then the predicted temperature. We like to refer to the weather around here as being a Roller Coaster , it is always up or down , mostly up. :roll:
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#6
AN INTERURBAN BIKE TRAIL

It all started with needing a couple gallons of milk. "Hey, Punkin, wanna ride over to get a couple gallons of milk in the morning?", I asked Julie last night. A noncommital, "We'll see." Was her reply.

From our home over to the mall areas, we can bike using 10-15 various "routes". We can interchange various short legs, tack on appendices, go one of two "long ways" with no sneaky little short cuts, etc. One of our favorites traverses an interurban trail.

A century ago, when my Mom was a little girl, her and her Mom rode the interurban rails from Lansing to Howell to visit Aunt Somebody-or-other. Part of that route was within a half mile of where we now live. A few years ago, the Rails to Trails program transformed 2 miles of the old interurban right of way (ROW) to a biking-hiking trail.

As we entered the Interurban portion, a Mom was pushing a stroller, and walking a young lad with a cast on an arm, and a dog. Nearby, a Grandmother and grandaughter strolled along. Then, a young woman came along on her bike. And, of course, we two septogenarians were riding along. A half mile later, another Grandmother, a teen, and her dog were out. THIS is what these trails are all about! And, all of that was inside of the first mile!

Now, the average bike, when well tuned, is very efficient at converting human energy into motion. You normally have to ride about 6 miles to equal the energy expenditure of walking only 1 mile. But, feeling a bit sorry for myself, I suggested that we just possibly maybe oughta could should stop in at Wendy's, and share a small frosty. It didn't take an anvil on Julie's head for her to see the wisdom there!

It just so happens that, the Wendy's parking lot connects to the next door lot of Gordon Food Service (GFS) where I could get the 2 gallons of milk . Julie stayed with the bikes whilst I spent all of 4 minutes buying milk. Having completed the complex and dangerous mission upon which we had originally set out - we decided to sashay over to Schuler's book store for a cuppa coffee before starting home. Is the pattern beginning to emerge here?

After coffee, I browsed some books. And bought a magazine with an article in about starting a fire with rolling friction. A cotton ball, some wood ashes, and two blocks of wood. More on this project later.

As I rolled into our driveway, I noticed the bike was riding squirrelly. Back tire was flat - with a self-sealing inner tube!!! Drat, and double drat. sigh. Another project. And I've had such a stressful morning! ;-)
 
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Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#7
SUBWAY - DIVE DIVE DIVE!

We enjoy sandwiches, and Subway sandwiches in particular. Their locations are handy for us, and their food is pretty good. So, today we rode over for lunch. A 2 mile ride (one way) surely isn't any marathon, but it gets our heart rate up, and it gets us off of our duffs.

We have luggage racks and saddle bags (called "panniers") on our bikes. Take a look at panniers on LL Bean. They are really handy for carrying gear, water, snacks, and even a few groceries. As I recall, about $100.

Earlier this week, I rode to a dental appointment, about 6.5 miles round trip. Kind of a surprise to them. Next appointment is on 10 January. I'm not planning to ride a bike that day. ;-)
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#8
COUPLE OF RIDES

Yesterday, Julie and I started out to ride around Lake Lansing, near here. It's about 2 1/4 miles from home to the lake, about 3 1/4 around the lake, for about 7 3/4 miles minimum. We usually wobble around pathwise and end up adding another 1/4 - 1/2 miles of mindless meandering. BUT - about 2 1/2 miles into the ride, my self sealing innertube in my rear tire was flatter than a flitter! What the heck??!!
Fortunately, one of the best features of my bike is a tire pump built into the seat post. Many, many strokes later, the tire was 60-65psi. It was OK all the way home, minus riding around the lake. And today it is still OK. A mystery tube.

Today, a ride to the barnershop and back, and the tire is still up. More mystery of the innertube.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#9
INDIAN SUMMER
The absolute best time of every year.


Today is bright and sunny, low humidity, 63 degrees - a perfect football Saturday! Not being football players, we chose to unlimber our bikes again. Air up the tires; fasten on the rear view mirrors, pull on our goatskin gloves; and launch.

Right next to one of those Subway sandwich shops that we like so well, is a bagel and coffeeshop. Alas! We got there a bit late, and it had closed a few minutes befkre. Drat!! DRAT!! And double drat! Well, we're nothing if not resourceful. Subway is open.

After a cool drink, we meandered our ways home. Blessedly, our neighborhoods are safe and pleasant to ride in. Wide avenues, large shade trees, wide lawns, friendly drivers, parks, other cyclists, and good sidewalks are all there. Those good sidewalks are important.

In Michigan, probably some other states too, we have a "share the road" law, and it is legal for bikers to ride our roads. They are supposed to remain far to the right, single file, and out of the way. Unfortunately, many of the bikers think it is their right to plug the road, hinder the flow of traffic, and be unsafe hinderances. Every year, their ranks get thinned by a few. Not only are they rude and inconsiderate, they are slow learners.

We ride the sidewalks. A car weighs, say, 1,000 - 2,500 pounds. Our bikes, with accessories, weigh about 40 pounds. Here's something from the For What It's Worth Department - Frankly, anybody who can't figure that out should not be riding a bike outside of their own yard.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#10
Another day, another ride, another cuppa coffee. Bike-friendly neighborhoods line our routes here, to and from our favorite coffeeshop nearby. Wind was too breezy for flying, and furnished cooling for bikers. Our choice was easy.

Making our rides easier and more pleasant, are three of the basic techniques for bikers. High tire pressure, proper seat position, and well kept machines. Bikes haven't changed all that much since my first, full sized Columbia in about '46 or 47. Multi sprocket derailler systems are the largest change/advancement. Other changes that come to mind include
(1) replacing fat tires (2 1/2") with skinnier tires.
(2) replacing comfortable seats that had springs, with expensive torture devices resembling an ax head, sharp side up.
(3) better alloys for frames.
(4) poorer inner tubes that leak, previous tubes lasted years - not months.
Three of the four changes are not necessarily viewed as improvements by this slightly prejuduced observer/user.

Actually, there is another change that I do see as an improvement - saddle bags. THESE ARE A GOOD ITEM FOR RIDERS TO HAVE. We carry all kinds of things along for one reason or another: water bottles, iced tea, hot tea, sandwiches, rain jackets, library books, gloves (we ride wearing leather gloves), purse, groceries, etc. using Google, look for "bike saddlebags".

All in all, we enjoy our bikes a lot.
 
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oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,797
31
74
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#11
I believe the proper term for the saddlebags are Bike Panniers and a person can add a Bike Trunk on the rear rack holding the Panniers. I specified Rear Racks because you can do the same on the front if you are a serious Bike Packer. Heck you can even hang a bag on the cross member from the froth fork to the seat support and even off the handlebars.
Anyway the panniers and bike trunk are what I have on the back of my Mountain Bike. I can also use it on the rack I have on the Recumbent Trike. The rear racks on both bikes are the same.
I'm not one of the guys peddling and camping across the USA from coast to coast or from Canada to Key West. Just around locally here in Florida.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#15
BICYCLE REPAIR STAND

Googleize "bicycle repair stand". Several stands will appear. Previously, all the stands that I saw cost in the $250-375 range. OUCH!

In the old days, we turned our bikes upside down and worked on them. That still works. But - oh - it is so much more comfortable for geezers to sit on, say, a cushion atop a 5 gallon pail. I bought the "portable bicycle maintenance stand" from Walmart, for $54.95. That is the total cost, free shipping and no tax!

Frankly, I expected something that would be a bit shaky, and require stabilization to keep upright. Wow, was I surprised. This is a high quality, well designed piece of equipment. Now it will be much easier to do stuff like replace an inner tube, oil the chain, replace lube in wheels and ledal crank. Not really fun - but a lot easier.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,797
31
74
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#16
I do it the easy way with the wife's recumbent or mine , the shop where I purchased them , service them. I'd rather have the dealer do the servicing then myself , Cable Disk brakes , shiftier and steering adjustments , a extra long chain , cables and synchronizing 24 speeds I don't even want to touch.

The mountain bike I clean the chain and minor stuff after each off trail riding experience. I can turn it upside down to work on it. Nice thing about good quality mountain bikes , the manufacture expects them to get wet , dirty and muddy and are made to handle that.
Even the mountain bike goes to the dealer for a yearly servicing. Hydraulic Disk brakes , shiftier adjustments , cables and synchronizing 27 speeds.

One handy tool to have is a chain checker ( there are several types ) which measures the wear of the chain. A worn chain will destroy the sprocket or in case of multiple speed bikes the sprockets and even the chain ring ( the crank and pedals are attached to it)
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#17
MORE INDIAN SUMMER!

We are still enjoying beautiful, fall weather. Last night, we were at a campfire on a friend's beachfront. A nice off-lake breeze insured that no mosquitoes were ever going to pester us. Wine, chips, and pizza insured tastiness abounded. An assembly of interesting people insured lively conversations. For 4 hours we wallowed in this extemporaneous mix.

Then, today, we committed to riding to a local coffee house. With 5-6 places to choose from, and several various routes to each one, we keep it interesting. This morning, a school had a football game going full tilt on our routes. We had added a sidetrack "long cut" (opposite of a shortcut) that handily converted a 4 mile ride into a 5 1/2 mile ride. It's about the energy equivalent of a 1 mile walk.

And, there were lot's of others out and about this morning, loving the weather. So, I bottled up the day, and won't open it again until January eleventy eleventh. Cheating death some more.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,797
31
74
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#18
It must be contagious. looks like this weather has folks in the biking mode. During my ride the spandex ( Colorful outfits and racing bikes ) group were out enjoying the day. Those folks are serious riders and do add up some miles.

Got back from breakfast this morning and brought out the Terra Trike. The poor thing has been sitting for several months in the shop while I would grab the mountain bike for a quick summertime ride. Had to add some air in the trikes tires and then gave it a old fashion look see to make sure everything was working.

Opened the gate and set it in the driveway. Closed and locked the shop up . Grabbed my cell phone , some bear spray for any dogs that might try to catch me and a couple hard candies. Put a water bottle in the front holder to have for the ride.

Checked the front light and set it on flash mode , checked the rear light and put it on flash mode. Adjusted the side mirror and took out.
I have double poles and flags ( Big and bright colors ) about 6 feet off the ground on the trike. The flags along with the front and rear light's makes sure folks see me when I am on a road.
Ha Ha Ha that bright florescent yellow /green vest I wear helps a lot on being seen. I call the color the Don't Run Over Me Green. When you sit on a bike and are eye ball with a Ford 150's front bumper you want anything you can use to make sure you are seen.

We had a rain a little earlier which helped to cool things down and made it more fun missing any remaining puddles. Peddled down the sidewalk over to the main road around the area on side streets. Over to the county park and threw there then to some back roads just enjoying life and being out there. Not surprisingly there is still a lot of Hurricane damage remaining to the trees and area.

The time and miles slid by before I knew what was happening. Decided it was time to go home and arriving there I checked the odometer. The ride was just shy of 10 miles ( 9.7 ) in basically one hour ( 70 minutes ).
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,902
55
80
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#19
Good on you, young man! Aye god the bikes/trikes are faster than wheelchairs, and can make it to the next coffeeshop/ice cream shop/restroom, or apple pie ala mode shop in good time.

There's a small, rear view mirror on my helmet, but it is a poor second to the strap-on mirror on my left hand grip. The one on the helmet provides only a small picture of wht's going on behind me, or catching up with me. And, it requires me to squint and turn my head to visually sweep the area back there. Take a look at rear view mirrors in local bikeshops, and hardwares (cheaper than bikeshops).

I applaud your flasher signals and "Don't run over me green" vest. I ride the sidewalks every time, if available, even where there are bike lanes on the road edge. Bike lanes get squeezed out in some sections of road, and your elbow is within inches of a moving vehicle that outweighs you 40-70 times more. I'm a cowardly, chicken wuss.
 
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oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,797
31
74
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#20
I call the sidewalks the Bike Turnpikes. I agree use the sidewalks when ever you can , they are a lot safer then the bike paths along the sides of the roads.

I have seen to many drivers not paying attention to their driving and actually have the vehicle taking up more then half of the so called bike path along the road. Had one driver weaving i and out of the bike path and I was sure the driver was intoxicated. She was to busy on her cell phone to pay attention to her driving.