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Sep-01-11 04:07 pm
Bob's Deerfield Randonee adventure
Category: Social
Forum: Ride Reports

I did it too.  Actually I rode the 100k ride, still turning out 67 miles, and a reported 7900 feet of climbing.  I didn’t train (practice) nearly as hard as Bob, only getting out one day on weekends and one commute a week since doing the Bon Ton Roulet.  But what a ride!  Hills so steep you could barely stand without losing traction.  You had to sit down and grind it out on almost all dirt road hills with dirt making up about 60% of this route.  Lots of beautiful scenery, great rest stops and volunteers.  I chickened out of the 115k ride after being warned about the three major climbs after the lunch stop (a park with covered bridge & log dam w/ fish ladder), and the first half of the 100 had me almost ready to do the bail out after lunch.  But after an easy 10 miles along the Deerfield River and fifty miles down I knew I had if for the metric.  I stopped twice long enough to gasp for breath a bit, once before lunch and again on a rock strewn jeep track near the finish,  but managed to get back on and grind it all out.  I’d been hearing about this ride for a couple years and I’m glad I found the chance to do it.  Just need some much lower gears if I ever do it in the future.  Once just might be enough.

The day before the hurricane and weather was muggy but cool w/ some sun followed by thin clouds in the afternoon, excellent for riding.  Roads, a covered bridge and one of the dams were badly damaged the next day after Irene passed.  I hope they manage to rebuild without too much pain.

Dan Artley in Parkton

Aug-24-11 04:07 pm
New to area... Towson to Hunt Valley?
Category: Social

This route works good, but it might be tough sometimes making that left onto Dulaney Valley.

Dan

Aug-24-11 09:11 am
New to area... Towson to Hunt Valley?
Category: Social

Joshua,

I like your route a bit better than Steve’s idea.  Thornton is a bit out of the way and adds a pretty good hill if you take it to Timonium Rd., and getting to Thornton means flying down the hill on Joppa w/ lots of traffic, or crossing Kenilworth to Bellona, Bellona being lots of traffic and both are quite narrow.  If you do go Thornton, I’d take a right after going under the beltway to Jamieson, Seminary, then Valleyfield Rd. avoiding most of the traffic to Timonium Rd. and flatter.  Timonium at that point is pretty safe with traffic kinda backed up to the left turn onto Greenspring Dr/Deereco Rd.

I actually bike commute along Kenilworth to the Charles Street overpass into Lutherville making sure that I have a bright blinking tail light and headlight for the beltway overpass.  Kenilworth is wide open, Charles is supposed to have bike lanes when construction is complete, but is still pretty good as long as you make sure you’re as visible as possible.  Done carefully, I think it’s fairly safe and is the flattest, most direct route.  There’s an apartment complex right beyond the circle that’s a shortcut to Seminary Rd. by the RR tracks, good when heading south, and a quick left after following Bellona Ave north into Clark Ave., Rt. onto Lincoln, then Lt onto Franke heading north.  I agree that York Rd. is downright scary in that area for bikes.

With your route, going up Dulaney Valley, (You’re slowing down climbing that hill with lots of traffic in the curb lane heading to the Beltway east) I would cross over the beltway I-695 and turn left immediately onto Charmuth Rd. (great downhill) and follow it to left on Ridgely Rd., then over to the tracks and through the shopping center.  A little business park at Business Park Dr, where Jeppi’s nuts & the Baltimore Coffee Co. is a nice little noodle to avoid just a little bit more traffic and backed up intersections.

Another route off Charmuth is to turn left after Seminary Rd onto Margate, which becomes Bellona after it crosses York Rd. into Old Lutherville.  Old Lutherville is a really pretty, quiet area that funnels into the route along the tracks that’s nice and flat, and quite direct.  Staying as close to the tracks as possible keeps you on quieter roads and the flatter route gets you the best speed.  Greenspring Dr./Deereco Rd./Beaver Dam are all wide-open roads that’s easy for cars to give you room.  Then if you’re feeling like something a little prettier after work, Hunt Valley is only a mile from the rail trail on Paper Mill Rd.  Keep your eyes open.  Even with Maryland’s laws about cell phone use, there are still a lot of distracted drivers around.  It seems the ones coming out of roads to your right in particular aren’t noticing bikes.  Best of luck with the commute.

Happy trails,

Dan Artley in Parkton

"Life may not be about your bike, but it sure can help you get through it." - Hallman

Jul-12-11 11:20 pm
Moving to Baltimore
Category: Social

Mickey,

There's a pretty good bike scene in Baltimore.  Besides the Baltimore Bicycle Club, there are a couple blogs you might want to look at, Baltimore Velo http://baltimorevelo.com/ and Bmore fixed http://bmorefixed.com/home/.  The BBC's Bob Wagner has been leading his Rando Rambles http://randoramble.posterous.com/ , some really long distance stuff.  There are several nice bike shops downtown too.  Baltimore is described as a city of neighborhoods and you can easily get around the city on fixed gear.  Yeah, there are hills, but routes can be worked out to get anywhere you need riding fixed in the city.  Baltimore is also located along the edge of the coastal plain.  East of the city is quite flat, south between Baltimore and Annapolis is gently rolling with some decent hills, west and north west, Howard and Carroll Counties, is more rolling with some bigger climbs near the rivers, the Patapsco on the west, Gunpowder to the north.  North Baltimore County has a lot more climbing.  The scenery can be quite beautiful with a lot of quiet twisty farm and horse country roads with some areas practically devoid of traffic even at rush hours, stunning views, screaming downhills.  Adjacent suburbs to Baltimore can be pretty heavily trafficked.  There is some quite technical off road riding for mountain bike almost requiring full suspension and great road riding.  In an ideal world, you should have all your bikes here.

If you like club riding, the BBC splits their categories into different paced groups with the faster paces being more self sufficient (check the rest of the website).  Another nice thing about BBC rides is getting to see those great roads already mapped out that you might never find on your own.  Although some think Baltimore isn't bike friendly, there are a lot of people using bikes for transportation in town, and depending on your comfort level you should be good to go with whatever you bring.

Dan Artley in Parkton (North Baltimore County)

Jun-06-11 08:49 am
Southern Maryland metric this coming Saturday, June 11

I’ve been wanting to do the Rural Legacy Ride since I first heard about it five years ago from Jim & Jane Hudnall who belong to the Oxon Hill bike club.  It's supposed to be a fairly easy metric with beautiful scenery, bay views and some rolling terrain.  It’s a long drive from here and so far weather’s a bit iffy for Saturday, but I plan to go and ride at about a 13-15 mph pace.  Anyone else interested?

Happy trails, 
Dan Artley in Parkton

"No Hour of Life Is Lost That Is Spent In The Saddle" -  Winston Churchill

Apr-17-11 04:46 am
Category: Technical

I think there are articles about bike fit that will get you 98 to 99 percent where you want to be.  Brian Towns mentioned the late Sheldon Brown’s article, one of the historic authorities on all things bicycle.  I like a bike fit article by Peter John White, a frame builder, who’s article sizes road bikes by the type of riding you wish to do.  http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm aggressive riding, touring etc.

Rivendell’s philosophy pushes more of a handlebar top level with or higher than the saddle for comfort on longer rides.  http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_fit … frame_size and for bike fit: http://www.rivbike.com/article/bike_fit … g_position 

Having the handlebar a bit lower than the seat helps down hilling confidence, but tends toward the more aggressive riding style.  Having a flat back seems important to some very fast riders, but sets the bars lower still.  Some people have neck or back issues if they’re bent too low.  You need to find out what works for you and your riding style rather than having a professional give his opinion first on how you should ride. 

A nice lightweight racing or sport racing style bike will help you keep up with your paced ride, and maybe stay near the lead if that’s what you wish, though there will always be faster and slower riders than you.  Another online bike shop I like states, "Most cyclists don't race, yet they ride uncomfortable racing bikes and try to go too fast and so miss much of the world around them. Our emphasis is on a more relaxed and comfortable style of riding, and on refined bikes that are comfortable on a century ride, an inn-to-inn tour, or even on a ramble down your favorite dirt road."  There are different bikes that will fit that description, cyclocross is sort of a dirt and road racer, randonneurs are made for long distance comfort, pretty light weight and both usually running slightly larger tires, though almost never as light as a pure road or sport road bike.  Fenders or mudguards will keep you drier in the rain, but make loading the bicycle onto some racks and into cars problematic.

I embrace the Peter White article myself, but do feel that experimentation once you’ve read all the articles are what will get you the best setup.  I also think test riding at least several bicycles once you’ve got your size worked out is key.  Almost all bikes feel slightly different from one another, even if you can’t tell why.  Of all the bikes you test ride, chances are one of them feels more confident to you.  And I agree with Bob Wagner that the more time you take to fine tune what feels comfortable the closer you’ll get to really appreciating the bicycle.  Sometimes the perfect time to make an adjustment is at the end of a long ride that brings out the niggling little annoyances, seat angle or height, handlebar reach or angle.  I personally like a comfortable shake hands angle of bar when in the drops.  Almost all modern bikes have a handlebar stem that can be unbolted easily to switch with different lengths or angles to allow a better fit.

If after all that, you feel that you’re just not getting a comfortable fit, you may wish to go to a professional.

Dan Artley in Parkton

"Biomechanics and all that knee-over-the-pedal plum line stuff is fine and dandy, but when it comes to saddle position, how you feel on the bike is what counts."
-David R. Farmer

"To me, the fit of a bicycle is crucial to the enjoyment of riding, which I think should be a mystical experience.  The bicycle should be invisible to what you are doing physically.  Even if you are riding around a familiar circuit, one you've ridden for years and know intimately, the ride should be a mystical experience."
- Georgena Terry

Feb-10-11 09:42 pm
Category: Social

I think the Westminster one has been around since last year since the web link is for 2010, and the ride is on a Monday if they just mistyped the year.  I've searched and can't find a new one for 2011.  Looks like fun though.  I'll try to keep an eye out for it.

Dan Artley

"Cars are alright on occasion, but they are not moments of grace, as bicycles are." - Colman McCarthy

Jan-27-11 03:22 pm
First Single Speed
Category: Technical

I rode the Seagull two years ago on fixed gear, 46 x 18 with a 17 on the flip side of the double fixed hub.  Turned out to be a pretty nice gear, easily spinning at 16-17 mph and able to easily wind up to 23-24 mph.  I believe Will rides a 48-18, a bit higher, and in the hills.  Adding three teeth to a chain ring generally equates to subtracting one tooth on the back.  Most flip/flop fixed hubs come fixed/free, but a double fixed is actually a bit more versatile.  You can mount a single speed freewheel on a fixed hub, but it's not good to run a fixed cog on a freewheel threaded hub, even with a BB lock ring (same thread).  Riding fixed, it's nice to have a bailout gear of one or two teeth difference to get you home if you're tired, and Sheldon Brown recommended a freewheel two teeth bigger than your fixed cog.  It's sort of a PIA to flip the wheel, but maybe worth it for a longer ride.  I use two brakes because I like to ride the hoods and it works for energy conservation on long rides and emergencies.  Otherwise, just control your speed.  I'm only throwing this out there because I enjoy riding fixed.  In some ways they're kind of addictive.   I still like to drop like a stone down hills, but fixed is fun too.  I don't necessarily find a 'Zen' like connection to the bike.  If you're going to have a couple (or few) bikes, a fixed gear is a hoot!

Happy trails,

Dan

Jan-26-11 08:20 am
First Single Speed
Category: Technical

Since I can't answer off list, try the Whistle Stop Bike Shop in New Freedom.  They had a few of them a couple months ago, I can't say what sizes.  They also believe in BUYING AND SELLING American, and are moving to other brands of bikes since Cannondale started outsourcing their frames to Taiwan.  I test rode one in my size, and though it wasn't the set up I like, it seemed to be a nice bike.

On a single speed or fixed wheel bike, I don't think weight is nearly the important factor as the right gear if you're just riding for fun.  Check out Sheldon Brown's website for gearing ideas, but expect to maybe invest in a couple cogs or even chain rings to get the gear right for the roads and terrain and how hard you like to push.  Single speed is OK, but you should try riding fixed.  It's addictive, helps you get supple as you spin madly down hills.

Happy trails,

Dan Artley

"Spinning will help the muscles develop elasticity.  This is the quality which permits you to change the rhythm of your legs instantly, something that is essential for success in racing.  Spinning is an individual thing.  It should be at a rate you can comfortably maintain.  But no matter how fast you spin it is incorrect if your foot loses the sensation of the pedal."
- Francesco Moser

Jan-16-11 10:59 am
Cleaning out the crawl space ...
Category: Technical

If the two Blackburn seat bags are still available, I'd be interested.  Old bags go well with old bikes.  Please e-mail me off list at hydelake@verizon.net 

Thanks in advance, Dan Artley in Parkton

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