Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last Day of June

Today was a stunning day out, warm, sunny, and low humidity. I skated out of work a little early this evening and went out for a ride with Kathleen. We rode down through the Inner Harbor, then up to the top of Federal Hill to the park there. I took a bunch of pictures there, when we got home Kathleen stitched them into a nice panaroma.
We continued out to Fort McHenry, and since it was quiet, rolled all the way out to the water's edge where I shot another panorama. It's remarkable how different the Harbor looks a mile further out from the Inner Harbor, much more working harbor like. There were a couple out there kayaking, and one of them was fishing.
We headed back for home after that. On the way back Kathleen spotted this.
It's a giant inflatable crab over the entrance of McCormick & Schmidt's, I am assuming to signify some sort of crab special, kind of creepy to me. Then it was back to the homestead for pizza and taking it easy. It is going to be a super busy weekend for me, lots of 4th of July shows this year.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday, Monday

La la, la lala. Monday commute to work today, I took a slightly different route to the shop, got to bomb the downhill on Windsor Mill Road for my efforts. Just prior to that I spotted yet another church (I actually saw several, but my backpack makes getting the camera in and out of the jersey pocket a pain in the butt, I am going to have to work on that).
Then it was a typical day at work, lots of getting ready for the 4th of July weekend, and some suprise shows for later this week (way to plan ahead). But then 6:00PM rolled around and I headed out for home. Mostly a quiet ride down the Gwynns Falls Trail, had a kid throw a rock at me :). Other than that fairly uneventful. Down by M & T Bank Stadium I spotted a group of guys on BMX bikes stunting in an empty parking lot.
I cut through the stadium complex over to Pratt Street, at Pratt & Howard I was entertained by this guy playing the Banjo & Kazoo, and a little singing.
A little further along I came across this group of women on a wide variety of bikes.

I caught up and joined their group for a couple of blocks, found out they were headed for a ride up and back down the Jones Falls Trail. The leader was a gal I have run into before, she is a former pro mountain bike racer who has returned to B'more. She has this killer cargo bike that her two kids ride in. I have only run into her commuting, and the backpack has thwarted all efforts to catch her with the camera, but her bike looks like this.
Last time was the day I got poured on, she about dropped me when the light we were waiting at changed, with her kids in the cargo bucket. At any rate, they looked to be having a good time on their ride, so we parted ways and I headed home for dinner.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Busy Sunday Morning

Busy day today, Kathleen ran the Baltimore Women's Classic in Federal Hill This morning, so as I do, I rode down there to take some pictures. It was a nice morning for the race, the sun was shining, and the humidity has stayed down through the weekend. Here is Kathleen just after the start.
As with last year's race, there were acoustic guitar playing singers along the route to make the run a little nicer.
However, unlike last year's race, due to construction on Key Highway, they ran a different route, starting with the hill on Jackson Street. Here is Kathleen at the top of the hill.
But then it was a long downhill run to the end of Fort Avenue. Nice morning with the sun rising behind the runners.
From there the course wound it's way through Federal Hill, lots of folks out watching.
Here is Kathleen back down on Key Highway.
They went back through the original start area on Key Highway, back past the troubadours and then came back up on the Promenade to the finish, and here she is finishing with a personal best of 25:52.
I met up with her in the vendor village/finish area, and we looked around for her friends who were running the race as well. No luck on that front so we headed to where she had locked her bike up to get moving for home. I noticed this in front of the Maryland Science Center. I am not sure if it is new or not, but since I never ride by this side of the building it was new to me.
Then it was back to the homestead, Kathleen on her groovy errand bike.
We got to the house and Kathleen went in to change, I got her road bike ready to go, and then we were off to Hampden for the Twenty 20 Cycling Sunday Morning ride that we did last week. We actually managed to be on time enough for the 9:30 meet up that Kathleen could go in and get a cup of coffee before we set off again. Here is the group just as the light turned on Keswick.
And then a little further down the road.
We headed down the switchbacks on the bike trail from Steiff Silver to Falls Road.
Then up Falls towards Clipper Mill.
We went through Clipper Mill and then up into Druid Hill Park to climb "the mini Alpe D'Huez".
Here we are rolling through the park headed for a lap around the resevoir.
We did a lap around the lake, lots of joggers, walkers, and other cyclists, then up through Hopkins Campus to University Parkway.
On our way back through Hampden, Kathleen spotted this house with the maximum number of purple flowers possible going on.
As we approached the Avenue, I squirted enough ahead to catch the group from the front side (for a change). It only took Kathleen 5 minutes with photoshop to make this look better (not my best over the shoulder action shot :) )
We finished up at the shop, shot the breeze for a few, thanked Brian for leading the ride, then headed on out for home. At the bottom of Chesnut Street there was this huge poster on the mill. I am not sure what the deal is, but I like the picture.
Then it was off to the house to get cleaned up and walk down to Fells Point for some breakfast. An afternoon of running errands, then dinner on the deck.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday, Friday, Friday

It's Friday :) I rode in to work today (third day in a row). I took a slightly different route through town than I usually do. On my way up Saratoga I came across this church.
I am sure it was quite the building in it's time, but it appears that it's time is up. I continued on down the road towards work, and when I got to Wetheredsville & Windsor Mill I spotted this painted between the stripes on the crosswalk there.
Since it is somewhat hard to read it says "Caution Speeding Lunatics" which is totally true of this spot. This is a remnant of the Tour Dem Parks from a couple of weekends ago, the 65 mile route went by our shop. After that I had a full day at work, then at 6:00PM the whistle blew, I slid down the tail of my dinosaur, and got in my superhero outfit for the ride home. This morning was super muggy again, but by the time I headed out a breeze had come up and blown some of the humidity away. I scooted on down the Gwynns Falls Trail towards home. Nothing terribly exciting, but I shot this picture of my shadow pacing me home by the golf course.
Then it was home for a shower and some dinner.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Commute Day with U2

Today was a commute day, I took off in the morning and rode up the Gwynns Falls Trail to work, nothing terribly exciting happened, just lots of people around the Inner Harbor, then quiet trails to the office. The only notable is it was humid, like August humid, and that theme would continue for the day. A day at work then it was time to head for the homestead. At this point it is easily 90 something, and still a bazillion percent humidity, but it was nice and shady on the Gwynns Falls Trail. There were guys playing baseball in most of the parks, like these guys in Carroll Park.
Then down by the stadium things changed. Usually by the time I get downtown it is pretty quiet, but today U2 is playing at M & T Bank Stadium (home of the Ravens), and traffic picked up substantially as a result. Lots of activity, including these guys who seemed to have taken over a dead end street and were selling parking.
There were people out tail-gating as well.
A little further along I spotted this sign at a parking lot.
Seems pretty obvious, but then about 100' past that lot I saw this.
Pointing away from the lot I just passed don't you know, to yet another lot that had the same closest parking sign at it's entrance. Just beyond that lot was yet another lot, also with a closest parking sign at the entrance. I guess it's closest to where you are that makes it closest. A little further along the trail runs right next to the stadium so for a little ways I was in with this group of concert goers make the epic trek from wherever they parked their cars to the stadium.
After I got past all that it was a fairly uneventful ride home. Also I had mentioned Kathleen's new errand bike, well here it is in appropriate pose.
Also I wanted to show off my handiwork in the garage, I had a ton of extra bike wheels and having them kicking around a floor level was starting to piss me off, so I scored a hook system that was meant for hanging brooms and such on the wall, and made a rim and tire rack out of them.
It's starting to look like a bike shop in the garage, on the other side of the garage from this is Kathleen's errand bike and mountain bike.
But it's tidy, or at least organized :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Big Weekend

It has been a big weekend since my last post. I started it off with commuting to work on Friday Morning, taking the Gwynns Falls Trail up to the shop. A totally uneventful morning, no drama, and certainly not two flats. A normal day at work, then I cut out a little early to head for home. Back down the Gwynns Falls, but a detour to Race Pace in Federal Hill to pick up some stuff. Heading back up the Key Highway, I spotted this family out for a ride.
After that it was around the Inner Harbor, where there was a sand castle building thing going on. Here is the only thing built so far, it is a celebration of the upcoming Baltimore Grand Prix that is coming to downtown on Labor Day weekend.
Then on to the homestead, and then a run back to the bike shop in the car to pick up my purchases that were too big for the backpack. I bought Kathleen a new set of wheels and high zoot tires for her bike(Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, and Vittoria Diamante Pro tires for those who care about such things), and in the process shaved about 818 grams (1 3/4 lbs) of rotating mass off the bike. Here is the approved picture of the bike with the new shoes.
Then it was off to bed, early morning the next day, because it was the Baltimore 10 Miler, and Kathleen was running in it. As with all of these things, it started at 7:30AM (on a Saturday!) so it was up and out bright and early. I rode up to Stieff Silver to wait for Kathleen to come through. I knew she would find me, I had her Garmin watch and Road ID with me as she had forgotten them. A little before 8 AM she turned up and I made the handoff.
I cut around and eventually caught up with her again at Lake Montebello which is the turnaround point for the race.
On my way out of the lake area I heard my name being called and it turns out it was Bonnie (who we had gone riding with a few weeks back).
She and her husband Steve were also running the race here. I waited and caught Kathleen at the same spot.
Then I motored up 33rd street to the other end to catch her here as she rounded the bend off 33rd into the neighborhoods.
I took off again for Stieff Silver to see if I would see her again, and shortly after I arrived she came up from the park.
This was the last I would see her, I attempted to go the long way around Druid Lake park to the finish, but the finishing area is difficult to get to on race day. I did see Bonnie again, but somehow missed Kathleen.
Since the race was over I headed for home. Passing through the Resevoir Hill neighborhood next to the lake I found this little park/art project. I am not sure what the backstory is here, but it certainly caught my attention.
Then it was back home for a shower, and breakfast at Koopers Tavern in Fells Point with Kathleen. Afterwords we walked around the Inner Harbor back to Race Pace to get new cleats for Kathleen's shoes, hers were shot. Some noodling around the house that afternoon, washing the bikes, and doing drivetrain maintenance on them. You might think that was enough, but today was more excitement. Twenty 20 Cycling in Hampden (where Kathleen got her errand bike) was hosting a social ride this morning so we got our butts out of bed and pedaled up to Hampden to participate. The story was to meet at Common Ground on the Avenue at 9:30 then a social ride around the neighborhood before the shop opened at 11:00AM. We got there and met up with Chris, who was also there for the ride, and shortly after Johnny from the shop turned up, and off we went, a hearty foursome on a Sunday morning. We went up Roland Avenue, here is Johnny leading the way (in the shop kit of course).
Kathleen and Chris right behind me.
Then we bombed down University Parkway, which has a great bike lane, Johnny & Chris leading the way here.
At the bottom of the hill we hit the red light, which had this somewhat ironic sign on it.
Signal for what? The Apocalypse? At any rate we cruised through the neighborhoods then past Stieff Silver and into the Druid Lake Park. Here we are climbing "Baltimore's mini Alpe d'Huez" (courtesy of Johnny for the name, the path up the hill has a ton of switchbacks) in the closed to cars part of the park.
Here we are coming up out of the really hilly section, we continued on around the park and did a couple of the same hills again :)
Also spotted in the park is this new art installation. I don't know the story, but I do know that at night the top parts light up (this part of the park is on my way home from work).
We rolled through Clipper Mill, and then back up through Hampden to the shop where we parted ways. The ride was big fun, and we are going to try and make it a regular thing. After that we headed for the homestead, and then out to get some breakfast at Meli's Patisserie in Fells Point. Good food, but the service left something to be desired. The rest of the day was spent doing some mundane tasks and watching a couple of stages of the Tour de Suisse on the Tivo.