Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snowy Road and Hojack

With the trails under snow I've been riding the streets lately. But I've been shying away from any busy roads and that has limited where I can ride. I've ended up riding 10 to 15 miles within a 1.5 mile radius north of my home. So I looked at the map to see if I could stretch my riding out to new areas.

One thing I've been wanting to do is to ride to the Hojack trail from my house. With the distances I've been riding that was definitely doable. But it snowed last night so the road and trail would probably would not be ideal.
I gave it a try anyway.

The road was not too bad. Most of the way had a wide enough shoulder. It was 75% clear and most snow and slush didn't seem to slow me down. Some shoulders were off-camber which makes riding less relaxed.
When I got to the Hojack I was disappointed. I had hoped it would have been packed down from snowmobiles but that was not the case. So it was covered in about 6 inches of snow that had only been disturbed by a few walkers. I gave it a try and was able to ride but for only a few hundred feet at a time. I ended up walking about 50%, between riding, while I caught my breath and my heart rate came down to a reasonable level.

I got off at the next crossroad and headed back home on the street.
It was good to get out, but I miss the trails. Spring will be here soon, but not soon enough.

I think my cycle computer doesn't work well when it gets wet. It came up with an obviously short distance again.
My GPS said I went 6.8 miles. Had the Hojack been good riding I was ready to ride about 12 miles. Oh well.

Snowy Road and Hojack - 2011-02-27

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Faster Road Ride

This afternoon I rode the suburban streets, riding faster and farther than I ever have on the street. It was chilly at 26°F (-3°C), but it was unusually sunny for the Rochester area.

I'm getting more comfortable with my geared hub. I had a lot of successful shifts. I think all my unsuccessful shifts were downshifts, which uses my left foot. I found myself staying in my high gear on more inclines. My quadriceps down near my knees got sore, hopefully just from pushing myself farther. I can hardly walk down stairs. Haha. Ibuprofen and some ice should get me back to normal.
I also found my low gear felt lower than ever. It almost felt goofy, just like being in your granny gear on a bike. But that will likely feel different on the trails.

I encountered a few dozen walkers and people in their yards. I told one little kid riding a tiny bike with training wheels, "Hey you've got too many wheels!". Haha.
From two ~10 year old boys playing basketball, "Wow a unicycle!", "That thing rocks!"
From a ~4 year old, "You're really good at that."

I road 15.5 miles (25 km). Thanks to my Schlumpf my average speed was about 8.4 mph (13.5 kph).

Road Ride - 2011-02-20

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Harris Whalen Park

Harris Whalen Park is a park in the town of Penfield that I drive by on my way to and from work. It's a small park, but it has a wooded area with trails that I've read about online. I've never read about this park being good for cycling, but wanted to check out the trails sometime.

Today some friends hosted a pig roast at Harris Whalen Park and my family and I attended. I used the opportunity to explore the trails. That plan made more sense when I made it a few weeks ago, because today was super windy and cold. But we came prepared, and after the party we hiked a bit.

The trails system is in a relatively small wooded area, but there are a number of trails and they intersect many times. The trails were covered with hard-pack and ice with a few inches of fresh snow from today. So I couldn't see the trail surface. But at first inspection, it looks like a place worth riding. We didn't encounter any super steep hills on our short hike, but there were a few longer ones that would probably be challenging.
I didn't see any "No Biking" signs. I did see colored trail markers painted on the trees which was very helpful on our hike.

Afterward, we walked over to the sledding hill. No one was there and we didn't have sleds. But the kids found that rolling down the hill was good fun. I joined in for a few laughs. Unfortunately all that rolling didn't sit well with Sydney after all the party food. We found that out the hard way on the drive home. Guess who got vomit cleanup duty when we got home. Yay! But enough about that, this is my muni blog.

Penfield has a trail map online. Using that I estimate there are only about 1.25 to 1.5 miles of trails. But with enough loops, it might be a good time.

Sydney's Talent Show

Last night Sydney rode her unicycle at her school's talent show. The show was part of the school's winter carnival night and went on for hours. So people were coming and going as they pleased.
The stage was not very deep, so it was a little tricky. She also rode clockwise, though I think counter-clockwise is her preferred way. I think she had more UPDs than normal because of this.
We put a stool in the middle of the stage for her to lean on when mounting.

Here's a video of her performance. Unfortunately our camera is older and the quality is rather poor.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Powder Mills Park Master Plan

Tonight I attended a public meeting the auditorium of Park Road Elementary School in Pittford for the Powder Mills Park Master Plan. I saw the notice for this meeting in the Tryon forums. I actually don't know much about that park. I may have been there for a work or family picnic, but I don't really recall.

Just like with the Ellison Parks Master Plan, a whole environmental survey is being done. That work appears to be very thorough and is quite impressive. They've cataloged the plants and wildlife in the park, mapped the trails and features, and bascially surveyed everything and anything in the park.

The presentation portion of the meeting spelled out the time-line and general ideas of the plan. It described the existing features of the park, but the details of what will be changed are not yet decided. That's the purpose of the open discussion that took place in the second half of the meeting. This is the time to make suggestions that will shape the park for the future.

Just like with the Ellison Parks, the goal for the off-road cycling community is to establish shared-use trails.

There were comments and questions about many topics, but the off-road cycling shared-use issue came up many times. It sounds like this park is more heavily visited than Tryon or West Bay. Hikers say bikers go too fast and will run into them. They claim they can see the erosion caused by bikes currently riding there illegally. Same arguments, different park.

Given that the off-road cyclists have been given access to Tryon and West Bay for an 18th month trial, I have doubts that the county will be opening up Powder Mills Park for cycling. The plan and work for this park is expected to be completed by the end of this summer. That means it will be finished before the 18 month off-road cycling trial which won't even officially start until sometime this spring. So it seems premature for the county to open Powder Mills up for cycling.

On the one hand, with the current trial period, the higher pedestrian use of Powder Mills, the concerns of the hikers at this meeting, and my lack of experience in this park, I'm less inclined to work for shared-use in this park. One the other hand, I can imagine a future where off-road cycling in any county park is just a given. It would be awesome to just grab my uni and head to any county park knowing there will be some trails available to ride. If it's accepted and understood, and not illegal, maybe there would be more respect between hikers and cyclists.

One idea that a mountain biker suggested was to get creative with sharing. Maybe some trails are shared-use and others are not. Maybe some are hiking only or cycling only. Maybe the park allows cycling but only on certain days. I like the idea of finding some way to compromise so we can all enjoy the parks.

But for now, with the Ellison Parks off-road trial about to be kicked off, maybe what's important is to be sure the master plan doesn't preclude off-road cycling in the park in the future. Though I can't think of anything that really would.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Before the Albany race last fall, I swapped my geared Schlumpf wheel out for a standard wheel. Yesterday I put my Schlumpf back on. I really need to learn to shift it well.

Today the temperature was above freezing at about 35°F (2°C). I road the suburban streets and was rather successful in shifting, though it took two or three attempts sometimes, and I did have several dismounts. Most of my dismount-induced shifts were from high gear to low. I think that's because I was headed into an incline, making pedaling harder, and shifting-while pedaling even harder. Sometimes I planned ahead and started shifting before the incline, but if it took me 3 tries to shift I was then into the incline. Practice should fix that.
But I had enough perfect shifts to get me excited about having the Schlumpf hub. The extra speed is fun, if not a bit scary.

The roads were very messy. It varied from wet road, puddles, slush, hard-pack, and ice. In a ten second period, I might hit all of those conditions... twice. That made the ride interesting. The back of my pants were completely soaked by the end of my ride.

Along the way one car passed me slowly and the passenger was taking a picture or videoing me. Hahaha! I wonder if I can find it online somewhere. So far no luck.

Also a German shepard broke through his invisible fence and barked at me for a short distance.

My cycle computer didn't work well. It didn't even think I went half a mile. I figure it either got wet and confused, or when I swapped wheels yesterday, the magnet didn't get lined up perfect. But thankfully I used my GPS too, which has been in agreement with my computer on my recent road rides.
I went just over 12 miles.

Snowy Road Muni - 2011-02-13

For my own record, I wore a long sleeve poly shirt and my light nylon jacket. On the bottom I wore thin poly long underwear and my nylon cargo pants. I started with some knit gloves, but took those off half-way. And I unzipped my jacket early on too. In general I was comfortable.