Sunday, June 28, 2015

Last Training Ride!!

Route: Our Old Faithful--495 service road to Bethpage Bike Path
Mileage: 100 miles

Well, the morning started off with excitement!  The tandem was finally getting her green handlebars!  Jen had been wanting to do it for weeks, but Keegan wanted to switch out his handlebars.  So that morning, both finally happened!  We then donned ourselves with our spiffy new jerseys to give them a good breaking in!  Keegan mocked Jen for being so excited about matching...but it truly was that exciting.  I mean, look at us, blue bike, green handlebar tape, blue and green jerseys?  We are the perfect meld of Arthritis Foundation's colors of old and new.  We looked badass.

We wanted to practice with a loaded bike, so we stuffed a bunch of towels in our new waterproof duffle bag, loaded two panniers, put on Jen's new cell phone mount, made a makeshift fender in the back so Jen doesn't get so wet when riding...we were ready to see what it would be like! It was actually pretty cool, so we both started with jackets, but then it was time for the big jersey reveal, and it was so awesome!

We went to our same burger place at the end of the bike path, it's not terribly delicious but does the trick.  Realizing we need more calories and protein, we each got 2 double doubles and a hot dog.  Nutritious, no?  Well, because their shakes are gross there, Jen walked next door to an ice cream parlor to get proper milkshakes.  Nutrition complete.

We love that bike path, we actually counted all the rabbits we saw this time--31 rabbits in total! We saw our Canada geese and swan families.

We got several waves and thumbs up as we rode back.  Jen was sure they had seen the hashtags and twitter handle and were following up...and would then donate!  Or so she hoped!  Just think how many people we will reach as we ride down the coast!

We were almost to the final stretch when we got our first flat tire of the day.  There is so much construction and torn up roads as you get back into NYC.  We were actually in a lousy place to get a flat, no shoulder as our route merged with an off ramp.  So we had to walk with traffic until we got to the sidewalk.


We were now many 10 min from home with Jen's knee shot fireworks through her body.  It was not her usual knee pain.  It was sharp and fierce and took her breath away.  But they were so close to home, Keegan did most of the heavy lifting to pedal them back.  It came and went and she'd gasp as it shot through her leg.  Who knows what it was.  When she got home and could walk around, it was gone.  Very much hope it stays gone.  Her ankle also jammed on a bump her foot was not positioned well to take, but she can't control where the pedals are so she can sometimes take a beating.

When we got home, Jen's quads were so sore it felt like they were bruised.  We had done the same route as always, no real difference or explanation, but she was quite sore.  It was between that and the massive amount of work we both needed to catch up on that they decided that would be our last training ride.  No need to overdo it, we were ready.  Best thing we could do is rest our bodies before we set sail.

And like that--training was over.  Next stop--Florida (ok, ok, many stops on our way)!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Our Jerseys Have Arrived!

Big news today!!  Our custom jerseys Jen designed for the ride have arrived in all their glory!!! We got 3 each, 6 in total, so we can get smelly and rotate out if we can't wash all the time.  They actually came out really nice, good quality jerseys.  Check them out!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Double Flats and Double Double Burgers

Route: Same--we are getting less adventurous
Mileage: 100

We were a little short on time today because Jen had to teach later that evening, so we tried to get out early, but didn't quite happen.  Keegan tried to true the wheel but you could still hear something.  He called Jen over with her catlike ear to diagnose the problem. As she listened and watched, she said there's definitely a noise, not always rhythmic but there is no contact between the wheel and the frame/brakes.  Keegan said it was impossible!  But that was the truth.  He gave in and decided to put the skinny tires back on.  As he did so and took the tube away, water started leaking from inside the wheel!  WATER! INSIDE THE WHEEL!  That was the noise (this time) and explains why it wasn't always rhythmic as it fell through the wheel.  So crazy.  So the skinny tires went on and off we went!  No delays today please--we were in a hurry.

Cue, delay.  We had only made it about 30 min when boom!  A work crew dug up a sharp trench in the road with abrupt edges and as if by command--2 flats.  Great.  Keegan fixes like a pro, but now we are out of tubes.  Again.  We actually make up the time, and make it to our stop of the day, ALl American Burgers, at noon.  It's a quick place, kind of just a non chain McDonalds.  We quickly get our food, eat it, answer some emails, and get back on the bike.  Nothing else eventful along the route, thank goodness.  We got back just in time for Jen to shower and be on her way.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Crabby Amy's and crabby Keegan

Route: The same, but then down farther towards to ocean!
Mileage: 100 miles

We went in search of seafood again this time.  We were feeling good our wheel was back in working order, but brought the spoke wrench just in case.  Well, it's a good thing we did.  The whole ride you could hear it scrapping again so we pulled over many times to true the wheel.  Keegan was not terribly thrilled about all of this.

We made it to Crabby Amy's, a little place by the docks in Seaford, NY.  We were greeted by swans and their babies, I bet they wanted some scraps!  They ain't stupid!

We got oysters, shrimp and lobster rolls, not a bad spread. We wanted lots of water but they said they don't drink tap water down there since Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy hit, but we needed we ended up buying 7 bottles of water to drink and fill our water bottles with--it turned out to be a pretty pricy lunch in the end!

Keegan trued the wheel before we headed out.  And he was getting pretty frustrated with it as we rode.  Towards the end of the ride it was constantly making noise, alerting us it needed some attention, but Keegan had had it--vowing he would change back to skinny tires tomorrow!  We got caught in a thunderstorm at the end of the ride.  Never a dull moment.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Wobblin' Wheel!

Route: Home to Massapequa via 495 service road and Bethpage Bike Path
Mileage: 100 miles

We got off to bit of a late start so didn't leave until around 11:30.  We don't have a lot of diversity to our route anymore, same bike path and route, but we wanted to try a new place.  Jen found a ice cream parlor/diner that seemed to be the ticket.  Of course it rained along the ride as usual, so we arrived a bit damp, despite having put gear en route.

We had our weird diner food (I love that a lot of diners we have stopped at have 'healthy' sections because it allows me to not get a bun with my burger--but this one was pretty gross, I actually only ate the peaches and cottage cheese...and a milkshake).  We ate up, dried off, Jen changed into dry clothes because she's always soaked being in the back...then hit the road again.
 We had only made it about 10 miles or so before we heard a rhythmic rubbing noise as we rode.  We stopped and realized the rear tire was rubbing against the frame as the wheel was slightly out of true (cue Jen holding back an "I told you so" as she had tried to point that out in the past).  Our tandem is a custom racing bike--it's built for speed and skinny tires.  We tried to put a SLIGHTLY wider tire on and it wouldn't fit in the front but barely fit in the back.  We hadn't had a flat since we did, which was nice, but now it seemed as though the wheel had to be perfectly true (not warped at all) to keep it rolling.  Well, this was not good for the tire or the wheel--or us--if we kept riding like this.  Jen tried to find bike shops we could stop at to see if they sold a truing key/spoke wrench so we could tighten the spokes in places to make true again.

Keegan is a seasoned bicycle mechanic, so we knew it wasn't a terribly difficult fix, we just needed the tool.  Well, it was 4:45pm on a Saturday, half the places were closed, the other half said they didn't have a tool for sale and wouldn't let you borrow theirs (jerks!).  Finally we tried calling one of the places back and asked if they had a multitool with a spoke wrench on it and they said yes (why didn't they say that in the first place!?) so we biked the 5.5 miles there on our wonky wheel, and once Keegan got the tool we were off and running! Check out how fast!

 Turns out, the wheel doesn't last long in it's designated spot, and we had to stop again on the way back, but it wasn't so bad.  We were about 7:30 before we made it home.

Check out the greasy mechanic-------->

Monday, June 15, 2015

Rainy ridin'

Route: Home to Amityville via 495 service road and Bethpage Bike Path
Mileage: 100 miles

Did you miss us the past few days?  Well, we missed our bicycle, but took a few days off.  Believe it or not, it was Keegan who was injured!  He suffered a corneal abrasion somehow (scratched his eye) badly enough that it was pouring tears and he was light sensitive.  So he was in no condition to be in charge of steering us safely for 100 miles!  So instead, we rested and caught up on work and took a break to see Jurassic World.  We also ordered a lot of supplies for the trip!  Thank you Amazon Prime! Rest days are good, Jen's ankle was bothering her unexpectedly on Sunday, so she was weary for the ride. Furthermore, although Saturday and Sunday were beautiful sunny days, Monday was predicted to be rainy.  We figured we needed the rain riding practice anyways.

So we got up and got prepped.  Keegan changed out the tires, or tried.  We ordered wider tires for a cushier ride and less flats, but it was too wide to clear the front fork, and just barely fit the back tire.  Keegan took a tire off of his other bike to put on the front of the tandem (and spoiler alert: we didn't have any flats!).  We also packed ourselves plenty of extra clothing after we learned from last week that riding in the rain and sitting in wet clothes for 100 miles is no fun.  We also brought sweatshirts and warm clothes to wear at the restaurants since we may be a bit cold.

For ease, we went to the same place we did last weekend, Brownstone Coffee, in Amityville at the end of the Bethpage Bike Path.  It was rainy, so we pulled over to put on our rain gear.   We couldn't have the speaker out in the rain, but Jen put it in her rain jacket so we could still hear some muffled tunes.  When the rain ended, it actually became quite nice, not sunny, but pleasant.  It was actually quite wonderful going through the Bethpage Park because all the animals were out.  Bunnies galore!  Beautiful orioles fluttering about.  AND, we got to see the swan family again!!!  It was so exciting to see them.  The babies are getting so big each week!

We were in fact quite cold in the restaurant, so we took out our dry clothes.  But oh no!  Jen's clothes were wet!  Turns out there was a hole in one of Keegan's panniers (which we were using).  So we learned we would take Jen's on the trip! The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful. We ran into a few road blocks on the path and actually had our scariest near-miss.  A big truck didn't see us and was making a right hand turn and we were on the right!  Keegan was farther past being on the front of the bike, but the truck was inches from Jen.  Scary!  Hope we got that part out of the way!  No more of that.  But even with that and the rain, it was actually quite a nice ride!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Down The Bethpage Bike Path

Route: Home to Amityville via 495 service road and Bethpage Bike Pathe
Mileage: 100 miles

We hit the road, excited to explore more of the Bethpage Bike Path today!  We picked a cafe at the end of it so we could ride the full thing!  We hadn't been riding for more than 30 min or so before the rain started.  It wasn't pouring...but it was raining at a steady rate.  For awhile.  And the sun didn't come out afterwards.  It wasn't so much that it was cold, which it was, but Jen just did not dry off.  Keegan seemed to have wicked away all the wetness from his clothes, but Jen was in the back on a bike without fenders and her bottoms were just soaked!  For those unfamiliar with bike shorts, having a soaked padded bottom just feels like a diaper!

We had almost made it to the Bethpage Bike Path when Jen decided to stop being a hero.  She didn't want to stop, but she knew if she kept biking another 70 miles or so in wet bottoms, the consequences were not ones she was enthused about dealing with.  So she navigated them to a Target where she could run in and get dry shorts (and undies!) for her and socks for both of them.  She looked like a mess going in there, but quickly got a new getup and came out a new woman!  We then headed to the bike path and headed south!  The road the whole length of the bike path, and it was terrific.

We arrived at out destination, Brownstone Cafe, which we thought would be pretty quiet, given it was Monday.  But it was hopping!  And we ended up waiting for around 35 minutes for a table, but it beat searching and biking around for a new place.  We had a tight schedule since Keegan had to get back, but we had a nice lunch and then headed out.

The bike path was great.  On the way back we saw a family of swans even! Two parent swans and their fledglings.  I wish I had got a picture! The path was so nice, but back on the main road, we hit a pothole--got a flat.  Pit crew--tube changed, we continue.  About 20 min from home--another flat.  Come on!!!  We realize this is not good.  Perhaps we don't know the way of the tandem.  Keegan suggests we get wider tires to withstand the potholes better and make for a cushier ride.  First thing on our to-do list is to order those before next week!  But after a loooong weekend of riding, we are hanging up the tandem until next week!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

In Search Of Seafood...

Route: Home to Bay Shore via 495 service road and Bethpage Bikeway
Mileage: 100 miles

We were a little sleepy, but excited for our next big ride.  We were getting good at finding our route out to Long Island.  We were also getting stronger--faster--and with diverse playlists!  Actually, not that diverse, our favorite tandem soundtrack is Cake, kicking it old school!  Feel free to give suggestions for our playlists!

Keegan requested we go in search of seafood, so that's what we did. Thanks to the magic of Yelp, we found a seafood place down in Bay Shore, 50 miles away.  We took our new favorite route along 495 for about half of the way.  We've become pros at this route, but as we got to a certain point, we had to make a choice when to break off from the service road.  Jen might not be able to physically steer them, but she spends her time trying to find the best or new and improved route.  Google Maps will tell you winding directions through surface streets, but since it's hard to start and stop the Big Blue Beast, open bike paths are ideal.  She found a bike greenway starting in Bethpage so routed them south on that.  Turns out it was a lovely path!  We only stayed on it for about 8-10 miles before we turned off to head farther East, but made note it was there and lovely!

We made it to the restaurant which was actually right by the Fire Island Ferry.  It was cute, but the food and service weren't terribly great.  Although, redemption was the fried ice cream and key lime pie we had for dessert (fact: if you bike 100 miles/day, you can have as much dessert as you want).  By the time we left it had cooled down, so we needed to get moving!  It wasn't before long that we hit a pothole and got a flat.  Dang!  We have our pit crew system down pretty well though, Jen handles Keegan what he needs to fix flat and we are outta there in minutes.  We load the bike back up and ride about 20 feet before we realize the other tire actually is flat also!  Dang!  So we do it again.

We made it home without further incident, and are excited to try to find a destination at the end of the Bethpage Bike Path for tomorrow's ride!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Street Memorial Installations By Tandem

Route: Alllll over: Up to the Bronx, through Manhattan, through Queens, down to Brooklyn and back home.
Mileage: 60 miles

Today was a different kind of ride.  Right Of Way, the safe streets advocacy group that Keegan organizes with, was installing street memorials across the boroughs.  These memorials are installed at the site where a pedestrian or cyclist was killed by traffic.  Families of the victims can request the memorials and it is a powerful way to help recognize the lives lost to traffic violence.  We were in the good company of Charlie and John with ROW and many other families from Families For Safe Streets that met us at each site.

However, it's not easy.  Each individual has custom stencils made for their memorial, which the giant stencil of wings that is used for each memorial.  How do these get from A to B?  By bike trailer.  We decided to take the tandem on the ride, but it was certainly the heaviest load we've carried with the trailer and about a dozen cans of spray paint and supplies.  It made it even harder for Keegan, who worked his tush off starting and stopping such a heavy load.  We even got our first tandem flat on the Queensboro Bridge :( Midway through the ride we had to make a Home Depot run and Keegan requested the one by our place because it has hot dogs--he earned them!  So two hot dogs later, we headed out for the second half of the ride.  It was a long day--60 miles in 10 hours by the time we got back.  Keegan said it was more exhausting than our previous centuries.  But we had our sights set on a century the next day, so time for rest!