Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Short Ride Followed by Some Wine Tasting and British Cars

July 15, 2017

The weather was not cooperative overnight so when I woke up to ride with the diabetes training ride the roads were still wet at the 8 AM start time.  I decided it was not worth riding in the hills with tree lined roads and running the risk of a crash. and was lucky enough to find a local ride with Joe M.  We ended with 29 miles and almost 1,100 ft of climbing.

My neighbor from Florida was suppose to arrive today but her flight was canceled due to the airline not having enough crew.  Amazing that the airline can get away with that as an excuse. She was suppose to join a group of British car owners who were going wine tasting at Old York Cellars in West Amwell, NJ.

The group obviously went wine tasting and I was lucky enough to be invited.  Here are some photos of the winery and the cars.  Enjoy!

 A view of the Sourland Mountain range from the winery

 One of the attendees having fun

 Our tour guide describing the wine selections

Immature grapes on the vine. 

And now the cars.....from the rear.  There was suppose to be special place for the cars to be displayed...from the front....but it didn't happen.

 The red car is a 1997 Jaguar  XK8 and the blue car is an 1968 MGB Roadster

 A 1970 MGB roadster

 A 1974 MG BGT Sabrina model

A Jaguar S Type

It was an afternoon of fun with some British people and their cars sampling NJ wine.  It's a good life!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Summer Ride to Summer Road

Saturday July 8th

The were three of us lucky souls that decided to climb in the mountains in the Sourland Mountain range.  We have ridden some of these roads before but we extended the route to include some tough climbs.

Along the way we were on some beautiful country roads.  One of my favorites is Cider Mill Road because it has a steel bridge that crosses the Raritan River and makes you feel like you are a million miles away from the civilization when in actuality you are only several miles from a number of retail concerns.

The Cider Mill Road Bridge

A silo from one of the farms on Cider Mill Road

As the photo taker I rarely am able to take photos with myself in the photo but I was able to catch up with my two riding buddies, Blake W and Laura C, and take a photo of them a bit further up the road.

Cider Mill Road with a view of the countryside and my riding buddies

We didn't do any major hills at this point (Stony Brook is not that hard just long) and continued on our way through the country roads until the next bridge which was on Higginsville Road just before a short but steep climb.  The climb comes after this bridge.

Farm on Higginsville Road

Our rest stop was at the WAWA on Summer Road.  It's always busy at this convenience store but it's a welcome rest stop for cyclists.

I did manage to make it into some of these photos!

Fully hydrated we headed back down Summer Road into Neshanic before one of the big climbs of the day....Zion Road.  This road has been feared by many cyclists because of the length and the never ending false tops.  I was too busy climbing to think about that or to take any photos!

We continued up the Sourland Ridge on Long Hill ....another long climb, although not so steep, to the top where it intersects with Lindberg Road.  We were now at the top of the ridge.   We made a left onto Lindberg until the split in the road and took the left onto Provinceline Road.   Anyone who has done this section of Lindberg before it forks at the top knows the steepness of the climb.  It gives you a false sense that it is not a hard climb but it certainly is a difficult one because there is no momentum to be had before the climb.  Most times my average speed climbing this section is 4-5 mph!  It just enough to stay clipped in without falling over and off the bike.  You may ask why we do this road??  Well the short answer is that there is the most beautiful scenery on the downhill after that climb.  I wish I could snap a photo but because of braking and a sharp turn in the road before continuing that decent all the way to Route 518 it would be unwise and almost impossible to stop for a photo.  Cars do use this road and it's unsafe to stop along this decent.
We headed into Hopewell Boro and decided we had enough water in our bottles and enough energy in our legs to forego a rest stop at the Brick Farm Market or Boro Bean.  We made a left after cycling through town onto Crusher Road and a right on Pennington-Hopewell Road to head back to Pennington and back to the ride start.  
We ended up with 44.4 miles and 2,949 feet of climbing.  Not bad for a day's ride.  The awesome scenery takes your mind off some of the tough climbs for sure.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Weekend Riding in Clermont

Saturday May 6th and Sunday May 7th

The weather had turned cooler and it was a great time to visit Nevada and ride with her in the hills of Clermont.  Yes there are hills in Central Florida and as a previous Hill Slug I visit this area once or twice a year to climb the hills and visit with Nevada.

On Friday afternoon we visited a quaint town called Winter Garden.( by car)  Of course it had a coffee shop, a bike shop and as a theater that reminded me of the movie theater in Back to the Future.

A penny-farthing

The guy who worked at the shop said that all the staff rode these.  There was another one in the shop.



On Saturday we started or ride from Nevada's houe and out near Waterfront Park.  Just to get cycle out of Nevada's development we had to climb 250 feet!  Our first climb of the day was Sugarloaf Mountain from the backside from Route 561A.   The grade is not as steep as the front but still another 250 ft climb.

Along the way we encountered urban sprawl.  They are going to develop the area and make it harder for cyclists to enjoy.

This is going to be the entrance/exit to the Florida Turnpike

 This is the front way up Sugarloaf Mountain from Route 561

This guy in the photo was Luke  who we met and chatted with at the top of Sugarloaf at the water station

This is Harry

This is the water station provided by a local resident at the top of Sugarloaf

I talked with Harry a bit.   Nevada donated some money for the water I consumed there and we were off again.  Today was hill day so we headed to South Buckhill Road.

You can see the hill in the distance.  We had climbed to the top, I stopped at took this photo and then turned around and did the hill in the opposite direction so that we could head towards the backside of The Wall stopping in Green Mountain Park for a break.

From here we headed towards the town of Montverde where there is a local coffee shop called The Coffee Shop of Horrors that charges for coffee by donation only.   Of course there are suggested donations and I happily donated for a good cup of brew. 

Everything in the shop has a horror theme.

The bathroom paper holder!

I just couldn't pass up taking the photo below.

I don't think this needs any explanation.  What I don't understand is why there is only a woman in the picture!!

The coffee shop was our last stop before heading home.  We ended up with 36 miles and over 3200 ft of climbing.  Not bad for a day's ride.

Nevada had heard there was a new bike shop in town so we decided to check it out after the ride. ( by car)

We were amazed at this bike shop.  It had a number of expensive bikes including the Willet brand, Pinarello's and some others.   One bike we saw was $22,000!!  It was only 11 pounds and had carbon wheels costing $10,000 and Super Campy Record 11.  Sweet bike.   I didn't want to take a photo of it because it belonged to someone.  This is one of 13 bikes that this owner possesses.  Do you think he likes cycling and has some extra cash??

What was particular to this bike shop is that it actually has five separate business within the shop.  I can only remember four of them.   The first was their coffee shop.

 Here the coffee is being pressed and will end up in the lower portion ready for consumption.

One of these coffee machines costs $10,000!  It is computerized ( see middle photo) and it creates a combination of a pour over and french press coffee. Amazing!!

The finished product

The other businesses beside the bike shop itself and the coffee shop are the training studio where you can come, bring your bike and train on a kinetic trainer with music.  After your training session you can get a massage and hot tub/cold whirlpool.   I have never seen a cold whirlpool but I stuck my hand in the water and it was very cold.
It's like no other bike shop I have ever seen.  It has only been open six months but is in the perfect location on the bike trail surrounding the lake where triathletes train.  Good luck to the owners.  I hope that it succeeds.

On Sunday we were pressed for time as I was leaving mid day so we went cycled back to The Wall and climbed the front side this time and turned around at the top and cycled back to the start.  We ended up with 23 miles and 1,535 ft of climbing.

It was a perfect weekend.  Thanks to Nevada for allowing me to stay with her and have another great experience in Clermont.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Legacy Trail in Venice

Saturday April 8, 2017

I have had a interest in riding in different parts of Florida.  I had an opportunity to ride with an triathlete, Peter , in Venice on the Legacy Trail.  Here is the link to information about the trail.

It was a cooler morning....high 50's at the 9 AM ride start time.  Peter met me in the Venice train station depot and we set off west to do part of the trail before turning around to finish the eastern part.  This is a multi-use trail so the speed limit for cyclists is 15 mph.  There were walkers and  other cyclists as well as people walking their dogs so it's a good idea to stay within the speed limit.

There is one uphill bridge that goes over Rt 41 ( Tamiami Trail) which is about 6% grade but that about does it for any elevation on this trail.   There are several other bridges, flat of course, most of which are concrete or macadam surfaces.  However there is one bridge with a surface that can be slippery when wet so we exercised caution over this one even though there was no morning dew on it.

Doing the entire trail is approximately 30 miles.  It's a great alternative to the roadways when they are busy especially during season.

 Peter and I after the ride

Cheryl with a little attitude wearing the SoWeFlo kit.  After all it is club jersey day!
 Tour guide at the train station

After the ride Peter and I decided to relax at Casey Key.  Although the red tide was in ( and it made us cough) we enjoyed the sand and sun for two hours.    There is no fee to use the beach nor is there a parking fee like Southwest Florida beaches.  The beach there is so different than Southwest Florida.  The water is crystal clear aqua/blue and resembes the waters of the Carribean although this is the Gulf of Mexico.  The water temperature was 74 degrees.  It was a bit too cold for the one mile swim that Peter had planned and with the red tide there was no going in the water for either of us.  Peter was a good planner bringing a larger than life umbrella and a cooler of healthy snacks.   There is also a food stand if forget your cooler and provides live music as well as food.  Nice touch!

A view of Casey Key beach

There were several yachts in the distance.  The local yacht club must be having a race.  

It was a nice day...perfect weather for a bike ride and the beach.   Hope to do it again....maybe even riding on the road on Longboat Key.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Fallen Heroes/ Brotherhood Ride

Sunday March 19th

There were about 200 riders that attended the Brotherhood ride for police officers, EMT's and first responders.  This charity event raises money for three families to help support them after they have lost a loved one in the line of duty.  The organization raised $375,000 for the families this year.

There were seven of us from Southwest Florida Cyclists (So We Flo) who decided to do the ride together and met at the early time of 7 AM for the opening ceremonies with the 62 mile ride starting at 7:30 AM.  It was just starting to get light.

Liz F who was also on the ride was the photo taker.  Thanks Liz!

The winds were in our favor heading out to the first rest stop at 12 miles in North Naples on Livingston Avenue.  Each rest stop is at a fire station manned by firefighters and police officers.  We had agreed to stop at every rest stop just to get off the bike, fill our water bottles and head back on the road.

We left the first rest stop and headed north into the wind but the winds were surprisingly light.  The seven of us got into a line of other riders who pulled us through no man's land which has no cover from the wind.  It was the perfect time to find that line!

We continued on Imperial Parkway onto Three Oaks before turning east to go over a Florida hill...a bridge....and heading towards Fort Myers via Ben Hill Griffin Parkway.  We rode through the old airport which is always windy and today was no exception.  We pulled away from the front riders and headed through the airport, all seven of us still together, through some communities until the next rest stop at mile 46.  It was a welcome site and we were all happy to get off the bike for some refreshments and to stretch our legs.

After filling our water bottles and our bellies with some well deserved snacks we headed south back towards the finish with 16 miles to go.  We had some tough west headwinds heading back over that same Florida hill but this time in the opposite direction.

We finished all together and averaged 18.3 mph for 62 mile ride.  A job well done and deserving of some lunch which included pizza and chicken wings.

Our next charity ride will be on Saturday March 25th for the Miracle Limbs ride that supports amputees with mechanical limb replacements.  Let see how well it goes next week!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Ride to Ave Maria

February 26, 2017

I, like OLPH, am behind in blogging so this one will be a short one.   Bob W, our new member Debby W, Joe B from SoWeFlo  and I rode to Ave Maria.  I don't have any photos for this blog but an interesting story about the ride.

We were about 7 miles from the turn to head into Ave Maria.  We were stopped at a light and we spotted two German Shepard puppies crossing the busy intersection ( busy for the desolate roads leading to Ave Maria) wanting to greet us.  They were young and looked like siblings.  They were very friendly but obviously lost and we were afraid that they would cross the road back towards home and get hit by a car.  Joe B and Debby W leaned their bikes up again a pole and coaxed the dogs closer so that they could look for tags so that we could call the owners.  Of course no tags but they both had an electronic device on their collars probably to keep them inside a invisible fence.  That didn't help much.

We talked it over and Joe B and Debby W walked them safely back across the road in search of their owner.  Bob W and I watched the bikes.  There were a few houses nearby and we thought for sure that they belonged there but that was an incorrect assumption.  Joe and Debby talked to a few homeowners that said the dogs lived a few blocks further away from the intersection so they tried to get the two dogs to head in that direction.  Each time they tried the dogs followed them back towards the main intersection.  Bob W and I watched for about 10 minutes while the dogs continued to follow Joe and Debby until finally the dogs settled down outside a gate. We continued on our way to Ave Maria however looking back to make sure the dogs didn't follow us.  Thank goodness they stayed in place.

We had a nice rest stop in Ave Maria at the coffee shop.  It was the first time Debby had been to the town.  There are plenty of chairs and even a bike rack for the bikes.  W were happy for the rest but needed to head back home as it was getting late.  We had lost about a half hour trying to secure the dogs.  I had planned to go home a different way which was a relief to all of us.  We didn't want to know the fate of the two German Shepard pups that we had left outside the gate.  We were very hopeful that they found their way home safely.

We ended up with 42 miles and a great feeling of accomplishment that we did a longer ride and at a faster pace than our usual Monday ride.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A PFW Lunch and Dinner

December 27, 2016 and January 24, 2017

It's been a long while since I last posted a blog so this is a catch up of all events since I returned from NJ in mid December.

I arrived home in Florida from NJ and came down with the flu that lasted most of the month.  I was off the bike until a trial run on Christmas Day.  It was a short ride with a lot of wind but at least I was back on the bike even though it was only 16 miles.  It was a turning point for me.  It took me almost another two weeks for me to stop coughing while riding.

Happily I can report that I am now fully recovered and back to cycling and life!

December 27, 2016

Bob S graciously hosted a ride with a lunch afterward in Marco Island.   The ride was a 28 mile ride with a rest stop at the Marco Island farmer's market.  Al Porter, who was on his way to South Beach, was staying with Bob and Meg and was able to join the ride and the lunch.  Bruce K as well as myself also joined the ride.

Bob and Meg hosted lunch which consisted of a quinoa dish with chicken.  Everyone enjoyed that dish, espeically me,  and I hope the next time I visit, if they are having lunch, that they will offer that dish again.

Unfortunately I was not able to join Bob and Meg and Al and Marion on Bob's boat for an afternoon ride after the lunch but I heard it was very nice.  Also unfortunate was the fact that I didn't take any photos of this great event. 

Thanks to Bob and Meg....Bob for putting together a nice ride and Meg and Bob for a delicious lunch.

January 24, 2017

Dennis and his wife, Marion hosted a dinner at their home in East Naples.  There were about 20 attendees all were connected with PFW in some way.  Al Porter again graced us with his presence after driving back for a few days from South Beach with his wife Marion.  Another guest was Ira S and his wife Rose. 

This time I did take photos and I will let them speak for themselves.

 Dennis decided to decorate the mailbox so that guests would not pass the house.  Very cleaver!

 The following photos are of the house where Dennis and Marion are staying until March as well as guests enjoying the festivities

And of course the food!

It was a great feast and a good time was had by all.   Thank you to Marion and Dennis for a tremendous amount of work to put this dinner together.   It was a huge success.  The only question I have is.......
When is the next one??