Thanksgiving Memories

27 11 2014

In July 1983, my young family and I moved to the Denver area from Southern California. We were actually looking forward to our first winter – wondering what it would be like to “live in snow”. That first Thanksgiving in Colorado we found out, as we experienced not only our first snow storm, but also our first blizzard.

And what a blizzard it was, with about 2 FEET of snow falling in 36 hours or so. For a family from sunny California, it was an eye opening experience, to say the least.

At first, my daughter, wife, and I were delighted by the early arrival of winter. We had never seen anything so beautiful and, for those of you who’ve never experienced it, the SILENCE that accompanies a heavy snowfall is also a beautiful thing. Eventually though, it just became TOO much, and trying to move around town for the next couple of weeks was incredibly difficult.

The entire metro Denver area shut down for days. We pretty much stayed inside and watched movies on the VCR, after trudging through the snow to rent them. (Remember renting movies on VHS tape?) We must have watched a dozen rented movies over that long weekend. And, of course, we also learned about shoveling snow and scraping windshields.

The snow was so heavy that weekend that we actually had remnants of it still on the ground when June rolled around.

Today of course, with the passage and blurring of time, it’s a fond memory of our first “wintry” experience together as a family, one that makes me smile and think “I remember how close it made us feel.”

That was quite a Thanksgiving, believe me.

This year, I hope your family creates a fond memory for you to share some day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 





In a winter wonderland – again…

11 01 2012

Good old Colorado weather…it’s playing with us again.

Yesterday it was bright and sunny, with a high in the mid-50s. It was a beautiful day. Today, the forecast is for a high of 22°, with snow. As you can see, the snow has already begun.

No riding for me today!!!

Cleared a path for Darryl’s truck this morning.

A winter wonderland?

It looks like I’ll be breaking out “The Beast” later today. The last couple of times we had snow, all we had to do was shovel it. Today though, I’m going to need the snow blower. It does move a lot of snow, but that machine can provide a real workout too.

Wish me luck…

Later





Top U.S. Cities For Winter Bicycle Commuting…

5 11 2011

I happened to catch this on the Webernet the other day and thought I should share it with you. Winter cycling “can be a daunting task” indeed, especially if you’re not properly prepared for cold weather, not to mention snow.

I’ve spent considerable time riding in the cold and the wet, but not much in snow. In fact, the very thought of snow cycling is kind of scary because…I Don’t Like to Fall Down. Perhaps I should employ some of my own advice and give it a try this winter, even though, working predominantly from home, I don’t get the chance to do much winter bicycle commuting

winter bicycle commuting

Top U.S. Cities For Winter Bicycle Commuting…

“For bicycle commuters, continuing to pedal through the winter months can be a daunting task, especially if one lives in a northern city. Often the decision for winter bicycle commuting comes down to perspective: Is cycling a sport or a viable form of transportation that offers a multitude of advantages such as saving money and improving the health of the cyclist and the environment? In order for bicycling to be respected as sustainable transportation, the surrounding community must be supportive of cyclists year-round. This includes city maintenance of bike lanes and paths during winter as well as supportive bicycle initiatives. It can be done…Here are five cities in the U.S. that are supporting bicycle commuting through the winter.”

Also, another great, inexpensive idea for cycling in snow, and for winter bicycle commuting, is to…

Use Zip-ties as Snow Chains for your Bike…

SNOWPOCALYPSE!

“No matter how much we swear we’ve learned our lessons, Seattle always seems to get caught by surprise by the snow. There we were, minding our own business with our feet all toasty in our sandals and socks, when the temperature plummeted and it turned into Juneau in January. While this year the City did a much better job than last year at preventing widespread carnage and destruction, we at Dutch Bike Seattle still didn’t bring in studded tires because it never snows in Seattle. Even if we had stocked them, I’m not sure they’d sell because it never snows in Seattle, right?

We found something else, though. Something else entirely.”

People are just so damned clever, aren’t they?

Later





With snow on the way, I figured today was a good day to ride. Even a short one is better than none.

24 10 2011

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&msid=217899610528741699049.0004b00ec359faff0a959





Thoughts on a 4000 mile Bicycle Tour…

24 10 2011

It’s always interesting to read a piece written by someone else who seems to describe a similar experience in terms which illustrate your own. The following is just such a piece, A Man, a Bike and 4,100 Miles, by Bruce Weber of the New York Times.

In the piece, Weber writes of his 4000 mile bicycle tour across the USA this summer. He doesn’t dwell on the day-to-day challenges, nor does he dwell on the pain and doubt he experienced along the way, though it certainly gets a mention. He also does not write in overly descriptive terms of the beauty of the country, or the people he met. No, he writes from the perspective of a man of 57 years experiencing something few of us ever do; for the second time in his life.

As he comes to the close of his ride, reflects upon the internal changes which have taken place, as well as the memories of the experience which, perhaps surprisingly, are not so easy to recall. Yet, when he does recall them, they are incredibly vivid.  What I like most about this piece is the sense that no matter how many times one takes a long distance ride, and this is the second time Weber has ridden cross-country, it is a completely unique experience.

“This isn’t to say I don’t dream about crossing the George Washington Bridge with my arms raised in triumph (and then putting away my bicycle for a winter’s hibernation.) I do. But my visions aren’t terribly convincing; they generally engender despair, causing me to sigh out loud and give off a lament that begins with the words “I’ll never. … ” It makes me more than a little nervous to write this article now, about 300 miles from Manhattan. It may be easy to expect that someone who has already pedaled 3,600 miles can do 300 with his eyes closed, but I don’t think so. In order to own those miles, I have to expend my energy on them; in order to live those days, I have to work through all their hours. I’m as daunted by the next 300 miles as I was in Astoria by the first 3,600.”

This is something I too encountered on my own 800 mile trek from Phoenix to Denver. Until I arrived, I never quite believed I would make it and, even when I did, I couldn’t really grasp the fact that I had done so. Even today it sometimes amazes me that I was successful in my first-ever bicycle tour. But the memories linger, as proof that it is true.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. So many of the things we experienced were similar, yet very different, due to the unique perspective each of us brought to the experience, I believe. It brought back many memories for me, and for that I am grateful. I think it has also begun to fuel the fire for my next long ride.

Later





No rides for you!!!

8 10 2011

Our little bike spin last Sunday took place under sunny skies in 85° weather. Today it is not quite as nice…with clouds and a rain/snow mix, and just 37°.

I know it isn’t winter yet but it sure feels “wintery” today. Yuck…

Later





May-be the weather will improve – someday…

19 05 2011

Riding a bicycle has problematic for nearly two weeks now. Wind, cold, rain and – today – hail. Damn I miss Phoenix weather.





I Made It – April 14, 2010…

14 04 2011

On Wednesday, April 14, 2010, I completed the task I had set myself, my first long distance bicycle tour, by arriving in southwest Denver at about 5:30 PM. I had ridden about 48 miles from Salida to Fairplay, where I was given a ride to Denver, about 65 more miles. All I had to do now was get to Aurora on the east side of town, where Andi and Darryl would pick me up, another 13 miles or so.

April 14, 2010…

Leaving Salida, CO…

Here is an audio post of my thoughts as I began what became my last day on the road. I had no idea this would be the case as I headed north, out of Salida, that morning.

Visit http://ipad.io/IWe to hear my latest ipadio phonecast

Downtown Salida–­who knew they had one?

As I leave Salida this morning this is the view that greets me.

At the time, I was so focused on simply reaching my destination, it didn’t really sink in that I’d done it. I was excited, yes, but also ambivilant; I’d made it home – the trip was over, except for that little matter of the 13 miles to the east side of town.

Had I cheated myself by hitching that last ride out of the mountains? Well, as it turned out, I’d avoided a nasty snow storm in the mountains over the next two days. What would I do with myself if I wasn’t riding every day? I’d ride around Aurora and Denver and I would look for a job. Plus, I would be spending time with two great friends – and I would be seeing my daughter soon, as well.

It’s odd but, focusing on such a serious challenge can become the complete focus of one’s life and, I’ll admit, no longer having that focus left me feeling a bit nonplussed.

As I look back on the adventure a year later, I’m stunned to realize I actually did it. I don’t think I could even begin such a trek today. Not physically, and certainly not mentally. I’m simply not in the right frame of mind. Too comfortable, I guess.

I can only say this, I hope this was not a one-time adventure, for I would truly like to be able to challenge myself in this way again someday.

Saddle Surfin’ on My Bianchi…

I think it appropriate, to mark the anniversary of my first long distance bike tour, to leave you with this; http://spokies.wordpress.com/, the link to another who has chosen to challenge herself with a similar adventure. Cherri is cycling the USA this year, and documenting it on WordPress. Give it a look. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Later





66 Degrees and climbing…

14 03 2011

Just got home from a beautiful 10 mile ride. Didn’t push real hard but, instead of taking the short climb to a long descent (which I usually do), I took the long climb to a short descent. I’m trying to get the legs stronger for some really good spring riding.

I also saw this while I was out today…I call the “Bats, Balls, and Beer Bellies…”

Horseshoe Park 3/14/2011

Horseshoe Park 3/14/2011-2

As you can see, I’m not the only one getting ready for spring.

3/14/2011

…nor am I the only one thinking it may already be here.

Kids at play...3/14/2011

I just can’t seem to help myself. When I get out there and see the panoramic views wew take for granted around here, I feel like I simply must share them. Even though my camera phone doesn’t do the best job on these, here we go again…

Mt. Evans, 3/14/2011

 

Rocky Mtns., 3/14/2011

The forecast for Wednesday is even nicer. It’s supposed to reach the low to mid-70s. I can’t wait. It’s like riding during January in Phoenix. lol
 
Later




Mostly sunny, “breezy,” and mild…

16 02 2011

This is the weather forecast for today; “Mostly sunny, breezy, and mild.” Breezy? What is this “breezy” of which they speak?

At the moment, the wind is blowing at 22 mph, with gusts to 31 mph; which, frankly, tends to make riding a bicycle less than fun. And this is labeled as “breezy?”

Apparently, there are five levels of “breeze” on the Beaufort Scale, the scale which labels wind strength. So, a “breeze” can range from 4-7 mph (light breeze) to 25-30 mph (strong breeze)…DOH!!! A thirty mile-per-hour wind is labeled a breeze? Here are the five types of “Breeze,” as defined by the Scale:

light – 4-7 mph…gentle – 8-12 mph…moderate – 13-17 mph…fresh – 18-24 mph…strong – 25-30 mph

Now, I’m no windologist, but these numbers seem awfully stupid to me. I mean, there ain’t no breeze outside right now…not at 22-31 mph. There’s a freakin’ wind blowin’. Anyone who says differently is just dumb.

Look at the scale below (and thanks to Wikipedia for this). There is no condition defined by the word WINDY. In fact, the Scale barely mentions wind at all. We pretty much have Breeze and Gale; oh, and High Wind. Are you kiddin’ me; there is only ONE kind of “wind” on the wind scale? Oy…experts!

Now, I’ve ridden my bikes in breezes; I’ve also ridden them in gales. I have to say, somewhere in between, there had to be wind; just plain-old-everyday-freakin’ wind. You know, more than a breeze, but less than a gale? More than a puff, but less than a blow-your-house-down? More than a ruffle, but less than a “We’re not in Kansas anymore?” What the hell ever happened to wind? Or windy? Or strong wind? Or very windy?

Let’s define some terms here. A breeze can muss your hair, but it won’t blow your bike out from under your butt. A strong breeze can blow your hat off your head, but it won’t make you feel like you’re riding up-hill, through wet sand. Riding into a gale can stop the strongest cyclist dead in his tracks, but coming from behind him, it can push him along at 25 mph with only the slightest effort on the cranks. All of these things have happened to me in the last three years, and more. But when a 30 mph “strong breeze” began blowing across the road in front of me on my fully loaded bike in northern Arizona, forcing me to ride at a 20 degree angle to the perpendicular, I just can’t refer to it as a breeze no matter which expert might say it was. Sorry Mr. B., that just ain’t no breeze. That was wind.

In fact, it was “real windy” that day.

Later

The modern [Beaufort] scale (Please ignore “Sea Conditions” for the purpose of cycling. They just happened to be included in the Scale.)

Beaufort number Description Wind speed Wave height Sea conditions Land conditions Sea state photo
0 Calm < 1 km/h 0 m Flat. Calm. Smoke rises vertically. Beaufort scale 0.jpg
< 1 mph
< 1 kn 0 ft
< 0.3 m/s
1 Light air 1.1–5.5 km/h 0–0.2 m Ripples without crests. Smoke drift indicates wind direction, still wind vanes. Beaufort scale 1.jpg
1–3 mph
1–2 kn 0–1 ft
0.3–1.5 m/s
2 Light breeze 5.6–11 km/h 0.2–0.5 m Small wavelets. Crests of glassy appearance, not breaking Wind felt on exposed skin. Leaves rustle, vanes begin to move. Beaufort scale 2.jpg
4–7 mph
3–6 kn 1–2 ft
1.6–3.4 m/s
3 Gentle breeze 12–19 km/h 0.5–1 m Large wavelets. Crests begin to break; scattered whitecaps Leaves and small twigs constantly moving, light flags extended. Beaufort scale 3.jpg
8–12 mph
7–10 kn 2–3.5 ft
3.4–5.4 m/s
4 Moderate breeze 20–28 km/h 1–2 m Small waves with breaking crests. Fairly frequent white horses. Dust and loose paper raised. Small branches begin to move. Beaufort scale 4.jpg
13–17 mph
11–15 kn 3.5–6 ft
5.5–7.9 m/s
5 Fresh breeze 29–38 km/h 2–3 m Moderate waves of some length. Many white horses. Small amounts of spray. Branches of a moderate size move. Small trees in leaf begin to sway. Beaufort scale 5.jpg
18–24 mph
16–20 kn 6–9 ft
8.0–10.7 m/s
6 Strong breeze 39–49 km/h 3–4 m Long waves begin to form. White foam crests are very frequent. Some airborne spray is present. Large branches in motion. Whistling heard in overhead wires. Umbrella use becomes difficult. Empty plastic garbage cans tip over. Beaufort scale 6.jpg
25–30 mph
21–26 kn 9–13 ft
10.8–13.8 m/s
7 High wind,
Moderate gale,
Near gale
50–61 km/h 4–5.5 m Sea heaps up. Some foam from breaking waves is blown into streaks along wind direction. Moderate amounts of airborne spray. Whole trees in motion. Effort needed to walk against the wind. Beaufort scale 7.jpg
31–38 mph
27–33 kn 13–19 ft
13.9–17.1 m/s
8 Gale,
Fresh gale
62–74 km/h 5.5–7.5 m Moderately high waves with breaking crests forming spindrift. Well-marked streaks of foam are blown along wind direction. Considerable airborne spray. Some twigs broken from trees. Cars veer on road. Progress on foot is seriously impeded. Beaufort scale 8.jpg
39–46 mph
34–40 kn 18–25 ft
17.2–20.7 m/s
9 Strong gale 75–88 km/h 7–10 m High waves whose crests sometimes roll over. Dense foam is blown along wind direction. Large amounts of airborne spray may begin to reduce visibility. Some branches break off trees, and some small trees blow over. Construction/temporary signs and barricades blow over. Beaufort scale 9.jpg
47–54 mph
41–47 kn 23–32 ft
20.8–24.4 m/s
10 Storm,[6]
Whole gale
89–102 km/h 9–12.5 m Very high waves with overhanging crests. Large patches of foam from wave crests give the sea a white appearance. Considerable tumbling of waves with heavy impact. Large amounts of airborne spray reduce visibility. Trees are broken off or uprooted, saplings bent and deformed. Poorly attached asphalt shingles and shingles in poor condition peel off roofs. Beaufort scale 10.jpg
55–63 mph
48–55 kn 29–41 ft
24.5–28.4 m/s
11 Violent storm 103–117 km/h 11.5–16 m Exceptionally high waves. Very large patches of foam, driven before the wind, cover much of the sea surface. Very large amounts of airborne spray severely reduce visibility. Widespread damage to vegetation. Many roofing surfaces are damaged; asphalt tiles that have curled up and/or fractured due to age may break away completely. Beaufort scale 11.jpg
64–72 mph
56–63 kn 37–52 ft
28.5–32.6 m/s
12 Hurricane-force[6] ≥ 118 km/h ≥ 14 m Huge waves. Sea is completely white with foam and spray. Air is filled with driving spray, greatly reducing visibility. Very widespread damage to vegetation. Some windows may break; mobile homes and poorly constructed sheds and barns are damaged. Debris may be hurled







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