Well winter is here for sure in the ‘ville. Against skeptical looks from co-workers I have headed out both days that were available to me this week. I have been reaching into the archives of my wardrobe to fill out the needed elements of cold fighting (or at least cold reducing) clothing. I have generally been successful – nice wool socks here, silk long underwear there. I filled in the bare spots with gloves and an ear covering under helmet hat. All in all I was comfortable both days. I think I should have heeded the advice of Chris at Clarksville and went for the full balaclava hat. I doubt I’ll make it through the winter without one. All I can think of when I see those hats is “urban ter’rist”. I can only imagine rolling through the back hills of Southern Indiana in that hat – they are likely to call John Ashcroft on me. My get-up overall is kinda dorky looking due to its cobbled together approach but when faced with looking dorky or not going out its a pretty easy choice.
I set out tentatively on Tuesday knowing I would be testing my layering strategy. It worked pretty well at about 40 degrees. I opted for a flat route that did not include any screeching downhill runs that water my eyes so I can’t see too well. I headed out to the Howard Steamboat museum in Jeffersonville. It is a good flat 16 miles that can be lengthened if needed. I stuck with 16 miles and turned in a time a little over 16 MPH which is a good speed for me.
On Wednesday night my friend Timblogged about On Your Left Cycles – a little shop in the Phoenix/Irish Hill area of town. It looked pretty interesting so I mapped it out real quick and it looked like a good lunch time ride. A little long and involving the 2nd street bridge but that’s OK. It was a good opportunity to test my mettle and get more comfortable with riding in the street. I was actually pretty warm by the time I made it to the bridge and over. I had a pretty good ride up Market Street which contains some of the limited precious bike lane. Of course the opportunity for meeting open car doors is pretty high so it requires ample diligence. I made it to the shop, looked around a bit, and inquired if they might have any more rides scheduled for this year. They said probably so. Another guy who appeared to work there walked in and gave me immediate props on “My” Bridgestone. That was fun – thanks Tim!
I decided to head back to the bridge a different way and rolled up Broadway and down 2nd street. Both of these roads have suspect traffic patterns and it was a lot of stop and go. I had a nice ride back especially past the bridge. I rode the sidewalks of the bridge again and the interfacing of the sidewalk back to the road pretty much sucks both ways. By the time I got back my right foot was quite cold and it felt good to get in that hot shower. That and two cups of hot tea left me feeling good.
Today may well be the ‘ol Edwardsville climb probably from the Budd road approach.
I was able to vote first thing in the morning – arriving at the polling station at 5:45 to cast my vote. It was shaping up to be a no ride day because we had parent teacher conferences at 10:40 in the morning. By the time I attended that and returned to work there would be no time for a ride. Then the brainstorm hit – why not ride to the conference? I did a quick mileage check and determined in was 9.5 miles to the school in the Highlands. I did a quick run by the boss and he agreed it would be cool even though it would cost me about 10-12 minutes per leg. This would be my first ride that could really count as a “CO2” ride or what ever its called. It was a pure substitution for a car ride
I set out using my most direct route to the river and made it to the first major hurdle – the 2nd Street Bridge. Photo by Jonathan W
This bridge has had some biking fatalities and is really the only way between southern Indiana and Louisville. After the last unfortunate death the city marked the bridge a little better and painted what they call “sharrows” on the two outer lanes. A month ago I surveyed some riders and heard universally to use the sidewalk. I like the idea of better roads and routes for bike riders but not enough to die for. It was a little clumsy to navigate back onto 2nd street after the cross but I eventually made it. 2nd street is a main thoroughfare and was recently converted to two way traffic. It really was easy to ride as far as traffic but the lights are not timed well and there was a lot of stopping and waiting. I swung left onto Broadway and may my way to the Highlands. A woman in a Neon kept honking at me – at least five times! Broadway is at least 3 lanes plus a parking row wide in this stretch. She apparantly wanted me to ditch into the parking area so she pass me. I did not cooperate. She had two clear lanes multiple times to get around. Finally at a light she went around. Just 4 blocks later she turned right – about 15 feet ahead of me. That is what interests me the most about riding in the city – it is really not any slower to do. As she passed I made no gestures, said no words and barely made any eye contact. Her problem really.
The rest of the ride there went pretty smooth. I did have some signal problems at Broadway and Baxter but eventually it changed. I made it to the school with about 5 minutes to spare and was able to stash the bike and help my wife get all of the children in.
We walked to the local Jimmy Johns at Highland and Baxter and soaked in the sun sitting outside and having a great lunch on a beautiful day. There can’t be too many of those days left this year.
Heading back to work I thought I would try to take Market Street to work back the bridge. I recall a bike lane on Market and I thought I would try that. It turns out that the bike lane only goes the other way. It was kind of a slow grind to make it back to Indiana. The bridge sidewalk was nerve wracking again but not too bad. Once I hit Indiana it was all familiar roads and I rode back feeling great.
About a month and a half of anticipation finally came to fruition last Thursday night October the 30th. The Drive-by Truckers and the Hold Steady choose to kick off their month long tour right here in Louisville, KY. I told people about the show and talked it up for some time. By the time the day rolled around I had commitments from my friend Ian and his GF Chelsea with Tim on the fence. I gave some pep talks on the way home and it was finally looking good.
I headed home to take care of my obligations at home. Leaving early is always a strain on the other to get three little ones to bed including infant twins. To make it worse as I looked into the times it showed that the doors were to open at 7 and the show was to start at 8. Kinda early. I had the feeling that both bands could play 2 hours plus and I was concerned that the show would in fact start at 8. Tim called back and confirmed he was going, that he could drive me there, and that the box office confirmed it was going down on time.
We headed down to the bar formerly called Coyote’s now referred to as City Block for the show. Spirits were high as we lined up to get in. I heard a girl come out with a smallish camera bag and tell someone they wouldn’t let her carry her camera in. As at mostshowsI goto I had mine in my back pocket. It is one of my favorite things about the shows.
We got in around 8, grabbed some beers and sure enough the DBT’s came out shortly thereafter. This was my first time seeing the band live and it was impressive. It is great to see people play who are clearly so comfortable together. It absolutely rocked. They have a guy how took Jason Isbell’s place playing the lead guitar fills but does no singing. This seems to greatly free up Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley to just do their thing. And they played “Zip City” A little into the show a burly security guy informed me that if I took any more pictures he would take my camera. That’s weak. I am not really for sure why this happened – the band, the venue, or the beginning of the tour? It doesn’t seem characteristic for either band but who knows. I did manage to get these snapped prior to the “ban”:
After a quick break The Hold Steady took the stage. We made some good moves towards the front (not as good as we could have with Ms. Tim) during the break. Then some other bike nerd overheard us talking about bikes and joined on in.
As soon as the music started I felt locked into the tractor beam and pulled close to the stage. The kids were going wild and it was tons of fun. There did not appear to be any trash cans at the City Block and there quite a lot of loose bottles and busted bottles on the floor. It made me think of “Kicking and a’ gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer”. It left my shoes looking like this:
This was a rawk show at its finest – crowded, hot, loud, with everybody jumping around dancing and singing. Here are a few pictures I took from my new position and increased courage – not to mention everybody else was doing it:
Tim bailed around 11 which I understand. I’m sure he intended to ride his bike to teach school the next day.
My good friend Ian hooked me up with a ride home – quite nice since it was certainely not on his way. I had to laugh because Chelsea indicated that Tim used to be one of her high school teachers. I don’t think I have been to one show with him where we have not encountered former students.
It was a great night and really recharged my battery. I made it to work on time (6:45) and really felt fine even though I didn’t get to bed until around 1:00. I made my ride the next day and life was good.
As chronicled here I set on a stunning Sunday afternoon for a “not lunch” ride. After a visit from a high school friend of my wife’s with a new baby I cleaned up quick and then headed out to meet up with TS for a ride. I left my bag of stinking workout clothes at work so I had nothing even resembling biking gear. Oh well, I met up with Tim and he had decked out cycling gear(as expected) although not exactly matching jersey and shorts heavily emblazoned with adverts.
We left out heading to St Matthews and I was soon unaware of where exactly we were. I had far flung plans of entering the ride into Map My Ride that I quickly abandoned. We pushed further east and ended up in Indian Hills. It was there that I realized just how awesome the day and the ride was. TS’s extensive riding history led to great roads to ride with really minimal traffic. We shot across River Road and headed up to Cherokee/Seneca. The weather brought out plenty of nices things to look at as we tooled through the park. There was also no shortage of streaking race riders on fancy bikes. Speaking of bikes – we had a few laughs at my.. uh.. let’s see…”vintage” bike. The good news is the bike works. The bad news is that is not really suited to the purpose I use it for. Ultimately it doesn’t really matter I guess, but I do go to bed with visions of road bikes dancing in my head.
We caught a little Tyler Park, Germantown, and Audobon as we made it back to my “upper Highlands” neighborhood. We made the split at the Tennis Center and were good for about 32 miles. That was my first ride with a partner and I really enjoyed the company. I hope to do it again soon.
32 miles is the most I’ve put down and I could feel it today. I choose a pretty flat route down to the Falls of the Ohio and resigned myself to just kinda take easy. The funny thing is I knocked it down in 59 minutes which is my best time for that particular route. Its funny that way but the ride felt good and God knows the weather was perfect. I am hoping for no rain or little rain for tomorrow. I am certainely in position to get my 200 miles in for the month and I am barrelling down on my first 500 miles.
TS brought up my ol’ favorite Lucero – so here is a little of that to close.