Monday, September 19, 2016

Four Mile Run Trail Detour

Four Mile Run Detour
Sign posted along trail

There is (lots) more information on the Arlington County web site.
Construction at Four Mile Run will begin on Sept. 20, lasting through the Fall season. There is a detour associated with the project.
The signs may have appeared last Friday I guess but there were no signs Thursday last week; supposedly construction starts tomorrow? But maybe not the detour.
Here is a PDF of the map I have a photo of, above.

Not surprisingly I am not crazy about the detour. I get the need for the project I just don't like the route of the detour, and that there is no sensible alternative. This detour is two miles into a 9.5 mile commute, but there is no alternative route via trails. The trail network is great except it is not very dense as a network. Phooey.

It is amusing (or something) to see the tacit admission that the present trails are not very good when it says, "As part of the construction, the Arlington trail will be completely rebuilt to current standards, including a new sub-base and asphalt surface." Of course they are just referring to the less than half mile of trail to be upgraded with this project; the remainder of this trail (and others) will remain sub-standard.

Friday, September 16, 2016

New Cycle Path Inauguration NYC 1896


Although about NYC and not Washington DC, an amazing article about the popularity of cycling in 1896, the high point of the 1890s "cycling craze."

Wheels from Park to Coney Island
Title-The Journal, June 28, 1896
Contributor Names-Library of Congress
Place of Publication-New York [N.Y.]
WHEELS FROM PARK TO CONEY ISLAND-The New Cycle Path Couldn't Carry All Who Rode at Its Opening-Both Sides of the Boulevard Crowded with Paraders and Pleasure Riders-The Brooklyn and Century Clubs Get First Honors in Their Respective Divisions-PROCESSION THAT HAD NO END-Thousands of Spectators on Foot and in Carriages Thronged Every Point from Which a View Could Be Had.

"The new cycle path to Coney Island opens to-day," said the wheelman.

"I thought there was one alongside the driveway," said the horseman.

"There was, but this is a new one on the other side."

"What do you want with two cycle paths, you can only ride on one?"

With this crushing retort he of the horse moved away. If he had gone down the Boulevard yesterday he would have learned why two cycle paths were necessary.

There was a procession on the new path parade of 12,000 wheelmen and wheel women-more bicyclists probably than ever got in line before. The old path was just crowded. The whirr of the wheels, the crunching of the powdered rock, the flashing of the polished spokes, were just as continuous on the old path as on the new. Except for the absence of the banners and the way the grand stand faced, you could scarcely have told whether the greatest bicycle parade of this whirling time was on your right or on your left. Indeed some of those who started as paraders wound up as ordinary wheelmen, just bicycling because the roadway was hard and smooth.

The sky was fleecy, and the day fitted the flying sport like moonlight does love making. These last cyclists came too late to find their places in the long line, and rather than mix up the regular order of things they bolted as completely as the silver delegates did at St. Louis. They defiantly wheeled down the wrong side of the road, crying their war whoop and bidding the spectators look at them and not at a side show.

But all the world was not on rubber tires, though from the appearance of the streets and roads leading to the big meet it might have been supposed to be so. The Boulevard was crowded with carriages, coaches, carts and horse men and women, wherever it commanded a view of the new path. One big coaching party afforded a beautiful demonstration of the burial of long cherished animosities. Half the girls on the coach wore bicycle costumes. Piled upon the rear seat were three of the machines. The coaching horn hung in the case beside a bicycle bag. The outfit was not wheelier than it was horsey.

In the grand stand south of Avenue C there was a big holiday crowd, as enthusiastic as the baseball crowds used to be in the good days now gone beyond recall. The stand itself was a blaze of color and a blare of music. There were flags all over it, but the flags and banners were not brighter than the dresses of the women-for dress it was Suburban Day over again. When the music could be heard, which was during the gaps between favorite clubs in the parade, the children about the grand danced among the horses and carriages.

In spite of the crowd, fortunately no one was seriously hurt-not even a policeman.

It is only six weeks since work was begun on the path that was opened yesterday. It was a trifle slow, and punctured tires were not infrequent, owing to the sharp particles of pulverized rock. A few showers and a few days' riding will leave the roadway beaten down hard. Then there will not be a finer stretch of travelling country in the world than the five and a half miles of the new bicycle path to Coney Island.

The popping of the tires furnished the comedy element of the day. The crowd got to watching for them when the gasp of the punctured tire died on the Summer air and the far-away look came into the rider's eye the spectators on the edge of the track shouted cheering words to him In this manner:

"Watcher stopping for?"

"Here, keep that New Jersey atmosphere tied up!"

"Keep off the grass!" shrieked a thousand men when a chocolate costumed young man, who had been riding with his hands off the handle bars, hurtled through space and hit the lawn.

Such things as punctured tires and eccentric tumbles were the only accidents of the day worth recording, and they were not frequent enough to more than properly season the general enjoyment of the day.

There were three divisions in the procession: Brooklyn clubs first, then New York clubs, and last New Jersey and other clubs, Good Roads associations, L. A. W. and unattached wheelmen.
It was not intended as an ornamental parade and the decoration of wheels was discouraged, but a few flags and flowers managed to get into the procession, particularly among the spokes of the wheels ridden by women. Noticeable as a feature of the day was the prevalence of bloomers. The advanced costumes were fully as numerous as the skirts and they got more applause.
There could not have been a prettier sight than the seemingly endless procession wheeling down the splendid path under the flags between the green lawns. It was no wonder the paraders swung their caps and cheered all the way.
The article continues with a long list of individuals and organizations that received various recognition. Quite an amazing description.

Detail view of illustration

Monday, September 5, 2016

All Possible Bike Accessories

"All possible accessories"
A bike of 1896 shown equipped with all possible accessories
Title-The journal, May 10, 1896
Place of Publication-New York [N.Y.]
Library of Congress
"I wonder what a bicycle would look like equipped with all the accessories that are advertised!"

The Wheel has undertaken to gratify the curious. The illustration shows just how a wheel would look under the conditions stated. The picture is not overdrawn. Every accessory that is shown is actually on the market and offered for sale. Enumerated they are as follows: Lamp, bell, pneumatic brake, double handle-bar, canopy, camera, luggage carrier, waterproof cape, watch and watch holder, match box, speed Indicator, cyclometer, fork pump, continuous alarm (on front axle), balancer, cradle spring, child's seat, anatomical saddle, back support, rubber, mud-guards, handle-bar buffer, tool bag, tourists' case, spring pedals, toe clips, portable stand, changeable gear, gear case and temporary tire repairer. Twenty-nine articles in all. The Wheel

Today the possible accessory choices boggle the mind. I happened up the site of a newish bike company that offers as options:

Safety Features

Front/rear lights
Turn Signals
Intuitive brake light
Laser emitted “bike lane”
Front and rear camera
Collision detection

Tech Features

Built-in WiFi Hotspot
USB ports to power devices
Bluetooth Connectivity
GPS and Anti-theft Protection
Centralized Battery System
Power Generation Systems
App supported​

Low Maintenance

Make our bikes “hassle-free”
Belt drive
Less wear than a chain
No oil needed
Internally geared hub
Ease of shifting
No derailleur
No “cross chain” issues
All cables and power sources built into the frame​

Good Lord. I don't think that more complex systems than cars are equipped with (such as laser generated "bike lanes" you provide for yourself) make much sense but I could be wrong about that but I'm absolutely sure front and rear cameras are not safety equipment, they are a tool for assuring better results if you end up in court, and maybe as a way to record some travels for amusement's sake.

I guess Tech Features is to be understood as "distractions for when you are stopped" (or at least most of it). I particularly like "power general systems" in the plural. Whatever.

The low maintenance aspects - well, I guess that there is something to some of that, but there are always tradeoffs - and TANSTAAFL.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Road I Ride by Juliana Buhring (Book Review)

This Road I Ride: Sometimes It Takes Losing Everything to Find YourselfThis Road I Ride: Sometimes It Takes Losing Everything to Find Yourself by Juliana Buhring

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A different edition of this book had the sub-title, "My incredible journey from novice to fastest woman to cycle the globe." The one I read has the sub-title "Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself." The two different sub-titles emphasize different aspects of the same book.

Books about around-the-world bicycle trips started to appear at the same time as bicycles; in the 1800s cyclists would publish their book about the travel adventure and give paid lectures - sometimes there were other ways they earned something from these trips. Most were men, but the first woman credited to traveling around the world by bicycle, Annie Londonderry, made her journey in 1895.

Today what constitutes "riding a bicycle around the world" is closely defined by the Guinness world records people - Ms. Buhring's ride was in compliance and she set a new women's world record. I have read a number of cycling travelogues (first person "adventure cycling" books) but as noted with the two sub-titles, that is one theme of this book and the other is about growing (or finding oneself) as a person, which (although this sounds odd) I am less interesting in reading about.

The adventure cycling part of the narrative is fine, but I was not terribly engaged - I made it to the end of the book, but could have just as easily turned it back in to the library without finishing. But that is probably more about me. I'm not sure that this isn't a limit to how many of these sorts of books one can read and enjoy.

At the end, the author explains that she has become a ultra-endurance cyclist, participating and doing well in a number of events. She rode in the 2016 summer Ride Across America (RAAM) but had to withdraw due to illness. She seems likely to compete in further cycling events but ones that carry a lower dollar investment overhead than RAAM.

View all my cycling book reviews.