Thursday, August 30, 2018

3 Ferry Ride on Lake Champlain

In early August, Paula and I met up to ride the 3 ferry loop around a portion of Lake Champlain. This time around we smartly begin at Airport Park to take advantage of starting and ending on the flat terrain. Last year the long uphill to my home (on an overnight, along a similar route) got the best of us on a 95 degree day. With similar heat in the forecast, we aimed to enjoy every mile.

The miles and conversation flew by and we enjoyed an outdoor cafe lunch in Plattsburgh, New York before heading south. A must stop on this loop is an outdoor sculpture park. I enjoyed the life-sized depiction of the Last Supper.

I was particularly fascinated with a version of Francisco Goya's famous, and horrifying, The Third of May, displaying Spanish resistance against Napoleon's armies.

From both angles, it's an arresting portrayal.

Paula and I continued on, climbed one big hill, and descended to Port Kent among pine scented woods to await the next ferry back to Burlington. Fortunately, the town beach is beside the dock so we cooled ourselves in the lake, then it's a pleasant one hour journey and always an interesting view of Burlington as we cruised into the harbor. As we ride the last 7 miles of the 43 mile loop, we compliment ourselves on our wonderful choice of route and make tentative plans to hook up for an overnight in September.

Though the journey is an easy one day affair, it also makes a stellar overnight. Here's a similar route map and a write-up using the route as an overnight.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Creating a Quasi Dirt Jumper

Early summer, our youngest son converted an older aluminum mountain bike into a dirt jumper. Much to his parent's reluctance, our 16-year-old has a fascination with daredevil stunts and speed. But he has creative talents, and with friends also working on bikes, plus with the help of YouTube videos, there's a plethora of how-tos to expedite a young boy's dreams.

First up: plasti-dipping the frame. Who knew you could spray paint rubberized coating on a frame in any color you choose? Apparently, this material is often used on vehicles. Our son then saved up for blue-colored parts and accessories, found a discounted seat in a LBS seat bin, and had to have Maxis tires. He kept the original front chainring and cassette combo, using a derailleur for tensioner then later got an appropriate tensioner from his friend. His bike is modeled after Santa Cruz's Jackal.

The bicycle has served as an urban assault machine. He loves hopping curbs, rides stairs, jumps off rock walls, and rides the bowls at our waterfront skate park. A few times he had fun at a city park dirt jumping course and once spent an afternoon riding, meeting, and learning from the local Beastcoasters group. To his credit, it's been a positive learning and team building experience.

Until last weekend.

I came home from a cycling trip in Canada to discover his bike in 2 pieces, the frame broken where the 2 tubes meet the headset. The fracture was jagged. With my heart in my throat and one vehicle missing from our driveway, and not knowing when the accident had happened, I eventually caught up with my husband and son and found out all was well. Our son had been returning from a sports practice and the frame had broken under low speeds and he'd suffered only minor scrapes.

In the end, our son is undeterred. He has a new dirt jumping-specific frame in mind, one that is designed to handle stress, and then he plans to transfer all parts from his existing bike.

Not that a helmet can prevent all injuries, but this mom is glad he's invested in and wears protective headwear.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Queen City Bicycle Club Ride - August 2018

The August Queen City Bicycle Club ride was a stellar turnout, 25-30 ladies of all identities.

It all starts at Old Spokes Home, congregating, chatting, putting the glitter on.

Then Christine leads us, toting a boombox on a wheeled travois. I meant to take her photo - and I'm sure I tried - but somehow I failed. So sorry Christine!

And we're off! Tootling around town.

Slow rolling.


Keeping close together.

Stopping at traffic lights.

Regrouping at Battery Park.

Then, a downhill roll towards a waterfront neighborhood.
A wide arc around a corner.
The sun is low in the sky.

And we roll to Zero Gravity for a complimentary drink.

I consider the camaraderie, popcorn, and chatter the best part of the evening!