Category Archives: weather

Night Riders

Who says you have to stop riding just because the sun has gone down?

Well, that’s what I used to think. Once we reached the point where we didn’t have enough evening daylight for our mid-week afternoon/evening rides they came to an end. Unfortunately so did the fitness until you started hitting the trainer.

This year a club member who grew up in Philly and used to do “night riding” with her club there has organized a night ride with our group.

Last week was the first one but I didn’t go. It was dark and windy. I had gotten home early enough to settle in for the evening and I would be damned if I was going back out on the bike.

This week was different. I had bike commuted to work so my return trip got me home a little later than driving. I was dressed and ready for biking so I didn’t change. The ride departure was also a little earlier, which meant there was less time to settle in. It was also warmer – in the mid 50’s.

I was excited and a little apprehensive, not ridden in the dark much. However, two days earlier I was out on a club ride and heading back when it was getting pretty dark. Surprisingly I felt pretty comfortable with it so I was ready for a full-on night ride.

A small group met at 6:10 to head north to rendezvous with another group 15-20 minutes away and then we headed off as a larger group. There were 11 of us total with a nice mix of men and women. Everyone had at least one head and tail light on. Some of us had two, like me who had a bike mounted front/rear light in addition to a head lamp and rear light on my helmet. Many of us also had reflective clothing on, or additional items for reflection. In short, we were highly visible and I was really surprised at how much we lit up the road.

I found the drivers seemed more courteous as well. I’m sure many of them were more than a little surprised to see a group of hearty, and perhaps a little crazy, cyclists out on an evening ride well after sunset.

We ended up with a 30-mile route and the pace was such that we all stayed together. That’s key so no one gets dropped or left behind in the dark.

Two hours later I arrived back home and thrilled about my first successful night ride and looking forward to next week’s ride with my fellow night riders.

Turning the Corner

We finally turned the corner on the weather. The sun has finally come out and it’s been a great few days!

I managed to commute by bike three days in a row this week – Wednesday through Friday.

Sometimes it seems like so much work to prep a bag, decide what’s best to pack in a messenger bag without getting too wrinkled, and get to work early enough to change, freshen, etc and look presentable for work. I don’t work in an office where it’s casual and being a woman doesn’t make it any easier. Still, I prevailed quite nicely.

My husband even bought a cute commuter bike and also commuted to work by bike this week.

It has felt so good to be back on the bike. I feel like I’ve been off it forever. Many of my fellow cyclists feel the same. It’s been a very dreary spring and hopefully this sunny weather continues for a long stretch.

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

It has been a really crappy spring. I suppose this is payback for an incredibly warm, sunny, and early spring last year.

Due to all the wet weather I’m way behind in my fitness for this time of year. So much so that I’m probably going to be driving the support vehicle for an annual Memorial Day Ride that I have participated in for the past 3 years. Oh, I could probably do it, and it would jump-start my season for sure, but it would be a long day in the saddle without many miles in my legs. My longest ride, and only one at that,  has been 55 miles, a far cry from the hilly 85-miles planned on Memorial Day. But there is still a chance I might ride it.

I’m not one to go out riding in the rain. If I get caught in the rain that’s one thing – but to start out in the rain to train is another. I’m not a pro. I don’t get paid to ride my bike so you won’t see me out slogging away in inclement weather. Unfortunately I’m also one that’s not willing to put the bike back on the trainer after March like others I know. Though I must say I’m seriously considering it lately.

To make matters worse, it’s been terribly windy, too. I’ve bagged a few group rides to do some gusty winds in the 35-40+ mph range. I think it’s just going to be one of those years when we wind just blows a lot, much like a few years ago.

I’m sure all this crappy spring weather will disappear only to be blessed with some warm weather eventually. It’s just a long time getting here.

The 2011 Season in Full Swing

The 2011 cycling season is in full swing. Or at least as much as the weather will allow. A fair bit of rain has prevented a few weekly rides but we are still managing others.

Spring weather in Maine can be hit or miss. I’ve seen 70-80 degree days in early April and also full on snow storms. Such was the case on April first this year with a good 6-inches of heavy wet snow. The up-side, if there is an up-side, to those types of storms is that the snow is virtually gone the following day.

Last week we gathered for a Wednesday night ride. The afternoon was filled with glorious sun and blue sky. By the time we gathered to ride it was overcast, windy, and snow falling from the sky. But that didn’t stop the 16 or so women who showed up to ride. The adage, “If you don’t like the weather in Maine, just wait a minute” held true because about 20 minutes into the ride it was sunny and warm again.

Regardless of the up and down temps and precipitation, we are officially on the road. Most of the roads have seen at least one pass of a street sweeper, so it was time to pull the Aegis off the trainer, swapping out the trainer tire for a road tire, and prepare it for the road.

Yup, it’s officially spring and the biking season is upon us. We’ll still be faced with cool weather wardrobe decisions for a few weeks yet. You’ll hear no complaints from me – I’ll be outside on my bike.

First Bike Commute of 2011

Today was my first velo commute of the year. It was 27 degrees with clear skies and happy, singing birds. I was surprised it didn’t feel very cold.

I love the early morning commute. There is very little traffic so I can enjoy the ride and the beauty of the morning. The ride home will be a bit more hectic but manageable.

It’s amazing how great I feel when I bike to work. I arrive awake and very upbeat.

With gas prices creeping higher and higher, my goal is to commute more by bike this year. Planning it out and setting specific days to commute might help me achieve this goal. It’s too easy to be lazy and drive to work so I need to make an effort to make bike commuting part of my routine.

Entertaining Guests

We had guests visiting from Atlanta and Germany this weekend. They all flew in for a long weekend of sightseeing and seafood eating.

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Portland Head Light

The gang about to warm up with some food at Gilbert's Chowder House.

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Alex from Germany tackling a lobster at J’s Oyster Bar

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Joel showing how it’s done.

The temperatures were pretty cool but we made the most of what sun we had. We managed to see some coastline and lighthouses, with a little shopping thrown in for good measure at the outlets in Freeport. We laughed, drank, and took tons of photos.

Alex and Sabine at "The Big Boot" in front of LL Bean

We made our new friends from Germany, Alex and Sabine, and Joel from Atlanta promise to come back in the summer when the temperatures are warmer and they can enjoy more Maine has to offer.

Mid-Week Early Season Ride

With a prediction of sunny skies, temps hovering around 50-degrees, and longer evening daylight, we put the word out about a mid-week ride. I expected 10 or so women. We had 17!! How freaking awesome!