Cycling Log August 2008


2008-08-03 Kelly Ave

To be honest, after waking up sweaty I didn’t feel like riding this morning. I felt I needed another day off but I forced myself to go out and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was more pleasant outside than inside the house. I tried to take it easy during the first few miles, but near the Rotunda I was tired already and wanted to return. I pushed myself further finally reached Falls Road where I again had some doubts about this trip. The uphill segments were more painful than last time I rode this route, but I made it, turned left into Kelly Avenue, just to find another ascent. That’s when I had real doubts I could really take this route to Frederick/Hagerstown one day. Not unless I seriously trained for climbing hills.

Then something interesting happened. After I climbed that hill I didn’t feel any pain anymore…the road continued with a slight incline, but I had no trouble continuing my ride. The road was very nice, traffic was very easy, it actually felt as pleasant as a flat route. I finally began to enjoy this ride and thought that I could continue like this for the next hour. I decided to continue this route for a while, have a short break and return. This trip was almost like swimming in the ocean, having to fight some waves before you get into calmer waters. Once I passed these first hills it became a really nice ride.

The return felt much easier, too. Rewarded by a fast and long decline I felt energized enough to handle the uphill segments on Falls Road. I definitely want to try this route again and ride further, perhaps 25-30 miles, perhaps with the road bike once I get used to it.

Date/Time: 08/03/2008 08:34 AM

Route: Followed my last route again on West University Parkway, left onto West 40th Street toward the Rotunda, right onto Evans Chapel Road right before the grocery store, then left into Roland Heights Avenue, immediate right to Lawrence Avenue, at the end onto Woodheights Avenue and then finally a right onto Falls Road right before the intersection of Falls Road and West Cold Spring Lane. I continued straight on Falls Road, then left turn to Kelly Avenue which becomes Cross Country Boulevard. Continued straight for a while, then u-turn and followed same route back to Falls Road. Continued straight on Falls Road, turned left onto North Charles Street. Google Map

Length: approx. 17.5 miles

Traffic: Easy going most of the way.

Weather: quite warm but bearable, not too humid

Bike: Jamis Durango Hardtail Mod. with 26x2.2 Maxxis Holy Roller

Heartrate/Elevation:

2008-08-10 Cross Country Blvd

At first I was nervous about taking the road bike out again. Not only am I still more at home on a mountain bike, it also was the first time to ride a longer route on it, and I was worried I’m too heavy for a lightweight bicycle with such thin tires. But the ride went very well, and actually much better than riding the mountain bike with its fat tires. All the hills were not a problem at all, the distance felt very easy, and I could have continued for a good while longer. If I hadn’t had other plans I probably could have made it a 30-35 mile ride. The road bike has become my friend after adjusting the saddle and handlebar. I think I will continue to use the road bike for longer routes and keep the MTB for inner city riding.

If the city streets were in a better shape I might even use it in the city. This was the only problem I experienced today: Getting out of and into the city on the road bike. Many roads are in such bad repair… Potholes, drain pits, cracks, bumps and waves in the pavement felt at times so rough I really was quite worried about the bike. Without any suspension every little bump seemed to have a huge effect on the bike as well as me on the saddle. But fortunately the bike took it very well and didn’t fall apart. The streets became much better once I left Falls Road and entered Cross Country Blvd.

Overall it was a very pleasant ride, and I was in a good shape for it today. Next time I will try to leave earlier and make it a longer trip, maybe up to 35 miles or a bit further.

Date/Time: 08/10/2008 08:35 AM

Route: Continuation of previous Falls Road/Kelly Avenue route(s). Kelly Avenue turns into Cross Country Blvd, which I continued until its end. Then I turned left into Fallstaff Rd. Next right into Park Heights Avenue, then second left into Seven Mile Lane. I continued straight. Seven Mile Lane becomes Colonial Road after crossing Reisterstown Road. At the end of Colonial Road I turned right into Deerfield Road. Then I continued straight until the end of Deerfield Road, turned left into Milford Mill Road. I continued straight and turned right into Scotts Hill Dr, right before 695. Google Map

I should have continued straight, cross 695 and make a right into Scotts Level Road. But it was time for me to return anyway. After a short break I returned the same route back, via Falls Road and North Charles St.

Length: approx. 25.5 miles, 2h 15min

Traffic: Easy going most of the way. Got busier on the way back, but still good enough to ride.

Weather: warm but pleasant

Bike: Windsor Wellington 3.0 road-bike with 700x23c Maxxis Xephyr

Heartrate:

2008-08-17 North Point State Park

I decided to take the mountain-bike out again because I didn’t know what terrain and pavement condition I would run into. But this route turned out to be a winner. It was smooth, flat, beautiful and quite interesting. From city to industrial, from industrial to places that reminded me of NC, Key West or even my old hometown in Germany. This route very much felt like it could have been one of my old routes in and around Mönchengladbach. I even saw a man on a beach-bike. It was a very pleasant ride and I was in a good shape for it. I will definitely take this route more often in the future. I hope traffic will be as pleasant on the day of the summer-outing as it has been today.

Overall I’m very pleasantly surprised what a variety Baltimore has to offer. When I first moved to Baltimore I felt stuck and unable to ride the bike at all because traffic felt threatening and dangerous and there didn’t seem to be any streets safe and bike-friendly enough for a longer trip. The more I have learned about Baltimore during my rides in the past few months the more it has felt like a home to me. I have come to the conclusion that my first impression was quite wrong. There really are some great routes and places out there, and streets that are quite easy and safe to ride. It just takes some time, some great resources like bikely.com and a few miles on the road.

Date/Time: 08/17/2008 07:03 AM

Route: New route in preparation for the upcoming summer-outing at the North Point State Park. Route started to the Inner Harbor, Fleet Sreet, right onto Boston Street. Turned right into Ponca Street before 895 and 95, a short about 1 mile long segment leading through a business park/industrial area. Passed a club named ‘Nightshift’ and turned left into Holabird Avenue at the end of Ponca. Continued Holabird Avenue all the way straight for several miles, crossing Dundalk Avenue and Merritt Blvd. Later Holabird Ave becomes Wise Ave which I continued straight for several miles. I crossed a bridge, continued a few miles, and turned right into North Point Blvd at the end of Wise Ave. Continued straight on North Point Blvd to the exit/entrance to 695 and turned left into North Point Road. Made a left into what I believed was Bay Shore Road, but the map shows it might have been a bit too early. Google Map

Length: approx. 34.3 miles

Traffic: Easy going most of the way.

Weather: very pleasant, nice air quality.

Bike: Jamis Durango Hardtail Mod. with 26x2.2 Maxxis Holy Roller

Heartrate/Elevation:

2008-08-29 Rainy Summer Outing 1

This was the first real rain-ride for the season. The weather had been wet since I got up that morning. High humidty, light, soft rain throughout with occasional stronger showers. Luckily this wet had not been cold, so it turned out to be unpleasant but bearable. More annoying than the weather was the traffic which turned out to be much more busy than two weeks ago when I rode this route on a Sunday morning. Holiday traffic in addition to the regular business traffic probably made it even worse than on regular weekdays. However, during most of this route I didn’t find myself in threatening or dangerous traffic situations. Most of the route offers enough space for cars and cyclists. It’s only the narrow segments that felt a bit too cozy to me. The route was very flat and easy to ride. I found myself in a good, focused shape.

Date/Time: 08/29/2008 10:09 AM

Route: Same as previous route to North Point State Park. Start at Cathedral Street in Mt. Vernon, to the Inner Harbor, Aliceanna Street, right onto Boston Street. Turned right into Ponca Street before 895 and 95, a short about 1 mile long segment leading through a business park/industrial area, then left into Holabird Avenue. Continued on Holabird Avenue all the way straight for several miles, crossing Dundalk Avenue and Merritt Blvd. Later Holabird Ave becomes Wise Ave which I followed straight for several miles. I crossed a bridge and turned right into North Point Blvd at the end of Wise Ave. Further straight on North Point Blvd to the exit/entrance to 695 I turned left into North Point Road. I followed North Point Road a bit further, made a u-turn and turned right into Bay Shore Road, which led to the parking lot and the final destination the Trolley Pavilion Google Map

Length: approx. 15.5 miles

Traffic: Heavy (holiday) traffic.

Weather: Wet and rainy.

Bike: Jamis Durango Hardtail Mod. with 26x2.2 Maxxis Holy Roller

Heartrate/Elevation:

2008-08-29 Rainy Summer Outing 2

It was tough to get started after food and beers, but after a mile on the saddle I was fine and comfortable with the ride again. The traffic was even heavier than that morning, the rain was a bit stronger and longer lasting than before–it definitely was more uncomfortable to ride, but it never felt out of control or undoable. With a good focus I continued to ride and pass all obstacles and didn’t really mind the cars all around me. During most of this route I again didn’t find myself in threatening or dangerous traffic situations. Maybe I just got used to riding through rush-hour traffic, or it didn’t intimidate me as much because the density slowed the speed of traffic down enough to feel safe. I felt strong enough to ride without a break and could have continued further. It was just later that day when I got some rest that I suddenly turned very tired, but in a good, refreshed and not painfully exhausted kind of way.

Date/Time: 08/29/2008 02:45 PM

Route: A few beers later it was time to take the route back into the city via Bay Shore Road, North Point Road, North Point Blvd, Wise Ave, Holabird Ave, Ponca Street and Boston Street. I tried to avoid the lower part of Charles Street and turned right onto Howard Street instead, which was probably more insane than Charles. The street was jammed with cars, the sidewalks were jammed with people. I made a right onto Read Street and followed my standard route on Lovegrove St, N Charles St and back on Lovegrove St. Google Map

Length: approx. 17.4 miles

Traffic: Heavy rush-hour and holiday traffic.

Weather: Wet and rainy.

Bike: Jamis Durango Hardtail Mod. with 26x2.2 Maxxis Holy Roller

Heartrate/Elevation: