Sunday, July 29, 2012

Its Raining, Its Raining, and I Don't Care !

It was early Sunday morning. Although I was on call for my medical practice, there was nobody to see in the hospital and all was quiet. It had rained heavily the night before, and when I went down the driveway to get the newspapers, there was a steady mist in the air. I had recently had new VO brakes shoes installed and had the wheels trued on my 2001 Jamis Nova, and sensed an excellent opportunity to try them out. Even though rain was forecast, the 70 degree temperature cried out for a wet riding opportunity.
I had purchased this 2001 cyclocross frame in as an Ebay NOS for $250, and built it up with a wide gear range and quality components. It was designed specifically for the muddy trails of Long Island's Caumsett Park. It also has had the unique honor of being lapped by Richard Sachs in a cyclocross race some years ago. It has become my go to all conditions bike.
When the pavement ends is where this bike really begins to shine. Not the lightest with Reynolds 631 TIG construction, it demonstrates solid stability on sand, gravel, and especially muddy conditions. Coupled with Mavic Open Pro front  and Open Sport rear rims, the Ritchey Speedmax tires are the right combination when the conditions turn tough. I run 55PSI front and 60PSI rear for these conditions. A 26-36-46 crankset amd 11-32 casette give wall climbing potential. I have been confident on 26% grades with this gearing.
I was fortunate that there was only a constant spritz most of the morning, which cleared later in the day. For those days where you don't want to expose your roadbike to Nature's worst, a bike like this can provide lots of exercise and can confirm the idea that Men Love Mud !

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Try Out My New Jersey on the North Fork and Shelter Island

For awhile now, I've tried to find an era specific jersey to complement my LOOK KG381i on its 10th anniversary. Perusing ebay, I found this jersey and purchased it from Velotastic,a British company specializing in vintage cycling jersies. What better way to try it out than cycling Long Island's North Fork and Shelter Island?
Contrary to what most people think, the North Fork is largely rural, and a great place to ride, with open roads, lots of water views, and excellent food. In the off season, it is largely deserted, and so is a cycling destination in itself. My ride started in Mattituck, with parking at the train station free, convenient, and close to food and markets on Love Lane, the main street.
The countryside begins close to town, and the route to Greenport is mostly flattish to rolling, with good, non crowded roads most of the way. The North Fork never gets urban, and even main roads have adequate shoulders.
Compared with the South Fork of Long Island, there is very little glitz here. Farm stands abound, and there are about twenty five wineries on this fork alone. It is usual to see small stands on the side of the road selling local produce.
The ferry from Greenport to Shelter Island runs frequently and costs $5 round trip for cyclist and bike combined. This island is located between the forks, or fish tail of Long Island, and offers excellent flat to rolling cycling. There are lots of wonderful views and little vehicular traffic. When I come here off season I virtually own the place. Don't expect to see loads of tourists, restaurants, or services here. The major theme is the inherent natural beauty of the island. Yes, from 1909 to 1930, they cut large blocks of ice from the above pond and shipped them to NYC. After that, modern refrigeration killed the business.
On the way back from Shelter island, I stopped at Sang-Lee Farms, my favorate place to get organic vegetables on the North Fork. The variety is astounding, and ultimate freshness is guaranteed. Fred Lee definitely has a natural green thumb when it comes to organic produce. Tonight, I will sautee Sang-Lee baby eggplant and baby bok choi to go with freshly caught Tuna on the grill, for a complete Long Island meal.