Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Forgotten Treasure :)

While on the First Annual Fall Forty-Mile , while most of the locals were NOT supermodels/models, this good looking cycling woman simply happened by and I decided to take a picture of her and add it to the blog-o-sphere :)

As you can clearly see, I am in the background in wearing a cowboy hat! Oh yeah, I quickly shaved too :)

Peace :)

Family of cyclists killed by drunk driver outraged by sentence!

Here is another link!

You decide what to think :(

Monday, December 21, 2009

First Annual Fall Finale Forty-mile Country Path Ramble

On Saturday, December 19, 2009, SteveA, Myles and I drove to Sanger, TX to participate in The First Annual Fall Forty-Mile organized by Chris. In Sanger, we were met by Chris and his friend Keith.

Myles was kind enough to drive Steve and I to Sanger. Chris organized and hosted the event. My heartfelt thanks to both of them.

Steve, Chris and Myles have already posted on this topic as I am composing mine. So, please check out each of our posts for different photos and descriptions.

At 8:30 AM, when we were fixing to hit the road, it was a crisp 31 degrees Fahrenheit. After the introductions and the customary group photo, we hit the road with Chris leading the way.

 Sanger, TX is a quaint little town outside of Denton. It is picturesque, quiet and has a ton of farms raising all kinds of beautiful animals including horses, cows and goats.
There was no shortage of really pretty barns in and around Sanger. This one had particularly pretty horses and I thought I would practice my photography. What do ya think?

Chris led the way as he was the most familiar with the route and the neighborhood. As one would expect out of Chris, he was very thorough and never had to think twice about which way to turn. It was most comforting to follow his lead.

Seeing all the cool animals was like a dream come true for me. I love animals of all kinds, big or small. These goats were a joy to see and they seemed like a really friendly bunch. They were nice enough to pose for my photo. Back when I was a young boy, growing up in India, I saw tons of goats. Goat milk was a popular commodity in India, even back then.

Wide open spaces, a breath of fresh air for a city dweller. The azure skies and the silhouette of these trees made an interesting scene that I didn't want to miss photographing.

All along this ride we saw tons of cows, brown ones, black and white ones, black ones, you name it, we saw it. The cows were particularly interested in finding out what we were up to it seemed. They were watching us with a cautious eye. Another group that were particularly interested in finding out about us were the dogs and boy did we see a whole bunch. None of them were hostile but they sure wanted to protect their farms. They made sure were did not mess with their property. Some even came outside the fence to make sure were headed our way and not onto their property :)

A little story about these neck of the woods from Chris perhaps? Or was Myles trying to tell Chris how his video camera worked??

A bull session between two amigos, our new friend Keith and Steve! Keith rode his Mountain bike on this ride, which helped him quite a bit when the road got rougher. While that is true, he might agree with me on that the Mountain bike might have also slowed him down a tad bit. The rest of us rode road bikes equipped with cross tires or touring tires.

A beautiful creek in Sanger. The water was quite clear and not muddy. I bet it was cold too :)

We took one scheduled break on the way up to Rosston General Store. There were some other unscheduled stops as well. If there was an opportunity for a photo, we definitely stopped to capture the moment. In this picture, you can see Myles filming with his video camera. I guess I was photographing him video recording us :)

Yet another beautiful creek. There were many of these where we rode. In my younger days, I would have ventured to check out the creek a bit more.

This was a nice size barn. I didn't see any one working on the farm but I saw some cattle in the farm. This one reminded me of paintings of this great land where farms were pictured. Awww, so pretty!

One of the coolest parts of our ride was this stretch of a country road which was lined with trees on both sides. In addition to very scenic, this road also reminded me of my dad explaining to me what the word boulevard meant many moons ago.

This was the last stream before we took our first official break. The reflection of the trees' in the water was very pretty. By this time, as you can see, the sun was out and shining. It made things feel a bit warmer. However, it felt cold soon as we stopped riding though.

Chris enjoying his hot cuppa Java! He carried his coffee in a compact Thermos flask. Smart guy!!

During our break, all of us took at least a few pictures. Here is Steve showing off his red bandanna that so immaculately matched the color of his bike.

And, here is Myles! Myles replaced his helmet with a nice warm looking hat with ear flaps during our first break. I continued wearing my balaclava until lunch break.

Keith taking some great pictures of all of us.

Creek at the first official break! We were atop the bridge over this creek during the first break.Part of me wished I had brought a SLR with me. I might have been able to capture the splendor of this particular creek, had I had my SLR with a wide angle lens. But I think my little Nikon digital camera did a pretty good job!

And, this is where I met Norman!

We saw this nice unoccupied project home along the way. Rumor has it that a handy Civil Engineer might be interested in this property!

 Norman introduced us to Al, Ted and aunt Lisa! They were a pretty casual bunch!!

There were a few demolished homes along the way. This particular one had its chimney intact. I couldn't quite tell how old the structure might have been. However, it was evident from the surroundings that this home might have had a great backyard overlooking the meadow.

This was a good opportunity to show off the Gikma in the nice country surroundings. I simply couldn't disappoint Gikma :)

I was fascinated by a beautiful Tortoise Shell cat, which I met right around here. He was a very handsome young kitty. He took refuge in the bush pictured here, when he heard Keith approach. I so desperately wanted to take a picture of the cat. I was hoping I could find him hidden in the bushes in this picture. See if you can find him :)

The beauty of wide open spaces! For someone who has a desk job, like me, this was a real treat. I spent a few minutes enjoying this view.

Steve maintains that there were no hills on this ride; only gentle inclines. Here is one of them. Keith beat Steve to the top of this hill - errr, I mean gentle incline :)

And the second prize goes to Mr. Steve :) Not really, Steve is a fast rider!

Good thing, I only rode a bike with a tandem axle and not a tandem LOL

In Rosston, I met this young dog nuclear scientist who had designed this ICBM! In his free time, this dog also worked on a farm herding cattle.

Official lunch break at the Rosston General Store. We were visited by many local dogs.

Another view of Rosston General! Apparently, this store sold Kelly Tires among other things such as Steak sandwiches.

The inside of the Rosston General store was quite the sight. They had many collectibles inside including this beautiful cast-iron furnace. This is a classic and it was very classy and in great condition!

Whoda thunked? Made in Saint Louie, USA :)

After lunch, we rode back to Sanger. We made very few stops on the way back.

During this ride, there were several of them "gentle inclines". My GPS registered a maximum grade of 17% on one of the "gentle inclines". In all, we rode close to 42 miles.

We had a ball!
Peace :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

White Rock Marathon

I am participating in the White Rock Marathon tomorrow. Our team is doing a 5-person relay and old bones will be walking a 5 mile leg. I am NOT a runner :)

The good part is that it is sponsored by my employer and this is a charity that benefits the Scotish Rite Hospital in Dallas.

There is more info about this event here.

I rode a few miles today, nothing big but just to ease back into the habit of riding! So, I guess I am back to riding (knock-on-wood)! I am looking forward to participating in the First Annual Fall Forty-Mile Country Path Ramble.

I am hoping the weather is great tomorrow like the forecast says.

Peace :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Taking time off riding!

I have not rode for about 10 days as I am have some ailments. Hope to get back on the bike ASAP.
Y'all have fun and be safe!

Peace :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Anne Mustoe: headmistress and round-the-world cyclist

Mrs. Mustoe's story is an inspiration to me. Hope you like it too!

Peace :)

'Road Rage' Case Highlights Cyclist Vs. Driver Tension

Picture courtesy of NPR. 

I heard this story on NPR a couple of days back. I think it is an interesting report about bicycling in the US.

Read the story from NPR here or listen to the audio version of the story here.

Be safe out there!

Peace :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

On the Association between Riding and Cooking!

Another gorgeous day in DFW. The weather was just perfect. It was a bit windy but I will take that gladly. The skies were azure and if only I knew how to translate some of those sounds I make when I am immensely enjoying a fine thing such as today's weather, I would put'em down here :)

The children were running around the backyard, barking at passersby. The birds were chirping. I could not have asked for a better day.

I went for a short ride to REI Dallas to check out their new bikes. REI was NOT crowded today. I was told that they started their seasonal sale last week and hence the crowds were somewhat equally distributed across the days and hence there were no big peaks of customers to tackle. They were playing Christmas music at REI. I guess the joyous season is here. It is time to be merry and jolly and share our happiness with others. I love it.

At REI, I saw this nice commuter bike with Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub and a Shimano Generator hub (front), front and rear lights, rear pannier rack, mudguards/fenders, disc brakes, etc. The whole works!
The bike is called Novara Fusion and is pictured below:

I did not test ride this bike. But I was quite impressed that the bike came with the basic things essential for a commuting and for a reasonable price. Having added many of these essentials to my bikes, one piece at a time, I can definitely appreciate a bike that came with it all, at least the basics, until you can upgrade to whatever your heart desired. The front light seemed pretty good. The rear light was not powered by the generator, for some unknown reason, but was powered by batteries. The taillight was controlled by a sensor. While there are some negative reviews of this bike based on its performance in winter, I was still impressed that REI could put together a reasonable commuter bike at a reasonable price point.

This bike prompted me to daydream about my ultimate bike setup. One of the things I would like to have some day is a front wheel with a hub dynamo. I understand there are two popular choices: 1) Shimano Hub Dynamo and 2) Schmidt Hub Dynamo. I have read some reviews about both of these and I think I will get the Schmidt dynamo hub, if I get one. Lots of reviewers say it has less drag. I think the Schmidt is a bit more than the Shimano dynamo hub.

Christmas lighting, Texas style?

By now, I hope at least some of you are wondering, why this post is entitled "On the Association between Riding and Cooking". There is definitely a reason for it and I have attempted to explain it below.

I have observed that riding puts me in good mood, even if I am sore. The fresh air, hours of not sitting in front of a computer and programming, the burning of the calories and the whole concept of "out with the bad and in with the good", etc., put me in a fantastic mood.

After riding for a while, I am usually dying to satisfy my stomach's curiosities. Please note that the brain's curiosities were satisfied first :)

So, when I come back, on many days, I have noticed that I cook. While it may not be a cause and effect relationship, as some Statisticians might argue, nevertheless, I have a feeling that there might be a itsy bitsy degree of association between the two.

Even if there isn't one between my going out to ride my bike for a long time and me cooking a nice meal, there seems to be a strong correlation between, shall we say, my disappearance for a long time on the bike and a really sumptuous meal on the table when I return?

Well, today was one such a day :)

Pictured below are Caramelized Plantains cooked in coconut oil and spiced with Jerk Spice. Thanks to my lovely wife!

Pictured next is a great mouth-watering bowl of Trinidadian Vegetarian Callalou*. Again, thanks to my beloved wife!

Pictured lastly is my version of South Indian Egg Curry! This dish, the way I prepare it, is not meant for the faint at heart!! Please note that the green chillies are garnish and not be consumed (unless you are a daredevil!).

So, my dear reader, what types of events in your life, in your opinion, are highly associated with your riding?

Peace :)

* My wife's recipe is slightly different!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Ride with a Purpose of Nothing, Nada, Zilch!

I am still digesting the food from Thanksgiving. This whole process has made me slower than molasses on a cold day! Apparently, this affects my thinking process too :)

Today, I said I will just take a good little ride on the bike, see what's new on the trail and off I went to ride the Campion. We had great weather today. The skies were blue and the high was around 72 or so. It was just a beautiful day!

The usual suspects were sitting on the many branches in the water. I go to this trail so many times, I wonder if these guys are used to me by now. Some of them just laze around with no worries whatsoever, it seems.

There were lots of people on the trail although not many bicyclists. I think I saw a total of may be 5. I was very surprised that I didn't find a lot of bicyclists on the trail. May be them all went to the BF Ride. I couldn't go as I had made other plans. I bet that ride was a lot of fun.

The parking lots on the Campion seemed busy. Lots of pedestrians and roller skaters today. While I wish they wouldn't ride with the headphone on, I was still glad to see so many people being active and enjoying the outdoors.

One thing I did NOT enjoy was the sound of hundreds if not thousands of gunshots. I think there is a shooting  range adjacent to the Campion around California crossing. I felt sorry for the birds and for myself. Now, if this trail is a Nature Trail, and they proudly claim there is a bird watching area on it, why the heck would you want a shooting range in close proximity? I wonder how one can go about getting people's support for something like this. Don't get me wrong, I don't care if people want to hone their shooting skills. I just wish it was a bit farther from the biggest Nature Trail in town, where lots of beautiful birds congregate.

Please check out the video below. It will give you an idea of the sound of the gunshots I just talking about.

I found one of my buddies fishing by the Trinity. These guys are amazing at catching fish. I love watching them pluck that unsuspecting fish with such ease and elegance. I guess he is having the COD for dinner :)

I found the lawnmower tracks intersting. It looked as though someone had laid a plush carpet there and vacuumed it as well.

And then the lone bird in the sky caught my eye. I tried to photograph it, while it was in motion, to the best of my efforts using my little Digital Camera. It turned out to be not too bad! There were hundreds of birds out and about today. I guess everybody wanted to enjoy the nice weather today.
I like to call the picture below, "Fruits of Mother Nature's Labor". Those berries look so beautiful. They look like some kind of cherry red grapes, don't they? I the vine had thorns on it and so I had to be very cautious when taking this close-up shot.

So, my dear readers...
  • What did you do today? 
  • How was the weather in your neck of the woods? 
  • Did you get a chance to ride your bike today?
Whatever you did today, I hope you had a marvelous day!

Peace :)