That hit the spot

I celebrated the end of February with my first long morning ride in forever (well, since February 4, which might as well be forever).  I took New Cut Rd into Ellicott City, then rode along River Rd to the park entrance on Ilchester.  The trail still looked too snow-covered for road tires, so I doubled back, rode up Thistle Rd, then through Catonsville via Oella Ave, Old Frederick Rd, and Edmondson Ave, for a total distance of just over 16 miles.

It was great to get a longer ride in.  February was brutal.  I’m holding out hope that within the next two weeks or so, I’ll be able to ride through Patapsco State Park again.  It always seems to take forever for the snow to melt in the park, because it doesn’t get much sun, and the ground temperatures are lower near the water.  I could probably get through the park with a mountain or cross bike and maybe some studded tires.  I’ll see what I can do about that later this year.  In the meantime, I’ll be seeing a lot of Catonsville.

I am still riding with “Power Grips” toe straps.  I wasn’t sure about them at first, but after several rides, I’ve decided I really like them.  The “extra long” size easily fits my hiking boots.  They’re orders of magnitude easier to get strapped into than toe clips; I’d say they’re no worse in that department than my Looks.  Being that they’re straps, I don’t get quite the “clipped in” feel that I get with the Looks, and there’s some to-be-expected “give” when I pull up on the pedals.  But, they keep my feet on the pedals, and I feel comfortable with them at high cadences (read: going downhill on a fixie).  I have the straps set to the smallest setting, and in this position, the ends of the straps tend to scrape the ground when I turn.  This is not a huge deal, but if necessary, I can fix it by trimming the straps down a bit.  This problem would likely be less noticeable on a bike with a freewheel.  All in all, I’m happy with the Power Grips.

Bike First, Ask Questions Later

Rain in the forecast for later today, but it was nice this morning, so I packed the rain gear and rode in.  You gotta ride when you can in February.  Murphy’s Law says that if I don’t ride in, the rain will hold off until after I get home.  So if it’s not raining, I’d rather ride in and deal with the weather later.  If worse comes to worse, I can always call for a ride home.

Today I detoured onto US 1 to avoid the arduous River Rd hike into the park.  This makes for a roughly 6½ mile ride in, which is about the shortest possible ride I can take.  With the park impassable, it really limits the routes I can take to get to work.  If I want a longer ride, my only alternative is to ride out to River Rd, then through Catonsville.  Before I try that route, I want to drive it to make sure the road conditions are OK.  In the meantime, short rides are better than no rides at all (or the trainer).

Today is my second ride with “Power Grips” toe straps.  I bought these to use in snowy or icy conditions where there’s a chance I’ll have to walk a lot.  I started out with toe clips, but the clips were too small for my hiking boots, and the fixed gear wasn’t kind to them either..  I broke one of the clips on my 3rd or 4th ride.  I’m still getting used to the Power Grips, but I think they’re going to work out fine.  More on the Power Grips after another ride or 2.