2023 - Our Rides in Words, Photos, Maps and Videos

Today's excuse to go to town was to get groceries and further test the capabilities of this trike.
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It had been purchased from a mobility company, advertised as a
Bagfang 750 hub drive. no labels whatsoever indicating this, so the original purchaser was generous enough to donate it to me!
This day is forcast to be hot again. As the sun crested the horizon, the yellowness indicated to me it would not be so bad.
With this machine I stay only on main roads with wide shoulders as it is not like riding a bicycle at all! and in town stick to neighborhood streets and alleys. Cross all main roads at a pedestrian crosswalk. I think the bicycle infrastructure here is poor. In my so few years of riding on the road, (like two), the only bike rack I have seen is at the courthouse!
This trike also has an interesting assist method as it is by speed. Level one will stop assisting at 4mph, level two assist to 8mph and so on. Up to 500 watts to reach the desired speed regardless of assist level. Works quite well.
Some of our bicycle infrastructure out here in Carroll county.
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Approaching a very dangerous intersection, Medford road. Many, many fatalities have occurred here due to auto accidents. Where'd the bike lane go? I guess there is only one there if it is not inconvenient for cars.
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Approaching another dangerous intersection. A retirement community is off to the left. Typically, vehicles coming from there are a little slower when pulling out and slower to react in an emergency. Crackhead going over 100 mph hit one and took out everyone around, even babies. 7 fatalities.
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Here is where it gets kinda crazy, great infrastructure! There are only two pedestrian crosswalks across Md rte 140 in Westminster. 1st pic shows how you need to cross "right turn" traffic to access the "crossing button" to get across Md route 140. Then you have to wait on this tiny island of concrete in the middle of the road while the trucks go roaring by!
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While leaving the grocery store, I was somewhat startled. I heard a "clack clack clack" sound and then was approached by a young man on a skateboard. Somewhat disheveled as would be expected and begged me for the remainder of the power bar I was eating! I obliged the poor fellow and he seemed very gracious, I went on my way. As I was waiting again at the dangerous intersection, I see this kid dodge traffic like a scared squirrel and had like 8 police vehicles converge on him from all directions. They took him down hard! He probably just wanted a slurpee for cryin out loud!
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More great infrastructure! Glad I was not in the bike lane when that truck laid out those skid marks!
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The bike lane disappeared again!
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and again!
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YAY I survived!
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87lb (39.46k) of cargo + my 205ish pound self (92.98k) and my heavy work boots.
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Thank you for enduring!
 

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I just got back from a 20 mile ride. I rode to the new John Deere dealership just to check it out and ended up buying some mouse repellent, which are scented bags to keep them out of equipment. Some pics of things that caught my eye, a unique shaped barn, there is two others that are the same shape in the area. A road that seems to go on to infinity, and a large stack of what they call “large rounds” of hay. The white plastic tube to the left of hay bales contains silage.
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With Jerzy: From Specialized Warsaw to The Park of Fountains
Saturday 15th of July 2023

I was on a long ride on Friday (and intend to report it later). As for the weather, each next day of this weekend becomes hotter! (It might be no ride on Sunday!) Now, as it comes for Saturday, I fancied a pizza at META Bar, so I sent my friend Jerzy a message early, and we tentatively agreed to meet at Specialized Warsaw around noon. I chose my Vado SL for the ride as I felt I still underestimated the capabilities of that beautiful e-bike (my long trip on Friday taught me yet another lesson... read my future post!)

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As I started 9:22 am, the air was getting warmer and warmer, and sunshine was making the perceived temperature far higher. I had a temporary relief when I rode into Kabacki Forest but... I lost my way again there! :D Had to continue through the urban jungle! There was a strong headwind, making my ride a quarter slower than usual!

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Jerzy and I met at Specialized Warsaw well before the noon. I was desperately trying to buy anything! :) Unfortunately, the store had no spare chain I needed, and the XXL cycling jersey was too small for me! However, I could see two Como 5.0 IGH in person (already reserved for customers), and made sure the Creo size L would be too tall for me! We also admired the new SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger and related cassette and derailleur on Specialized Epic Expert and some Levo model.

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Sharing pizza with Jerzy at META (Finish Line), a cycling restaurant bar.

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At the Wilanów Beach (the starting site of the latest Mazovian Gravel Ultramarathon). Precisely Royal Wilanów (Villa Nova) is a high profile residential area of Warsaw. The photo was taken by a local senior female resident (66). We shared the old joke with her: "What is a Wilanów-worthy bike? Either extremely expensive, or weird!" :D Unfortunately, the fat tyre Chinese e-bike is perceived as very weird and thus 'Wilanów-worthy'! :D Not us, not us!

My friend (76) is in excellent shape now because of his daily 60 km trips since the beginning of the warm season (he could accumulate 4,750 km this year on his pedal bike!) I felt I should have increased the assistance on my Vado SL instead of reducing it! Jerzy warned me we would be passing the Belarussian Embassy (strongly protected by the police). As we were passing by the Embassy, I shouted:
'F*ck Putin!"
'Shame on Belarus!'
'Slava Ukraini!' (Glory to Ukraine!)
:)

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As we were passing by the Czerniaków Harbour, I felt dizzy from the heat. We stopped in the shadow for a longer while. Then I suggested we rode to the Casimirean Park, which I knew was not very busy but shady!

I loved the rest at that park. I could lay back on a small hill in the shadow and felt far better in a quarter. Unfortunately, we had to ride into the frying pan again... To reach the Multimedia Park of Fountains soon! Oh, that was so good!

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The park is called Multimedia because there are lights and images displayed there at night, probably with music. I could cool my body with the fountain water and rest for a long time under a big tree. (We said goodbyes with Jerzy soon). The man depicted in the statue is one William Heerlein Lindley, an Englishman who (together with his father William) built waterworks and sewage for Warsaw in late 19th century.

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I had my body cooled down again on a service station in Warsaw...


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The Warsaw equivalent of London's Maryon Park (Antonioni's "Blow Up" movie), or Prince Janusz Park in the neighbourhood of Koło (Wheel). I love that almost empty park, only I do not ride frequently there. (Prince Janusz was the founder of City of Warsaw).

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The ride home was... hard. I went in Sport, then Turbo mode... New 50 miles!
 
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The Difference Between Adventure/Gravel Cycling And Bike Touring :)
Friday, 14th of July 2023

A cycling group by the name Never Gravel Enough had planned a 176 km ride based on strict adventure/gravel rules for today. I realized the air temperature on Sunday would be 34 C (93 F), and the perceived temperature might approach 38 C (100 F). I had no hope I would be able to keep up with the group, so I chose my ride (the code name "No Man's Land") for Friday, with somewhat milder weather.

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10 minutes before the daybreak (4:22 am), I was waiting for the train at the nearest train stop...

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5:33 am, ready to start the ride from Skierniewice. The four people in the monument (Józef Piłsudski PL, Charles de Gaulle FR, Pal Tekieli HU, and Symon Petlura UA) were the statesmen behind the Bolshevik Russia defeat during the war of 1920. Yet I was only thinking: 'Will I manage the ride with just two batteries?'

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The first turn onto dirt roads. Following the night rain, it was wet sand. I crashed almost immediately there!

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Can you see the front wheel caked in mud? I looked at the map and realized the detour was totally unnecessary! There was a beautiful paved road nearby!


I got really irritated. Opened Komoot with the original route and switched the type from "Gravel" to "Bike Touring" (do you read me @Jeremy McCreary?) The new route was longer but used more of asphalt roads! Which did not change much...

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...as there was no other way to go southward! I rode beautiful gravel and asphalt roads but also stretches of overgrown trail. It was wild raspberry or blackberry bushes that hurt my left ankle!

The Land of Łódź in these parts is not flat. It is undulated upland, and I had to climb all the way!

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Eventually, I arrived in Konewka (Watering Can), a popular tourist destination because of immense railway bunkers that can be sight seen from inside.

Then I realized what "Adventure/Gravel" really meant: avoid civilization at any cost. Only there, 60 km into the ride, exhausted, I started analysing the route. Avoiding any civilisation! "No Man's Land". Oh no. No lunch?! Performing acrobatics to manage the battery plan? No way! (I rode in 30% assistance. It is very little for such a journey!)

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I rode in Spała, a slightly forgotten resort. Then I took bike paths to get to the nearest bigger city, Tomaszów Mazowiecki on Pilica. (It was 15 km one way).

I used Google Maps to find a good restaurant and yes it was the "Raftsmen Inn". When I got there, I asked for the permission to connect my charger and the battery (it was the first time I carried the e-bike charger with me!) Just to tell you a 1-hour long charging only added 27% to one of the batteries, still better than nothing!

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I got me Forest Fungi Zhur... (delicious!)

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And a standard Polish pork chop. The restaurant mostly served fish but I was not in the mood for fish on that day! :)


It started to be hot. That is, the air was not hot. It was the Sun radiation to make the ride very hard... I asked Komoot to take me to the convenient station of Skierniewice Rawka via Biała Rawska. All went good up to some place...

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Experienced riders say that the landscape in nearby Mazovia resembles Tuscany. It turned out there were some Tuscany-alike places in the Land of Łódź, too. It was certainly as hot as it is in Tuscany!

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A wooden folk figure in Rylsk Duży.

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I stole three Sour Cherries just before entering Biała Rawska! Oh, the fruit was delicious and so refreshing...


The place I was met by trouble was a village by name Babsk. It turned out there was no way to directly get to Skierniewice! Wahoo went bananas, and I lost a lot of time there. To find a direction sign: "Raducz 4 km". Friends... It was a sandy road cut in at least five places by lake lookalike deep and wide puddles! Don't ask me how I got out of there!

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I caught the train several minutes past 6 p.m. Here's my total km distance for the day (105.7 miles). Regarding the battery, I would arrive to the finish line on last electrons or unassisted if I didn't recharge the battery at the restaurant!

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A fun fact: The seemingly longer Adventure/Gravel route turned out to be only 7 km longer than mine! (That ride to the restaurant and back...)

The NGE group finished their ride on Sunday at 19:20 pm. Heroes! To stand such heat on the ride!
 
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The Difference Between Adventure/Gravel Cycling And Bike Touring :)
Friday, 14th of July 2023

A cycling group by the name Never Gravel Enough had planned a 176 km ride based on strict adventure/gravel rules for today. I realized the air temperature on Sunday would be 34 C (93 F), and the perceived temperature might approach 38 C (100 F). I had no hope I would be able to keep up with the group, so I chose my ride (the code name "No Man's Land") for Friday, with somewhat milder weather.

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10 minutes before the daybreak (4:22 am), I was waiting for the train at the nearest train stop...

View attachment 158260
5:33 am, ready to start the ride from Skierniewice. The four people in the monument (Józef Piłsudski PL, Charles de Gaulle FR, Pal Tekieli HU, and Symon Petlura UA) were the statesmen behind the Bolshevik Russia defeat during the war of 1920. Yet I was only thinking: 'Will I manage the ride with just two batteries?'

View attachment 158261
The first turn onto dirt roads. Following the night rain, it was wet sand. I crashed almost immediately there!

View attachment 158262
Can you see the front wheel caked in mud? I looked at the map and realized the detour was totally unnecessary! There was a beautiful paved road nearby!


I got really irritated. Opened Komoot with the original route and switched the type from "Gravel" to "Bike Touring" (do you read me @Jeremy McCreary?) The new route was longer but used more of asphalt roads! Which did not change much...

View attachment 158263
...as there was no other way to go southward! I rode beautiful gravel and asphalt roads but also stretches of overgrown trail. It was wild raspberry or blackberry bushes that hurt my left ankle!

The Land of Łódź in these parts is not flat. It is undulated upland, and I had to climb all the way!

View attachment 158264
Eventually, I arrived in Konewka (Watering Can), a popular tourist destination because of immense railway bunkers that can be sight seen from inside.

Then I realized what "Adventure/Gravel" really meant: avoid civilization at any cost. Only there, 60 km into the ride, exhausted, I started analysing the route. Avoiding any civilisation! "No Man's Land". Oh no. No lunch?! Performing acrobatics to manage the battery plan? No way! (I rode in 30% assistance. It is very little for such a journey!)

View attachment 158265
I rode in Spała, a slightly forgotten resort. Then I tool bike paths to get to the nearest bigger city, Tomaszów Mazowiecki on Pilica. (It was 15 km one way).

I used Google Maps to find a good restaurant and yes it was the "Raftsmen Inn". When I got there, I asked for the permission to connect my charger and the battery (it was the first time I carries the e-bike charger with me!) Just to tell you a 1-hour long charging only added 27% to one of the batteries, still better than nothing!

View attachment 158266
I got me Forest Fungi Zhur... (delicious!)

View attachment 158267
And a standard Polish pork chop. The restaurant mostly served fish but I was not in the mood for fish on that day! :)


It started to be hot. That is, the air was not hot. It was the Sun radiation to make the ride very hard... I asked Komoot to take me to the convenient station of Skierniewice Rawka via Biała Rawska. All went good up to some place...

View attachment 158268
Experienced riders say that the landscape in nearby Mazovia resembles Tuscany. It turned out there were some Tuscany-alike places in the Land of Łódź, too. It was certainly as hot is in Tuscany!

View attachment 158269
A wooden folk figure in Rylsk Duży.

View attachment 158270
I stole three Sour Cherries just before entering Biała Rawska! Oh, the fruit was delicious and so refreshing...


The place I was met by trouble was a village by name Babsk. It turned out there was no way to directly get to Skierniewice! Wahoo went bananas, and I lost a lot of time there. To find a direction sign: "Raducz 4 km". Friends... It was a sandy road cut in at least five places by lake lookalike deep and wide puddles! Don't ask me how I got out of there!

View attachment 158271
I caught the train several minutes past 6 p.m. Here's my total km distance for the day (105.7 miles). Regarding the battery, I would arrive to the finish line on last electrons or unassisted if I didn't recharge the battery at the restaurant!

View attachment 158272
A fun fact: The seemingly longer Adventure/Gravel route turned out to be only 7 km longer than mine! (That ride to the restaurant and back...)

The NGE group finished their ride on Sunday at 19:20 pm. Heroes! To stand up such heat on the ride!
I subscribe to G.K. Chesterton's definition of adventure as inconvenience properly perceived. Still not convinced that gravel and adventure are completely synonymous in a cycling context as currently used. But in Chesterton's sense, you certainly had an adventure here.
 
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First grocery run (plus a few extra miles) with the La Free since returning home and almost immediately coming down with COVID, almost 4 weeks ago!

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We were fenced in on the Seaplane Base...

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Going to be TONS of blackberries in a few weeks 😁!

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Only a couple of miles longer than my previous ride - recovery going slow - but I DID haul about 25 extra lbs of groceries up the hill home in the trailer (yes, with assist, but, still 😉)! As I learned it Italy, "piano piano" (little by little)...
 
I subscribe to G.K. Chesterton's definition of adventure as inconvenience properly perceived. Still not convinced that gravel and adventure are completely synonymous in a cycling context as currently used. But in Chesterton's sense, you certainly had an adventure here.
That's why, when we travel, we never go on a vacation; we go on an adventure. Looking at it that way is a much better mindset, because not much that happens can run the experience .. It's all part of the adventure 😉.
 
First grocery run (plus a few extra miles) with the La Free since returning home and almost immediately coming down with COVID, almost 4 weeks ago!

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We were fenced in on the Seaplane Base...

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Going to be TONS of blackberries in a few weeks 😁!

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Only a couple of miles longer than my previous ride - recovery going slow - but I DID haul about 25 extra lbs of groceries up the hill home in the trailer (yes, with assist, but, still 😉)! As I learned it Italy, "piano piano" (little by little)...
Hopefully you are feeling better. I got Covid about a year and a half ago when we were on vacation in Moab Utah. The day before I knew I had it we had hiked up to Delicate Arch in the park. Anybody who has hiked this knows it’s pretty strenuous , not bad if you’re young but if you’re in your sixties it’s a workout. I figured out a couple days later when I knew I had Covid why my lungs were burning. I had a very mild case but it hits people in different ways.
 
Quoting Tolkien...
We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!
Maybe someday I'll go on a ride worthy of being called There and Back Again, but until then they are just bike rides. Even a tour, to me, at least implies not sleeping in my own bed.

I suspect I'm more likely to have a misadventure than an adventure at some point though.
 
Hopefully you are feeling better. I got Covid about a year and a half ago when we were on vacation in Moab Utah. The day before I knew I had it we had hiked up to Delicate Arch in the park. Anybody who has hiked this knows it’s pretty strenuous , not bad if you’re young but if you’re in your sixties it’s a workout. I figured out a couple days later when I knew I had Covid why my lungs were burning. I had a very mild case but it hits people in different ways.
Thanks so much! I think the problem (aside from asthma, age and reactive lungs) is, I got the dang thing twice in a little over 3 months. I'm sure it would have been much worse without being vaccinated. I didn't get very sick, but slow recovering my energy.

I'm getting there, though!

Glad you had a mild case!
 
Finally got myself back to the woods for a 30.8 mi adventure. I am calling it an adventure because once I arrived
Sorry, my fumble thumbs hit "post" inadvertantly.
I realized I had forgotten my tool kit. Headed off into the woods. Ahh it is so nice to hear nothing but silence and wildlife. I did my Daniels loop and an extra loop in the park
afterwards.
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aww poo, looks like i'm finished messing up this post!
 
Sorry, my fumble thumbs hit "post" inadvertantly.
I realized I had forgotten my tool kit. Headed off into the woods. Ahh it is so nice to hear nothing but silence and wildlife. I did my Daniels loop and an extra loop in the park
afterwards.
View attachment 158379
aww poo, looks like i'm finished messing up this post!
Well maybe not!
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just a trickle where I had previously submerged my bike.
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the only place on the trail I choose to dismount.
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a few shots along the trail.
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a nice resting spot atop the quarry.
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I'll try to keep off the ice!
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