Saturday, March 14, 2009

NBG Maps Document First Eagle Ride on the Loop!

Finally had the presence of  mind to run today's ride through the amazing mapping web that Grey Lowell created for us last year. As such then, here is THE ROUTE I did today. I had not been using this interface to put my rides on line because it is not GPS enabled yet and only runs in Firefox or Safari (anyone want to help get it on IE?). But you  know what? It was a lot of fun seeing my ride flow on to the Google map as I pointed and clicked with my mouse cursor! Instead of letting the GPS unit denote the roads I rode on to the map as I then went on to the next thing, I got to savor where I went as it also helped me understand where I had been a whole lot better.

It is also easy and fast to use once you get the hang of it. To map your own rides, go to and click  on the banner at the top that reads 'Help Map the National Bicycle Greenway'. There is an instructional video there as well as a 'How to' guide to get you going. Look for this site to really start humming as we use it to document my ride across the US!!

As for my ride, I finally got the Eagle out on the famous Loop today. The Loop is a term that applies to those rides that leave Palo Alto, travel through its hills and bring you back to where  you started. They can be as little as fifteen or so miles  in length or as much as, I think I've heard somewhere in the 60's. Probably the most popular loop involves the three plus mile long Portola  Rd.

Being a Saturday morning, Palo Alto's cyclists (as well as those who live in nearby cities) were out in force. I'd day I  saw maybe 500 road riders over a several hour period. WoW!  Nor did it matter that I got passed by almost all of them. I was content that with  this new seat, I rode far more comfortably and strong. Even though this was my longest  ride to date  on the Eagle at 27 miles, all my butt and genital problems seem to have quieted down!! Yahoo. Any time that I even noticed them, I brought the attention back to my pedaling effort. And because I am now connected as I showed you yesterday and the day before, my confidence is on the uptick!

The bike lanes today were wide. The few  cars were patient. The road surface was excellent. And the sparsely populated lands seemed to have a healing quality to them.

As bike rider after bike rider passed me, most with some form of kudos for my effort, I began to understand why I had had such a hard time getting local roadies to ride the Busycle.It suddenly became easy for me to understand why this was something local road cyclists (of which most are unlike Santa Cruz where mountain biking and fixed gear cycling are preferred) would not want to give up as its memory and the endorphin rush that resulted would easily carry them through the day and for many, an entire week. Being Car Free and someone who does not generally do recreational ("training") rides, I am now finally able to understand how local cyclists are able to sit at lights or in gridlock behind the steering wheel of a car. They drug themselves with the Loop!

I know I was feeling good all over by the time I got to Whole Foods in Los Altos and had a breakfast of granola and soy milk in a large cup.  As I thought about my ride, it dawned on me that  if I had moved here to Palo Alto across the Bay instead of to Santa Cruz across the Coast Range, I would likely have felt justified and called to be a part of this alluring road bike culture where cars are still an accepted part of one's lifestyle. And yet there again, I spent all my time in the gym rebuilding my body instead of on the bike road. At any rate, I still have to applaud guys like Chris Carlsson up in San Francisco  who wanted to keep biking even though his environment did not support it. Chris is one of the founders of  Critical Mass where like on Portola Rd where the 40 cyclists at a time that would occasionally pass me owned the road, Chris figured out how to do that in a city teeming with automobiles.

With the above in  mind, I challenge anyone to tell me of a place where there are more road cyclists on the roads year round.  Or does it not seem to make sense that all this happens in one of the best bike cities in America as judged by the League of American Bicyclists?

      THX 4 all of U!!  

btw: Paul Ferguson, pictured above, wants me to stop in when I get to Stemboat Springs

Note: This ride is not about me but it is a celebration of all the people who have helped me get back to wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. This as I stand on the shoulders of giants to enjoy the privilege of riding this bike, the only Eagle in active use west of the Mississippi ...

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