Monday, March 23, 2009

on vacation

I won't be biking for a few weeks as I'm on vacation.  

Friday, March 20, 2009

mar 20

It was a brisk 22 degrees F at 7:53 am, but the winds were calm so it was very pleasant.  And the birds make it very interesting.  So many sounds, so many birds.  I must have seen a hundred robins.   I finally appreciate this time of year when there are no leaves on the trees because you can see more birds.  I used to think it was the ugly time of year with the brown grass and leafless trees.  Here's the start of the bike path.

On the way home I rode by the lake.  Temperature was 31 F and winds 8 mph from the SE.  There's lots of open water now, by the shore line anyway:

The ducks like to hang out at the boundary between the water and ice.  I wonder why.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

mar 19

I went to a different exercise class so left later than usual.  Temperature was a cool 34 degrees F at 9:15 am, winds from the north at 10 mph.  I dropped my car off for an oil change so started one large block east of the bike path.  Here's the view of my usual start of the bike path across the field:

And here's the bike path where I caught it 1 large block north.  

On the way home, temperature was still a cool 36 degrees F, winds 7 mph from the NW.  I saw the bird making the noise I've been trying to identify--red wing blackbird.  So now I know 3 birdcalls.  That's 3 more than I used to know.   Oh, I took my winter bike into the bike shop for a tune up.    I should have taken a before picture.   

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

mar 18

Another lovely spring day (Wisconsin style).  Temperature was 35 F at 7:53 am, winds calm, skies mostly clear, birds chirping away.  I remembered one bird song but couldn't find it on the website I've been checking.   On the way home after just a small batch of groceries (compared to Monday), temperature was up to 48 F, winds 5 mph from the NW, so a slight tailwind.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

mar 17

The temperature was 49 degrees F at 6:53 am!  I was a little late because I had to find warmer clothes to wear than my usual.  Winds were SSW at 9 mph.  Here's the start of the bike path about 5 minutes before sunrise (sunrise is now 7:05 am):

The third quarter moon is at its high-point in the sky at sunrise (like noon for the sun):

I was riding a little bit faster than this train, and I took it's picture in motion:

At the gym, I finally see the sun.

On the way home at 8:53 am, temperature was 51 F, winds 11.5 mph from the SSW.  A bit of a headwind for the last half but not bad on my fast bike.  My bike ride is 10 minutes shorter than it was with the other bike on the snow.

The bike path on the long stretch behind Olbrich gardens is great for birds.  I never appreciated this before.  I can now recognize two bird calls (I'm a newbie).  I heard a cardinal, and looked up and there it was:

I heard a chickadee but haven't seen it yet.  They are all over the place though.  And the robins are a dime a dozen now:

This one was singing too but it will take a few times before I remember it's song.

Monday, March 16, 2009

mar 16

Today was a lovely spring day.  Temperature was only 34 F at 7:53 but it was up to 52 F for my ride home!  Winds were calm on the ride out and 7 mph from the SSE on the way home.   The birds were noisy.  I saw another robin and one later in the afternoon.  Here's the start of the bike path (got to record the change of seasons):

Lately, my pattern has been to go to yoga class on MWF and stop at the grocery store on the way home, as it's a short walk away from the yoga studio.  My refrigerator was pretty empty so I had a lot of things on my list.   I was a little worried in the store wondering if I could carry all this stuff home.  But these bike bags are amazing.  Here they are after I got home.  Looks like I could have fit more in:

And here's my bootie:

There's a 5-lb bag of carrots in there, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, broccoli sprouts, a leek, frozen peas, bell peppers, beets, nuts, and tons of greens (a lb of spinach, lettuce, and arugula!).   and sunglasses, wallet and bike locks.  and there were grapes too but they got eaten already.

Friday, March 13, 2009

mar 13

Oh, it's Friday the 13th.  That explains my day.  no no no, I'm a rational person and don't believe in that stuff.  It was 19 degrees F, winds 5 mph from the South, at 7:53 am when I left for yoga.   The start of the bike path:

It was mostly clear this morning.  Temperature was 25 F for my ride home at 10:30 am, winds 9 mph from the South.  Listening to the birds adds a great new dimension to my ride now.  I'm glad I rode my bike this morning because I ended up not leaving the house the rest of the day.  That was not the plan but things came up.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

mar. 12

I was prepared with a bad attitude because I didn't sleep well, it was cold and windy, which meant I had to wear my goggles, and I was still mad about daylight savings time this morning.  But it wasn't so bad.  It wasn't too dark, it was mostly clear, the full moon was up, about to set as the sun rose, I was on the fast bike, and the birds were plentiful and fun to listen to.  Nope, wasn't bad at all.  Temperature was 5 degrees F with winds 6 mph from the North at 6:53 am.  Sunrise was 7:15 am.  Here's the moon in the western sky:

The start of the bike path about 7 am:

The moon about to set:

Sunrise at the gym:

And another robin!

He/she was very cooperative about posing for me but I took a bunch of stupid shots without her in it.  That's because I'm old and can't see things up close (i.e., the camera display).  I should have looked through the viewfinder.  Lesson learned.  Temperature was up to 8 F with winds 6 mph from the NNE on the way home.  Still a bit nippy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

mar. 11

Brrrrr.  Temperature was 10 degrees F, winds 17 gusting to 25 mph when I left at 7:50 am.  Wind chills were below 0.  So I wore the goggles as it was a headwind for the first part of the route.  At least the sun was shining.  And I was on the fast bike so it wasn't any harder than riding in snow.   But the exciting news is:
I saw my first robin of the season!

I gave up flying airplanes last year and decided to replace it with bird watching.  Kind of a big change and I don't know anything about bird watching.  But I've realized the morning bike ride is a great time to do bird listening because it's pretty quiet on the path.  So I listen for a few distinctive calls (that's all I can remember) and then when I get home, I check them out on a website.  I still don't know what yesterday's is, and I heard 2 today.  All three of these are very familiar and common.  The only one I maybe found from listening to the website recordings was a chickadee.  I'll have to take a birder friend on a bike ride and have her tell me what I'm hearing.

On the way home winds were 12 mph gusting to 23 and it was a tailwind.  yea!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

mar. 10

Ugh! It's 6:50 am, and very dark. This is partly because of the clouds and light rain. But mainly because it's 30 minutes before sunrise. This was a bit hard to take. I feel like I worked at getting that sun to rise earlier, even though it's really the earth and sun doing the work. But still, I was there, every morning, watching the sun rise earlier until finally it rose before my bike ride started. I felt victorious. And now we're back to darkness. Not only that, but it's hard to adjust to the time change. I wish we didn't change at all. Oh well, I will have to try to find the silver lining. Here's the start of the bike path, in slightly more light. The flash is reflecting off of rain drops. It could be worse though. It rained a lot last night and we're supposed to get a wind storm tonight. So this is something of a break in the weather. Temperature was 38 degrees F, winds ESE at 10 mph.

Starkweather creek is full after the rains this weekend and last night.

There were a lot of birds making noises. One is back in town, first time I heard it this spring, and it has a pretty song and it's very common, but I don't know what it is. I even went on some web sites and listened to songs of all kinds of birds in Wisconsin and couldn't find it. I'll eventually figure it out.
The ride home was foggy in light drizzle, but pleasant at 11 am. Temperature was 39 F, winds were 8 mph from ESE. I was riding my white (fast) bike so the winds weren't a bother.

Monday, March 9, 2009

mar 9

We had rain yesterday followed by a light dousing of snow and cold temperatures leading to a nice snow/ice coating on everything this morning.  So it was back to the studded tires.  Biking with studded tires is a lot easier than walking on this stuff.   Temperature was 25 degrees F with calm winds and dissipating fog when I left.  Fog and calm winds go together so it makes for good riding as long as it's not thick fog.   Here's a picture from my drive way.  The sun has moved north substantially in the last month.  It used to rise to the right of that house by my trees (see this post).  We just started daylight savings time so the sun rose at 7:20 am.  It's now about 7:50 am:

The ice coating was pretty.

The birds weren't so noisy today.  They seem to be noisiest about an hour after sunrise.  

Someone left a message for us (I love y'all).  I'll assume it was for all of us.

On the way home, the temperature was 33 F with winds still calm.  A lovely ride.

Friday, March 6, 2009

mar. 6

Today was a glorious ride, as there were many signs of spring.  Soon, the snow will be gone.  Today was yoga day so I left at 7:50 am and the temperature was 39 degrees F, with winds 5 mph from the WNW.  It was a big foggy, or hazy as the fog was dissipating. 
Here's the start of the bike path:

The birds were very noisy along the bike path, much more than last week.  The sun poked through the thin layer of lifting fog.  

It cleared up during class.   What is this Sysco truck doing parked on Willy St.?  Delivering to a restaurant I guess.  If I ever get the time and energy I would like to research where restaurant food comes from.  I think the "fresh" guacamole and salsa comes from Mexico, delivered by Sysco.  And quite a lot of other prepared foods are made by them, at facilities, where?  It all seems kind of weird to me.  

I stopped at the grocery store, as usual, and then the bike shop where I got new pedals.  This is a liberating experience for me.      Here are the new pedals:

and here is what they replaced.   One side is a regular pedal and the other has clips for specially made shoes to clip into:

I've been told for the past 28 years that toe clips are good and any biker worth their salt (whatever that means) should have them because they give you more power and speed.  So I used them.  And my feet got numb and hurt very badly--for the last 28 years of bike riding.   Did I have more power and speed?  sure.  I was still the slowest one around, but now instead of riding 11 mph, maybe I was riding 11.2 mph?  woo hoo.    It's amazing how we will follow advice and common wisdom, even when it causes us pain, when we really don't have to!   
Anyway, in addition to having my new pedals, it was a lovely ride home in the spring air and sunshine, with a light tailwind.  In fact, now that I think about it, I'm glad I ride slowly because that delays my arrival home where work begins.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

mar. 5

Today at 6:53 am the temperature was 39 degrees F.  That's what I like to see!  Winds were from the south at 9 mph.  So that's a partial tailwind on the first half of the ride, partial headwind on the last (I go northwest and then southwest).  Same goes for the ride home, partial tailwind on the first half, partial headwind on the last (northeast, then southeast).  I came straight home after exercise class.  At 9 am, temperature was 43 F!  Winds 11.5 mph from the south.  The ride was easy on my faster bike.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

mar 4

Today we finally got some March weather.  It was 28 degrees F, winds 10.4 mph from the south when I left for my yoga class at 7:50 am. very nice.  Here's the start of the bike path:

There were many birds behind Olbrich gardens.  It was a lot noisier than previously.
The Yahara river looked particularly nice in the sunlight and the picture doesn't do it justice:

On the way home I did my usual stop at the grocery store.   There was a visitor duck on the Yahara river.  Unfortunately I couldn't get very close.  He was different from the rest.  He dove under water for long periods.  And he was whiter.  I was wondering if he was a loon.

At 10:50 am, temperature was now up to 34 F, winds 16 mph from the south, so a bit of a headwind on the final couple of miles but it wasn't too bad.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mar. 3 ride

It was still a bit nippy out this morning with temperature 5 degrees F and calm winds at 6:53 am.  So I wore the goggles again.  But it was a very nice ride in the peaceful morning.  And I got to ride my newer bike, without the studded tires!   I did this partly because I was late and I was thinking the paths might be clear enough to ride the faster bike.  Our street is always worse than any other part of my route, and that is mostly clear now.  My guess was correct and the entire path was clear for a fast ride on my white bike:

the start of the bike path:

Starkweather creek is frozen again after this latest cold snap:

I went to campus after my exercise class.   The ride home is nice, as I go by Monona Bay, where the ice fishermen were out (biking in winter is no crazier than that),

and Lake Monona, where the monsters are still out:

The ice at the edges form nice shapes, especially later in the spring after a few thaws and refreezings.

It warmed up in the afternoon to 28 degrees F, winds 11.5 mph from the SSE when I rode home at 4:30 pm.