Monday, October 24, 2011

Golden Gate National Park S. Africa

Golden Gate

No not the one in San Francisco and we didn’t expire and go to heaven. Oh wait. That’s the Pearly Gate. Nevermind.

While in the Drakensberg mountains last year we decided to take a scenic route home and that led us to the Golden Gate National Park. Passing through it close to sunset the colors were vibrant and really lit up the sandstone cliffs as our portal through the park. Definitely coming back here we decided.

One of Sue’s school breaks, a 3 day weekend, was the perfect opportunity and probably about the right amount of time. An old adage, by Benjamin Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanac, is: “Fish and visitors smell in 3 days.” That was written in 1736 and has stood the test of time. And 3 days was just enough not to get tired of the Golden Gate area.

Golden Gate National Park was established in 1963 to protect the unique sandstone rock formations which once were shelters for the Bushmen.

More about Golden Gate Park

Our accommodations were at the Bosotho Cultural Village in the Free State area of South Africa. In his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, President Nelson Mandela expresses his feelings for the Free State as follows: ``The Free State landscape gladdens my heart, no matter what my mood. When I am here I feel that nothing can shut me in, that my thoughts can roam as far as the horizons. " Our lodge was modeled after the rondavel dwellings

While the museum and gift shop were interesting we weren’t in the mood to play tourist and pay a guide (required to visit the village). Visiting a tourist village like this makes me feel like a voyeur prying into the lives of people. Yup, I realize this is their fund raiser and I left a generous donation at the museum, but we were here for the mountains and tranquility. Then again, I confess I’ve visited Williamsburg.

The first evening was pure delight. Sitting on the deck of our lodge-room (inside was one big room comprising the kitchen, sitting and bedroom areas.) our vista was over a large meadow with Wildebeest, Springbok, and other critters way off in the background. The golden hue of the grasses with the blue sky background and the sandstone mountain range to the left was all the evening entertainment needed to be.

There is only one road through the Golden Gate area and we explored it from one end to the other with a nice diversion up a side road to a dam and view overlooking the area. We got to what was most like the area leading out of the sandstone cliffs, did a U turn, and saw a picnic area to our left when Sue says: “I think that’s Chris’ car over there.” Sure enough a couple of the teachers we knew had headed to a little town, Clarens, down the road for the week end and were exploring the area.

Backtracking we stopped at the local Glen Reenen camp area where we knew there were trailheads to the hiking trails. One looked interesting and went to the top of Brandwag rock, where just happened to be a Geocache according to some of the geocache sites I downloaded to my GPS. Score. Yup, we geocache (another word that’s a noun and verb me thinks). Won’t bore you with a long write up. You can read about geocaching and the history here.

History of Geocaching

or History of Geocaching II

Sue and I decided to trek to the top of Brandwag rock and set off with the standard supplies of some nibbles and more important water The trail wasn’t too difficult until we got right near the top where it looked as if we were staring at a straight up 30 foot wall to the top. Other hikers came and confirmed: “Yup, this is the only way to the top”. The only way was a steep incline requiring holding on to a chain railing complete with all the “use at own risk” signs.

We did it. Elevation was about 550 feet from where we started over about about 0.8 mile. Not strenuous, just a continuous hike and stop to catch your breath as the elevation here is almost 2,000 feet higher than Johannesburg (4,500 feet).

The view at the top was spectacular and everything it was advertised to be. Other hikers were either sitting enjoying the view, having a picnic lunch, or probably like us breathing a sigh of relief.

The next day we ventured out of the park toward Clarens, a village everyone said we should visit. I’ll let the “tourist bureau” wax eloquent:

The village has become know as the "Jewel of the Free State" - rich in beauty, with an aura of peace and tranquillity. Clarens is endowed with more trees than most other Free State towns - the fresh, light green willows and colourful blossoms of the many fruit trees are an unforgettable sight in spring time; whilst the magnificent autumn shades of the lombard poplars attract artists, photographers and nature lovers. The town is known for the many Art and Craft shops which offer the visitor a wide range of curios and original artwork. Another feature which adds to the picturesque atmosphere of the village is the many sandstone buildings. The popular Golden Gate National Park is located in the near vicinity of Clarens, and the area attracts many visitors. (Courtesy of Clarens Tourism)

One of the nice features of the village is that there is an actual village square, making a walk about the square visiting the various art galleries, curio shops, and whatnot stores quite an enjoyable walk. Shoulda brung me bike. The village and surrounding area looks like it would have been a nice area for an hour or so bike ride. As it were, glad we stopped.

Another one checked off the do list.

Some photos from the Golden Gate area. Click on any image to open slide show. Use the "X" on the slide show to return to blog. Don't X out your browser.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Pilanesburg, South Africa

At the beginning of each school year, there is a field trip for new teachers to sample the wilds of South Africa: Pilanesburg.

Last year as a new teacher Susan and I were treated to a set up tent, sleeping stuff, and each day a chauffered van to tour the park on a game drive. This year as no longer "newbies", we were on our own. Knowing this we brought our tent and vintage sleeping bags from the states. Vintage? Most sleeping bags today would almost fit in your back pocket. These suckers are the size of Rhode Island and then some.

Pilanesburg from the parks website: Pilanesberg Game Reserve is in the Bojanala Region of the North West Province, adjacent to Sun City. Set in the crater of a long extinct volcano, the Park ranks among the largest of the parks in South Africa (it is in fact the fourth largest park) and covers an area of 55 000 hectare.

The beauty of Pilanesberg is reflected in a large central lake, the Mankwe Dam.

Over time, wind and water have carved a spectacular landscape with rocky outcrops, open grasslands, wooded valleys and thickets.

Pilanesberg National Park accommodates virtually every mammal of southern Africa. Also home to the Big Five.

More About Pilanesburg CLICK HERE

Last year it was as if the park folks planted the big 5 right in our paths. As we entered the park there were two lions walking along a side road right towards our van. The two days ended spectacularly as we witnessed the birthing of a baby giraffe, okay maybe 42% of it. The hind legs and hind quarter were emerging and we ran out of time before the baby giraffe would drop to the ground. Later learned that if the mother giraffe doesn't help the baby get to its feet then the baby won't make it.

The best time to view game is early or late in the day, so up at 5 a.m. to be at the park entrance at opening time of 6 a.m. Each day when we thought we'd be skunked after driving and seeing nothing but springbok, wildebeast, springbok, wildebeast (yawn) all of a sudden there would be a rhino, warthog, elephant around the bend or on the side of a hill. For some reason this year, our sightings were mostly from afar unlike last year where a rhino walked within 2 feet of the van giving us the up close and personal hello.

That was until the last day as we were exiting the park. We turned a corner to find the road blocked by elephants, feeding alongside the edge. All the better was a baby elephant in the shadows of the mom. Good news. Bad news. Good to see a baby. Bad cause Mama be very protective. We had heard stories and seen photos of what an angry elephant can do to a car. Our car was to the rear of the way they were moving....we thunk. Cars on the other side suddenly started driving backwards as the herd moved down the road. Thankfully the gray giants turned left into the brush.

A peaceful two days of game viewing with restful nights under the star filled skies of the southern hemi. Twas a great start to the school year.

Click on any pic to enlarge in a separate window. Once opened, use CTRL + to further enlarge. CTRL - to vice versa.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Cafe Cirque History & BIke Ride

Q3 N2

Ride Description: Out to Cafe Cirque which used to be the winter home of the Boswell Wilkie circus. Now the location houses a cafe, circus memorabilia, and a place to host kids parties with clowns, a petting zoo, ad infinitum.

Left from the Circus and went to the "helicoper", a bunch of what not shops including an old train and helicopter.

Thought I'd get to see some model trains at the "Toy Train" store, but alas not to be. The toy store used to be housed inside a train, thus the name. The owner's daughter said yes they get a lot of people looking for trains, and then they get the explanation how her father named the store. Incredible inventory of model cars and saw some nitro RC cars on the counter for servicing. I could
easily get back into RC racing.

Did 20.9 miles so did some loops in the neighborhood to get a quarter ride (25 miles plus).

Friday, September 02, 2011

Bike To Stay Alive

Bike To Live Tips: Feel free to add comments or other tips in the Guestbook and I'll update the article.
In my first days of cycling the ride leader, known as 'Tom Guru', emphasized safety over and over and over to us 'newbies'. His mantra was 'Bike Not To Die'. After writing the following a friend suggested a better way to say this is: 'Bike To Stay Alive.' I can live with that.
These are my personal thoughts and as it goes without saying your opinion may differ.

If you have a suggestion feel free to email me at Jkeenan0407 AT yahoo DOT com or write it in the JOURNAL area for this article.

MIRRORS: Figured I'd pick this as a first thought because there are so many cyclists who don't wear a mirror and I often wonder "why not?" I think it's because of the "geek" factor and it just doesn't look cool. So about mirrors:

You can see a car long before you can hear one
By watching the front tires of the car behind you sure can tell if that sucker is starting to move over to pass ya
You wouldn't drive a car without mirrors, so why bike without 'em? (Rhetorical question!!)
Helmet or eyeglass mounted. Yup a personal preference but I've found this to be an incredible tool as by swiveling my head it's easy to scan behind me.
Use it for no other reason that it does increase your cycling safety
RIDE WITH THE TRAFFIC Simply it's the law. The other reason is that most car drivers DON'T expect you to be "there". What do I mean by "there"? One simple example is a driver pulling out of a driveway and turning right. RARELY will that driver look to the right because the driver is concerned about traffic in the normal flow, so as the driver pulls out I'll betcha dollars to donuts that you too keep looking left to make sure some speeder isn't gonna come flying down the road and "T bone ya. That means the driver isn't looking to the right, which is where a cyclist riding "facing" traffic will be. How do I know? Twice I've yelled just as a cyclist facing traffic was about to be hit.

TAKE THE ROAD (Sometimes): If you right far to the right a driver thinks "Oh, the cyclist is way over there, I've got plenty of room in my lane." This pertains to roads with no bike lanes or shoulders.

Two lane roads: IF and this is a big "IF" there is no oncoming traffic, ride about 1/3 into the lane and stay there. Now with a mirror you can monitor a car from behind. Don't use a mirror? Now it' up to you. Why 1/3 into the lane? Because if you hug the white line it's what I said above: The car stays in your lane. If you are riding about a 1/3 into the lane, that car will now move WAY over into the other lane to pass you. I've tried this numerous times as a test and it happens as me said.
Four lane roads: If with another rider or two definitely take the right lane.
Heavy traffic? I'd find a different route.
GIVE UP THE ROAD (Sometimes): Please don't preach "I have a right to ride on the road." As Tom Guru told me: "Yes, but do you want to be dead to right?" Why take a chance when there might be a much safer alternative. Examples:

Narrow two lane road with no shoulder or bike lane. BIG ol honk'n semi coming from behind me. Oh, how did I know there was a big ol honkn semi? I use a mirror (shameless plug for mirrors). Coming towards me are two dump trucks and a line of angry motorists behind the two dump trucks. So, do I just continue to ride because I have as much right as those two big freak'n dump trucks and that big ol honk'n semi behind me. Yes, but I'm going to pull over, move my bike about 2 feet off the road, smile and wave that semi on by. I know I'll live to bike another day.
Busy road with bike/pedestrian path on the side and the road has no shoulder or bad drop offs because of a lousy paving job, etc. Example: Old Cutler Road is a major road here in Miami. There is a a nice wide bike lane about 4 feet to the side of the road. My first week end in Miami I see cyclists on Old Cutler Road. So I tried it my first ride. Do you know how close cars come at 45 to 50 mph because the road has a double yellow line and there is often a lot of traffic coming the other way? Right. Beaucoup. So instead of doing 16 to 18 mph on the road, I do 13 to 15 mph on the seldom used bike path. This week end just for the heck of it, I'm going to count how many cars go by in oh about 10 minutes
I want to live to bike another day. I give up the road sometimes even if I have the right.

STOP at STOP SIGNS (okay..mostly!!): This is mostly for four way stop sign intersections. Don't assume because you're there first that the car approaching is going to stop. NOT always!. Try to make eye contact so the driver knows you're going to move. Yah, most of us do rolling stops, me included. But when it comes to a four way stop and there's a car looking like it might be there after me, I stop, wave the car on. Why? Cause then I know THAT car can not hit me.

DON'T ASSUME The phrase has spoketh many times:ASSUME and it makes an ASH out of U and ME!! So......

Don't assume that approaching car won't make a left turn in front of you because there is no turn signal.
Don't assume that car making the left turn WITH the signal on actually sees you.
Don't assume those folks at the cross walk will obey the light and won't step in front of you
Don't assume as you approach an intersection that the jerk in a hurry to make a left hand turn won't cut the corner over your path
Don't assume because you've got a green light that the car approaching from your right will stop. '
Don't assume that cyclist you're passing knows you are there. An "on yer left" can prevent YOU going down. Your front wheel gets touched and skip to the TURTLE lesson.
Don't assume anything. At all times practice VIGILANCE.
MENTALLY PRACTICE THE TURTLE There is a known fact with avid cyclists: It isn't if you will fall down, it's when will you fall down." Or as someone said: "Bikes are not built to stand up by themselves." At some point in your cycling life you just might "go down".

So mentally practice "What if".

What if I hit a rock?
What if I have a blow out?
What if my front brake locks up?
What if I don't see that gaping pothole?
The TURTLE can help you, so think about doing it the moment you start to fall. So many broken hands, wrists, arms, collar bones are because the first instinct is to put out a hand to stop/cushion/ward off the fall. Not Good. Bad. Bad. Bad.

Instead: TURTLE immediately when you start to go down.

What's TURTLE? Glad you asked

Ball up your fists.
Cross right balled fist to left shoulder.
Cross left balled fist to right shoulder.
Tuck chin deep into chest.
Hold that pose
What this does is to roll your shoulders forward. Go ahead. Try it. The chin tuck protects your face. Hey, that's a nice face. No need to leave it on the asphalt. The rolling of your shoulders exposes the fatty area to the fall and could cushion the impact possibly preventing breakage.

I can attest to the TURTLE saving my face and head. If you're curious email and I'll be glad to give you a second by second hand account. I believe the TURTLE twice saved me serious injury.

STAY AWAY FROM THE LIGHT Nope not the light for out of body experiences, although riding into this light could cause that.

Stay out of riding into a low rising/setting sun. When you're in a car and you're driving into one of those low sunrises or sunsets, got the visor down, your hand shielding your eyes, and still it's dang hard to see. That is the light I mean.

In Florida, I've read of at least 3 maybe 4 deaths of cyclists commuting to work and you know what the driver is going to say: "I just didn't see the cyclist. The sun glare was so strong."

What to do? I'd find a different route or I'd be on the sidewalk cycling wherever I have to go at a pace that allows me to react to driveways, turning cars, etc. Yah, I know: The sidewalk? Given that or riding directly into sun glare, I'll take the sidewalk and take it easy.

The light could lead to permanent darkness. That is definitely not good.

So those are some ways I BIKE TO STAY ALIVE. Your thoughts or suggestions in the Journal most welcome.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reasons Not To Get A Recumbent

Reposted from Sue's webpage:

Reasons to not get a bent!
Surely there are reasons to not get a recumbent bicycle. Since I started in as a rider of a standard bicycle, I feel qualified to suggest excuses for not getting a recumbent so you can resist the urge to purchase one!

If you ride for 20 miles, your butt lets you know that you have ridden a long ride, not like a on wimpy recumbent when you can ride for fifty miles and have no soreness at all.

When you visit a restaurant after a 15 mile ride, you will walk to accommodate the chaffing. Thus it's obvious to the other restaurant patrons that you are a real athlete and must have ridden at least a 'half century'. Compare to the bent rider who rides a half century and walks as if she or he has just been sitting in a car!

Since you wear out bike shorts on a standard bike every couple of months, this gives you an excuse to buy lots of pairs in the latest style. The poor 'bent rider who never wears out bike shorts must find another excuse to buy new ones!

You will continue to pay a large gasoline bill - this helps the companies like Mobil and Chevron to stay in business. Compare to the bent rider who finds it easy to take his/her bike everywhere and pays $25 to $50 a month less in auto fuel. This is not good for the gasoline companies.

You will never have trouble logging too many miles on your bike. Your butt, thighs and private parts will remind you it's time to quit. Compare to those addictive recumbent riders who spend time on their bikes instead of at useful tasks like watching TV.

You will find it easier to cross train because riding an upright bike is not all that comfortable. Compare to the poor bent rider whose bike sings to him/her after a day off of it!

You won't have people bugging you about 'What a cool bicycle that is'. Compare to the bent rider who must keep a supply of cards from the bent dealers to hand out to all their admirers.

When you are out on your bike, your face will be intense (from the pain) and you will look like an athlete. Compare to the 'bent rider who usually has the "recumbent grin" on his or her face.
Hope this has helped you to resist the desire to buy a recumbent. If it hasn't, oh well, succumb to your lower desires and enjoy life more!

Article by SueW

Return to Sue's Recumbent Biking Page

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The String Be Broken

Twenty six days. A new personal record of number of days ridden in a row, but I didn't make my goal of 31 days of cycling in May.

Truth be told, burn out got to me. Unlike someone who commutes, I didn't have to bike anywhere.

I woke up Saturday, May 22nd, to a cold, gray day and there was no fire burning either in the fireplace or me. Kept looking outside and said, "I should go ride. Just 6 miles." The lips moved; the body did not.

Unlike where I live in Oregon where there are myriad places to cycle and explore, here in Johannesburg my cycling mostly is around and around the condo complex. Truth be told: It's exercise.

I'll fudge it. No one will know. Oh wait. Someone will know: Me.

I decided to take a break and instead of riding my bike, I picked up a book.

Time to exercise the mind.

The body will just have to wait its turn.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

15 Best Cycling Cities, etc.

JoeNote: Reprinted from

Where in the world would you go to take a spin in the world's most bicycle friendly cities?

The Matador Travel website recently came up with a suggested list of 15 cities. Five are in the good old U.S. of A., but not all are at the top of the League of American Bicyclists list of "platinum-level" bike friendly cities.

I usually enjoy looking at published lists of "best" bike rides, ... cities, ... trails, ... states, ... parks, ... regions. It gives me a chance to think of great places to ride my bicycle or wonder what the hell the list author was thinking about.

For the most part, the Matador list seems pretty straight forward. Here are the 15 and their justifications:


Amsterdam, The Netherlands -- Total support of bicycling
Barcelona, Spain -- Popular bike share program
Berlin, Germany -- 400,000 bike commuters daily
Copenhagen, Denmark -- One-third of workforce rides bike to work
Paris, France -- Largest bike-share system on Earth

North America

Boulder, Colorado -- (Platinum) 15% of transportation budget goes to making streets better for cyclists
Chicago, Illinois --(Silver) Former Mayor Richard Daley supported bikes with infrastructure and laws
Davis, California -- (Double platinum) More bikes than cars in the college town; both city and campus are platinum-level bicycle friendly
Ottawa, Canada -- 105 miles of bike paths help make it Canada's top bike-commute city
Portland, Oregon -- (Platinum) Highest rate of bike commuting in US, great support from city hall
San Francisco, California -- (Gold) Efforts to make bicycling more safe pay off

The other continents

Beijing, China -- Although car use on rise, bicycles still rule
Cape Town, South Africa -- Making bicycles acceptable with bike lanes and parking
Bogata, Colombia -- Home of weekly, car-free Ciclovia events
Perth, Australia -- More than 400 miles of bike routes

Five best trails

Digging around on the Matador website, I stumbled across a list of the five best urban trails published last year in Men's Journal. Here it is as an added bonus for readers who lasted 'til the end of the story:

Atlanta: Silver Comet Trail
Boston: Minuteman Bikeway
Chicago: Chicago Lakefront Bike Path
Northern Virginia: Mount Vernon Trail
Sacramento: Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail (American River trail)

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Day 3 to 30 of 30 Days of Cycling

See no sense in posting every day for a "one topic" blog, eh? So I'll just update this every day.

MAY 14 Shopping Center Exploration

A Northern Farm MTB ride because there's no way I'm doing bike rides on the Joburg tarmac.

MAY 13 Shopping Center Exploration
A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, "Why are you riding your bicycles?"

The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying the sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!" The teacher praised the first student, "You are a smart boy! When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over like I do."

The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path!" The teacher commended the second student, "Your eyes are open, and you see the world."

The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant nam myoho renge kyo." The teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel."

The fourth student replies, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all sentient beings." The teacher was pleased, and said to the fourth student, "You are rising on the golden path of non-harming."

The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle." The teacher sat at the feet of the fifth student and said, "Ahh… I am your student!"

7.2 Miles of neigborhood meandering with a new discovery Le Tart Patisserie. Scarfed down a coconut cake and cappucino.

MAY 12 Shopping Center Exploration
Another explore the nearby shopping centers ride. Did not discover any noteworthy places but did decide that the next time I'm bringing money for the Fournos Bakery -- awesome display of treats including pecan pie. That and a cup of java will do nicely.

MAY 11 Shopping Center Exploration
Another Loops du LoneHill Village

MAY 10 Shopping Center Exploration

A ride to two local shopping centres on a just explore ride. Meandered around the parking lot dodging cars backing out and of course not expecting a cyclist.

Always amazed at how much more you see on a bike. Such as.......

  • A 'tack' shop in the middle of suburbia. Not the kind of saddle me needs.
  • A massage location. Upon inquiry I found I could get a bit more than a massage.
  • A Kooking school. Got a business card as they teach Thai cooking. Might sign up but the place looked really worn down.
  • Chinese restaurant. Was looking for one close to home. Score
  • Bistros. A number of outdoor bistros if I'm in the mood for a latte.
  • Garden store with some of the wierdest "cat trees" I've ever seen. Need to go back for a pic.
  • Nice pizza parlor. Might be my lunch stop in a few days.

  • MAY 9

    Toyota Mountain Bike Park for a few hours of riding the singletrack. Dumb rookie mistake: NEVER lean forward and hit the front brake going downhill. Result: Header!! Couple of nicks and bruises.

    One thought: If you're not wearing a helment when mountain biking, you're not just dumb, you're stoopid. Glad I had the helmet because I did see stars for a few there.

    GPS bombed out for some reason cause my cyclo shows 11.7 (s)miles.

    MAY 8

    Northern Farm mountain bike trails. A bodacious day for what's supposed to be a winter com'n on here in Sud Afrika.

    Didn't go with the club as me just wanted to spin and grin. I did.

    MAY 7

    Northern Farm mountain bike ride on the easier trails. In a "don't wanna do this, but I better" cycling mood.


    Short ride to find a geocache, one I missed finding some time ago. Then some riding around the neighborhood to get me 10 (s)miles.

    Geocache? Glad you asked. From the geocache site: "Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online." This is a great "on bike" way to see different areas of a city or find off the beaten track historial and geographical treasures in addition to the cache itself.

    Todays' cache was simple PNG (Park and Grab). You can read about the cache here but like I said, it's pretty simple.

    Usually I look for geocaches that will take me some place interesting, or to some place with historical or local significance. Other times, like today it's just an excuse to bike somewhere and have a fun thingy to do.

    Uh oh. Don't know if I slept wrong or pushed over the week end but the back said: "Hey, I'm still here. Remember me? I can cause you a LOT of pain. Here, let me show you what I mean."

    So I just did a spin and grin around the complex. Glad I live in a very nice looking, well kept place. It's a mix of folks who own, rent, lease, etc. Signs always up outside during the week end for open house, but it's called "Free Show" here.

    Some pics from the ride. The next to last being my abode...2nd door in. It's getting to be ol' man winter here, but feels more like Sister Spring.

    May 3 EASY PEASEY I:
    As ye may know, there's not a lot of safe places to cycle by one's self so there will be a number of these days called "Lone Village Tour du Loops". Simply I go round and round the roadways inside the gated high walled electric wired complex. Each loop is about 1 kilometer.

    So all these rides in the future will simply be labled "Easy Peasey" with no write up unless something really eventful happened, like about a week ago I watched two cars collide even though there's a big parabolic mirror and each could easily have seen the other. Must have been the ol' "I didn't see him".
  • Monday, May 02, 2011

    May 2, 2011: Day 2 of 30 Cycling Days

    With a cold dreary morning I wasn't too keen (bad pun) on cycling today, but around 10 the good ol' sol popped out of the clouds.

    It's a holiday in South Africa: May 1st is "Workers Day" but because it fell on a Sunday, they holiday is today, Monday. So workers day is a non working day. Good for mountain biking because the "Nothern Farm" is open only on week ends and holidays.

    Very few folks at the farm. I was always wonder: "What if I do a header and there's no one come by to claim the body until the next week end?"

    A good workout for a scant 8.2 miles but it's off road and singletrack. My bod says 1 mile of hilly singletrack is 4 to 5 miles of easy peasy road cycling.

    Day 2 in the books.

    Love for saving tracks. Drag your cursor along either the route or profile to see what's up....or down.

    Sunday, May 01, 2011

    May 1 1st Day of 30 Cycling Days

    Day 1 of 30 days of cycling somewhere. This one was easy as the Johannesburg Mountain Bike Club was riding at Northern Farm, one of my nearby mountain bike haunts. BUT I was still suffering from jet lag and didn't make the 7:30 start.

    I did haul myself to the farm and after me ride met up with the JMBC folks for coffee and fuel for the body and mind.

    Winter is sneaking up on Joburg only today it didn't pounded on the door, barged in and shouted: I'm here!!"

    Miles 12.6
    time 1:25

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    30 Days of Biking: Thanks Kent

    I headed over to read Kent Peterson's blog. He was up to April 28th of his Bike 30 Days challenge, which began April 1st.

    Click here to go to Kent's Blog--> Kent's Bike Blog

    Sidebar Rant: I hate BLOG posting order. It's all backwards!! There's no index. Unless you read a blog everyday where do you start? So let me help: Scroll down to April 1st of Kent's blog and read backwards!!! Okay...scroll UP.

    I'm living in Johannesburg where road cycling is nutz. Kent lives in Issaquah Washington which looks to be an idyllic place to bike. So here's what I will do: I will bike each day for the next 30 days and see to where can I bike safely from 235 Lonehill "surrounded by high walls topped with electric wire and two gates to go through for security" Estate in Fourways, Johannesburg, Sud Afrika.

    Day 1 is May Day.

    Let the 30 days commence.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Just A Bike

    On the morning of April 15th, I had one of those "this can’t be happening" moments. As I opened the interior house door to the garage, my self said: "Self, the garage door is open." That’s weird. Glancing over where my bike should be, there was no bike. My mind kept saying: "There is supposed to be a yellow modified for travel V-Rex leaning against the work bench." My self kept saying "It’s not there." My mind: "Are you sure? Look again."

    No matter how many times I looked my bike was stolen. Gone. It just isn’t there.

    Told myself: "It’s just a bike."

    With a kick in my gut feeling all day I did the stolen bike thing:
    Called police to file a police report
    Printed out flyers with a pic to all bike stores.
    Called pawn shops.
    Posted flyers along the typical cycling paths.
    Kept looking where my bike was hoping it would magically appear.

    Kept telling myself: "It’s just a bike."

    All day long whenever that empty feeling punched me in the gut: "It's just a bike."

    Wait a minute. I’ve had this bike for over twelve years. Then I started remembering.

    It’s not just a bike. It was my Conestoga Wagon on Ragbrai ferrying me from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River. Okay, so Conestoga wagons went from east to west. Small details. I crossed the expanse of Iowa on my bike passing cornfields, alfalfa fields, and easily recognizable from a long way off hog farms. It blazed trails for me.

    It’s not just a bike. In North Dakota it was my trusty horse galloping by fertile farmlands and wheat crops and across rolling grasslands. It showed me the big sky, the Red River Valley and the Drift Prarie.

    It’s not just a bike. In New York, it was my packet boat and I was the horse power trudging along passing locks and lift bridges. It helped me explore old canal side towns, including the birthplace of the Colt revolver, something I’d love to show right now to the bike thief.

    It’s not just a bike. Living in Qatar it was my Dromedary Taxi, taking me across the desert and showing me the Khor al Adaid ("Inland Sea") along the Persian Gulf.

    It’s not just a bike. In Shanghai, it was my own Orient Express. Small bother that the Orient Express never went to Shanghai, because the Orient Express has come to symbolize intrigue and luxury travel. Hey, it’s a ( was) a recumbent and trust me, that’s luxurious when cycling 200kms: no pain.

    It’s not just a bike. When I was working in Florida it was my Ponce DeLeon exploration ship, taking me up and down the eastern coast in search of my own fountain of youth. Yes, cycling keeps the kid in ya. No question.

    One thing is for sure: It's not "just a bike".

    Stolen Bike: Miami FL April 14, 2011

    This be the stolen bike. Hopefully someone will see it and email me at JKeenan0407 AT yahoo DOT com.

    Saturday, March 26, 2011

    Ride With GPS Site

    Hope these guys make it. Two students from my home state Oregon have created a site for creating routes, rides, etc. that can be used in multiple places: GPS units, shared, embedded,etc.

    The site is Ride With GPS or
    Ride With GPS Website

    From their website: What is Ride With GPS?
    We created Ride With GPS to help cyclists plan bike rides and find routes in their area. We offer cuesheets, exportable routes for turn by turn directions on Garmin GPS units and live elevation profiles with grade information. Users can upload their ride and see graphs of elevation, heart rate, cadence and power. Signup and try our site today!

    Here's an example. I've used the embed code to show the route and profile on this blog.