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