Monday, December 31, 2007

Fred Shed

Many folks drove in from PA, DC, MD, and VA to the Shed for a nice Sunday ride. In all twelve travellers were greeted by a friendly local wielding some home-brewed oatmeal beverage.
It was a sub-four hour, 20 mile journey that featured a pretty even mix of climbing (3000 feet), descending, and flat sweeping terrain. The trail was occasionally interupted by great rock gardens, log-overs, and other technical features. A trail named Super-Sweet is now Super-Sweeter. A bunch of us headed into Historic Frederick to grab some food, drink, and check out my new office.
For many, it was their first riding experience in the Shed - hopefully not their last.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Touch of the Ultra-Violence

It was rainy this Sunday, Martin and I spun while watching 2007 Het Volk and then the Mark family put this together:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Franklin's Fun House

Thomas and Henry volunteered this past weekend at a "science of weather" show at the Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia. Actually, Thomas volunteered and Henry followed him up onto the stage. The meterologist was demonstrating barometric pressure with two suction cups. He removed the air and had Thomas try to pull them apart - no go. Then he lifted Thomas up - no go. He was about to let the air out and show how easy it is to separate them that way when Henry pipes in "my turn". So he lifted Henry up too and then let him pull the cups apart. The guy was very entertaining and kept the kids interested by making snow, a hot air balloon, a tornado of fire, and the show-stopper: a huge cloud. Thomas answered so many questions that I was beginning to feel self-conscious - he even clarified a couple points for the meteorologist (that the earth/ground doesn't absorb as much heat in the winter as it does during the summer). The meteorologist tracked us down after the show to give the boys an extra snow shower and say thanks.Henry got to drive a race car, they played virtual soccer, visited Newton's workshop, made their own paper, and both of them went through the gigantic beating heart that the Institute is famous for. I can remember going through the heart when I was seven or eight - great fun.

The Rant: One of the things I like most about the Franklin Institute is its decidedly non-commercial atmosphere. For starters, it's FREE. They don't have corporate sponsors for every damn exhibit trying to hock their wares and their exhibits are not designed to move product in the gift shop. Too often these days you see "museums" that feature exhibits that are as much about science and education as "Dora the Explorer" is about language acquisition. They have some cute "tour guide" for the exhibit that is available as a plush toy in the gift shop and adorns the soda cups in the snack bar. Franklin is a breath of fresh air and Ben would be proud.

Philadelphia rarely disappoints and this trip was no exception, despite poor weather, there was plenty to do, easy parking, and the usual great food options. If you have kids or are a big kid yourself - you should check it out. If you are a cyclist don't miss Cadence in Manyunk - it is to cycling what Tiffany is to jewelry.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Connector Trail

Yesterday, with its overcast skies and occasional icy precipitation virtually screamed out "trail work day". A brief morning email exchange secured a couple of willing parties who rallied shortly thereafter at my house in order to carpool out to the forest. The goal was to dial in the top of Connector, do some maintenance on Abbey, and scout alternatives to the eroded fall-line section of lower Abigail. This is the section that goes down from the intersection to Long Pine Reservoir. Specifically, the fall-line section that used to have the water bars, but is now a gulley of increasingly poor soil conditions. You can tell it's bad because of the sand bar forming at the bottom right hand turn. It is in dire need of a couple of switchbacks with coweeta dips to replace the water bar section. Martin removing a Michaux punji stick. Leaving just a sweet line and nice log to ride over. It was in the upper twenties, but you hardly noticed. Little know fact: Larry uses poultry shears to mow his lawn. When the trail is cleared it sure looks good - can't wait to ride it.We think we found some alternatives for the short eroded section of Abbey, but since it is blazed trail, we want to run it by DCNR before cutting in a switchback or two.