Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hoppy New Beer!

As The Man himself once said, "Are we gonna ride, or are we gonna talk about riding?"

Well, today we rode. Eight of us set out to do the West Side's Best Ride from Thorntons, 20 minutes late (as usual -- but we were waiting for a motorcycle guy who's name I think is Allan; he discovered that he had no headlights, and left Thorntons to check at NAPA for a solution... alas, that was at 12:45).

Here's Dan, Michele and Ed, on our first stop @ Old Charlotte and Sam's Creek.

Michele and Norm with some of the scoots lined up at Grumpy's (Wiley Pardue & TN-250).

Richard was pretty happy with the ride.

Michele stowing or un-stowing something at Grumpy's. That SYM Fiddle II is their family's 4th scooter!  How cool is her GoGo Gear jacket?

Franck does some Twittering...?  :)

The fire tower across from Grumpy's.

Have a Happy, Safe New Year's!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Xbox!

Okay, now the narrative for the previous two video posts, etc.  ;)

At 53°F, how could one not ride on Xbox Day?  I had found on Google Maps a way to cut a couple of miles off the more boring parts of the "West Side's Best Ride," which meant taking Old Sam's Creek Road instead of Gibbs/Old Charlotte to (new) Sam's Creek. It's a damned good thang I decided to ride and check it out before inviting anyone else to try that ride with me, as you will see, shortly.

I started this ride today about 2 p.m., leaving from Thorntons, as I usually do. When planning a ride, a gas station is an excellent place to start, so people with tiny gas tanks can fill up before starting the adventure.  ;)  As you can see, we're flirting with $3/gallon gasoline, here.

I picked up where the last video left off, on Sears Road, after descending into the gorgeous valley into which it leads from Old Charlotte Pike, early on. I'll skip the maps unless someone in comments asks for them -- I was going to add them in the videos, but opening Photoshop while also running the video editing software was risky, and would have at least required another reboot or two.

Here's where we left off, previously, so this is the starting point for the first video.

Ah, my poison of choice!  24oz. Busch cans... 2/$2.50 at the Daily's. Most of last year, Pilot had them 2/$2. I think I have seen this particular style of can before, but never for purchase... maybe blaze orange for hunting season?  Ha.  This happened to be discarded in the grass right next to the bike on Gibbs Rd. as I was prepping the camera. Damned litterbugs. I picked it up and stowed it for proper recycling.

Anyway, I rode the ride, and shot the two videos in the last two posts -- Sears Road, and Gibbs Road. That gives you a general feel for how fun the overall ride is, but at the end of the Gibbs Road shoot, I checked, and the camera was complaining of low batteries. So, I shut it off, packed it up, and vowed to come back with more batteries and a fresh SD card to try to get the Wiley Pardue Road bit at some future date.

I decided to double back, and check out the piece of the ride I wanted to see about as a potential improvement to the "West Side's Best Ride" -- Old Sam's Creek Road (new Sam's Creek is pretty danged boring, if more efficient). Holy crap:

The end of Old Sam's Creek that empties onto new Sam's Creek looked to be a little rough -- lots of asphalt patching, pretty narrow, etc. So before commiting it to the official route, I wanted to ride it to make sure it wasn't going to be more trouble than it would be worth for a group ride. I'm glad I did -- less than a mile from turning off Sam's Creek Road, I encountered the above.

The left side looked passable from the first photo's perspective, so I rolled down the obviously washed-out road to get a better look. Nope -- there was at least 6" of water covering various bits of creek detritus, among a bed of broken asphalt, hard limestone and shale. I pondered for a few minutes, laughing, and decided against trying to ford the ersatz creek. Even as close to home as I was, and as warm as it was, it would suck having to ride back home with wet feet, even. Not gonna risk it. So, back the way I came:

An important lesson for those who want to plan an awesome group ride: Ride the route first, always.

On the way home, I encountered a downed Honda crotch-rocket of very recent vintage (an Xbox present, perhaps?) at the intersection of Little Pond Creek Road and Pond Creek Road. I stopped to ask if they needed help, but the squid and his riding partner (always a good idea) had it all in hand -- no injuries, except to the squid's pride. He had good gear on, but was going too fast to stop for the stop sign and/or negotiate the turn, apparently. Laid it down; lots of expensive plastic to replace. Be careful out there, folx... especially on unfamiliar back roads.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little Xbox Day travelogue, and I hope you're having a wonderful time with family and friends this season.

Xbox Day Ride, Pt. II: Gibbs Road

More explanation of this one too, in the next post.

Xbox Day Ride, Pt. I: Sears Road

Part of the "West Side's Best Ride." Further explanation coming forthwith. ;)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Gauntlet

Throw down!

Many of you have cages. All of you have Google Maps.

Between now and warm weather, go find the best rides possible in the Nashville area. Make them under two hours (90 minutes of riding time + 30 minutes of stops is, IMO, optimal), so we can do a nice group ride on a weekend day without cutting too severely into Family Time. Ending near somewhere that sells beer is a plus. My entry is depicted in the graphic, above. It's one hell of a ride, btw, and 125cc-friendly, too. If you've done the River Road ride on a 125, and felt like you were pushin' it, you'll like this ride better. It's not as boring, and my average speed on it is under 40MPH.

This is a challenge. Maybe someone will step up and offer incentives. I would, but I am too poor, presently.

UPDATE: Were I scoring, here's how that would work:

40% = Curviness
10% = Elevation changes
20% = Scenic
20% = Time between 60-90 minutes of riding time
5% = Two stops
5% = Ends near a place to get beer

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shorter Days

Longer shadows, colder winds.

Are you riding, still?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Fethival!

Yep. Thanks to Richard, we were invited to participate in the Donelson Xmas Parade, and we did!  Here's some photos.

Steve talks to Franck (out of frame). In the background, the building where I once worked.

Bluedog Jim Cooper stopped by. No, I did not speak to him or shake his hand. Bastid.