Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Routine, continued

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been spending some time with and Google Maps - Street View trying to come up with some new routes. The 10 and 15 mile routes turned out to be just the change I'd been looking for. Fairly light on traffic, nice roads and some challenging hills. Next on the agenda was a 20 or 25 mile ride that could replace the whole Indian Creek and Tomahawk Creek Trails loop.

A couple weeks ago, before he headed back to school, my son Peter and I were discussing my flagging enthusiasm for riding on the bike path and I told him I was going to start looking for some good streets to ride on. He suggested we try a ride on Kenneth road. He'd worked with the city's civil engineering department surveying roads over the summer and said a portion had been resurfaced and might be nice to try. So, I thought I'd encorporate Kenneth road into my longer ride. This last Sunday, I saddled up and headed out.

I present: The 21 Miler

My timing could have been better. There was quite a bit of traffic out on some of the major roads. I also saw quite a few other cyclists. When I rode over the bike path on Mission road it looked REALLY busy. I was happy to be on the road (even if I was passed by a young lady on a really nice road bike).

Something to consider: even though maps say that Kenneth road begins its southern journey at 133rd street ... it doesn't. I had to hop over to State Line road which was busy as all get out and then use 135th to get to Kenneth. It turns out that Kenneth is a rather popular road for automobile traffic. It didn't matter that much as the road was wide enough for people to get by me, until Kenneth curves to the west and becomes 159th street. There the road narrows, adds guard rails and becomes a moderately steep climb.

View Larger Map

I wouldn't have minded the climb, but I was getting passed by cars and trucks every 15 to 20 seconds on the way up to Mission Road. Almost without exception the people passing my crossed over the double yellow line to give me plenty of room, but there were a couple times that cars were coming from the other direction and we were all a little too cosey.

So, three sections that I would avoid during Sunday afternoon rides:
119th between Tomahawk and Mission
159th between Kenneth and Mission
Roe between Tomahawk and 117th

Other than that, it was an enjoyable ride. I'll probably ride it again, hopefully with Peter in tow, but on a Saturday afternoon when traffic might be a little lighter. I will be looking for a different 20 to 25 mile route in the mean time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Temperature at departure = 67° F (19° C)

I realize that I've been somewhat disconnected from all things social on the web for a couple weeks now. Don't worry, everything is alright; I suffer from nothing more than a general sense of ennui. I'm starting to snap out of it though.

Shortly before this break, I realized that I've ridden the Indian Creek Trail for several years and now that I no longer commute on it, the trail has become mundane. I'd go on a ten mile ride and come back without any sense of enjoyment at all. I might as well ride a stationery bike and replay the path in my mind. Truth be told, I am also tired of dodging all the pedestrians, dog-walkers and other cyclists. I started allowing myself to skip a day or two and recognized that I wasn't missing it.


So, it was time to get off the path and take to the streets. Once the decision was made, I started to get excited about looking for new routes. I harnessed the power of and Google Maps - Street View to plan a few possibilities of varying lengths. I picked streets that I've ridden before for the first couple of rides and am happy with them; traffic is present, but even though I've ridden these in morning rush hour traffic -- they're not major arteries and traffic is light. I also see several others out on their bikes.

The 10 miler

The 15 miler

Both of these are nice rides for weekdays when I want to get a ride in that is less than an hour long. Then I tried the 21 miler, but that really needs to have a post of its own. be continued.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Library Rack Almost Full

I rode to the library during lunch today and was surprised to see this many bikes out front. The most I've seen there before is 3 or 4. Hopefully, the trend will continue.

Oh, shameless self-promotion time. I posted 3 podcasts this week. If you are a bike commuter or know someone who is, please let them know that the podcast is available at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Temperature at departure = 68° F (20° C)

I was feeling very cosmopolitan this morning, so I executed a Copenhagen Lean while waiting for the light. It was another beautiful morning for riding the bike getting drivers used to the idea that other modes of transportation exist in Overland Park.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

From one state to another and back in a day

...actually, Kansas to Missouri and back in 50 minutes (State Line is only 5.5 miles away).

The trail runs under State Line road. I just couldn't ride the normal loop today.

Still, it WAS the ICT which is growing increasingly dull. The morning weather has been perfect for riding. I'm thinking I need to shake things up a bit...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I've been called a lot of things...

The moniker ascribed to me during this morning's ride is my new favorite.

Today's ride is one of this year's top ten so far. A little over half way done I had 6 different posts running through my mind. And then there were seven.

I'd left the path over by the old skating rink and was growled at by this guy -- fully clad in lycra. We got to a little round-about where he turned left and I turned right. When I pulled up to Roe the guy was off to my left, well behind me. I chuckled to myself as I went along, wondering how long it would take him to pass me again. A couple minutes later, I'd started under the Roe overpass that leads to Roe park and the guy foolishly tried to zip around me and almost ran into a jogger. On the other side he cut through the grass to head me off.


I honestly was not trying to make this a contest. He must have peaked because I rode my normal rate and was gaining ground on him. I actually thought about taking a break just to distance myself from the guy. We rode under Nall and he took the south fork and I took the east. "See you in a few," I thought to myself. Sure enough, I'd ridden under Lamar dinging my bell and saying "good morning" to several folk when I heard the guy behind me yell at a group of high school girls out jogging telling them to "Move OVER!" You could tell he was trying to make up for lost time.

The path splits again at 103rd and Metcalf. The other rider passed me right before the split and blew past two older men and a woman walking a German shepherd. They were just taking the turn to the left that I was going to take so I dinged my bell well in advance, dinged it again and said "Good morning. I'll come around your right side."

As I passed the lady said:
"That is what a gentleman sounds like."

Monday, August 03, 2009

Helmet Debate

There are two different sides to the argument that cyclists should wear helmets. Folks in Copenhagen would argue that they're worthless and, in fact, a deterrent to cycling. In the US, we're convinced that they save lives. I know for a fact that wearing a helmet saved me from a concussion once, so that one time out of ~ 1,000 times wearing it paid off.

Anyway, I don't think this guy really fits either side of the debate.

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sunday afternoon rambling

Temperature at departure = 82° F (28° C)

Without going into detail, I've spent the last 3 weeks nursing a couple of the members of my family back to health after 2 surgeries and 1 broken wrist. No need to worry, everything is looking fine on all fronts. Also, Google has now sold the Radio Automation business to WideOrbit and I found out Friday that another good friend that I've worked with for 16 years has been let go.

I got a chance to have some time to myself today and it has been way too long since I've ridden my bike for anything other than errands. I decided just to wander. Here is the route I took.

After 3.4 miles on the Indian Creek Trail bike path, I got off at Mission Road and intended to take it as far south as seemed wise. Had I looked at a map first I would have realized that Mission Road turns into Tomahawk Creek Parkway after a couple blocks and I would have had to have headed east on 119th to get back to it. Instead I stayed on the parkway until it met Roe. Traffic was quite light as you can see below.

From General Bike Pix

At the stop light at Roe, I met a road bike rider who turned out to be a decent sort. We waited at the red light together and talked for a moment about the path near by and his hydration back pack. The light turned green and I told him it was nice to meet him but I wasn't going to hold him back. Off he went.

From General Bike Pix

I followed the guy south on Roe and actually ended up drafting behind him for a couple blocks. He peeled to the left at 124th and I continued south. 1.5 miles up a 7% grade hill with a head wind that was gusting to 20 mph. I got to about 132nd and decided that was as good a place to turn around as any. A 7% downhill grade with a 20 mph tailwind is a fine thing indeed.

Those 16 miles were just what I needed.