Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Demise of Austin TX

Austin, once a great city, apparently has sunk:

Hassling the volunteers working hard to make the world a better place makes Austin just another two-bit Texas sleaze town. Don't mess with Texas--they're pretty much a mess already.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Alaska Randonneurs ready to ride

The Kenai Peninsula Clarion reports that the Alaskak Randonneurs are ready to ride:

Randonneurs ready to ride

The Alaska Randonneurs kick off the 2009 randonneuring season with two rides on the Kenai Peninsula.

On March 28, the End-of-the-Road 200-kilometer brevet will start from Two Sisters Bakery in Homer. On April 11, the North Kenai Peninsula 200-kilometer brevet will start from the Kenai Safeway.

The long-distance bicycle rides are scenic, challenging and noncompetitive. For more information, visit

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Carrboro: Smith Level Rd.

NCDOT is hosting both the pre-hearing and public hearing on Smith Level Rd on Monday. See the details at OP.

My chief concerns with this project are:

1. Bike accommodation on a steep grade
2. Interchange with the future Morgan Creek greenway.

On a steep downhill, bikes often approach the speed limit and cyclists need to be able to utilize greater lane width, especially if the lane edges are obstructed by litter, foliage, ice, salt, bad pavement, etc.. For this reason, wide outside lanes (no stripe) are preferable to bike lanes on steep descents. Furthermore, it is never a good idea to put a bike lane on only one side of a two-way street, because that would encourage wrong-way cycling. Wide lanes with Sharrows would be the appropriate treatment for the hill on Smith Level Rd..

Smith Level/Greensboro serves important destinations including Carrboro High School to the south and Weaver Street and Farmer's Market to the north. This section will also intersect with the future Morgan Creek Greenway. It is important that road widening in this section be planned to safely interchange bike & ped traffic with the future greenway--e.g. to allow safe ped crossing where necessary, discourage "wrong way" cycling, and facilitate easy, efficient and safe access for all travelers.

The DOT design map for this project doesn't even show the Morgan Creek greenway!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In the beginning…

Full text available (free) from Ibiblio / Project Gutenberg:
  • The preface and first couple chapters in HTML (work in progress)
  • The whole enchilada in plain old txt


from the August 30, 1884 Harper's Weekly

On this page we give the portrait of Mr. Thomas Stevens, who started from San Francisco, California, April 22, with the avowed intention of riding around the world (barring the Oceans) on his bicycle. He was born at Great Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, England, December 24, 1854. Emigrating to the far West in 1871, he had not been east of the Mississippi until he started out on his famous bicycle ride across the continent. Seven men have within the last three years attempted the same feat, but the great difficulties encountered in crossing the 1500 miles of rocky mountain, barren deserts, and bridgeless streams between California and the Missouri River have invariably turned them back.

More than one-third of the route followed by Mr. Stevens had to be walked. Eighty-three and a half days of actual travel and twenty days stoppage for wet weather, etc., made one hundred and three and a half days occupied in reaching Boston, the distance by wagon-road being about 3700 miles. He followed the old California trail most of the way across the plains and mountains, astonishing the Indians, and meeting with many strange adventures. Mr. STEVENS reached Boston August 4, and is now in New York, where he hopes to make arrangements which will enable him to complete the journey around the globe; through England, France, Germany, Austria, and Turkey, thence through Asia to the Pacific.



From Charlotte Amtrak to Raleigh Amtrak

This 160mi route takes you from one end of the Amtrak Piedmont's service line to the other. I'm sure a strong and determined cyclist could do it in a single day, but when we rode it a few years ago, we made an overnight camping trip of it, arriving very late at night at the (RV) campground in Asheboro. That is in a "dry" county by the way, so BYOB if needed.

Campground staff treated us kindly. We took a dip in the swimming pool. I think there was some all-night industry (timber?) nearby that marred our Zzzzzzs with odor...or noise? or both, I don't recall precisely.

I've heard of one other group planning to do something similar this summer (2009), but they're using a longer route, through the Uwharries and making a three-day (two night) trip of it. Sounds like a lot of fun and adventure!

Maps: 160mi (257km)

Go to the Bikely / Google Interactive Route Map

Charlotte Amtrak on N Tryon St
0.0R3.4N Tryon
3.4R2.6Old Concord Rd
6.0R8.9Rocky River Rd
14.9R0.7Lower Rocky River Rd
15.6L1.5Pine Grove Ch Rd
17.1L8.0Flowes Store Rd
(becomes Miami Ch Rd)
25.1L2.2Cold Springs Rd
27.3R0.0Cold Springs Rd E
27.3L2.5Walker Rd
29.8L0.1NC-73 (Mt Pleasant Hwy)
29.9R0.3St Johns Ch Rd
30.2R6.5Mt Olive Rd
36.7R1.3Sansbury Rd
to Gold Hill
38.0L3.8St Stephens Ch Rd
41.8L0.1Old US-80
41.9R0.1Doby Dr
42.1R7.0High Rock Rd
(becomes Wyatts Grove Ch Rd)
49.1R8.2Bringle Ferry Rd 1002
(becomes Denton Rd)
57.3R0.9W Peacock Ave
58.5R8.8E 1st St
(becomes Farmer-Denton Rd)
67.3L8.0Old 49 into Asheboro
75.3BL1.9merges with 49 and becomes Albemarle Rd
77.2L0.4S Park St
77.6R0.8Kivett St
78.4L0.3Cliff Rd
78.7R0.8N Randolph
(becomes MLK Jr Dr)
79.5L0.5Cedar Falls Rd
80.0BR4.2Old Cedar Falls Rd
84.2L0.2Loflin Pond Rd
84.4R3.9Cedar Falls Rd
through Franklinville
(becomes NC-22)
to Ramseur
88.3L1.4Patterson Grove Rd
89.7R3.8Fuergeson Rd
94.2R2.8Old Staley Rd
(becomes Columbia St in Staley)
97.0R0.1W Railroad St
97.1L0.2Pittsboro St
97.3L0.2Foushee St
97.5R3.0E Franklinville St
(becomes Staley-Snow Camp Rd)
100.5R0.9Pike Rd
101.4R7.9Silk Hope Liberty Rd
109.3L0.5Silk Hope Lindley Mill Rd
109.8R5.7Epps Clark Rd
(becomes Henderson Tanyard Rd)
115.5R1.4Castle Rock Farm Rd
117.6R3.6Chicken Bridge Rd
(Cross the Haw River)
121.2R2.8River Rd
124.0R0.6Hamlet Chp Rd
124.6L0.7Oak Hill Rd
125.3L0.3Manns Chp Rd
125.6R3.3Andrews Store Rd
129.6R3.2Jack Bennett Rd
132.8R1.0Lystra Rd-Jack Bennett Rd
133.8R2.1Farrington Rd
135.9L2.9Marthas Chp Rd
139.2L4.2Lewter Shop Rd
(becomes Green Level Ch Rd)
143.4L2.0Green Hope School Rd
(Walk around barricades and across RR track)
145.4R1.2Carpenter Upchurch Rd
146.6L3.5High House Rd (Cary)
150.1L0.7Old Apex Rd
150.8BL3.7W. Chatham St
(becomes E Chatham St)
(becomes Hillsborogh St)
154.5BR0.8Western Blvd
155.3L0.2Powell Dr
155.5R1.5Beryl Rd
157.0R2.2Hillsborough St
159.2BR0.5Morgan St
159.7R0.2Boylan Ave
159.9L0.2Kinsey St
160.1L0.2Cabarrus St
160.3---LAmtrak Station—Raleigh NC
Raleigh Amtrak on Cabarrus St
CH = Church
CHP = Chapel

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hanging Rock Loop

Starting point: Greensboro Amtrak Station

Hanging Rock is spectacular. Do this ride as a century or as an overnight camping trip. Here are some snaps from when Roger Truit and I rode it in the Fall of 2006:
Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen

Bikely Route Map

Starting Point Maps (Greensboro Amtrak Depot):

1 Adult Passenger—Rail Fare: $22.00 round-trip
Departing: Raleigh, NC (RGH) To Greensboro, NC (GRO)
Service Departs Arrives Duration Amenities Seats/Rooms
73 Piedmont Raleigh, NC - (RGH) 7:05 am Greensboro, NC - (GRO) 8:34 am 1h 29m Checked baggage 1 Reserved Coach Seat
Returning: Greensboro, NC (GRO) To Raleigh, NC (RGH)
Service Departs Arrives Duration Amenities Seats/Rooms
74 Piedmont Greensboro, NC - (GRO) 7:05 pm Raleigh, NC - (RGH) 8:40 pm 1h 35m Checked baggage, Snack car 1 Reserved Coach Seat
To buy tickets online

Cycles de Oro
Greensbro, NC

Go to the Bikely / Google Interactive Route Map

Amtrak Station (Greensboro NC)

0.0Greensboro Amtrak
0.0W 0.2Washington St (go west)
0.2R 5.9Elm St (alt: Church St)
6.1- 0.5through roundabout onto Bass Chappel Rd
6.6L 2.5Regent's Park Ln
(a neighborhood street)
9.1L 0.5Lake Brandt Rd
9.6R 1.3Old Battleground (2340)
10.9- 0.7becomes Horse Pen Creek Rd
11.6R 1.8Carlson Dairy Rd (Greensboro CC)
13.4L 0.3Pleasant Ridge Rd (store)
BR TRO Pleasant Ridge Rd
(NOT Lewiston)
13.7R 1.1Stanley Huff Rd
14.8L 3.4Bunch Rd
18.2L 1.5Oak Ridge Rd (NC-150)
Cross NC-68; Wendy's, Supermarkets, etc.
19.7R 2.1Linville Rd
21.8L 0.2Haw River Rd
22.0R 2.6Goodwill Ch Rd (Guilford)
becomes Freeman Rd
24.6L 0.1Piney Grove Rd
24.7R 2.1Goodwill Ch Rd (Forsyth)
26.8R 1.7Belews Creek Rd
28.5L 5.1NC-65
33.6R 0.0Stokesburg Rd
Cross RR Tracks
33.6R 0.5Main St (NC-89/US-311) Walnut Cove
Restaurants, ABC Store
34.1L 6.53rd St (Walnut Cove)
BR becomes Piney Mountain Rd
40.6R 0.6NC-8
41.2L 1.0Flat Shoals Rd
(S. Stokes VFD)
42.2R 0.9TRO Flat Shoals Rd
43.1BL 4.5TRO Flat Shoals Rd
(Scenic view of Hanging Rock on the right)
47.6BR 0.5(2nd) Covington Rd 2008
48.1BR 0.8Capella School Rd
48.9BR .NC-66 climb through the pass
between HR and Sauratown.
Convenience store
At 49.4 you could turn left onto the very scenic Taylor Rd for bonus miles or to climb Sauratown
50.0R 5.3Moore's Spring Rd
55.3R -Hanging Rock SP Rd.
IF going up!
55.3R 1.6Moore's Spring Rd
East, toward Danbury
56.9R 5.0NC-8/NC-89
61.9BL6.9TRO NC-89 (NOT 8) joins US-311
then becomes Main St in Walnut Cove
68.8L0.0Stokesburg Rd
Cross RR Tracks
73.9L0.4Belews Creek Rd TRO NC-65
74.3R0.8TRO Belews Creek Rd / NC-65
75.1R1.7Kernersville Rd
76.8R1.0becomes Piney Grove Rd
77.8L2.6Freeman Rd
becomes Goodwill Ch Rd
80.4L0.2Haw River Rd
80.6R2.1Linville Rd
82.7L1.7Oak Ridge Rd (NC-150)
84.4R0.7Bunch Rd
85.1BR2.7TRO Bunch Rd
87.8R1.1Stanley Huff Rd
88.9L0.3Pleasant Ridge Rd (Store)
89.3R1.8Carlson Dairy Rd (NOT Lewiston)
(Greensboro CC)
91.1L0.7Horse Pen Creek Rd
91.8-1.3becomes Old Battleground (2340)
93.1L0.5Lake Brandt Rd
93.7R1.4Regent's Park Ln
95.1R0.7Bluff Run Dr
95.8L0.3Lake Jeanette Rd
96.1R5.9(through roundabout) Elm St (alt: Church St)
102.0L0.2Washington St
102.2R0.0Greensboro Amtrak


Update: Amtrak no longer charges a fee for bikes on the Piedmont train! Also, this summer they will add mid-day service, with bike racks on-board!

From Greensboro Amtrak to Raleigh Amtrak

82mi (133km)
Go to the Bikely / Google Interactive Route Map

This is a nice rolling route through the rural Piedmont region. From Snow Camp to Green Level it covers the same territory as the NCBC 200 brevet, but with a differing route to provide some variation and uses some quieter and perhaps slightly shorter and maybe hillier roads. Since these roads see less traffic, they get less maintenance and may have a few minor surface blemishes.

The start (Greensboro Train Depot) is about 500' higher than the finish (Raleigh Train Depot), so overall the route is downhill. That said there ARE some climbs throughout, especially in the last 25 miles (east of Jordan Lake). Biggest descent: Jack Bennett Rd approaching Lake Jordan. Biggest climb: Highhouse Rd by Bond Park in Cary.

There are few stores on this route, so traffic and roadside litter are both low (outside of Cary-Raleigh). After mile 16, it's almost 40 miles to the next store, so stock up! (There are a couple of stores just a bit off the route but, unless you know where they are, you won't find them.)

Two off-route stores are located at:

  • NC-62 at Alamance Ch Rd (1005)
  • (Frosty's) Crawford Dairy Rd at Hamlet's Chapel Rd
Alteration: If you go straight on Lewter Shop Rd, instead of turning right on Green Level Rd W, it will become Green Level School Rd which takes you past Cary's Thomas Brooks Park before rejoining Green Level Rd W. The park has water and clean restrooms.

The Amtrak fare, one-way, is about $ 11.00.

Greensboro Amtrak on Tryon St
0.0East1.0Washington St

BR at Pastor Anderson Way TRO Washington St
1.0BR0.6McConnell Rd
1.6R 1.9Willow Rd. (go under I-40/I-85 Bus.)
3.5L14.8Alamance Ch Rd (1005) go over I-40/I-85

BR at McPherson Clay TRO Alamance Ch (1005)

Store at NC-62 (last store for 40mi)
18.3BR7.2W. Greensboro Chp Hill Rd (1005)
25.5- 1.1Sylvan School Rd
26.6L 0.4Snow Camp Rd
27.0R 1.6Griffin Rd
28.6R 0.8Hollman Mill Rd
29.4L 2.9Major Hill Rd
32.3R 0.5Lindley Mill Rd
32.8L 2.1Old Switchboard Rd

(Alt route: Castle Rock Farm Rd to NC-87 to Chicken Bridge Rd)
34.9L 1.1Greenhill Rd
36.0R 5.9Russell Rd
becomes Mount Olive Ch Rd
41.9L 2.1Chicken Bridge Rd (cross the Haw River)
44.0R 2.9River Rd
46.9R 0.6Hamlet Chp Rd
47.5L 0.7Oak Hill Rd
48.2L 0.3Mann's Chp Rd
48.5R 3.4Andrew's Store Rd ("Shop Quick" Store at 15-501)
51.9L 0.6US-15-501
52.5R 3.2Jack Bennett Rd (Traffic Light) Downhill!
55.7R 1.0Lystra Rd
56.7R 2.1Farrington Rd (1008) Jordan Lake (Traffic Light)
58.8L 2.8Martha's Chp Rd
61.6R 0.4NC-751 (caution: fast traffic)
62.0L 0.4Lewter Shop Rd (Jean's Berry Patch)
62.4R 10.1Green Level Rd

Cross the American Tobacco Trail

(Alt route: go straight)
becomes High House (1615) Climb!
72.5L 4.0W. Chatham (1011)
becomes Hillsborough St at I-40 overpass
76.5BR0.9Western Blvd
77.4L 0.2Powell Dr
77.6R 1.4Beryl Rd
79.0BL0.1TRO Beryl Rd
79.1R 2.1Hillsborough St (54) past NCSU
81.2BR0.6W. Morgan St
81.8R 0.2Boylan St (RR overpass)
82.0L 0.1Dupont Circle
82.1L 0.1TRO Dupont Circle
82.2L 0.1Cabarrus St
West St
Amtrak Depot


Lou Reed:
Satellite of

Satellites gone, Way up to mars
Soon it will be filled, With parking cars

I watch it for a little while
I love to watch things on tv

Satellite of love
Satellite of love

A satellite is defined by the object it orbits. A physicist will tell you that the satellite is forever falling toward its attractor, yet paradoxically we can all see that it never gets any nearer. To get closer, it would need to lose its own forward motion, and would soon be burned.

Juxtaposing cold ultramodern technology and primeval fundamental emotion, the poor solitary Satellite Of Love is, "SOL, SOL, SOL--out of luck."

Going "way up to mars" is adventurous. Filling it with "parking cars" transforms the exotic to the mundane, worthy not of getting off the sofa. tv is voyeuristic--a decidedly one-way communication. One can drop dead watching life on tv.

Things gone "right up to the skies," generally will not return. When one is driven out of one's mind, it can be by a thing one loves, despises or both. To drive you really out of your mind, probably both. After such a drive, one parks it on Mars.

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain on France 2: