Thursday, January 31, 2013

Paseo de las Montanas

The day started rather chilly with a breeze from the West. After my breakfast waffle, I spend the morning playing on the computer. Created the web site page about my visit to the Very Large Array.

I was ready for a bike ride today. Checking the 2013 Albuquerque bicycle map, I decided to check out the Paseo de las Montanas Trail. I parked at Jerry Cline Park - Louisiana & Constitution. Rode the bridge over I-40 and climbed the trail.

Knew that the trail would mean lots of climbing as the trail runs East-West. Several times I stopped to take photos, drink some water, and rest my legs.

When I reached the intersection with the Embudo Recreational Trail, I knew my legs were about shot. Just short of 3 miles, I called it quits, turned around to coast back down to the car.

Getting back at the park, I was feeling pretty good. Rode a little way past the car. That took me under Louisiana. But, not ready to resume climbing - so rode back to the car and called it a day. Salad day, so I ended the afternoon with salad and bacon cheeseburger at Applebees.

Wildlife and the Cosmos

Monday was cold, Tuesday was windy. Took the opportunity to get some rest and recover. Yesterday, I was ready to get out and do something. Once it warmed up enough, I headed south to revisit Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Figured that if I had time, I might check out Very Large Array while in te area.

I was disappointed with the wildlife out yesterday. No snow geese - guess they had headed North already. Did not see any deer. Lots of cranes and ducks. Took a couple photos and headed to VLA.

Very Large Array is a collection of 27 antennas configured in a "Y", comprising a radio telescope. Each dish (antenna) measures 82 feet across. When set in the widest configuration, the array acts as one dish 22 miles in diameter!

You will find the Very Large Array in the Plains of San Agustin 50 miles West if Socorro, New Mexico. Interesting day.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ride on the Bosque

Overcast and rain most of the day yesterday. Was good weather to process photos and figure out why could not get internet. Sometime Friday night at the motel, I lost internet connection to my laptop. Could connect via the tablet. The short story is that the motel ISP had to reset their server/modem.

This morning had brunch at the Range Cafe with cousin Don. Great to catch up on family. Offered to ride with me, but he was doing work on his briar pipes.

Awesome day for a bike ride. Was not ready to do any climbing today, so rode the "Bosque" (Paseo del Bosque) from Central Ave to Paseo del Norde and back. Sunny 59 degrees when riding.

When I got to Paseo del Norde, I knew I could make it to the end at Alamedia - but also knew i would have to pedal into the wind on the way back to the car. Glad I turned back when I did. A couple times I hit some strong head wind. Enough that i was wondering if i could make it back to the car.

I dropped a couple gears and toughed it out until the wind abated a little. My legs will thank me once I get horizontal in the bed.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

South by West

Thursday, it was 1 deg when I headed West, then South to escape the cold and do some bicycle riding. Two days on the road - destination Albuquerque, NM.

By the time I reached Colorado, it was warming up. By the time I reached Brush, it was in the upper 50s. With the decent weather, I decided to drive South on Colorado 71. This route got me off the interstate and bypasses Denver.

This route takes me close to Bent's Old Fort near La Junta, CO. Looked like La Junta was a good place to stop for the night. Reserved a room at the Super 8. When I got into town, I settled in the room and went to Boss Hogg's Restaurant & Saloon for dinner.

Friday morning, it was warm enough to wear shorts and sweatshirt. I went to Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site. It was a reconstructed trading fort along the Santa Fe Trail. The photo above is of Bent's Old Fort. Thankful that i had the cortisone shot in the knee last week - otherwise i would not have been able to walk the long path from the parking lot to the fort!

There will be a page on my web site with photos I took during my visit to the fort. Was back on the road heading to Albuquerque by 11am. The worst part of the trip was arriving Albuquerque during Friday afternoon rush-hour.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Raspberry Pi

Over the last couple years, I have been looking at some electronics projects. Have the micropic kit. One of the problems is that the development kit needs running on Windows XP - my new laptop runs Windows 7. Another issue is the programming - in assembler.

This fall I started looking at the Raspberry Pi single board computer. The credit card sized board runs Linux as operating system. I have been playing with lunux for several years - so should be able to get things running quickly.

Raspberry Pi can run programs in python. That's great, since the programs can be ported from Linux to windows to OSX.

Found a US supplier for Raspberry Pi. Before purchasing the device, I picked up the user's guide and spent some time reading. I would be interested in developing a interface to trigger my cameras. Looks like it will do the trick.

Downloaded the operating system.

Ordered my Raspberry Pi with case, AC adapter, SD card, and connecting cables. Looking forward to receiving the device.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

First Ride in 2013

Recently, I have just not had the drive to get out and do anything. Spending most of the day on the computer and watching TV. This week were are getting our January Thaw. First couple days I used the excuse that it was too windy and raw.

Yesterday, I did not have that excuse. While in was only 40, there was filtered sunshine and basically NO WIND. Had to get out a ride.

Was thinking of riding earlier in the week, so had the tires aired up on the hardtail. That's my ice bike - with flat pedals for my boots and studded tires for icy patches on the trail.

Parked at Wabash Trace Trailhead and headed down the Lake Manawa Trail. The studded tires slowed me down lots, but felt good to be out to ride. Was not sure how far I would make it before my legs fail. When I made it to Indian Creek Bridge, I decided it was time to return - while I still had legs left.

Saw 2 other bicycle riders and a walker on the trail yesterday. Trail is mostly dry with some wet or icy spots (see photo - this was one of the worst sections).

By the time I reached 2 miles left in my ride, I was glad that I had turned back when I did. The last couple little climbs out of the underpasses were rough.

Hungry, I stopped Freddies for some food. Water main break so no fountain lemonade - had a sandwich, fries, and bottled water. Stopped in at the bank to streighten out some mortgage payment problems.

Some groceries on the way home. By then, I was exhausted. One more think I had to do - was missing my wallet. Drove back to town. Found it along the seat of the car when I got in town.

Now I was really tired. Crashed into bed when I got home. Legs and body still complaining this morning.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

So You Want to Ride a Bicycle

Since I started riding my bicycles, some of my friends have asked for help in buying a bike. This is some of what I learned since I started riding. This is not meant as a tell all, end all article. I hope it gives you some guidance.

The Bicycle Shop

The first thing you should do is find you local bicycle shop(s). Where you purchase your bike is as or more important than the what bike you buy. Its not unusual to spend more time buying a bicycle than a car!

You could buy a bike from one of the mass retailers. The original cost of the bike will be less. The problem is customer service. Just stop in at one of these stores and ask some questions about bikes. The first time I went to look at bikes, I could not even find a sale person. At best, you MIGHT find a sales associate that knows something about bicycles.

Prepare yourself for "sticker shock". A bike from a local bike shop is going to cost more than a bike from a "big box" store. The benefit is a bike that fits for you and one you will likely ride more. The components on the bike will last longer. The bicycle from the bike shop will be less expensive on the long run.

When you buy a bike from a local bike shop, you know that your bicycle was assembled right. All adjustments were made correctly. Any problems can be corrected there.

Hopefully you have a good local bike shop or have a couple to chose from. This can take some time. Do not short change yourself - take the time. If the sales person (often a owner of the shop) does not seem to care, or does not seem to want to take the time, find a different bike shop. You need to feel comfortable with the folks at the shop.

Remember, the local bike shop wants to keep you coming back for service. accessories, clothing, and the like. Most bikes come with a year of warranty and free adjustments. Many bike manufactures include a lifetime frame warranty.

Selecting a Bicycle

Tell the person at the shop that you are considering buying a bicycle. Before they start showing you bike, they should ask what where you plan to ride and and what you experience level. This will aid in the selection of the type of bike.

You notice that I have not talked about the brand of bicycle? If you are buying a bike from a bike shop, the brand of bike is less important. Bike shop will carry reputable bicycle brands. The bike shop will be able to guide you to the best bike to fit your needs.

Some of my friends made the mistake deciding to buy mountain bikes thinking of the versatility. But, they only rode pavement. Eventually, they stopped riding because the bike was not meeting their needs.

Back to selecting a bike. My first modern bicycle (I had not ridden since the early 60s) was a "comfort" bike. A "hybrid" is another popular bike design. Both are great for the novice rider. Both are suited for riding pavement and crushed stone.

The bike shop sales person will fit you to a bike. Next you want to take the bike out for a test ride. The test ride is much more important than a test drive in a car. The fit of the bike to your body is crucial for your riding comfort. Don't settle for "close enough".

For the new rider, I would steer clear of mountain bikes, trail bikes, road bikes , or fat bikes. They are great for their purpose, which is NOT recreational riding on pavement.

Discuss with the bike shop how much you are planning to ride and where. Much of the price differences in bikes in the quality of the components. Heavier riders, those riding more miles, the terrain (flat or hilly), may mean different (better quality) components. On the other end, for the occasional rider, top of the line components are overkill.

The better they fit you to the bike, the happier you will be as a customer. Taking the time to select the right bike, you will end up riding more.


You are not finished shelling out your hard-earned money. There are some “must have” accessories that you might as well picking up while you are buying the bicycle. Some bike shops will even give you a deal on your accessories when you buy a new bike!

I was thinking of writing paragraphs about each of these accessories, but that is beyond the scope of this posting. How much and what brand you purchase is up to you. I just recommend that you have them. If you do not know what these are, the bike shop will show then to you and explain hot to use them.

Highly Recommended:
Spare Tube
Tire Levers
Tire Pump
Saddle Pack

Please Consider:
Kick stand
Bicycle “Multi-tool”
Rack or basket

Nice to Have:
Lights – head and tail for night riding
Bicycle Computer

Where to Ride

The local bike shop is your best source of information. When I travel, I surf the web for bike trails (paved, crushed stone, and dirt). That can give me some basic information. But, when I arrive at my destination, I look for the local bicycle shop.

The local shop will have the up-to-date information on the trails in the area. Let them know what king of riding you were looking for - they can suggest the best places to ride.

For the adventurous, find a bike trailhead and head out. You won't be bored.

For the novice riding, I discourage riding on the streets/roads unless needed. Riding in traffic can be intimidating. Even with all the riding I have done, I prefer riding bike paths and multi-use trails.

Of course, the best situation is if you can ride from where your residence. You may need to put the bike on a car rack (or in the car) to get to where you want to ride. Many urban areas have bike racks on their buses. It can be a great way to get to the trailhead.

Don't dismiss places you can get to by light rail. For example, New Mexico RailRunner (South of Albuquerque to Santa Fe) passenger cars have bike racks in them. There is no additional charge for the bicycle.

Trails Don't Just Happen

Now that there's a bike shop you patronize, you bought a bicycle, and found some places to ride, there's one more thing you should do. Bicycle and trails advocacy groups are key to making sure we have places to ride. Whether you ride the road, city trails, Rails-to-Trails, or singletrack (dirt) trails, give back to the cycling community.

After all, it takes a community to build the trails. Consider becoming a member of a cycling and/or trails club. Those trails don't just happen. It takes money and manpower to build and maintain these trails. It take political power to get funding for trails. Become a trails advocate.

Now, Get Out and Ride!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Trying to find something to express my sentiments this New Year morning. This does a pretty good job. Happy New Year to my family, friends, acquaintances, and fellow cyclists.