Riding for a Reason

Changing the world, one mile at a time

Oak Leaf Trail North East

Monday morning I was definitely in need of a solid ride after a weekend of grilling out and eating pretty much non-stop. I woke up about 7:30 and wanted to head north on the Oak Leaf trail to see how it connected to Grant Park and ultimately my route to work. The less I have to take city streets on my way home from work, the better.

I crossed Howell onto the Oak Leaf Parkway and caught the Oak Leaf Trail there. It’s a pretty decent trail, mostly behind neighborhoods and schools, but it’s a trail nonetheless. I crossed Puetz and Drexel on the trail, but then it kind of dumped out into a neighborhood and I couldn’t find anymore signs for the Oak Leaf Trail. I ended up back on Howell Ave and took that north to Rawson Ave. I headed east on Rawson and just decided to take that down to Chicago Ave and circle back to Old Ryan Rd. I will most likely take Chicago Ave down and follow 32 to get to work, maybe hop over to Lake Shore Dr for long rides, so this was a nice preview. It was a pretty quiet morning without a lot of traffic. Decent roads for riding as well. I got to Old Ryan Rd and headed west to race towards home. That’s not the smoothest road in some parts, but it’s a fairly fast road without much traffic.

Total it was a 13 mile ride at a relaxed pace. I finished in about 50 minutes. YTD total is now up to 70.15 miles or 14% of my goal. Definitely putting on the miles. I should pass up the original owner’s 190 miles on the bike in no time!

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May 27, 2009 Posted by | Cycling | | Leave a comment

Whitnal Park, most enjoyable ride yet!

So Friday i had the day off and wanted to get a good bike ride in. Since the last time I tried the Oak Leaf Trail in Franklin, and the Root River had decided to turn it into a swamp, I thought I would head west and try it again.

I took Puetz all the way west between 51st and 68th St. Once I got down to the trail, I was pleased to see that the water level had rescinded. The trail between Puetz and Drexel is a very nicely contructed trail. There are 3 bridges that go over the river and it’s a fairly flat ride. It will be a nice shaded ride on hot days, but this day it was a little chilly in that section. The bugs will definitely be an issue there in the summer. Once I got to Drexel I turned left to head up to 68th St and take that over to Rawson Ave. I swear, the first 100 ft of 68th St was about a 60 degree angle. That was kind of a killer. But I kept going and when I got to Rawson, I realized that there was still a path which I assumed was from Drexel when I turned off the Oak Leaf Trail. I decided to follow that one and to my enjoyment it was a very fast trail with many zig zags and small hills. I really started to get comfortable with my bike and accelerating through the turns. The trail actually dumps out at about Loomis Rd by the Root River Parkway that leads to Whitnal Park. Originally I was going to take Rawson up to 92nd St, but there was a lot of traffic Friday afternoon. So I took the parkway into Whitnal park and race out to the Botanical Gardens. There was a large hill getting into the gardens that kicked my ass the first the that Kristan and I went for a ride through there, so I was determined to show that hill what’s up! I stormed up the hill and into the gardens parking lot. I stopped there for about 10 minutes to rest before heading back home. I was tempted to keep going through Whitnal park and out around West Allis, but I think I’ll wait for a little warmer day that’s not approaching rush hour on a hoiliday weekend.

I began to head back to the OC and this time instead of 68th St. I took the Oak Leaf Trail and followed that back to Puetz and home. I’m trying to explore the Oak Leaf Trail to figure out exactly where it runs and when I can use it, but it’s kind of spotty in some areas with long connections on city streets. It will be nice if the paths ever get connected to each other. The total mileage of the trip was 20.5 miles, by far my longest ride of the season in about an hour and 20 minutes. The ride was about 2.5 miles longer than the biking portion of the Door County Triathlon in July. I think my endurance is definitely built up for the biking portion, especially since it’s going to be a flat ride.

YTD biking total is now at 57.15 miles or 11.4% of my goal!

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Cycling | | Leave a comment

A quick ride home

I periodically will add 6.75 miles to my YTD total when I bike round trip to my parents house. It’s not really an exciting trip other than depending on the time of day, Puetz Rd can be pretty hectic to navigate around. The hills provide a pretty good challenge there though. It takes me about 20 minutes each way and is a pretty easy ride depending on which way and how strong the wind is blowing.

After May 17th’s ride my YTD total is 36.65 Miles… or 7.3% of my summer goal.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Cycling | | Leave a comment

How many weeks out of this year is the Root River going to be flooded?

Last night I got a chance to get a good ride in. I pick my bike up from South Shore Cyclery on Wednesday after having a safety check done. Given the fact that my bike was lightly used, I didn’t think anything major was wrong with it, but I still wanted to get it checked out. Everything was great on it. They tightened some components and tuned up the shifting as the rear shifting was a little offer. They definitely do great work there and I will be heading there in the future for anything else that I need.

I left Oak Creek and started heading west on Puetz Rd. I could instantly feel the difference in the shifting. It is now extremely smooth and runs the way that Shimano Ultegra shifters are suppose to run. Puetz has many hills on it so it was perfect for a good workout. My plan was to head down to the trail in Franklin that runs between Puetz and I believe Rawson. Once I got down to the trail, I noticed that the Root River was flooded YET AGAIN! That has to be about a half a dozen times that the river has been flooded. Kind of a shame because that’s a nice clean path to ride through. So I turned around and started heading east again. I strolled bym my parents house in Franklin to show them my new ride. I had a nice personal accomplishment when I was going the speed limit of 25 on flat ground going through the neighborhood. I must say, as much as it would suck to get a speeding ticket on a bike, that could be a pretty good story to tell others someday. We’ll stash that one away as a goal. ;o)

All in all, it was a nice relaxing 10.3 mile ride. That brings my YTD total up to 29.9 miles. I am going to start getting into some longer rides now with biking to work and South Shore Cyclery also has rides every Wednesday in the summer, so I’ll definitely tag along for a couple of those. Hopefully I can get a solid ride in this weekend if the weather cooperates!

May 15, 2009 Posted by | Cycling | | Leave a comment

First two road rides of 2009 in the books!

So until the age of 16, I was riding my Schwinn Sidekick everywhere that I went. I would routinely do 10 mile bike trips just for the hell of it. As a kid, I never realized how much more work a mountain bike was to ride on the road as a road bike would be. Then i got my driver’s license and biking slipped to the back burner for a few years.

Fast forward 13 years… I’m getting ready to do my first triathlon, which is something that I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. A friend and I signed up for the UW-Whitewater J-Hawk Early Bird Triathlon. It was a sprint and the swimming portion was in a lap pool which made it very appealing for our first Triathlons. Despite the fact that it was a pretty miserable day, the weather held up for the biking and running portion of the race. My struggles with my good ol’ mountain bike make the run pretty painful given the fact that my calves were burnt out from my clipless pedals. But, I finished the race and decided if I’m going to keep doing these, I need a road bike.

So I started researching like crazy for the next week. Test drove a Felt, Trek, and Cannondale bike. They were all very nice. The Cannondale had the Shimano 105 components that I was looking for, but was a closeout from 2005 and although the bike was new, it just didn’t shift like I felt a $1200 bike should. So I held out and kept searching craigslist. A guy e-mailed me about a Lemond bike that he needed to get rid of before he moved to Florida. The bike only had 190 miles on it! We met up so I could take a look at the bike. A 2006 Lemond Zurich with all Shimano Ultegra components even shoes for the clip in pedals. All for half the price of the 2005 closeout with components that were a step below. The bike rode nicely and I bit the bullet.

A week later I’ve got two nice rides in so far. Wednesday I took it from the Oak Leaf Trail, East down Old Ryan Rd all the way to Lake Michigan and back. I was getting about 15 MPH on the way out with a steady wind in my face. Closer to the lake the knats were pretty bad and I realized I definitely need to invest in some cycling glasses! The way back was a wind aided 23 MPH. 7.75 miles in the book. Great start towards my goal of 500 miles this summer!

Saturday I met up with Kristan for a ride on the New Berlin trail. It started off to be a rainy morning, but everything dried up nicely and we had some decent riding weather. We started at Greenfield Park and headed west into the wind. It took a while to find the trail, but we’ll just call it the scenic route. We headed west until we hit 8 miles, and then headed back towards Greenfield Park. Total trip ended up being 11.85 miles. Building up the endurance for what will soon be my weekly rides to work at 29 miles round trip!

After the ride, I took my bike to South Shore Cyclery in Cudahy for a safety check. Everything rides nicely, but I just wanted to make sure before I put a ton of miles on it. The staff there seemed pretty cool. I’ll be picking my bike up by Wednesday and trying out a trainer as well as making sure my cleats are in the right spot on my shoes.

Total mileage YTD = 19.6 miles

May 11, 2009 Posted by | Cycling | , | Leave a comment