Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Another lovely day in Paradise

I suppose the title of this blog is misleading.

Our city is still waiting to elect a new mayor, our civic finances are shaky, airplane noise from the airport fills the gaps between the dogs' continual barking, and the streets still aren't repaved from last year's sewer pipe replacement project. It's the end of January, the State of the Union is still stalemate rather than progress through compromise, and I could use a nap.

In the month since I've last ridden I've driven up and down the state, flown in and out of the country, been in and out of good heath, and out on the water at least 20 times. I've also written a book on whales, much to my surprise, and replaced a water heater, flooring, pipes and fittings in my kitchen.

Nevertheless, today seemed like a nice day for a ride. So I went to the bike shed, checked all the tires, and took the bike with the most air pressure. Why was it the bike with sewups? Maybe clincher tire tubes are so thin nowadays that all the air leaks out?

The streets are still a mess but the sky looks nice.

The bike felt good. The riding felt great. Obviously I didn't tackle any big hills, or I'd be whining.

The weather mirror confirmed that it was pretty in all directions. Although if you look closely you can see some marine layer sneaking in from the water.

 I rode around the top of the hill to get a better look - yep, the moist air is coming in. A thick layer over the water, about 5-6 miles offshore.

Having been out on a boat for the last few days, I know that observations from land can often be deceiving. Here's what Pt. Loma looks like from the water - you can see the marine layer isn't a deterrent to enjoying another day in Paradise.

Cycling in 70 degree weather on January 29 - you've got to love it.

Friday, December 6, 2013

I love winter in San Diego

I got on my bike today after a month's rest and recuperation. First kidney stones, then a trip overseas, intestinal distress for a bit afterwards, and a few stormy days. Plus a blown-out water heater needing replacement. But now the sun is out, I've been out and back on a ride, and I'm wheezing over the keyboard.

But I am getting ahead of myself. 

Leaving the house at 9 am, I didn't know what to expect. It has been a whole month. Where will I ride? What will I see? How will I feel?

I need not have worried. Almost immediately I saw a Mustang Convertible, a good omen. Then workers on an enormous ladder decorating a tree for Christmas. I turned right and headed up the hill, thinking why not, I'm feeling good for the first 100 yards ...  That euphoria soon passed and I chugged  slowly up past the high school neon sign [56 degrees - Have a Nice Day]

As soon as I got past the first traffic signal, I noticed a Boat on the Street, and recalled that this is my new theme, and I was not supposed to notice Mustangs.

So I turned onto the sidewalk, pulled out my camera, and began to line up a photo. Almost immediately I noticed a second Boat on the Street behind the first, so here you go. Two for one.

I turned onto Nimitz and began the two-mile straight and slightly downhill run.

The river looked too good to pass up, so I went north and crossed to Mission Bay. What a gorgeous day!

Since I can't go out on a whale watching boat today (too many obligations), I stopped by the dock just to say hi to the folks who ARE going on the water.

Turning homeward, I saw two other cyclists heading south across the river - serious twenty-something young women riding very high-tech bikes; outfitted in fancy shoes, cycling shorts, leggings, etc. We rode along for a couple miles and while waiting at a stop one said "You're a pretty fast rider" to which I said (breathlessly) "Not really, just an old guy trying hard to keep up." She laughed and said "you're certainly outriding two young girls; that's something to be proud of!"

How little it takes to make one's day, eh?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Moving A Short Distance Slowly

I haven't ridden for a week. Kidney stones. Ouch. If you've never had them, thank your lucky stars. This picture is not showing granola. It's showing little crystals that (hopefully and painfully) come out through your private plumbing ... So I have consumed about 25 quarts of sports drinks and an equal amount of water in the past week. Some of these little monsters have traveled the foot from my kidneys to the outside world. Finally. 

(Picture from Wikipedia. Not me. )

Because it was a nice day and I'm feeling slightly better, I slowly descended the stairs to the bike shed and to my dismay found my tires almost flat. I pumped them up. Groan. 

I gently sat on my bike shed chair and pulled on my gear. 

The bike and I slowly ascended the steps to the street, and I climbed on. Then I did a few careful miles.

 I looked at the patches on our street from sewer work which should be coming to an end soon. 

I considered stopping and sitting on this seat in a stranger's yard.  But the two little urns with dying plants put me off the idea. 

It was such a nice day that I wanted to stay outside, but not pedaling. I went home, left my bike, drove to the lighthouse, and enjoyed some time sitting outside. Not riding. 

Enjoy it with me and remember this is November 7th and it's 80° F.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Damp and Dreary Day

Wow! It's been a long lay-off for me. I've been whale watching, and writing a book about it. That takes up some active time and all my computer energy.

But what better to do on this cold, damp, dreary Monday than to go up to the corner on my bike and be met by a white Mustang Convertible?!

I had to go down to the eye doctor to get some new glasses. While I was waiting, I took a cruise down Newport and saw the newly renovated Ocean Beach International Backpacker's Hostel. This has been a "destination" for travelers from all over the world (and other astral planes, as well).

And I was very amused by the skull and crutches spare tire cover on this Jeep.

And by another white Mustang Convertible, parked right in front of the cheesy apartment I briefly inhabited back some 40 years ago.

I left OB and headed towards the San Diego River.

Before I reached it, I saw another Orange Bike installation. I have seen this bike now in 4 locations around our part of town. It's always chained to a safe place, then when its removed, a little orange paint is left on the post as a reminder. Here's the answer to what's going on with the bikes.

I finally got to the river, where I rode a couple miles westward to the end. The fence. We've been to this jetty and fence before on the blog. In this episode from May, and this one from March.

I only saw one cat but I smelled more than one dog (Dog Beach is to the south 100 yards)

I watched the Privateer whale boat come in, then rode over and talked with the crew. No whales today, but 20+ White-Sided Dolphin - the first of the season.

I found today's Boat on the Street. The bottoms of the hulls are seriously delaminating! And covered with marine organisms. A good speed brake, I'd say, for the sailboat.

Returning to my own neighborhood, I took a look at the water control access pipe which is still sticking up in the street, posing a target (or hazard) to drivers and riders.

I know the valve in this access shaft ties right into the main water supply, because a few days ago they were flushing clean water through the system and out through this pipe.

I went to the grocery store, bought food for dinner (narrowly escaping the purchase of a 5 pound bag of bread flour, when I remembered I was on my bike!). I'll close with this enigmatic bumper sticker:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday in the Sity


The road crew filled up the hole in our street. Sort of. There are pipes sticking up, open at the top - so they threw a sandbag in each hole so small 
children and dogs wouldn't fall in. 

It's a nice day but the marine layer is lurking out there to remind us that moisture is in the air. 

I saw this old house being renovated:

Looks like the builders might have had a couple (cases of) Coronas before they started work in the entry steps. Is it me, or did they miss the doorway?

Here's today's boat on the street. 

Right down the street is the best lawn in the neighborhood ...

And a trailer I'd love to own. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Seeing The Unexpected

Sometimes things don't go the way you expect. 

That was my experience yesterday while riding. For example, this spare tire hanging from the outside of a roof rack, on the rattiest Volvo wagon I've ever seen. You've got to wonder, "What if he hits a bump? Or hits a bump while going around a right-hand bend?"  Whoever is following him will be toast if the tire careens into them.

If you are not blinded by the sun, you'll see that this shot shows sewer-replacement workers at the park. I know to expect them there. But I didn't think that they would have the whole intersection closed up while they dug a trench diagonally across the convergence of 3 streets. When I first saw the 12-foot mound of dirt and asphalt, I was followed by several irritated and in-a-hurry drivers, so I couldn't get a photo. In this shot they are filling in the hole. The mess is mostly gone.

Luckily, on a bicycle one can get around almost any blockage - by taking to the sidewalks, lawns or gutters and leaving the drivers behind.

As I rode down this nearby street, a bright blue sky framed a distance view of hills across town. This view has "always been here" but I've seldom gone down this street in this direction, and never noticed the panorama before. This photo doesn't really do it justice

At the very bottom, at a cul-de-sac, I got an even nicer look at the skies, and an even more distant view of another part of town. I also noticed a street crew tearing up the roadway below (and a stack of covered sewer pipes too).

Everywhere I rode it was beautiful - which I should (but didn't) expect. I was thinking about a doctor appointment I had scheduled for later in the afternoon.

After my ride, and successful discussion with the doctor, I made another little excursion on the ocean. It was beautiful there too.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Using the Crosswalk

I rode to the store today. In the early afternoon. I took a highly unusual route (for me), too. Down the hill, around the corner, up the sidewalk, then off the bike and trot down some steps. Back on the bike for another mile or two ...

The road surface quality was ok, and the 35-50 mph traffic only moderately terrifying. I mean it. 

After locking up the bike, entering the store and doing my shopping, I headed home. At the worst point (seen above) I took the coward's way out and waited for a signal change to cross "in the crosswalk". I made it, injury-free, and that's the main thing. 

On the way back, I saw a moderately scruffy Mustang Convertible. A new one for my photo records. "But wait (I hear you say), haven't you given up tracking MCs?" Yes. This Mustang photo is a fluke. 

No, not that kind of fluke (which belongs to a blue whale I saw on Friday), but an aberation, an accident, an addiction ... thus it might happen again. 

And again.

Speaking of water, I did spot a BOAT ON THE STREET as well, including two personal watercraft on a trailer in the driveway at the same house. 

I went home a different route to avoid gusty winds. It involved riding on gravel and dirty, walking through deep sand, getting accosted by two large dogs, and pulling about a dozen thorns from my tires.  Not much of a savings -- next time I'll probably brave those windy streets.