Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pay it forward if you can

I was out on my first ride of the season, solo riding which I prefer. Nice day, enjoyable ride, and having fun. I came across a group of 3 men, one was on the phone and the other two told me he had put two tubes in his tire and blew both as soon as they took off.

I knew the problem as we ALL have had this problem. We forget to check the tire for glass, metal or some pointy object. We took off his tire and I found the metal piece quickly. Lucky I had extra tubes and CO2 and was able to help get this tire back on and get the rider on his way.

I often wonder as I pass riders on the road, do they have a tube and an inflation system that they can actually use if need be?

I told the fellow whom I helped with my supplies that he was now obligated to pay it forward and help the next guy he sees stranded on the side of the road.

But if you are reading this and just home from a great ride, go out to your bike and pull off your little supply bag. It should have 2 tubes, 3 or 4 CO2 cartridges, and a tire lever that can actually do the job.

Practice changing a tire at home, do it in your yard standing up as that is how you have to do it on the road. Use whatever inflation system you have and practice with it. If you only carry a small pump make sure you can inflate the tire to a good pressure.

Pictured are my bag and supplies. I have plenty of C02, two tubes in plastic bags to protect them from punctures, a Pedro tire lever, big and strong, tools and some extra washers and screws for my shoe cleats. This all fits into my rather small useful bag. Also suggest buying your CO2 online, way cheaper than what they charge in bike stores.

ALWAYS carry a cell phone, and ID such as an expired driver's license. If you are biking with a friend or wife or hubby, make sure you EACH have a phone. You can get separated and then the phoneless spouse or friend is stuck. I have run across this scenario many times.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not Copenhagen but a very ambitious effort in Pennsylvania, hats off to the Chester County Commissioners

Chester County, located west of Philadelphia by about 30 miles, has recently completed a 24 year effort to build a multi-use trail running from Exton, Pa to King of Prussia Pa. The trail was dreamed about in 1990 and finally in 2014 it is almost a reality.

For those living in areas that are not congested and hampered by many obstacles such as numerous culverts, overpasses to be built, highways, housing, industrial parks and the list goes on have no concept at how amazing this project was and IS!

The Chester Valley Trail will ultimately connect Exton, PA to Philadelphia PA once the last portion in Mongtomery County is completed. The Montgomery County portion will traverse one of the most congested shopping areas on the East Coast. To imagine a bike trail through this area is almost unbelievable. To see this effort in my county makes me proud to live here.

It is one thing to build a trail along an underdeveloped railroad bed but to put this trail right alongside a huge highway and areas of intense population is nothing short of a miracle. The final portion will go over the Schuylkill Expressway and wind its way over the Schuylkill River in Norristown and meet up with the famous Schuylkill River Trail.

The final trail from Exton to the the famous Art Museum steps that Rocky ran up will be approximately 50 miles in one direction making the full circuit almost 100 miles of trail running through an area that is just not to be believed until you ride it.

Hats off to all who had a hand in the project. Many folks fought long and hard to oppose the trail but by  very hard work, Chester County Commissioners hung in there and got the project completed. 9/11 almost killed the project as companies along the route feared terrorists using the trail.

But I want to extend a huge thank you to all involved.