Asphalt Almost Replaced Bike Ride

I took yesterday off to run errands and rest up but I took a bike ride today on the “Stroker Road – Huffman” route. I missed the grass farms so I wanted to bicycle over there to see what was going on. Well I didn’t see much movement but the grass was still there. The bike ride was 41.62 miles long which was one of the reasons I chose this route. I encountered a couple of road construction places: south bound W. Lake Houston south of Upper Lake Drive and Pinehurst Trail. With fall it must be our turn for road work. Speaking of road work, when I reached FM1960 at Pinehurst Trail I saw some new asphalt on the far side of the road but the lane closest to me was still rough old asphalt. Here’s a picture.

FM1960 at Pinehurst Trail

Riding across FM1960 once the light changed I spotted a void in the asphalt about the size of my hand. I hope they come back and patch it. I am not sure if there will a second layer since this one is very smooth and they painted the lines on it. After making my way through Walden at Lake Houston and approaching FM1960 on Atascocita Shores Drive I wondered if the shoulder from Atascocita Shores to the concrete Lake Houston Causeway would be done. It was and here is what it looks like.

FM1960 at Atascocita Shores Drive

The shoulder is now much smoother than the old one but I think it is narrower.

At the beginning of the bike ride as I was going east on Forest Village Drive less than a mile from the start I saw another bicyclist make a wide swing into a driveway. I saw this biker on other rides but not this close to home. As I rode by the driveway we exchanged waves.

It would be difficult to order much better biking weather than  today’s. The starting temperature (11:03) was 87 degrees, partly cloudy sky with a variable wind. By the time I finished at 2:28 it was up to 94 degrees. I sweated some on this ride. I wore my new Pearl Izumi Gel Select black gloves for the first time. My old gloves were showing bad signs of wear and tear.

The wind wasn’t a real issue until I got rode east of FM2100 where the wind break slowly fades away. One time on Old Atascocita Road a gust of wind hit from the right side and tried to shove me to the left but I held my position though I tilted a little to the left. Riding south on Ramsey Road a crew was working on setting half of a mobile home in place with the other half parked in the road. I made my way around it and enjoyed a brief break from the wind. About 2 miles later I turned right on Stroker Road and the wind was no longer trying to slow me down. Once I was on FM2100 riding north the wind was helping me.

In Huffman I stopped at the Chevron station for a break. It was 1:08 and 29.9 miles into the ride. The Elemnt screen and weather while I ate snack crackers and drank water.

While I was eating the Amtrak passenger train passed through Huffman. I guess it is back to using this track for a while. At 1:38 I rolled away from the station on my way back to Kingwood. I made a good pace until I was out on the Lake Houston Causeway where the south wind slowed me down but I still kept my overall average speed at 15.1 mph. The shoulder on FM1960 from the causeway to the right turn onto Atascocita Shores Drive was new smooth asphalt just like the other side.

When I got to Kingwood Drive I only waited a few seconds to get across since I was ahead of the Kingwood High School traffic. From there it was only a couple of miles to the end.

Waxed Chain, Firm Tire and New Sensors Bike Ride

After yesterday’s bike ride I decided to wax my chain to silence the occasional squeak I heard during rides. While waiting for the waxed chain to cool I noticed the tube in the front wheel was oozing out of a slit. This was where I had the flat on yesterday’s ride and couldn’t find the hole. The tire still has some miles left so I let the air out and inserted a boot made from an old tire. That fixed the oozing tube problem. The postal delivery person delivered our mail while I did the work and one of the envelopes contained new Wahoo speed and cadence sensors. So I replaced the Garmin sensors on the Stradalli with the new Wahoo ones and moved the Garmin sensors to the my Motobecane 700HT MTB. It was easy to add the sensors to the Elemnt computer and I was all set for today’s ride.

With the repairs done, chain waxed and new sensors I set out on today’s bicycle ride to see how my work did. I chose the “Oakhurst – Valley Ranch” route and rode 28.31 miles. The chain was quiet, the front tire firm and the sensors recorded all of the ride data they were asked to do. I started riding at 12:32 and finished at 2:34. Since I was biking less than 30 miles and wanted to make it quick I skipped a rest stop.

The weather continues to be almost summer with 90 degrees and a mostly cloudy sky. The wind was from the SSW at 9 mph which influences the warmth. Someday fall may arrive but until it does I am enjoying it.

Tomorrow is an off day since I rode every day this week and have some errands to run. So far I biked 14 out of 16 days this month and I am at 85% of my mileage goal for October.

I saw another cyclist in Valley Ranch as I was riding north on Valley Ranch Parkway he was going the opposite direction. While was dressed in a red jersey and black shorts he wore a white jersey and black shorts. We exchanged waves as we passed.

Click on either of the maps for more details.

Flat Front Tire Deflates Bike Ride Plan

My plan for today’s ride was to start early enough that I might see a number of other bicyclists on the “Atascocita – Walden – Huffman” route like I have done in the past. I didn’t leave as early as I wanted to (9:54) but I thought I might catch some of the later bikers. Shortening the route slightly (about 2 miles) I thought this might speed getting to FM1960 where other bikers would pass. The plan was working until I hit something with my front tire about 12.4 miles into the ride and flatted the front tire. This happened by the park on Atascocita Shores Drive south of FM1960 so I walked over to the shade and sat down on the curb to assess the situation.

Inspecting the tire nothing jumped out as the culprit. Next I removed the tube from the tire and looked for a hole but didn’t find anything. I tried airing up the tire to listen for the hissing of escaping air but the hole must’ve been big enough that the tube didn’t hold the air long enough for me to hear anything. Net I tired squeezing the tube in sections to isolate the hole but I still could locate the problem. After many tries of squeezing various chunks of tube I finally felt some air blowing on my leg from the tube. This narrowed the search and I found a 3/16″ slit. Now to put the patch on. Roughing the tube with sandpaper I followed with glue spreading it with my finger to widen the area where the patch went. I thought the glue was dry and put the patch over the hole and pressed hard on it to help the glue. Before putting it back in the tire I pumped up the tube and inspected the patch. A section of the patch did not stick and fearing the patch would not hold once it was in the tire I pulled the patch off and used the sandpaper again. This time I put more glue on and widened the spot. Allowing more time for the glue to dry I applied the patch, squeezed it for 30 sections or so. The patch looked like it stuck so I put the tube back in the tire, aired the tire up and waited a minute or so to see if the pressure held. It did. I put all of the supplies back, mounted the wheel. The 20 minutes or so that it took to repair the flat definitely put me out of the window to see any other bicyclists today.

When I rode to FM1960 to go east over Lake Houston I wondered how the patch would hold while I biked over the rough ground asphalt to get to the concrete but I made it. I guess if the patch was going to fail that would be the place. The resurfacing of FM1960 showed no more work from my trip yesterday. Maybe the work crew will lay asphalt before my next ride there.

Making my way along the route I stopped at the Huffman Chevron for a short rest break and to refill my water bottle. My Elemnt screen when I stopped at the Chevron and the weather before I left.

18.4 miles into the ride is less than the usual 20+ but I was there earlier in the day than usual. The weather was absolutely beautiful and the short sleeve jersey was perfect. While I was at the Chevron station a long freight train going east slowly moved by. I saw the last car when I crossed the track on Old Atascocita road earlier and figured it the train would be stopped west of the crossing in Huffman. Once it started moving it went slowly and because of the number of cars the traffic backed up waiting to go south on FM2100. About 5 minutes after that train disappeared going east another train came from the east. That meant the first train moved to the siding just east of Huffman to allow the second one to pass. My youth model train days fuel my interest in trains now.

Leaving the Chevron about 12:03 to ride back to Kingwood the wind slowed me down some. I altered my route a little in Kingwood to get around the Fall Festival at Town Center Park that I made my way through on the way to Huffman. The ride finished at 12:57.

Where I stand mileage wise:

  • 210 miles so far this week
  • 485 miles for October
  • 6,417 miles for the year to date

Great weather on tap for tomorrow (Sunday) and I plan on a bike ride after church and Sunday school.

Leaking PowerAde Cup Bike Ride in Huffman

Today’s bike ride went to the east on what I label the “May Park Community Center – Huffman” route. I started biking at 11:29 with the goal of 35+ miles. The actual total came to 38.84 miles with a moving time of 2:39:03. Temperature was around the mid 80’s which was lower than yesterday. I could feel the air was cooler when I started the ride but once I was warmed up and spent more time in the sun I forgot about the coolness.

Riding south before turning to the east I came to FM1960 expecting the rough surface to still be there but surprisingly the center turn lane and one lane on each side of it sported a new smooth layer of asphalt. Once the traffic light changed I still had to ride over the rough shoulders and the two lanes not coated yet. Later as I exited Atascocita Shores Drive onto eastbound FM1960 I rode on the ground down and rough shoulder to reach the concrete roadway on the Lake Houston Causeway. From there the road was the usual mixture of concrete and asphalt. Maybe more lanes will be coated before I return tomorrow.

After looping south on Fairlake Drive, Old Atascocita Road and FM2100 I was back to FM1960 which I rode east into Liberty County, though just by a few feet. Making a u-turn I went back to Huffman – Eastgate Road to bicycle to the May Community Center. When it is hot I stop at the center to refill my water bottle but I skipped that today since I had not drank all of my water. It was a little over three miles to my planned rest stop at the Huffman Chevron.

I arrived at the Chevron station at 1:24 and rode under the pump canopy. This was 27.6 miles into the ride. My Elemnt screen when I stopped. The weather screen shot is while I was sitting in the shade cooling down and eating.

After about 30 minutes I got ready to resume the bike ride refilling my water bottle. For a change I bought some blue Powerade to go with the snack crackers. I almost didn’t get the Powerade though. When I first tried the fountain machine only clear water came out. I asked one of the ladies if they were out and she checked the tank in the backroom. It was full so I tried again and it was blue this time. Filling the Styrofoam cup I set it on the white counter beside the machine and a blue puddle started to form. I wiped it up and it appeared again. Lifting the cup a steady drip came from the cup so I poured the Powerade into a new cup. The drip stopped and I went to pay. Outside I sat in the shade cooling down and enjoying the light breeze and the flow of traffic.

The bike ride west went smoothly until I encountered the rough shoulder after the concreted ended on the causeway. This side didn’t seem as rough as the other side but I was still glad to make the right turn onto Atascocita Shores Drive. It isn’t the smoothest concrete street but it is much better than ground down asphalt. I hurried to best the Kingwood High School traffic at Kingwood Drive and crossed just a minute or so before the school let out. Not long after that I felt a few rain drops but they didn’t last very long. This repeated several times and then stopped. I finished the bike ride at 2:53.

During the ride I heard a squeak from my chain every once in a while so I think it is time to wax the chain. I will get that done in the next couple of days. My Stradalli now has 18,029 miles on it. That was around the mileage on my previous bike when I moved to the Stradalli in March 2014. I am not planning to replace the Stradalli any time soon.

More gorgeous weather tomorrow so bike riding is on the agenda.