46 Degrees Slows This Bike Ride Start

The cool front hung around overnight delaying my ride some today. When I got up this morning my home weather station showed 46 degrees. I can’t remember the last time it was that cool this year. By 11:30 it warmed up to the low 70’s and when I started the bike ride at 12:06 it was 74 degrees. Still I chose to wear a long sleeve jersey under a short sleeve jersey. At times on the “New Caney – Tavola – Valley Ranch” route this made me sweat and other times it kept me warm. Earlier this week I stopped at the Bike Lane store near The Woodlands and they had a 50% off sale on all long sleeve jerseys and jackets. I almost bought a couple of jerseys but thought my wardrobe was well supplied but now maybe I should’ve added a couple to the closet.

Today I biked 34.45 miles pushing me past my 600 mile goal for October. With 9 potential biking days I could hit 700+ miles for October. The weather for the next week looks warmer and dry which means great bike riding. Wind on today’s ride came from the north at 6 mph. This helped me get my overall average speed up to 15.5 mph for a long stretch of the ride.

I made a quick rest stop at the Porter Stripes station at FM1314 to eat a Kashi Trail Mix Bar (new recipe, new packaging) and some animal crackers. I washed this down with water which I did not drink much of before stopping because of the coolness. The Elemnt screen shortly after I stopped at Stripes and the weather while I ate.

Leaving Stripes before 2 PM meant I only stayed 20 minutes, a short stop. From there the wind seemed to slow me down some but I still maintained the 15.5 mph average speed until I got back into Kingwood. I finished the ride at 2:41.

Tomorrow I think I will dust off the Motobecane 700HT MTB and ride the Kingwood trails. A change of venue and bike will be nice.

Not Quite Magnetic Enough Bike Ride

I delayed the bike ride today waiting for the temperature to get to 70. About 11:30 it made and I got ready to roll. Pressing the Elemnt start button at 11:59 I began the “Atascocita – Walden – Huffman” route but with a different first 3 miles. I still biked 33.6 miles today even with the altered route. After Wednesday’s meeting with the City of Houston engineers to test traffic signal sensors I added a magnet to my front wheel to see if that trips the sensors.

Wheel magnet

I rode to the spot where we tested the sensors on Wednesday to see if the magnet helped. I tried to be the only one at the intersection but a car pulled up behind me on the north side of Northpark Drive at Woodridge Forest and may have tripped that signal. Riding across the west bound lanes I rode over the sensor and pulled up to the light at the east bound lanes of Northpark. Looking behind I saw a pickup truck in the left turn lane waiting for the light to change. Then the light changed for me to cross. I don’t know if the magnet did it or the truck so not much help there.

The next traffic light was at FM1960 and Pinehurst Trail. I tied to be the only one there but a couple of vehicles arrived and tripped the signal. Again no conclusion there. After that all the traffic signals had other vehicles besides me so no way to tell. I will leave the magnet on the wheel for a few rides and see if I find any lights that trip.

Yesterday afternoon a cool front passed through and lowered the temperature. When i checked this morning it was 57 degrees around 8:30. I knew it take awhile to warm up and decided to wear a long sleeve jersey in addition to a short sleeve one. At the beginning of the ride I thought I needed a jacket but waited for the exercise to warm me. After the first turn right I tugged the zippers of both jerseys closer to the top and waited for the route to leave the predominately shady areas. The wind was brisk from the north at 12 mph which didn’t help but I figured the extra effort to ride in the wind meant exerting more energy and warming up sooner.

I made my along the route with intermittent places where the wind helped and then slowed me. Arriving at the Huffman Chevron I didn’t buy the blue Powerade since I wasn’t hot and had not drank much water from my water bottle. Normally I sit in the shade but today the spot was in the sun because the breeze was chilly. I didn’t want to stay too long because I would cool down too much. My Elemnt screen when I arrived and the weather while I ate a Kashi Trail Mix bar and a small package of animal crackers.

Refilling my water bottle I got ready to leave and clipped in at 1:59 to finish the ride back to Kingwood. Earlier when I passed Kingwood High School a lot of cars were lined up to pickup the students so I figured an early dismissal and light traffic when I came back to cross Kingwood Drive. That was the case but I crossed at the signal at Kingwood Drive and W. Lake Houston Parkway. I stayed on the greenbelt/sidewalk after crossing Kingwood Drive and saw the progress on the new HEB Grocery store that opens October 26th. It looks like they have work left so everything may not be finished when they open.

I stopped the Elemnt computer at 2:50 to end the ride. The temperature improved to 76 degrees by then but the long sleeve jersey still felt nice when I walked in the shade to put my bike away. The temperature will increase gradually over the next few days to the mid 80’s, more to my liking.

With today’s bike ride I reached 98% of my mileage goal for October, leaving about 12 miles to ride. I plan on biking tomorrow so I should pass the goal but I may need to wait for the warmer part of the day to arrive. While I wait I will watch the Abu Dhabi Tour on www.cycling.tv like I did this morning. I started watching this morning as the pack was sprinting the last 1.9K.

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.

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