Sunday, June 5, 2011

First Ride in Maine, a little hilly compared to Florida:)

Today the big event was a 5.21 mile tike ride. We’ve been working on the house and more than a little afraid of the local hills so that here we are three weeks later and no rides. But today it’s Sunday the weather can’t be any better, a sunny, mild light breeze, and my belly is full, bacon and eggs. There are just no more excuses, so I finally decided to see if I could even get to the road down our driveway.  Our driveway is U shaped in elevation and gravel so it was questionable if the narrow tires would give enough grip to climb out. In short, yes I can, slowly, very slowly. Speed must be kept down due to the roughness and greatly increased braking distance. Once I successfully crossed the Rubicon (small creek our driveway crosses) I turned right on Belfast Rd, towards the roads namesake. An easy peddle over the crest (we’re near the peak of this ridge crossing) then start gaining real speed on the descent but I wanted to turn left on Suitor Rd which is only about a 200 yards down. Hit the brakes and something is wrong. I slow but there are other sounds and a pull to the right. I aim for the right shoulder where there is a wide spot. As I slow to a stop I release the brakes and the right one still is engaged. I too busy aiming and can’t look at the wheel/brake but I can note that something visible isn’t right. Once stopped it’s quickly obvious the problem, the right wheel quick release has released and is missing and the axle is partially out of the hub. This is not good, as in it couldn't be ridden. So now starts the search for the wayward parts. I figured that the inner axle support had to be within 50ft since the wheel will not roll properly and it was rolling fine until I started braking. Sure enough I found the axel support after 10 minutes on the roadside. But where was the quick release? Another 30 minutes search of the length of road from where I found the support and up but nothing. I decide to head home pushing the trike, the axle support will stay in for a little while so every 50ft or so I need to pick it up and reinstall.  I learned that pushing a tike is a pain since it’s so low. Luckily I had some light string that I tied to the handle bars and made towing very easy, note to self always carry tow string. Once I turned down the driveway I wondered if the quick release could have come out this far back so I kept looking as I walked and low and behold there it was about halfway to the house. I guess with weight in the trike the axle support will stay in place until some side load comes along.

Ok that event was not a 5 mile ride, more like 0.5 mile ride the 0.5 mile walk. Now I proceeded to do what I should have done before, check every quick release, the other axle was loose also, and adjust brakes. Now I was really ready for a ride.

I only averaged about 6.4 mph but to give you an idea of the hills I hit 40 mph on a hill I climbed earlier when returning and I had braked nearly halfway down and only then let the trike coast out. This series of hills are going to be a great workout routine. On exiting the driveway turn right towards Belfast after cresting the hill coast down to Suitor Rd and climb it’s first hill. The next descent gives enough energy to almost make the next climb on a coast. At the end of this road comes the real climb, turning left on Old County Rd. This has to be in the top 5 steepest hills I’ve ever done. Had to stop three times before making the peak but the view is spectacular. Those distant mountains in the picture are at least 20 miles away. I’m at about 1000 ft above sea level which is only 250 ft higher than our house. But I’m sure I’ve climbed at least 500 ft by this point. I turned around instead of going to Knox Center, I was already beat and going forward would have been more climbs than just turning around. The only hill I had to walk was on our driveway. The last section is too loose and my small tire just spins. 

I’ve already decided my next big goal will be to ride from Belfast at the sea level to that peak.

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