Monday, April 28, 2014

Mid-Morning at the Oasis

Rest stop at the Chesterville Mall
May is Bike Month, and with any luck it will bring temperatures higher than 50 degrees, the last remnants of snow in the woods will melt away (instead of pouring cold air down the hillsides onto unsuspecting cyclists riding by), we can go out in short-sleeve jerseys and shorts - and it can't come soon enough.  Last Saturday's ride in Wayne was a lot dryer than expected and we had our usual cadre of smiling velonauts, but warm? - it was not.  Perhaps May will remedy this.  If nothing else, this Saturday we will have a new route from Pike's Oasis in Livermore, laid out by John Lanoue, and that should count for something.  Hope to see you there!
Saturday, May 3rd - LIVERMORE
"The Oasis Loop" - a not-quite-desert-like tour of the ponds and ridges around Livermore, Fayette, and Chesterville.
START: 10:00 am at Pike's Corner Oasis at the junction of Rt. 106 and Rt. 133 in Livermore.
DISTANCE: 28 miles.
TERRAIN: flat to moderate with a few good hills.
HIGHLIGHTS: some scenic back roads including the famed Ridge Road along the Chesterville Esker, and perhaps a post-ride ice cream stop.
LEADER: John Lanoue.
For more information on the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club find us on Facebook, or contact Jim Merrick at

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Wayne, Maine

We had an eventful ride this past Saturday along the Kennebec River Rail Trail and beyond.  We had eleven riders in rather crisp temperatures, but the potential rain never materialized and we got in a nice ride along the river.  We never got a chance to thank our ride leader, Jim Floyd, as he was called away by troubling news from home as his wife Martha had suffered an accident while out for a hike with their dog.  Thankfully for cell phones and dog whistles, Martha was found by the rescue team and transported with difficulty to safety.  Our thoughts are with both of them and we hope Martha is home soon and on the way to recovery. 
This Saturday's KVBC ride will start and end in Wayne at the Elementary School on Pond Road (off of Rt. 133).  Hope to see you there!
Saturday, April 26th - WAYNE
"The Wayne Way" - a tour of the lakes and waterfalls around Wayne, North Wayne, and Fayette.
START: 10:00 AM at the Wayne Elementary School, 48 Pond Road, Wayne.
DISTANCE: 20-23 miles. (Options for a longer ride are possible.)
TERRAIN: moderate, with some surprisingly flat sections.
HIGHLIGHTS: some nice scenic lake shore roads, meadows, and scenic view of White Mtns from Home Nest Farm - great touring country.
LEADER:  Jim Merrick,
For more information on the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club follow us on Facebook, or contact Jim Merrick at

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wake Up the Earth 2014

We had a great warm-up ride last Saturday in North Augusta thanks to Jim Floyd and David Lipman.  They picked a perfect day, and we had a nice turn-out of twelve riders on short notice.  We didn't lose anyone (we think) and the roads were a lot better than expected.  This Saturday's ride will be our first official ride of the season - the "Wake Up the Earth" ride along the Kennebec River Rail Trail, with a possible stop at Slates Bakery in Hallowell (actually two possible stops, as we pass by it twice, and it's hard to pass by).  The ride will be on gentle, mostly flat terrain, and will be moderately paced - perfect if you haven't been out much as yet this year.  Hope you can join us as we kick off another great year of cycling!

April 19th, Saturday - AUGUSTA
"Wake Up the Earth" - an early Spring/Earth Day ride along the Kennebec River Rail Trail through Augusta, Hallowell, and Gardiner.
START:  10:00 AM at the Augusta trail head of the rail trail - the municipal parking lot off of Water Street adjacent to the Maine State Housing Authority (353 Water St.) in the shadow of Memorial Bridge:
DISTANCE: 20-25 miles
TERRAIN:  flat (and we mean flat, unless of course we take a detour to add on more miles)
HIGHLIGHTS:  the first ride of the season, a pleasant run along the Kennebec River, with some great natural scenery mixed with some urban vistas, kicking off another great year of cycling; possible stop at Slates Bakery in Hallowell, too!
LEADER:  Jim Floyd.
For more information on the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club contact Jim Merrick, or check out our Facebook page.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Gabriel Blow that Horn

The first official KVBC ride of the season - the "Wake Up the Earth Ride" - is scheduled for Saturday, April 19.  But this has been such an interminably long Winter, just about all of us are getting a bit antsy, and waking the Earth may require some defibrillation ahead of time this year.  So we will take advantage of this Saturday's forecast of sunshine and mid-50s, and embark on an impromptu preseason ride to see what shape the roads are in North Augusta and vicinity.  Get those road bikes out!
Saturday, April 12: NORTH AUGUSTA
"Reverse Cryogenics" - a preseason tour to encourage the winter snows to melt away from our roads so we can see where the potholes are.
START: 10:00 am at the parking lot by the TRC industrial building on Gabriel Drive, just off of Civic Center Drive between Johnathan's Restaurant and the Maine Farm Bureau; park on the left side of the building along a row of pine trees.
DISTANCE: to be determined
TERRAIN: to be determined
HIGHLIGHTS: Hey, a Bike Ride!  Praise the Lord and Pass the Chain Lube!
LEADERS: Jim Floyd and David Lipman.
For more information on the Kennebec Valley Bicycle Club, contact Jim Merrick at, or check out our Facebook page.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nano Cycling - the New Frontier

From early days, engineers sat at their desks and contemplated shrinking bicycles and riders down to microscopic levels, hoping to set off and explore new frontiers. (And escape from bosses, supervisors, tax collectors, tedium, and other ills.)

Early attempts at reducing the size of cyclists were encouraging, but not always successful. Shortly after this image was recorded, the cycling couple rode off and were never seen again. It was decided that perhaps it was best to concentrate on producing nano bikes first, and cyclists later.

After much effort, engineers began to make significant progress. Fully functional bicycles of incredibly small sizes began to appear.

Unlike the camels of old, these bikes could pass through the eye of a needle (if you turned the handlebars). Still there was a long way to go in terms of reduction.

Finally, a significant breakthrough involving proximity to a critical mass of Reifenabrieb (rubber tire dandruff) allowed the transformation of cyclists into true nano cyclists, and the jubilant engineers were on their way.

Understandably perhaps, the engineers first tested out nano cyclists in the repair and maintenance of bicycle inner tubes while in actual use, installed on rims. It was thought that teams of nano cyclists could forestall flats before they happened, by servicing and repairing weaknesses in tubes, such as the nano snakebite in Photo 2 above.

Brilliant in principle, but difficult in practice as the distances inside a standard 700c bike tube are enormous on a nano level. Here one the nano cycling scouts has located a minor leak and is awaiting the arrival of the patch crew. Fortunately it is a very slow leak. Once patched, the team can proceed on to the next leak - after stopping for ice cream, perhaps. Of course, they may just decide to let the lazy engineers patch their own tubes, and set off instead on a transcontinental trip across the engineer's mouse pad. In nano cycling, the possibilities - and the distances - are endless.