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Geography
 

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lrzipris
Joined: 04 Mar 2004
Posts: 408
Location: Doylestown, PA

2/13/13 11:52 AM

Geography

The last two days, when I did my little 18 mile house-to-general-store-for-coffee ride, I was reminded of how close to the earth (figuratively) we are when we ride. I've always been fascinated by how the earth has, over aeons, buckled or been carved, forming hills and valleys: "this ridge I'm climbing extends over to that other road, and then I go down to the river." This sense of the local geography/topography makes me feel very much at peace and connected.

That's why I ride, I guess, for that serenity.

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DPotter
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 950
Location: Portland, Maine

2/13/13 4:46 PM

Funny, I think that often about my ride. I never got a "holistic" feel for the geography of my town til I started riding it. Now I know where the ridges, plains and streams are and why they run the way they do.

Going slow promotes understanding.

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JohnC
Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 1936
Location: Glastonbury, Ct

2/13/13 8:30 PM

Going slow, and going up and down under your own power or that of gravity. I'm far more conscious of the inclination of the land on the bike. In a powered vehicle you can ignore the slope.

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daddy-o
Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Posts: 3215
Location: Springfield

2/13/13 10:48 PM

Riding brings maps to life. For example, the other night I pointed out a simple landmark "at the bottom of the hill" because of a little blue creek next to the destination. When they got there they were actually excited by the fact "it was right there!"

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Andy M-S
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3201
Location: Hamden (greater New Haven) CT

2/13/13 10:58 PM

When riding

I tend to find myself much more conscious of the landscape. In a car you don't notice small hills, and distances seem to fade; on foot or on my bike, I get a much better perspective on the landscape. I also find that I get a sense of animal and plant life that I would never have from the air-conditioned comfort of a cage.

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Pat Clancy
Joined: 13 Jan 2004
Posts: 1349
Location: Manchester, CT

2/14/13 8:49 AM

Other things

I'm very familiar with the geography of my area, so I don't notice that so much as other things you can miss in a car. The cooler damp air when you pass over a stream. The smells - cookouts, honeysuckle, overripe concord grapes by the roadside, etc. Birds singing (and crows squawking) and other animal noises. There are times riding the local rail trail when I can't go a quarter of a mile without startling a chipmunk, who lets out a surprisingly loud and sharp chirp. That's about 40 times on a 10 mile ride. Hmmm, maybe that's not so good.

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lrzipris
Joined: 04 Mar 2004
Posts: 408
Location: Doylestown, PA

2/14/13 9:08 AM

"In a powered vehicle you can ignore the slope."

What slope? Years ago, when I first began riding, I went on a low-level club ride that took us up a long, torturous hill. After the stragglers made it to the top, we regrouped and began to breathe normally again, people asked the ride leader what she was thinking, didn't she test the route? She replied that she had and that it hadn't seemed too steep when she did so--in her car!

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 16746
Location: Portland, OR

2/14/13 10:03 AM

Having moved to a new place, I get to learn and enjoy new humps/bumps/views. And on the better days weather wise, I get a four mountain view only 3 mile from my house. It is at the top of a challenging hill, so I take the time to dismount and really enjoy it too.

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JohnC
Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 1936
Location: Glastonbury, Ct

2/14/13 12:41 PM

Eloquently put, Pat, though your catalogue of smells left out the less pleasant ones, which are part of the world to be appreciated, as well. A whiff of skunk is not uncommon, and I count the arrival of real high summer as the first time I smell the roadkill before I see it.

And sometimes the sounds are more dramatic than the chirp of the chipmunk. Up on Villa Louisa Road on Birch Mountain I startled a turkey two feet from the side of the road, and it took off like a feathered explosion, 60 feet high in two seconds. I was at least as startled as the bird. You'd never get that effect in a car.

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 16746
Location: Portland, OR

2/14/13 1:10 PM

"catalogue of smells left out the less pleasant ones"

My least fav being getting a snoot full of some unseen roadkill off the side of the road. You try not to breath for a bit, but if a long hill that gets a bit more difficult of course... So you take little sample breath until you are out of the waft, then gulp even more then usual once clear....

Dodging the Hops buds with nasty barbs the trucks loose onto the road is interesting here. And then I am reminded of the Central Park Jaunts when back in NJ, where the oysters where fragrant, and like grease if you dare hit one...

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JohnC
Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 1936
Location: Glastonbury, Ct

2/14/13 3:13 PM


quote:
So you take little sample breath until you are out of the waft, then gulp even more then usual once clear....



I do that when passed by especially smoky vehicles in city traffic. You smell something bad, you exhale quickly, wait a few seconds, take a tiny whiff, exhale again if it's still bad, and hopefully get to where you can gasp a lungful of relatively clean air before you pass out.

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sanrensho
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 811
Location: North Vancouver

2/14/13 3:46 PM

Roy, I must not have been paying attention, but I guess you moved from Bellingham. Was it not to your taste?

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lrzipris
Joined: 04 Mar 2004
Posts: 408
Location: Doylestown, PA

2/14/13 5:07 PM

Way too gray, chilly and rainy! And the varied terrain is prettier here in PA, and much more enjoyable cycling. In Bellingham, the beauty is far off in the distance, in the mountains, and if you're not doing some serious climbing, you're doing straight, flat roads through farmland, for mile after mile.

But, really, the 9-10 months of bleak weather....

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 16746
Location: Portland, OR

2/14/13 5:32 PM

"9-10 months of bleak weather..."

Wow, I though here was bleak. Although the weather pattern is changing, and unlike years ago, the sun breaks out once or twice a week or two during the dismal season. May to November is mostly superb...

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bboston75
Joined: 16 Jan 2004
Posts: 365
Location: philadelphia

2/14/13 6:27 PM

Roy in Dtown

Glad to see you're back. What do you think of the new parkway? Have to meet at Bagel Bareel when it warms up.

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sanrensho
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
Posts: 811
Location: North Vancouver

2/14/13 6:53 PM

Bleak weather

Ouch. "Bellingham was reported to have the lowest average sunshine amount of any city in the US."

Even Vancouver is 40%, assuming the data points are the same (% of daytime hours).

http://www.city-data.com/top2/c475.html

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6427
Location: Westchester/NYC

2/14/13 9:57 PM


quote:
In Bellingham, the beauty is far off in the distance, in the mountains, and if you're not doing some serious climbing, you're doing straight, flat roads through farmland, for mile after mile.

That's pretty much true most of the west.

Moving from New York to the Bay Area south of San Francisco, supposedly one of the prettiest place to ride, I was seriously disappointed by the variety of geography.

Sure, the landscape is grand. Too grand, unfortunately. And too far away for the most part. "Miles after miles of flat and straight" are the only alternattive to "serious climbing". Very little in between.

But at least it wasn't Alaska! We DROVE for a whole day looking at ONE mountain at a distance that never got any closer!!!

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ErikS
Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 8310
Location: Slowing boiling over in the steamy south, Global Warming is real

2/15/13 3:16 AM

I "see" small rolling hills more when driving but "feel" them more when riding.

I think this because when riding our eyes and brain are engaged at a much closer distance in front of us when compared to driving.

I really have to sit up and put an effort into seeing down the road to notice it while riding.

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Alenhoff
Joined: 15 Jan 2004
Posts: 237
Location: Detroit, MI

2/15/13 2:13 PM

Faux smell


quote:
"catalogue of smells left out the less pleasant ones"


Sometimes when I'm riding in the spring, I get a whiff of what smells like the stale air escaping from a blowout. Oh crap!

And then I realize that I'm just smelling blooming Lilacs. False alarm...

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 16746
Location: Portland, OR

2/15/13 2:26 PM

"I really have to sit up and put an effort into seeing down the road to notice it while riding."

I hear that. Seems like I am always paying so much attention to recovering and not looking too far up the hills [as to psyc self] I never look at anything but pavement until I stop.

Considering I am going to have to ride though this Meralgia paraesthetica for more than the short term.
I may just get one of those goofy steerer risers and hike up the bars for the interim... So at least I can ride, and maybe I will see some forests for the trees without the bars 4" lower than the seat. Which is over for me I am pretty sure...

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lrzipris
Joined: 04 Mar 2004
Posts: 408
Location: Doylestown, PA

2/15/13 3:31 PM

During the small window of decent cycling weather, the countryside north and northeast of Bellingham is mostly farmland--with the attendant stink of manure. It's really potent and really bad! And when it's dusty and the wind blows....

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3228
Location: NorCal

2/15/13 11:51 PM

When I ride, I sometimes consider that many of the local roads and trails would be under water if our former state senator had his way.
I would have to buy SCUBA gear to be able to ride these places ever again!

The local mountains are now, after some 30+ years, starting to heal from the aborted dam-site blasting. The only good to come from the work was a diversion tunnel for the river flow, but now, with the river recently restored and the tunnel finally filled in, we can't ride over to the other side any more.

When I ride, I'm always struggling to get over the top, for the next view (it's hilly here).

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PLee
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 3609
Location: Brooklyn, NY

2/16/13 5:51 AM

Sounds like you're enjoying the fruits of some politician having his way years ago and killing/taking away a river.

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ErikS
Joined: 19 May 2005
Posts: 8310
Location: Slowing boiling over in the steamy south, Global Warming is real

2/16/13 8:01 AM

Spring time up north must be horrid. All the winter road kill thaws and rots at the same time. Here it just stinks all summer.

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April
Joined: 13 Dec 2003
Posts: 6427
Location: Westchester/NYC

2/16/13 10:03 AM

spring up north


quote:
Spring time up north must be horrid.

It's horrid for riding for sure. All the road salt and sand makes for really treacherous riding. Though that's the same all winter as well (except most people don't even TRY to ride in winter, unlike spring time)

But no, the road kills don't smell in spring, Spring here means 40-50 degree, not 80 degrees. ;-)

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