our trajectory
9 hours en route.
13.96 mph was our average speed.
A sustained SE wind of 15-20 mph.
First half our average was 15.169 mph
Second half it dropped to 12.61 mph

Google maps for some reason it will only display 2 miles at a time. just click next a lot, its easier than pedaling.
If you have google earth installed you can just load the attached kmz file and see it in its entirity, google you need to fix this.

getzp> will and i's combined consumption for that day
getzp> : 1 powerbar/ea
getzp> 1/2 snickers bar/ea
getzp> 1/2 snickers ice cream bar/ea
getzp> 4 gatorades/split
getzp> about 1.5l of water
getzp> we are idiots

This Tuesday i received my first road bike. a recumbent from challechallenge cycles out of the Netherlands. My single speed mountain bike didn't seem up for the challenge for my upcoming Paris - Amsterdam pedal vacation. My first weekend with the bike i wanted to do a test ride to see how it all worked, after all i had never ridden a road bike, or a recumbent before. So i picked to ride it some 80 miles to Galveston. The following tale is one of inexperience coupled with stupidity and bad luck. I hope you enjoy it more than i did.

For such a task the first task is enlisting fellow fools. I put the idea to all my friends who had ever ridden a bike. Peter and Ben returned my calls for partners in crime. Ben was planning to join me on the eurobikeride, and peter was going to Galveston to visit family anyway, why not bike it?

With our cast of characters set, i will finally begin the tale. I was all set to enact my carefully laid plans. Friday i went to work extra early so i could get off in time to catch a nap. So i would be well rested for Saturdays festivities. The nap was cut short by the thunder booming about me. "What!? the weather was sunny sunny sunny for the weekend, where could this come from?" lied to me. It was not sunny, nor would it be all weekend. Peter sent a note saying rain meant it was over for him since he knew what rain did to road tires. Benlake didn't seem discouraged by the rain stating we would have to deal with it in Europe too. I guess one cohort would have to do. So i waited for benlakes arrival. and waited. and waited. He said he would try to get off work, but admitted that at 7pm he was only just then on his way. Four hours later he was no where to be seen. Not foolish enough to try this journey alone i resigned myself to my fate and abandoned any plans of eating a good carbohydrate dinner to fuel the ride, and instead settled for a Sloppy Chicken Burrito smothered in queso from chachos. There really is only one way you can counter the effects of all that queso, and thats with a butterfinger mexican vanilla milk shake from amy's ice cream. So to reward myself for trekking out in the pouring rain, i stopped by Amy's to fulfill my fatty desires. Jacked up, and filled up with sugar and cheese, i stayed up till 3 am babysitting the internet. Sadly i woke up bright and early, seems work has me programmed even on the weekends. I proceed to enjoy my Saturday as i normally would, and that means video games!

It was about noon when Peter sent me a message asking about the trip, after all he still had to goto Galveston to see family. Well shoot, by noon i had played about all the video games i could stand. So i thought, why not, lets go. So i quickly pack my bags, clothes, snickers, 1L of water. I try to print a map but my printer isnt working. I ask peter, neither is his. I hate printers. things that are mechanical should not be made of plastic, nor directly interface with digital creatures. So i instead screen shot the maps, and email them to myself, so i can check the email on the phone. I even brought an extra phone battery just in case.

i hit the road, and rolled the 4 miles to peters house. I met him out front, he was trying to make a deal on an old cassette duplicator. Clearly not ready, he confessed his message was more of an inquiry into the possibility of putting the ride off for a day, possibly on his return trip. But since i was here, he would get ready. That meant he proceeded to do laundry and other household chores before we set off an hour later. Peter had me carry all his trip preparations and gear, a change of clothes and an inner tube. We were stocked, my bags were full. Time to ride out.

A note on clothes, we are not cyclists, and we are proud of that fact, the one rule we had for this trip is "no spandex" so i can assure you, the inquisitive reader that at no point did we let spandex touch our bodies. (peter says he has a lycra shirt, thats kinda close, but he thankfully he left it at home). However we did wear standard issue tee shirts, shorts, and flip flops (peter wore slip on shoes( very chic)).

Riding out we crossed from the usual territory into the unknown regions pretty quickly.Never having been down martin Luther King blvd, i can say i have now crossed it 5 or so times, we did a lot of back tracking and "shortcut" finding in the city. Also of note were the four lane thourgouhfares that stretched for miles without any cars, houses or businesses, only trees grass and for sale signs. Mykawa street played like a highway, no shoulder and cars whizzing by a 50 mph. We had missed our intended route and instead of backtracking even more than we already had we decided to push on down mykawa, and its traffic. Pete grabbed some styling shades at a gas station, if only to illustrate his unpreparedness. Well that and the wind was flinging bugs like buckshot.

After running the mykawa gauntlet we snuck off into the neighboorhoods again till we found a more suitable path to beltway 8 and the painful prominence of race based neighboorhoods. From the seat of a single road you can see the coffee house progression as you approach beltway south. it was here i saw the first dog. I stared at him a bit, 50lbs of meat ripping machine standing in a front lawn. the only thing between us was a sense of respect. It quickly dawned on me that there was nothing preventing this dog from chasing me like the jack rabbit i was about the become. He confirmed my thoughts when he paced after us, three houses down the block. Not a bark, or a cry, he walked after us staring. It was totally tame, a non event, but the thought struck me, a dog like that very dog is quite capable of rocking my world. thankfully most dogs we found were kept within fences or on the ever more thrilling chains.

Outside the belt way we pushed down smaller, less populated roads with more wind. we made good time, but had trouble once again picking the right path skirting the labyrinthine communities of evil master planning; pearland, pasadena and friendswood. Nothing to much to tell other than the wind was rough, the roads were fine and lightly populated, and we rode on the first and only "bike lane" of the trip. For nearly half a mile we had the pleasure of using the only designated bike lane on this entire 80 mile journey. thank you friendswood.

Using the maps from the cell phone we managed to arrive in League city, when the next brush with reality took place, having been a long time mountain biker i wanted to see if my week old recumbent could climb curbs like his billy goat brother. i mean that what this ride is all about about, exploring the possibilities of the new bike. 3 miles from home. unlike thomas the tank engine, the bike could not climb the hill. as a result of the impact i fell off the bike for the fourth time on this trip. A nice lady stopped to ask if i was ok, to which i responded yes, i just suffered from bout of tomfoolery. Checking our next directions i realized the phone thought the fourth fall was one too many. We happen to be right next to a verizon store which was very handy in pointing out that my phone while yes it appeared to be intact and unbroken, it was now curved to match the curvature of my thigh. taking a brief meeting we decided to punt. our next best option was to take old galveston rd. Which lay somewhere on the other side of the interstate, and would "probably" lead us to Galveston. I mean just look at the name, right?

Crossing the Interstate we find hwy 3, and decide to take it, since it was heading north south, and would most likely run into old Galveston rd. At a gas station i learned that this was infact the OGR. they just dont call it that any more. It was here that we at an ice cream sinckers, and managed not to buy some "goods" that were being offered very vigorously by the local youth. So yes, we did stop at gas stations almost exclusively for our breaks. exxonmobilshellvalerophillips should be pleased with their marketing ploy. Bodies gotta refuel too! we just run off ice cream snickers bars.

OGR offered some of the most trying times on the route. nearly 30 miles of head on wind, coming at us at 20mph.The wind was brutal, but it was allievated by the fact that OGR was only half open, and peter and i could ride in the two closed lanes with cars seperated from us by construction barriers. Wind in our face and dogs at our heels. Oh yes, the dogs made a comeback. I explained staring at a dog with nothing between us, the rush you feel when a dog rushes after you, only to be snapped back by a chain at the last second and ultimately coldly eying one behind a fence. the fenced dogs are the worst. They are the ones that made their owners cage them in the first place, som could argue that the free roaming dogs are free because they are well behaved. So the caged beasts are more explosive. its true, any time we rode past a fenced dog they would run full speed after us, skidding to a halt inches before their fence ended. Each time the dogs do this, they throw dirt up with their power slide. So the corners of their pens are raised higher than the frontage. a smart dog could use this technique to simply jump out at the edge. i thought after the first time i saw the raised earthen mounds. The phenomena continued to a place outside texas city, where we saw one explosive tempered older dog going bananas building his berm while a cuter younger dog looked on silently. I remarked how cute the black dog was as we pedaled on. While pedaling we chatted back and forth, discussing topics as we rolled by them. Peter however was silent and i cast a glance backward and saw that cute dog closing in on our beleagured pace. The silent ones are the scariest. We put on the after burners as he gave up the chase, but it was eerie. Pete said he was going to warn me about the dog, but i was too busy talking. Sure pete!

We rode on into the night, right before the sun set i saw the big bridge crossing the bay, but it was only a cluster of trees playing tricks on me. About this time rain made is strongest effort. It came down for about 4 minutes, with big drops. I say strongest because it had tried to rain on us a number of times before, bu never very successfully. Sweat was more saturating that rain ever was. After nightfall we made it to interstate 45. We spent some time sitting in the median decided the best course of action, it was as i had feared, we still had to cross the swamp lands before we could even begin to think about the big bridge. I looked for a light that i thought i had brought, that planning thing, but i didnt find it in my bag, till i got home the next day. It would be nice if you had a light while looking for your light, in the dark. So we scampered across the blackness of 45 and found our way to the service road, that had nothing to service. right after finding the road a utility van came close to clipping us at 60mph, after that one car we didnt see anyone else (no lights anyways) till it came time to island hop over the bridges. at the end of the marsh the service road ends and all traffic goes onto the interstate to cross. So we did.

The shoulder was ample and the riding was less hairy than mykawa back in houston. The only thing of mention is that i climbed the hill at 7mph and descended at 14mph. slower than my flat ground pace. Thats right, the wind was so tough on the downhill we were forced to pedal! I had promised pete we would eat once we got to the island, and that a great restaruant was just on the other side of the bridge. Neither of us ate any real food that day seeing as how we had not planned to go on this trip at all. However on the other side we approached Clary's, one of the greatest seafood houses on the gulf coast with bodies that ached for nourishment. Sadly the restraunt was claimed in the recent (a year ago?) hurricane and was not yet refurbished. Empty inside we surrendered to the day, every last bit of ourselves brought us to the island but now we had nothing more to accomplish or eat. We met peters brother Oliver and we were carried back to the embrace of humanity, after spending nine hour surrounded by menacing steel and rubber it was nice to once again be around flesh and blood, also food, showers and beds. I was so exhausted from the days tribulations that my eyes could no longer focus. I mercifully closed them soon after.

challenge Seiren

E-mail me if you would like to see the kmz. Update: after the ride my legs were only sore on the outside, i hope the sun dies in a fire.