Early this week I finally finished the rebuild of the HighLife bike. It now has a chain that I can rely on, and some new fancy looking bartape.

Raleigh High Life at Wissy

I needed to get out on her for a little bit longer than I did on Saturday. Saturday was just a blow off kind of ride around the city to adjust everything. I rode from my house to the Art Museum and then made some adjustments that I felt with fit and other stuff. I rode around town a bit more just visiting my favorite places in the city and making mental bike adjustments in my head.

Sunday was set to be nicer, so we wanted to extend our ride and hit some places that we wanted to try out on the HighLife. I really want to race single speed all season on this bike, so I need to push the limits now, so I know what I am working with in the fall. Plus it will help me build my single speed legs back up.

I took off from my place near the Delaware and rode up Lehigh Ave to the other side of town. This ride is not for the faint of heart, but after spending so much time in North Philly through living, teaching, and commuting, I feel that I am more or less left alone and pretty comfortable. I would not want to catch a flat in front of Simon Gratz as school was letting out for the day, but for the most part, I feel fine riding there, but if you are unfamiliar, or frightened by people you do not normally interact with, stick to a more round about route.

The small hills, and the light sprints felt good on the readjusted High Life. I think I have my position dialed in for the most part.

I wanted to go up the path to forbidden drive and then back through one of the Mount Airy neighborhoods. I thought I heard somewhere that parts of the trail had been plowed or had melted. I did hear right, but there was far from enough of it plowed for a cross bike with high pressure tires to cut through. If I were on my single speed mountain bike, I think I would have been fine, but no such luck through some parts of my ride.

There were some parts of the trail that looked like this.

And this

There is clear path back there, but then there is a fallen tree in the trail, which looks high from there, but is really quite low. You can see that the trail turns back into snow back there somewhere. The snow was matted down by other trail users, so the best way to attack going through it was to just pedal as hard as you could and let the front wheel do the work. It was more or less like riding in sand. Good CX skill to have!

After riding or pushing my bike through prolonged sections of snow, it came out looking like this.

Put some blue color on that, and I can make a snowcone!

Right before bridge #1

The Bridge

I made it up to the drive and expected a bit of a better sight, but to no avail. I rode about 40 feet before encountering some hikers. They confirmed my worst fears. The drive was a slushy mess and had tons of fallen trees as well.

I wonder how this will affect the spring classic rides that are coming up soon. I hope that the city gets on removing some of these trees. Too bad they can not trust civilians on the trails removing some of these trees.

I returned along the path I had come. I took this as a chance to take a few more pictures and also run with my bike through the snowy sections.

I got take a few more pictures of some of the fallen trees.

That tree fell from about 60 feet above the trail. It used to live up here.

I could only imagine the sound that made when it fell.

I took Kelly Drive back to the city. Since I was riding a bit later, there were less people on the trail, but most of the snow had melted. I was flying down the trail and I ended up kicking up tons of water. The water, low temps, and thin socks did not do too well. I felt that my piggies were getting cold, but I had no idea how cold they would get.

When I got home, the blood I guess rushed back to my feet, and I was probably in the worst pain I have ever felt. No joke…I have broken bones and crashed pretty hard, but WOW that really hurt. I had to sit on my feet and then run them under warm water so they would come back to life. I guess that is a “rookie” mistake to go out without booties on a ride that was going to be that wet. I have learned my lesson and have done it well. There is real truth to the old adage that if you get wet and cold, you are more or less dead.


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