Saturday, June 30, 2007

Saturday Morning Ride

I took yesterday's ride in the late afternoon/early evening so I was not fully recovered for my ride in the morning. I was planning on getting out early but my coffee time kind of slowed me down. It is important for me to have a good caffeine build up before I take on the day.

I got out on the road about 10 PM. I checked the air in my tires. My floor pump is giving me fits. While it is better than my old one I still not certain that the reading on the guage is correct. The back tire filled fine but the front tire looked like it was over inflated. I am thinking I might replace the tube in the front tire.

Not much to really talk about on today's ride. I just went out for about 2.5 hours. Kind of just a rambling route. I did not bring my camera so I rode without any breaks.

I almost got taken out by a car early in the ride. I was make a left hand turn and a pickup truck in the other lane was making a left hand turn. As far as I could tell it was safe to turn. As soon as I got around the truck I heard a car hit the gas and try to speed around the truck. For a moment I was picturing the bumper of the car taking me out and wondering how much it was going to hurt. Luckily the driver let off the gas and I was able to get out of the way. I will have to be extra careful next time. As much as I want to be angry with the driver of the car I have to say that it was my fault. I should have gone with out being able to see directly behind the truck. I thought the truck was blocking traffic enough for me to get by.

They are working on the sidewalk of the Oceanic Bridge. When I got to the bottom of Navesink River Road I noticed that there was a line of traffic. Originally I thought it was because the draw bridge was up but it was for construction. The traffic was backed and when I got to the front of the line I told the flagman that he was not going to be a popular guy today. He told me that needed to repair the sideway for the July 3 fireworks display.

As I was heading back to Red Bank from Rumson I notice two riders in the distance. I decided to try and catch them. Might have been easier had I not just opened a Muscle Milk Bar. I had to be careful I did not choke as I was trying to swallow it. The two riders made a left hand turn and I noticed that the road looked like a nice hill to sprint up so I finished the rest of my bar and got out of the saddle for the climb. I caught the two riders just over the top of the hill. Usually I just pass riders and keep on my way but one of the riders seemed interested in talking to me. They wanted to know the way back to Sea Bright since they were heading to Deal, NJ. They seemed like nice guys even though they really did not make it tough for me to catch them. They asked my why I like riding a single gear and how I climbed hills (which was the same question I once asked). Once we got to RT 520 they went left and I went right and got back on my route home.

I do not think I could have rode much further. It was obvious that I had not recovered from Friday's ride and I was starting to bonk on the last set of hills. I was getting up out of the saddle for the climbs but I was having trouble generating the usual energy. Even though I know I was tired and it was time to come off the bike it is always hard to stop and put everything away.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Langster goes to the Hook

I finally got around to getting a ride in today. I spent the morning taking care of expenses and running errands. One of the errands was to stop by the gas station that towed my car last Friday and damaged my front bumper. Unfortunately the manager was not available even though I had told him I would be in today. I will have to go back on Monday morning.

I have been planning to ride out to Sandy Hook for the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately I usually changed my plans and rode a different route. Today was the day that I finally got out on to the Hook. I think my ride today was probably about 40 miles all together. This was probably the best ride I have had on the Langster so far.

If I go directly out to Sandy Hook from my house it is not really that far. Probably less than 10 miles. So I decided to take an indirect route out. For the most part I followed my usual route through Holmdel. Holland Road to Telegraph Road to Crawfords Corner to Holmdel Road. I rode through Middletown and made my way over to Navesink River Road.

I do not really like to stop to take pictures but I feel the need to document the ride. I decided to stop at the turnout before crossing over the Oceanic bridge into Rumson. This is an area filled with $10 million plus houses. There are a couple of new ones going up. It is just amazing how big these houses are. While I cannot afford the houses I can enjoy the wooden sailboats that are always moored in the cove during the summer months.

Once I got over the Oceanic bridge I cut through the Rumson and made my way over to Sea Bright where I picked up RT 36. I took RT 36 up to the entrance of Sandy Hook (Gateway National Park). Originally I got on the bike path. I notice two cyclists coming the other way and I was wondering why they were not using the bike path. Eventually I found out.

The path is very curvy and at first it is kind of fun. However, there is a lot of sand and stones on the path that make if very slippery. There are also cross walks that lead from the parking lots to the beach. It also goes through some wooded areas and the path is heavily covered with leaves. After a couple of miles of this I decided to bail over to the main road. This worked out much better.

The road on Sandy Hook is two wide lanes in each direction that forms a hair pin. It is an out a back route but it is pretty much flat. At one time Sandy Hook was a Army Base that protected the entrance to New York Harbor. Until recently the Coast Guard was a major presence but I think the base has been closed for the last couple of years. The buildings have been put to other use.

The Port of NY/NJ requires that ships coming into the port take on a Harbor Pilot. The ships anchor in the Atlantic off the coast of Sandy Hook and wait for an available Harbor Pilot. The pilots are located on Sandy Hook and take small boats out to the ships. I read an article about them in the Newark Star Ledger acouple of years ago. I guess the job is tough during bad weather and rough seas since the Pilots have to climb up rope ladders to get onto the ships.

Since the weather was not that great today the only people on the beach were the die hards. Certaintly not the massive crowds that can be expected over the next couple of days. This next week will be busy beach days on the Jersey Shore.

One thing I noticed right away was how much the salt in the air attached itself to my skin. I started to feel it on my skin as soon as I entered the park. The same thing happens when I ride along the beach in Long Branch but to a lesser extent.

I really had not decided how I was going to get back home from Sandy Hook. Eventually I decided that I needed to buy a frame pump so I decided to climb up to Scenic Overlook and take the back road down into Atlantic Highlands which where Tom's Atlantic Cyclery is located.

I had stopped by Tom's Atlantic Cyclery in the morning but I was really just killing time waiting for the weather to clear. I was sort of hoping they might have had a couple of the 2008 Specialized bikes in stock. I am really waiting to see the new Langsters. So far I have bought at least something at every shop I have gone to. Most of the purchases are little things like tubes or tools. On my first trip to the shop I forgot that I wanted to get a frame mount pump so I decided I would swing by on the Langster.

I selected a small carbon pump in the store. They guy who sold it to me said that he would install it for me. I have been carrying CO2 but I have never used it before and I do not want to learn how use it while I am sitting on the side of the road. I figured it will take both cartridges the first time I use it and then I am going to be in trouble. Since I carry two tubes with me I guess it only makes sense that I would carry two methods for inflating the tires.

There are two ways I could get back to my house from Atlantic Highlands. One way is mostly flat and the other way has the longest climb I have ever rode on the Langster. I was feeling good so I took the way with the long climb. I had scoped it out in the morning and I had decided that it might a little two hard. While it was challenging I still was able to get to the top pretty quickly. I am very proud of myself.

I am hoping to Ride Today

Since I do not have a commute today I was hoping to get a ride in before starting work. Unfortunately the storm that moved in last night has not completely moved out. Now I am going to shoot for a lunch time ride. If I am going to be on vacation next week I hope the weather is going to be a little nicer. It always seems like the really nice days are the ones that I am chained to a desk in a building.

I have been watching the status of the fire that has been raging in the South Lake Tahoe area. I am particularly interested since I spend several weekends in January and February in South Lake Tahoe skiing at Heavenly Peak . I was trying to get an idea of where the fire was burning. I originally thought that it might be out near Kirkwood but CNN ran a picture from Heavenly that and you could see the flames. They have the fire about 70 % contained and are expected to get it taken care of in time for the 4 of July Holiday.

This is a picture I took as I was leaving Lake Tahoe after the weekend. I think this is the area the fire is in. I know that Fire Command was setup at the Airport which you can kind of see in the upper right hand part of the picture.

I hate to see people loose their homes and possessions but in the end it might be just the cost of living in paradise. Mother Nature can be a tough customer.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Jersey Country Roads and other ramblings

Today was my last day on the project in Princeton and it was my last day driving across the state (at least for the time being). When I first started working on the project I was taking the Garden State Parkway South to I-195 to I-295 to I-95. For the most part it is a reverse commute so it is not super crowded. However, the usual speed limit is about 75 miles an hour and you are usually in a line of other cars going just as fast. It can be kind of nerve racking.

The last time I went to Six Flags' Great Adventure I took Rt 537 and I noticed that it was faster. Since I passed Six Flags on the way to Princeton I decided that it might be better to take back roads instead of going out of my way on the faster highways. My new route to work became Rt 520 to Rt 9 to Rt 537 to Rt 524 to Rt 195 to Rt 295 to Rt 95. While I still had to drive on the super highways at the end (or beginning) most of the trip was on back roads that I could drive the speed limit (40 to 50 Mph) and only add 10 minutes to my trip.

One of the benefits was that Rt 524 is a real country road that is lined with large hay and straw farms. Certaintly the part of New Jersey that makes it "The Garden State". The first couple of weeks it was cool enough that I could drive with the windows down and take in the smell of the fresh cut hay. One of the other things about taking Rt 524 was that there always seems to be something to look at. There were deer everywhere since they obviously liked all the grass the farmers were nice enough to plant and cut for them. Another thing was the self propelled New Holland Hay Wagons that each farm was using. At one farm I counted 6 of these machines and I passed a couple on the road as well.

These are cool and most likely expensive machines. I was hoping to get a picture of them working the fields on the way home today but it appears that the current haying is all done. I saw two parked in a barn but I figured the farmer might get upset if I pulled into his barn yard and started taking pictures. I think there is either a straw or wheat crop that is going to be worked next (I am not sure what it is but it turned golden without being cut). I got the two pictures here off the Internet and the this machine is not fully assembled.

While this a relatively rural area the farms are being encroached upon by housing developers. I think the State of New Jersey and the local townships are doing what they can to keep some of these farms intacted. I know that the landscaping nurseries in Holmdel have been able to expand considerably even though the land is worth some serious money. Now that the housing bubble has deflated some it should be easier to keep the open space. In fact there is a Kara homes development on Rt 524 that states that there are only 3 lots left. However, Kara homes went bankrupt last year and are no longer in business.

Rt 524 is a popular riding road well. Not only are there lots of cyclists on the road but the Horse Center of NJ is also located on RT 520 so there are lots of signs warning of both cyclists and horses on the road. There is also a sign telling motorists to obey hand signals. I am not sure how Rt 524 fits into a ride since I have not scene any cyclists on Rt 537. I think there is a park or lot off of one of the other roads that feed in Rt 524 that folks drive to before starting their rides. I should check out NJ Bike Map to see how it would work.

Now that I am no longer going to be commuting by car I will no have to listen to the car radio on my way into work. Hopefully I will be using mass transit which means I will be riding the train with my Asbury Park Press, a cup of coffee and my iPod. Since Brian & Jen have left GROCK 106.3/106.5 I will not miss listening to the radio. I usually do not like morning drive time radio. In most cases it is too much talk and not enough music. However, I really liked Brian & Jen. It was an intelligent morning show and they played good music. I have given Kramer & Erin a chance but they are not as good as Brian & Jen. I will say I am pleased that GROCK did not hire one of the syndicated programs or a new Shock Jock. However, once I start taking the train it will not matter to me anymore.

No ride today. I got out of work early enough but when I got home my assistance was required to make dinner. Then my daughter decided to go to the movies with her friend and I needed to drive. In reality it was a good thing because a nasty storm just moved into the area. If it is anything like last nights store then it is nothing I want to be out riding in.

Since I do not have a project lined up yet I am on vacation next week for the 4th of July holiday week. I was hoping to get some good rides in. However, today I found out that I might have a project lined up to start on July 5. As much as I would like to have the time off to get some quality rides in it would be nice to have my next project lined up. Such is the life of a consultant.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Fray @ The PNC Art Center in Holmdel, NJ

Last Thursday night my daughter asked me if I would take her and a friend to see The Fray at the PNC Art Center in Holmdel, NJ. Since it is only a mile or so from the house it is kind of hard to say no. I was able to get tickets online and have them available at the Will Call window.

In December of 2006 I took my daughter to Z100's Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden. It is one of those events were there is a bunch of bands on the bill. They each play four songs and then get off the stage. The Fray was one of the bands that performed that night. I was not sure how they were going make the move to headliner at large venue.

My original feeling was that the show was not going to be crowded. Last year I took my daughter to Ashley Simpson and they did not even open the lawn area so I figured this was going to be a repeat. I was definitely wrong about this. Since my daughter's friend lives close to the back entrance we ended up parking in the Commuter lot which was already full.

There were lots of tailgater parties going. Since the Arts Center and the State of New Jersey is cracking down on the under age drinking I was surprised by the amount of partying was going on. I have long lost my ability to determine who is underage and who is not. However, I heard later on that lots of arrests were made. The fines for the Fall Out Boy show were in the $500 plus range. Not really worth it in my book. Which is probably not the way I thought when I was 18 but that is another time before I became the father of a teenager.

The three of us got to our seats just at the first opening band Mae got to the stage. I had never heard of them before but I am usually willing to give anyone a listen. I am always hoping that I might stumble on to the next big thing. Like when The Police played the Firebarn Tavern in Syracuse, NY before they became big. While I did not know any of the songs the band played with lots of energy and had some really nice vintage guitars (which is always a big plus for me).

At the end of the set the the band announced that they were going to be over on side of the venue signing autographs and talking to new fans. The two girls figured that they would go and check it out. This took a while and they ended up missing much of the OK-GO set that followed. However, they were really stoked to have meet Mae and they said the band was real nice. They got a picture with the band and poster signed by everyone in the band. This is the kind of grassroots marketing that I really appreciate.

I had high expectations for OK-GO. I was really looking forward to see them. However, I must admit I was a little disappointed. I am not really sure why. I think it was the up and down energy flow. The highlight of the set was the ELO cover. The family in front of me with a couple of young children were obviously there to see OK-GO but I think the evening was ruined for them when the lead singer for OK-GO let out an F-Bomb. They left before the Fray even came on stage.

I have to admit I really enjoyed the Fray's show. They have well written pop songs and are able to recreate there sound in a live setting. The sound was clear and it was possible to pick out the different instruments in the mix. When I am in the car with my daughter I usually listen to Z100 with her so I know a lot of the songs. Even the songs I did not know were performed extremely well. They told the audience that they were road testing some new songs which were sung by Joe King. One song had country feel to it and the lead guitarist played a b-bender solo on a custom stratacaster.

Most of the hits are sung by Isaac Slade while he plays piano but I found myself liking the sound of Joe King better. This might be because I usually like to hear new stuff.

Most of the band are multi-instrumentalists and each song was given an A performance. There were very few props on the stage so the whole show was about the music. The band seemed happy to be there and used the time between songs to create some "awe shucks we are just happy to be here" banter.

For me the highlight of the show was when the band came to the front of the stage with Acoustic guitars and a cocktail drum. They performed two songs in this configuration. One of which was cover of a Shakirra song with the drum featured on the rap parts. The band appears to be having fun and enjoying themselves. There were some problems with the energy level at some points but it did not last long.

Even though this was a concert I would not have picked to go to on my own I was glad that I went. I still want to see Tool next month but I am not sure if it is going to happen.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Centuries, Nude Beaches and other musings

Sunday's ride was a variation of a long ride I took a couple of weeks ago. This time I did it by myself. I know the ride was a least 52 miles and I added to it a little bit. I was trying to go even further but I decided that I was about at my upper limit. I stopped at The Peddler and they were very busy. Kyle the original salesperson I spoke with when I went in to look at bikes was help two older gentlemen test ride a JAMIS. One of the customers asked me if I had ever done a century. I told him I would like to do one but it might be hard with a single gear. I think I can could make it but I might not be able to ride for a day or two afterwards.

One of the popular rides here in New Jersey is to go from Sandy Hook to Cape May which according to is 106.4 miles. It might be a little longer by bike since the Yahoo used the Garden State Parkway which does not allow bikes (not that you would want to ride a bike on it). This would be a really nice ride. Since the ride would follow the coast it would be pretty flat which would make it ideal for the Langster. Once I got there I would need to either get a ride back or find a hotel and hang out by the pool for a day or so before making the return ride.

On Sunday I was originally planning on riding through Sandy Hook. There is a really nice bike path that goes the whole length of the park. I think is 12 miles all the way around but I am not sure of the distance. I never got over to the park but I am off today and I might try to get over there. However, the weather does not look too promising. It was nice in the morning but clouds are rolling in and Weatherbug predicts a 50 % chance of showers.

When I first came to New Jersey I lived in Atlantic Highlands which is about 2 miles from the entrance of Sandy Hook. When I told my new coworkers where I had found an apartment they all started to tell me about the nude beach. Since I was new to both the job and the area I figured I as just being hazed so I did not really believe them. I started going down to Sandy Hook after work to run and I used to park at Lot H since this was part of a nice loop (I do not like out and back runs or rides). In the beginning I would get back in my car and go home but one day I decided to check out the beach and sure enough I found the nude (clothing optional actually) beach. Since this was early evening during the week it was not crowded but it was definitely clothing optional.

I am completely amazed that something like this exists in a public park. I think there had been some push back about it at one time but eventually the park accepted it. There are both lifeguards, snack shed and restrooms on the beach. I have been there once on the weekend and there is a large crowd there but I have never taken part since it is definitely not for me. In the past I have had coworkers who were regulars there.

There is a group that has taken on themselves to kind of set policy and make sure that the beach does not get closed down. They have setup rules which seem to be reasonable enough. They are called Friends of Gunnison Beach .

Since today is an unexpected day off I am hoping to be able to get a ride in. I had car problems on Friday evening. While I am not happy about the situation it could have been much worse. My car started in the parking lot in Princeton and I was able to make it all the way back to my house. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of tempting fate and going over to Rita's for an Italian Ice. The car started in the garage and I was able to get to Rita's. However, returning did not work out so well. I guess I had used the last start and I had to call AAA to get a tow. Since I had to pick up my daughter at 10:30 PM I was a little paniced. To make things worse the tow truck driver pulled my front bumper loose which just added to my frustration. I had an appointment with the dealer today anyways since the car has not been running well since the last time I was in a couple of weeks ago.

On a positive note, I did get home in time on Friday to get a 1 hour plus ride in. While I was sitting at the corner of Crawfords Corner Road and Holmdel Road (which is the base of a decent climb) waiting for traffic to clear a gentleman on a Colango passed me on Holmdel Road. By the time traffic cleared he was half way up the hill. However, I noticed that I was gaining ground so I got up out of the saddle and pushed up the hill. I was determined to catch him at the top. I think he knew I was behind him so he picked up the speed and I was not able to get him by the time I reach the top of the climb. However, I was able to catch up with him on the down hill. It is these little personal triumphs that make riding so much fun. I like seeing if I can catch riders who are a head of me.

I still have my eye on the weather. I may just risk it. When I was a kid I had a road bike with a Brooks Saddle (I am trying to remember brand but it was a Reynolds 531 frame that was made in France) and I got caught in a storm. I was riding down to Casenovia, NY when I got to the top of a hill and notice a storm coming. I turned around to try and out run it but I had no such luck. It was a down pour and since there was not shelter in site I had to ride it out. The saddle got so wet it lost its shape and was never the same again. Now that I am older I do not like riding in the rain.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Saturday Ride on the Langster

Today was one of those days that make living in this part of the US worth it. The temperature was almost perfect. Not too hot and very little humidity. On the way back from The Peddler with my mountain bike I was planning my ride for the day. I was not sure where I was going to go but I was determined to get up to Scenic Overlook which is one of the highest points on the Eastern Seaboard (I was skeptical when I was told this first but I think it is based on the fact that it is less than a mile from the shore line. I could look it up but I have already convinced myself that it is true so why ruin a good thing). I was also thinking that I could ride over and take a picture of my bike in front of the convience store that was featured in Clerks (

However, by the time I got home I was kind of worn out from all the errands (I am definitely getting old) so I end up running a couple more. One of which was a trip to Starbucks. I was thinking of taking a quick nap before I went out for a ride but I did that last weekend and it was raining by the time I woke up. About 2:30 PM I was ready to head out. I got my clothes on and I filled my water bottles and I was off.

I still was not sure of the route I was going to take but I decide to avoid the hills in Holmdel and head directly into Middletown. However, there are still some decent long climbs but nothing as steep as Takolusa Drive. It is also a more direct route into Red Bank and I wanted to spend more time out by the shore.

Once I got to Red Bank I had my ride planned out. I was going to take RT 520 through Little Silver and hop on Seven Bridges Road and head out to Long Branch. Once I got to Long Branch I took Ocean Drive (which is the main road that runs parallel to the beach) to the south end of the boardwalk and I got on the street that runs next to the boardwalk and started to make my way north.

I was low on supplies when I left the house so I decided to stop at the Peddler and get some snacks to stuff in my pockets. Unfortunately, they were pretty well picked over and I decide to use my last gel and continue on my way.

I brought my camera with me because I wanted to take some pictures to use on this blog. I really do not like stopping but having the pictures to record the ride is kind of nice. I stopped at Strollo's Lighthouse to take a picture (I almost got an ice but I decided not to). Then I rode past Seven Presidents Park (a Monmouth County Park/Beach) and got back on RT 36 to head up through Monmouth Beach, Sea Bright and Highlands. Once you cross over the drawbridge in Highlands RT 36 curves around the follow the Bayshore (The Rariton Bay). Highlands is the northern tip of the Jersey shore. It is also the entrance Sandy Hook National Park.

At this point my goal was to get up to Scenic Overlook and get some pictures. Scenic Overlook is a small Monmouth County Park that also contains the Monmouth County 9-11 Memorial. There is a sculpture of an eagle carrying a piece of steel from the World Trade Towers. All of Monmouth County residents who lost their lives on 9-11 have there names engraved in the base of the sculpture. Even though both Holmdel and Middletown both lost a number of people in the attacks I only know one person on this memorial and it was only because I had interviewed for a job in the WTC in 2000 with the person on the memorial.

Even without the memorial Scenic overlook would be a nice park. The view is spectacular and on a clear day such as today it was just fantastic. The ride up was hard but not as challenging as I expected. I took some pictures and I proceeded to take the road down into Atlantic Highlands. This is fun easy descent since it is all down hill and it winds along the edge of the bay. The road is in good condition and the traffic is light so it possible to use more of the road on the ride down.

Once I got down into Atlantic Highlands I had a decision to make. While I wanted to get a picture of the Clerk's convience store in Leonardo I was also thinking of taking on the hill at Kings Highway. I had scouted it out on the way back from the bike shop in the morning and while it is a long climb I do not think I would have that much trouble with it. My only real issue is that the road is narrow and has a fair amount of traffic. I decided to bail and head back into Middletown and not stop at the convience store.

As I was riding I noticed that getting to the Convience Store would not be that much of a problem so I decided to go for it. I was hoping that it would not be that crowded and no one would see me taking a picture. As I drove up I noticed that no one was around so I had figured that I lucked out. Of course once I got to the store and I got ready to take a picture everyone started to show up. After I took two pictures I got back on my path and returned to my house.

Even though I was on low energy this was one of the better rides I have taken since I have had the Langster. I am not sure where I am going to go on Sunday. Maybe I will head out to Sandy Hook and then go down to Deal. I will probably figure it out as I am riding. If I get out early I should be able to catch up with an organized ride.

While I have a hard time with the concept of driving somewhere to ride I am finding myself riding in the same direction no matter what the plan is. I could head out to Colts Neck and Marlboro but the shore line just has much more of an attraction for me at this point. I am thinking of joining a cycling club and taking part in some organized rides but I am really looking for other single gear riders. I have been chatting up everyone on the benefits of single gear riding but no one has really taken the bait yet.

Long Branch, New Jersey

Bike shop that I bought my Langster in is located in Long Branch, New Jersey. When I picked up the Langster I scheduled service on my Trek Mountain bike. Today was the day I planned on picking it up since I had to get my SUV serviced and I would be in the area. I had an 8 AM appointment at the car dealer and I figured that it would take 2 hours to complete the service. I ended up being done by 9:15 Am and The Peddler did not open until 10 AM.

I got to the bike shop early so I park my car and walked around the neighborhood. The Peddler is located on the main road that runs parallel to the Atlantic. At some point it is labelled RT 36 but I think it changes names a block or two before it gets to the Peddler's location. The shop is only a couple hundred yards from the boardwalk/beach area.

Long Branch has gone through a lot of changes in the past couple of years. It used to be a rough Jersey Shore town that kind of had a bad reputation. When I first moved to New Jersey I lived in Atlantic Highlands and I used to drive to Long Branch, park on the north end of the boardwalk and walk south to the end and back. While it was a nice walk it was obvious that the area had seen better days. All that was really left was an abandoned water park, some tourist/beach shops and a couple of dive bars.

All of this has changed. The borough has used Eminent Domain laws to condemn property so that developers can create retail, condo and rental space along the water front. While I am not really familiar with all the details I do have mixed views on this. While I have seen the improvements first hand and feel that the community has benefited from the changes. However, I am not sure that I can support the idea of government taking houses and land from residents at below market value and letting developers sell the same location at a premium.

The neighborhood that The Peddler is located in is the last holdout. These residents have banded together and are not willing to sell out. So what you have is massive development on either side of the neighborhood. If you watched the last episode of the Sopranos this neighborhood is the location of the safe house that Tony and Carmella were holding up in.

I am not sure how much longer these people will be able to hold out but I do admire their willingness to "Stick it to the Man!". Now that the real estate market has cooled off there may be less pressure. While this neighborhood is not nearly has shiny as the new development that has edged up against it; it is not blighted either. It has some real charm that the new development is definitely missing. However, when you are located only 1/2 a block from the beach there is going to be pressure to maximize the area. Especially when it is only a 60 minute train ride into New York city.

When my wife and I were walking along the boardwalk in the late 80s we could see the changes coming. A new hotel was being built and at the end of the street that is protesting the Eminent Domain laws two sets of condos were being built. At the time they condos were out of place in the neighborhood but now it feels like the neighborhood is now out of place. In the end I guess that is progress.

Friday, June 22, 2007

NJ residents will be buying Fireworks AND Quick Release Hubs in PA

It looks like the State of New Jersey is trying to pass a bill that would outlaw Quick Release Hubs. This is a recent event. Now the electronic signs at the Pennsylvania Border will be warning about arrest and fines for both Fireworks and Quick Release Hubs.

This is a new development. I first noticed the article on the website of one of the cycling clubs I am thinking of joining. The idea is to protect children but the bill will apply to adults as well. I did not even know this was a problem. However, since I ride a single speed I do not have to worry since my bike does not have quick release. Now everyone will be carrying a Dog Bone Wrench.

Here is the link:

Here is the article:

Local bicycle owners are upset and confused by a bill recently passed in the state Assembly that would prohibit selling bikes equipped with quick-release wheels, a tool-free mechanism to change front-wheel tires.

The legislation, sponsored by three Democrats, would require bikes equipped with the specialized wheel to have a secondary safety device intended to prevent the front wheel from falling off.

If passed, the law would prohibit the sale of quick-release wheel bikes to children, citing more than 100 accidents related to the tool-free wheel mechanism.
The bill was altered before it passed with a 77-3 vote on June 14, requiring adult bikes equipped with the quick-release wheel to have a secondary safety mechanism to prevent the front wheel from falling off.

Patty Woodworth, owner of Action Wheels on Route 45 in Deptford, said she is confused about why adult bicycles are included in the legislation.

"I would never sell a child a bike equipped with a quick-wheel release," she said at her store Monday afternoon. "If we are required to only sell bikes with the new mechanism, the bike industry won't make it. Manufacturers are not going to make a special bike just for New Jersey."

Fred Clements, executive director of the National Bicycle Dealers Association, said the legislation as it is written now might seriously harm the bike retail industry in New Jersey because bicyclists would simply purchase their bikes in neighboring states.

"This is technology that has been around a long, long time," he said of quick-release wheels. "If this is implemented, it's going to be a real serious problem to bike shops in New Jersey; it might even be something that they won't be able to overcome."

The bill is sponsored by Assemblymen Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester, and David Mayer, D-Camden, and Assemblywoman Joan M. Voss, D-Bergen.

The secondary safety mechanism would activate automatically if the pin intended to hold the wheel failed, according to the bill.

The intent, Moriarty said, is to increase bike safety and prevent children from sustaining life-altering injuries after falling off bikes with quick-release wheels.

"There is safer technology out there and I think we should use it to prevent accidents to children as well as adults," Moriarty said. "As we find safer technology for cars, we put it in there. If it were up to some car companies, we still wouldn't have seat belts or airbags."
Bicyclists gathered Monday evening for a regular weekly ride through Gloucester County disagreed with the potential requirement.

"Bike geeks know how to use the bike and ride it safely," regular bicyclist Eric Phares of Cinnaminson said. "Anyone who buys bikes like these, the ones with the quick-release wheel, know how to use them."

Reach Meg Huelsman at (856) 251-3345 or

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Day Off (Errands and an 8th Grade Graduation)

My daughter graduated from the 8th grade today. Since I am working on the other side of the state I decided to take the day off. I was originally planning to get up early to ride but storms moved in last night and stayed around until early afternoon. We got lucky since it cleared up an hour or so before the graduation started.

For some reason it hit me that I had scheduled an appointment to get my moutain bike tuned up. I had scheduled it on the day I picked up my Langster. I was not sure if I was going to cancel it or not. I do not think I will be doing a lot of mountain biking now that I have the Langster but it is always nice to have options. One of the main reasons I have been concentrating on riding is that I was getting burned out in the gym. Since I am indoors all day at work I really do not want to spend the summer evenings in a windowless gym. Also, I have some pain in my elbow that I suspect is related to the motion of lifting weights. Typing on my laptop does not seem to help it either.

I will be picking up the mountain bike on Saturday. For those of you who are interested in these things the mountain bike is a Trek 820 that I bought in 1997 when Road Bikes were hard to find (I think we can thank Lance Armstrong for bike shops stocking a large range of road bikes again). I have not included any pictures of it since it has been neglected over the last couple of years and I would be embarrassed.

The Satz School 8th grade graduation was held at the PNC Art Center. My daughter was excited that she was going to be able to walk across the same stage that Fall Out Boy performed on. It is was a nice ceremony and all the students got dressed up. The ceremony was followed by a 4 hour reception for kids at the catering hall underneath the Art Center.

I have heard that this is the last year that they will be able to use the PNC Art Center for graduations even though the Arts Center shares the same grounds as Satz School and Holmdel High School (when we went to Fall Out Boy we parked next to Satz School). I am not sure if it has anything to do with the Township of Holmdel suing the PNC Art Center for back taxes.

Since the weather was nice and I did not have to pickup my daughter at the reception until 9:30 PM I decided to get a ride in. I did my usual Holmdel - Middletown - Red Bank - Little Silver - Rumson - Fair Haven - Red Bank - Middletown - Holmdel ride. I have made some changes to it. Instead of heading by Holmdel Park and cutting through Lucent I now go past the Municipal Center (High School, Satz School, Post Office, Police Station, Township Offices) and take Holmdel Road. It is a nice climb that actually looks harder than it is. The first climb out of my neighborhood is much harder. The only problem is the down hill. There is a light at the bottom of the road but it is hard to make a left hand turn so I have to continue into Holmdel and then take Rt 520 over to Middletown Road. Eventually I get on Front Street and head into Red Bank.

I pickup Rt 520 again and take it through Little Silver and into Rumson. This is the really fun part of the course. Rt 520 has wide shoulder that are in good condition. At this point I am probably only a couple of miles from the Atlantic so it is flat and it is possible to really pickup some speed. I usually head back to Front Street. I keep thinking I am going to take the Oceanic Bridge and either climb Kings Highway or Navesink River Road. The Ice Cream store in Rumson called Crazees is usually crowded on Summer nights. One of these days I might stop and get an ice cream. There are always a couple of cyclists eating an ice cream after their ride whenever I swing by.

I made it back to the house by 8:15 PM. I usually try to make it back by 8 PM just to make sure there is enough light. However, I have not really done that well. I am always adding on to the rides and I have often been back after 8:30 PM which can be a little scary since I am not sure the drivers really see me all that well in the daylight.

I am not sure how long the ride is. I am estimating that it might be around 25 miles. I will have to measure it one of these days. I just do not want to waste the fuel. I will have to check to see if the NJ Bike Maps have mileage calculations.

My reward for the night was a quick trip to Rita's Italian Ice ( I look forward to the summer when the Italian Ice stands open. Rita's is my favorite although there is some competion in both Ralph's( and Strollo's Lighthouse (which is a local legend located right next to The Peddler in Long Branch and another location in Red Bank).

I am hoping to get couple of good rides in over the weekend. I am going to bring my camera since I have an idea for a picture. I will have to create a ride in an area I have not yet gone to.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's day in Spring Lake, NJ

It is 5:30 PM and I have still not got a ride in. I am writing this in my cycling clothes and I am expecting to hit the pavement in a few minutes.
For father's day it was decided that we would spend the day at Spring Lake, NJ. I was not sure what was planned but I hung around the house this morning since I knew there were going to be some plans for the day. Spring Lake is one of the beach towns south of Asbury Park. Even though I live about 10 minutes away from Sandy Hook, Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach and Long Branch we seldom go there. Our usual spot to hit the Atlantic is Spring Lake.

Spring Lake is one of few Jersey Shore towns that it is all about the beach. There is a boardwalk but that is all it is. No rides, no fried food stands and no bars. There are a couple of older hotels that have upscale restuarants that tend to always have a wedding in progress. If you want the excitement you need to go one town north to Belmar or two towns south to Point Pleasant. However, Spring Lake has beach culture. Lots of surfers and it is almost like a big club where everone knows everyone.

I heard a couple of older surfers talking about board shaping and it seemed like surfing was a big father's day activity. Lots of father's with their sons and daughters getting out on the boards.

Today turned out to be a great day for the beach. By the time we got there the high tide had just come in. There were lots of surfers still out. In fact this was one of the few days that I can remember there being lots of surfers the whole day. I brought my Boogie and my fins but I am not as good a rider as I was when I was younger.

I spent most of the day in the water and my rash guard turned out to be worth the investment (now I have a farmer's tan). My Boogie board hit me in the face during a particularly rough set of waves. Of course it hit me on the hard side not the soft side. I got hit in the nose and the force made me bit my lower lip. My body took a big beating just to get 3 good rides on the board. I found the best riding is when the tide goes out in the afternoon and the sand bar is exposed. You take less of a beating and even the smaller waves push you forward.

It turned out to be a great day on the beach. A good change of pace. I did not bring my camera so I found a map and a decent picture of the beach on the web.

Time to hit the pavement.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What a day!! (Errands galore and a flat tire on top of it all)

It is mid day on a Saturday and I still have not got a ride in. I spent the morning running errands. Drop the dog off at the groomers, mail expense receipts, run to Target and stop by Dry Cleaner. It looks like my dry cleaner has decided to close for the Summer. I wish he had told me that before I dropped my stuff off last week. I was able to pickup my dry cleaning from last week but I had to go to the dry cleaners across the street where I used to go. It is probably for the best since I was having trouble with the hours this one kept.

I finally got back to the house and changed into my cycling clothes. I checked the air in the front tire and I thought I had checked the air in the back tire but I guess I did not. I as soon as I mounted the bike and rode a couple of feet I know I had a rear flat tire. I must have broke the stem when I was filling up the tires for last nights ride. I knew that I was going to learn a lesson that cost money. I have to admit that I was lucky on two accounts. 1. I was still home when I had the flat and 2. I had a spare tube.

I have not changed a tire in some time. I was not even sure I remembered how. However, I lucked out again since I had tire irons available as well. Two were attached to my old pump and I bought a couple last week. Taking the tire off of a single is a little more challenging than taking one off of a standard road bike. Since the hubs are not quick release you need a wrench. When I picked up the bike I knew that I was going to have to carry a wrench with me and the guys at the The Peddler recommended the dog bone wrench to me. This is a great tool and is item 246 in the picture above.

I got the tire off and I changed out the tube but I did not want to go riding unless I had another spare tube so ran out the Bike Haven in Fair Haven, NJ and I picked up two spare tubes. I am currently carrying CO2 cartridges with me as a road pump but I think I might invest in a portable hand pump next.

As soon as I pick my dog I am going to make another attempt at getting a ride in. I am a little concerned about how I have set my chain tension. I think it is OK but I am not sure. I am going to stay local today just to check it out.

However, at this point I almost feel like laying on the couch and watching the US Open. Too bad Phil missed the cut. Might have another first time winner this year.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Evening Ride

I got home in time to go for a ride. I got a chance to use my new pump. I only wish that it came with instructions since I realised that it does not require an adapter after I had already put the adapter on it. Oh well it might be one of those learning experiences that cost money.

I had a good ride tonight. It looked like it might ran on the drive home but the sun was out by the time I pulled into my driveway. Once I parked the car I hustled into the house to change into my cycling clothes after checking the air in my tires I was on my way. I took the usual route through Holmdel Township. However, I took the steeper climb through a residential neighborhood.

I have been thinking that the Holmdel Lucent (formally AT&T Bell Labs) might be a good place to ride fixie. For the most part the center is unused since it was sold to a real estate company that is planning on developing the site. There is a level road around the building that is probably about 2.5 miles around that is still in good condition. There is little or no traffic so you could ride fixie without brakes and be pretty safe. I still have my eye on the Langster Comp (pictured above). At this point it is probably not worth investing in but I can still dream.

After taking two laps around Lucent I decided to head out through Middletown and then into Red Bank. The trip into Red Bank was a last minute decision. Since it was a nice early summer night I knew that it was going crowded with the usual summer weekend crowd I decided to swing through town. I was not disappointed since the town was in full swing. It was a little challenging getting over the steel bridge into town. I had to watch that I did not get hooked onto a side view mirror.

I made my way over to Broad Street and I stopped at the Smoothie King and had a quick conversation with the owner Dave. I wanted to be back before it got to dark so I took a direct root home with is really a slow steady climb with a quick downhill run back to my neighborhood.

Anytime I can get a ride in on a work day evening is a good day. Not sure what it going to happen for Saturday. I know I will not be able to get out early since I have a lot of errands to run in the morning. Might not get a real long one. Might try for 30 to 40 miles. Sunday is still unsure as well since it is Father's day.

My technique is getting much better. I am able to climb most hills in the saddle which will allow me to tackle higher and longer climbs. I own a magazine that lists the 100 best climbs in the US and there are couple located in New Jersey so I am thinking of trying them out.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Sopranos' Ending and other stuff

I have not got home in time to ride this week so no new details on that front. I got a quick ride in on Sunday evening (just about an hour). I was planning on riding long on Sunday morning but I needed longer to recover from my Saturday ride than expected.

I timed my Sunday evening ride so that I would be back in time for the final episode of the Sopranos. I think I am one of the few people that loved the ending. I kept wondering how it was going to end. At first I thought I had hit a button on my remote and then I thought my cable had gone out. Then the credits started to run and I thought that it was cool way to end.

I have read lots of blogs and analysis of the final scene. I have also watched the last half of the episode again. I have decided that it is the audience that got "whacked" and not Tony. The line in the first episode of the season set it up when Tony told Bobby "You never see it coming and it just goes black". The same thing happens to the audience.

At first I thought the probability of the whole family meeting for dinner was slim but when I watched it again I realised that Carmela was working the phones to make sure the Meadow and AJ showed up.

I guess the members of Journey are pretty pumped that their song was used for the final scene. Turned out to be a good deal for them since I think it the song was one of the most downloaded song on iTunes on Monday. Here is a link to Journey's website: (I have to learn how to embed hyperlinks since this editor does not appear to have an option).

I do not have any of my own pictures to put on this post so I have used a Neal Schon in full 'fro picture. Is that a head of hair or what? The Gibson Neal Schon Signature Model is a Les Paul Custom with heavy mods including a Floyd Rose whammy.


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Long Saturday Ride (June 9,2007)

I rode 52 miles on the Langster on Saturday. I know the distance because I was riding with someone who had a computer. It has been a long time since I have gone on a ride with another rider. It was a great change of pace. However, since I had never rode with this person before I concerned that I was not going to meet expectations. Was the pace to slow or the course not challenging enough?

Of course since I had made plans and had to be on a schedule the moon and the stars conspired against me. We were out of coffee filters so I had to run to the store and get more. I had decided to wash my riding clothes but they were still damp so I had to use my backups. By the time the coffee was made I was already late so I left the house without a single sip of coffee. My stomach was not yet accepting food so I left the house without my normal caffeine load and an empty stomach (luckily I had kind of pigged out the night before).

The course we followed was the combination of two of the rides I have taken over the past week. The first part of the ride stayed in Holmdel. We originally had a false start since I had forgot to check the air in my tires and we returned to fix the situation. We started out the ride with a first climb up Holland Road. This is the first time I have gone this way (usually take a parallel road that has less traffic on it). This hill has two climbs. The first climb looks like it would be the easiest but is actuall the hardest since you cannot pick up any momentum before the climb begins. By the time I got to the top I was feeling the resistance. After reaching the top the the road sort of makes like a roller coaster and it is possible to get a good head of steam in preparation for the next longer segment of the climb.

As much as I enjoy climbing it is always nice to get to the top and get a nice downhill spin. I am not as good on the down hills since I have the fear factor working against me. Since bikes are regulated to the side of the road which is usually in poor condition it is pretty scary to be flying down a steep hill trying to avoid the pot holes. If there are not cars coming I try and get in the middle of the road. This worked out really well on one downhill later in the ride.

Other than a couple of rolling hills the next couple of miles were relatively flat. The back gates to Lucent were closed so we had to go around. The first 10 miles or so were spent in Holmdel township. Now that we had warmed up we were ready to take on some challenges. So we made our way over to the top of Navesink River Road. As I mentioned in a previous posting, start Navesink River Road at Rt 35 is probably much easier than starting it at the Oceanic Bridge. However, with that said it still has some challenging climbs and is very narrow in certain places.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Navesink River Road it is a 5 or 6 mile road in Middletown, NJ that is lined with multi-million dollar homes that either back up to or overlook the Navesink River. This area looks nothing like how many people picture New Jersey. The view is truly spectacular.

The ride down Navesink River was fun. However, I made use of my helmet (I am now wearing a helmet when I ride) when I did not see a tree limb until it was hitting me in the head. Actually, I never saw the limb since I was in the middle of one of the hard climbs. I just felt it smack my helmet. I am not sure how I missed it but it was on one of the narrow parts of the road. I will have to pay better attention on my next ride.

For the rest of the ride we went over the Oceanic Bridge and then up Front Street through Rumson, Fair Haven and Red Bank. We took Broad St. to RT 520 and then jumped on Seven Bridges into Oceanport and then we made our way to Long Branch.

By the way, I think one of the final scenes in tonight's Sopranos episode is going to take place in Long Branch. The first time I went to the Peddler to look for a bike in the early Spring they were filming in the neighborhood next to the Peddler. When I was making a u-turn I was behind a truck with filled with these stands that I think are called grips. I see them all the time when I walk past movie shoots in NY. The road next to the Peddler was closed and when I pulled into the parking lot I could see all of the equipment setup in the neighborhood. I eventually put two and two together. I confirmed it by doing a google search. I am looking forward to tonight's final episode. I read a spoiler not too long ago and so far it has been right.

Through Long Branch we rode along RT 36 until we came to the south end of the boardwalk and then we rode up along the ocean. We had a steady head wind which made the flat ride a little more challenging. The die hard beach goers were starting to show up for the day. The water look very inviting but I suspect it is still cold. The only person in the water was a young girl with her boogie board. She looked like she was having fun. It really was not a great beach day but these were definitely the die hards.

Now we were on the final push. We rode up Rt 36 through Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright (the location of the Tony Soprano summer home that he ended up backing out of) and then back through Rumson, Fair Haven, Red Bank and then setup for the final climbs back to the our start/finish area.

All in all it was a great ride. I am hoping to get another ride in today but I do not think it will be as long.

I do not have any pictures since I decided not to bring my camera at the last minute.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Neil Peart - Book Review

In the summer of 2006 I was in the local Barnes & Noble looking for a new book to read. I had looked through the Andy Summer book One Train Later which looked interesting. However, right next to it was Neil Pearts' Roadshow: Landscape and Drums A Concert Tour by Motorcyle. I decided to go with the Neil Peart book.

I think that my decision was based on my fascination with the whole idea of music/entertainment touring. I usually like reading the tour blogs that you often see on websites. My feeling was that this would be better since it would have some editing which would make it a better read.

The premise of the book is that Mr. Peart and a friend (acting as body guard, personal assistant and guide) would ride BMW motorcycles between each show on the Rush R30 tour. The tour would cover most of North America and would end in Europe. Mr. Peart would have the support of a tour bus that would be towing a trailer.

The book is a great summer read. Mr. Peart's writing is a lot like his drumming which is one of the things that make it interesting. It is obvious that he has a lot of interests and is trying to make his life as interesting as possible. While Mr. Peart's bandmates get a mention here and there the book concentrates on the rides between shows (Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee have a chartered jet that they travel on).

The book is detailed and interesting. Mr. Peart is also opinionated and at times grumpy. I think both of these points give the book its charm. In the end I had the urge to invest in BMW road bike. However, that feeling has long sinced passed.

While I have never been a huge Rush fan I have come to appreciate their music. After reading this book I started to investigate the music of Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. I even discovered Anita O'day which was kind of interesting since she passed away a couple of weeks after I downloaded her music.

I also bought the Rush R30 DVD and downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes.

Since I enjoyed the Roadshow book I decided to read another book by Neil Peart called Ghost Rider Travels on the Healing Road. This book is similar in that it revolves around a motorcycle trip. However, the premise of the trip is much different.

Mr. Peart lost both his daughter and wife within a year of each other and the motorcycle trip is an attempt at getting away from the memories and making some since of his life. For the most part the trip is a solo one. One of Mr. Peart's friends was supposed to join him but because of legal reasons he was not.

The trip spends a great deal of time in Canada, the US and Mexico. While I would not want to experience the tragedies that befell Mr. Peart the roadtrip itself appears kind of glamorous. Mr. Peart is financially secure enough that he can walk away from his resposibilities and take a trip that many would dream abouth. He has office workers in Toronto that take care of his finances and pay his credit cards. He is able to concentrate on the ride.

Again the book is detailed and while the ride itself is somewhat random. However, Mr. Peart does set goals and makes plans to visit his friends in various locations. He takes some risks and pushes himself to see what he can do.

Again I strongly recommend this book. However, it is a much darker read.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Fall Out Boy at the PNC Art Center (Honda Civic Tour)

I did not go out for a ride on Wednesday (it does not look like it is going to happen today either) because I took my daughter and her friends to the Fall Out Boy show at the PNC Art Center in Holmdel, NJ. The show was called the Honda Civic Tour and it packaged several bands together.

The show was opened by Cobra Starship, followed by rapper Paul Wall, The Academy Is, +44 and then Fall Out Boy came out as the headliner. One of the funny things about the show was the that the drum riser got higher as the night progressed. Cobra Starship's drummer was almost flat on the stage. Paul Wall's DJ was a little bit higher. The Academy Is drummer was at the same level as the DJ. Travis Barker of +44 was moved up a level and then the drummer for Fall Out Boy almost out of sight in the rafters of the stage.

Unfortunately, I am not really all that familiar with any of the bands. I know Fall Out Boys' hits and +44 is 2/3 of Blink-182 (I was really looking forward to seeing Travis Barker play) but I had not heard of the other bands. By the time we got to our seats the first band was already on stage. I originally thought they were The Academy Is but I found out it was actually Cobra Starship. I actually knew a couple of their songs (they must get airtime on GROCK) as did a lot of the relatively sparse crowd already in attendence. I was disappointed that we did not get there sooner because they seemed like an interesting band. The lead singer talked to the audience and Paul Wall came out and helped out on one song. They might end up being the next big thing.

I was really not that interested in Paul Wall but my daughter and her friends were. I agreed to go get refreshments and they watched the rapper. As far as I can tell they did enjoy it.

I found out that the first band was not The Academy Is when the The Academy Is banner was flown over the setup of the next band. This Academy Is had a lot of equipment. Two stacks of Marshalls, tow Ampeg SVT stacks and a Vox combo on each side of the stage. I did not know any of the songs and the sound was kind of muddled. The drummer was the loudest thing on stage and it was really hard to hear the other muscians. They seemed to have a lot of energy. There seemed to be a lot of audience members who did know them and their music

I was really looking forward to +44. While I do not think I have heard any of their songs I did know Blink-182. I was really looking forward to seeing Travis Barker play. Blink-182 songs are very high energy with some great hooks so I was expecting the same out of +44. Travis Barker does not disappointment. Mr. Barker plays like Keith Moon on a stripped down custom transparent green drum set. He is definitely the visual presense in the band. Unfortunately, the sound was again very muddled and as much as I appreciated the athletism of Travis Barker's play I was really hoping that the band would have some memorable songs. This was not the case. They might be a great band if they are the headliner but the drumming started to wear thin and I was looking for some of the power punk pop that Blink-182 is famous for.

Finally, the headliners came out. The drummer was also playing a stripped down set up and even though it had a double bass I did not really hear any double bass being played. As with +44 the drummer is the visual center of the performance. In fact every drummer that played during the night was very good (although the drums were way up in the mix).

I had read the Fall Out Boy's set was sloppy but I had also heard that they were also entertaining. I have to say they were both. The bass player and second guitarist (hard to say if he is playing rythym or lead guitar) ran around the stage with boundless energy. The lead singer/guitarist was much more stationary even though he did move around some. The sound was heavy on the drums and the other instruments were hard to differentiate. The vocals sometimes got lost in the mix.

The stage show was typical of big rock and roll shows. Lots of pyro technics, special effects and gimmics. Although one of the gimmics lead to what I consider the musical highlight o f the Fall Out Boy show. The bass player and second guitarist leave the stage through glass enclosures on each side of the stage. This leaves just the lead singer/guitarist and the drummer playing on stage. It became obvious that these two were the strongest musicians and this was my favorite song of the show. It is on this song that you can here the guitar work and the drummer is not over powering the song. Eventually the other two showed up in the center of the audience and the band went back to being a four piece.

The drummer solo was another highlight. I can really appreciate drum solos when they are well thought out and not too long. This one was both.

While this is not a show I would have gone to on my own I did enjoy it. I know that these kind of shows are more about entertainment than the music. It might be worth seeing one of the other bands in a headlining situation.

Tool and Rush are playing the PNC over the summer. I would like to go to both but I am not sure if the experience would be much better than listening to either on my iPod while I work out. I guess I am just getting old.