Tag Archives: wildwood lake

Metric Century Training – Week 1

Now that #30daysofbiking is over with, I decided to get started training to ride a metric century.

I haven’t done a single ride over thirty miles in almost 3 years, so I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to hold up. But, I did ride about 25 miles one day last week. So, I figured 30-35 miles should be doable without too much trouble.

I headed out with Fort Hunter in mind as a general destination. I was thinking that would be about a 35 mile out-and-back.

Somehow, I miscalculated the distances, and found myself farther from home than I wanted to be, in a residential neighborhood, with a full bladder. I pushed on a little farther, and made it to the Wildwood Lake restroom facilities with only seconds to spare.

I had a snack and decided that Fort Hunter would have to wait for next week. I was running out of time, and needed to turn back.

BikePA Route J
(There are more photos from this adventure in the Gallery)

I ended up with 36 miles for the day. That puts me somewhere between weeks 4 and 5 on the training plan.

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I’m a little sore today. Surprisingly, its mostly lower back, and not legs. I’m not sure if I have a bike fit problem, or just terrible core strength. (Probably terrible core strength).

At any rate, I’m going to ride week 5 of the plan this week, and see how things go.

Week Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun Total
5 8 13 15 off 13 38 11 98 Miles

Some More Summer Reading

It’s been about 100° outside for the past few days, and I’ve been spending a lot of time in at work nursing a dead Microsoft Exchange cluster back to life, so I’ve not been riding my bike at all lately. Watching email databases defragment does not exactly demand one’s undivided attention, so I’ve had the opportunity to do some more reading.

An Essay on the Professional Life of Mira Lloyd Dock

Mira Lloyd Dock

I bought this book at the Wildwood lake Nature Center . It’s a short biography of Mrs. Dock, who got the Greenbelt started, cleaned up Harrisburg (did you know riverfront park used to be a garbage dump?), and was ultimately appointed to the new State Forestry Commission. She was the first woman ever appointed to a government post in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
You can read more about her on the Department of Environmental Protection Website.

The book is only about 50 pages, so you can read it in an hour or two. If you are interested in local history, especially the history of Harrisburg’s ONLY piece of cycling infrastructure (don’t get me started…), you might like this one.

4 Jihadis out of 5
I give it 4 Jihadis out of 5.

Once Upon a Time in the North
Once Upon a Time in the North
I am a huge fan of Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy. Once Upon a Time in the North is a prequel to that story. You get to learn about how Lee Scoresby got his balloon, and how he met Iorek, which is kind of fun, but this one is much more obviously a children’s book than the HDM books, and there’s really not a strong higher-level story for grown-ups that the Trilogy had.

3 Jihadis out of 5
I give it 3 Jihadis out of 5.

The World Without Us
The World Without Us

The World Without Us is a really weird book. The premise is that every single human being on the planet is instantaneously removed (like we all get abducted by aliens or something). It then goes on to catalog how long it would take to various bits of the infrastructure human civilization to fall apart.

Houses fall down, bridges collapse, wildlife comes roaring back to fill niches humans have driven it from. Evidently the dead zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, is teeming with bears, and the waters around the bikini islands (where all sorts of nuclear weapons testing went on) are full of (slightly mutated) fish, simply because humans aren’t there to mess things up anymore.

There are lots of things in this book that are very interesting. It seems to hold out hope that maybe humans haven’t totally fucked everything up, and that we could, at least theoretically fix up the environment.

On the other hand, it feels like the worst kind of diabolical environmentalist wish fulfillment fantasy, where it seems like the author genuinely thinks the world would be a better place if humans went extinct.

That’s kind of fucked up.

3 Jihadis out of 5
I give it 3 Jihadis out of 5.


I have been spending far too much time on blasphemy, and not nearly enough on bicycling lately.To remedy the situation, Girtong2 and I were planning to do a bicycle tour of Gettysburg today, but a number of factors conspired to make that impractical. Instead, we decided to have a go at circumnavigating the Capital Area Greenbelt


the CAGA is well marked in some places

We set out from City Island, and headed up the riverfront. There was some sort of parade of firetrucks running down front street, so the bike path was crowded with onlookers. Just before Wildwood lake, we were treated to breathtaking views of the industrial bucolic splendor of Harrisburg.



After we passed Wildwood lake, we sort of lost the trail. We found it again on the HACC campus, but it quickly deteriorated and became unridable. Either the construction of the greenbelt is not fully completed, or we were utterly lost. Neither would be surprising.

We backtracked, but were still unable to find the trail. Girtong2 tried to make use of his top secret Masonic distress signal, but to no avail.

A Faceless Mason
Who keeps the metric system down?

We decided to cut through what realtors would probably call an “up and coming” neighborhood. The streets were covered in broken glass, garbage, and filth. Luckily, nobody got a flat tire.

When we returned to the riverfront, where we found the firetrucks doing some sort of ceremony pumping water from the river, and spraying it back into the river… The geese were not amused.

Firetrucks spraying water

Firetrucks pissing off the geese

When it was all said and done, we covered about 15 miles on our wandering route.

Turtles All The Way Down

When Brandi was a little girl, she had some sort of horrible bicycling accident, and she refuses to ride them anymore. This poses a problem, because if I go off on one of my bike rides, she doesn’t come with me. Since both of us work different schedules, my rides eat into what little time we have to do stuff together.By way of compromise, we decided to go for a smallish hike after work today. We went to Wildwood Lake. Neither of us even knew it was there before today (I found it while doing some gmaps exploration for bicycle routes).

Anyways, the place is very nice, and it’s pretty close by.

We got there and were greeted with a prophetic sign warning us of impending turtles.

Turtle Crossing
Turtle Crossing

I’m happy that things are starting to turn green. I have a touch of the seasonal affective funk, and seeing green stuff seems to pull me right out of it.

Behold: Photosynthesis
I’m all about the chloroplasts

We saw a beaver swimming around, and I assume this is his house.

Beaver House
A beaver house

The lake was full of all sorts of ducks and geese and those long-legged white birds (Egrets?) I don’t know much about birds, but I’m pretty sure this is a goose’s arse.

A goose's arse
A goose’s arse

More signs of life. The trees are busy getting thier leaves ready.

Budding tree

At last, the long awaited turtle parade. I have seen turtles all lined up on a log like this on TV, but never in real life.

Turtles in the sun

We also saw a deer and some gigantic snapping turtles, but I didn’t get any picures of them. I was amazed at how much wildlife there was basically in downtown Harrisburg. It’s a 3.1 mile hike around the whole lake, and we were back to the starting point in about an hour. Not a bad way to kill a Friday afternoon.