Thursday, November 30, 2006

Halfway! Route 7

Hi All!

Route No. 6 was a success, and now it is time for Route No. 7! We will be meeting this Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1PM at Fred Fletcher Park and bike over to the route. Route No. 7 is a north-south route over 8 miles long. You can check it out here. Its two end-points are the Lake Johnson Park area on Avent Ferry Road and Brooks Elementary off of Northbrook Drive. This is what the Raleigh Bike Route Map has to say about it:

"Cyclists may use this route to cross the 1-440 Beltline on Yadkin Drive between the North Hills neighborhoods and the southern half of Raleigh. Route 7 passes through NC State University and extends to the greenway and park attractions at Lake Johnson. Use special caution at Glenwood Ave. and through NCSU where weekday traffic is heavy."

From Fred Fletcher Park, we will start in the middle of the route on Brooks Avenue and head south towards Lake Johnson. Once we have reached Lake Johnson, we will back-track to the north part of the route. At Lake Johnson, there will be an opportunity to take a break and get drinks/refresh. We will then circle back around to complete the remainder of the route. For those of you who are interested, we may also stop at North Hills Mall for a little bit of celebration before continuing on our way (Fox and Hound, perhaps?) or we could wait until our return to Fred Fletcher.

This ride will be the longest yet - between 20 and 25 miles including the trip from Fred Fletcher Park to the route - but there will be several opportunities for breaks. The ride is also the halfway point in completing all the bike routes in Raleigh - woohoo! I hope that I will see some of you there.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions/comments:


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bike Route 5

At long last, we moved beyond the recreational routes and took on our first cross-town route: Bike Route 5! Bike Route 5 is a north-south route in west Raleigh that starts near 440 at the intersection of Gorman St and Thistledown Drive, and finishes at north of the Quail Ridge Shopping Center at the intersection of Glen Eden and Ridge Road.

Although the route is a linear route, we rode it as a loop, heading down Gorman Street from the intersection of Hillsborough and Faircloth, completing that end of the loop and heading back up past the Quail Ridge Shopping Center to the end of the route. This route was our most heavily trafficked so far, especially along Gorman St. south of NCState's campus. We had quite a bit of trouble triggering lights at the following locations:

Faircloth and Wade Ave.
Gorman and Hillsborough
Gorman and Western
Gorman and Avent Ferry

We found the following drainage grate headed north on Gorman at the intersection with Avent Ferry. We actually found it first on our return to Fred Fletcher Park on Bike Route 4, but we passed it again for Bike Route 5. This grate probably originally had the slots in the wrong direction like all old-school grates, and the metal strips were later put on top to protect bike tires like ours thanks to our friendly Raleigh staff (woohoo!). It looks like that first metal strip on this one came off from wear...

Between Western Blvd and Avent Ferry, the facilities on Gorman range from standard width lanes with curb and gutter to extra-wide lanes with on-street parking. The area is fairly residential, but traffic is in a hurry. South of Avent Ferry, Gorman St. develops a nice wide shoulder, which is nice given the level of high-speed traffic on the road. There's a nice gas station at the intersection of Gorman and Thistledown for a good break.

Headed north on the route, we enjoyed the wide shoulder along Wade Ave between Faircloth and Ridge Road. It has a bit of a drop off next to it though, so be careful and don't try to talk to the people behind you while riding. As before, the stretch on Ridge Road is, of course, very beautiful. And the nice bike lane also meant we didn't have to worry about traffic too much excepting when it disappears a little bit near Lake Boone Trail.

Once we finished the route, we rode back to Fred Fletcher Park using some of Route 7 - a nice little preview. Overall, Route 5's requires some patience with some finicky signals, comfort in traffic, and a little bit of power to get over a couple hills. Total Route length: 5.3 miles. Ride length: 10.6 miles, plus 4.5 miles to and from Fred Fletcher Park to the route, for a total ride of 15.1 miles.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Summary: Bike Route 4

As with most of our rides, we rode Bike Route 4 on an absolutely beautiful day. A little chilly, but beautiful. Route 4 is the last of the Raleigh system's "Recreational" routes, and so it has fairly low volumes of traffic excepting on Beryl Road and Gorman St. The ride circles around the neighborhoods just south of Littlejohn Colliseum and west of the NCSU campus, which makes for some very nice scenery. We had a little trouble crossing Blue Ridge Road on Beryl Road - the light doesn't change for our little bikes, so we sat there for a while till we asked a car to pull up for us to trigger it. The area along Beryl Road is fairly industrial - particularly interesting spots along the way include a couple of historic-looking churches, the Lumber Company's buildings, and the NCSU botanical gardens.

When we got to the neighborhood south of 440, we found this cool piece of decorative work:

Melbourne Road has a pretty neat on/off-ramp to 440 - talk about quick access right out of your front yard! We got a little lost headed up Kaplan drive looking for Kent Road. See picture of Cara and Sam returning from their slight detour/missed turn adventure:

We wait patiently:

We recommend some signs there to advise people where to go.

Overall, the entire route was quite scenic and fairly flat. Total ride: approx. 6 miles. Plus the ride to the smoothie place.

Route 6 Ride!

Hello All and Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is having a good Turkey Day. I'm emailing to announce that we will be having our ride of Route 6 this coming Sunday, Nov. 23, at 1PM for those of you who are still in town. You can check out the route at: Route 6. Route 6 is the southern-most route in Raleigh's system. It's about 6.5 miles long, which will make for about a 13 mile ride, start-to-finish. Since it's a little farther away from Fred Fletcher Park than usual, we'll be meeting at the intersection of Gorman Street and Thistledown Drive, where there is a gas station for those of you who drive can park your cars (this is also the southern-most end of Route 5). For those of you who will be biking to the start of the ride, if you would like to ride with me, I will be at the intersection of Gorman and Hillsborough (the Meredith Greenway) at 12:30 PM. Please email me if you are going to be there and I will be sure to wait for you.

I hope to see you at the ride this weekend - I'm sure it will be a wonderful opportunity to ride off some potatoes-and-stuffing pounds! If you will be unable to make it to Route 6 this weekend, we will be doing Route 7 next weekend, Dec. 3. Route 7 is our half-way mark through all 14 routes, so we will be celebrating with (alcoholic) beverages aftewards! More details next week.

As usual, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at I look forward to seeing some of you out there!

Raleigh Rides!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Route 5 Rescheduled: this Sunday Nov. 19!

Hi All!

Just a reminder that the ride for Bike Route No. 5 has been rescheduled for this Sunday, Nov. 19 at 1PM! As before, we'll meet at Fred Fletcher Park (802 Clay Street) and head over to the route from there. We should do about 15 miles, roundtrip. For more information about the route, please check out or email me at

Look forward to seeing you there!

- Jennifer

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Route 5 Postponed!

Hi All,
The rain has done it again... we're going to postpone the Route 5 ride until NEXT Sunday, when hopefully it will be sunny and dry. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Jennifer at

Thanks for your interest, and we hope to see you next week!

- Jennifer et al.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Photo Blog!

At long last, I have uploaded the complete set of the pictures from the past four rides!

Route 1

Route 2

Route 3

Route 4

Also, Route 4's summary to be posted soon.


Route 5 this Sunday!

When: Sunday, November 12, 1PM
Where: Fred Fletcher Park
What: Raleigh Route #5!
Why: Because its fun!

Hi All!

As promised, Route 5 will be this weekend, Sunday Nov. 12 at 1PM. Unlike the past four previous routes, Route 5 is a "Cross Town Route". The Raleigh Bicycle Route Map describes it as follows:

"This north-south route in west Raleigh travels along Ridge Road and Gorman Street primarily. It passes the west side of N. C. State University and links Route 10 on Glen Eden Drive to Route 6 on Thistledown Drive. The streets on this route are wide, but often busy with traffic. Use caution at street crossings, particularly on Wade Avenue."

For this ride, we'll meet at Fred Fletcher Park, as usual. From there, we'll ride to the intersection of Faircloth and Hillsborough St, which happens to be approximately the half way point in the middle of Route 5. We'll first head south, down Gorman St, complete the southern leg of the route, re-trace our steps... er... pedals... back to the intersection of Faircloth and Hillsborough, at which point we'll take a pit-stop/re-fill water bottles before heading north up Ridge Road for the second leg of the route. The entire ride will be approximately 15 miles, including the trip from Fred Fletcher Park to the intersection of Faircloth and Hillsborough.

This ride is intended to be fun and at a leisurely pace, however, it should be noted that there may be some traffic. Hopefully, this can be avoided since it will be a Sunday, but please be aware that we may encounter some cars traveling with speed. Our policy, as vehicles of the road, is to obey all traffic rules.

As with our other rides, along the way, we're taking pictures of neat things we see, some of the conditions on the ride, and of course, any goofiness. Eventually, our goal is to do all 13 bike routes by the end of the year (for a route map, see here.). For more information, or if you're interested in coming and want to make sure we wait for you at a particular stop along the way, feel free to contact me at

Looking forward to seeing you out there!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Route 4 - Second Attempt

When: Sunday, November 5, 1PM
Where: Fred Fletcher Park
What: Raleigh Route #4!
Why: Because its fun!

Hi All! We're back at it, gonna give Route #4 a second try, hopefully there'll be sunny weather this time. The re-ride of Bike Route No. 4. will be this coming Sunday. As originally planned, we'll meet at Fred Fletcher Park at 1 PM, and ride from there to the route, which is located in the neighborhoods south of Beryl Road. As usual, we'll be taking pictures of the conditions along the route (and any fun things we see too), and afterwards we'll go somewhere to catch a bite to eat. Route 4 should be about 5 - 6 miles, making for an entire round trip of about 10 - 12 miles. For a map of the ride, see here.

This ride is intended to be fun and open to people of all skills and ages. We welcome both newbies and experts! As with Routes 1 - 3, this ride is part of a series of rides intended to explore all of the bike routes in Raleigh. It's a fun ride, so it's no drop and we're going fairly slow. Along the way, we're taking pictures of neat things we see, some of the conditions on the ride, and of course, any goofiness. Eventually, our goal is to do all 13 bike routes by the end of the year (for a route map, see here.). You can check out our adventures so far at more information, or if you're interested in coming and want to make sure we wait for you at a particular stop along the way, feel free to contact me at

We hope to see you there!