Atomic Diversions

Atomic Diversions shares thoughts and photos from diversions that interest Rod Adams. Feel free to comment, but it really does not matter much if anyone else cares.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Unoffical start of summer

Though the astronomers place the start of summer on June 21st, everyone in America knows that the Memorial Day weekend is the opening event in the vacation and outdoor activity season. Neighborhood pools welcome guests, lines develop on the roads to the beaches, and graduations and proms are in full swing.

I took to the roads early yesterday morning and did one of my favorite circuits in the Annapolis area. For those of you that are not familiar with Maryland's capital city, it sits on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay and has a number of "necks" or peninsulas that reach out into the bay between "creeks" and rivers that are more accurately considered to be fingers of the bay. There are some terrific water privileged neighborhoods and most of them are very bike and jogging friendly. Even when riding in the hour or so right after sunrise, there are plenty of people about with willing smiles going about their daily exercise routines.

I thought you might enjoy a couple of pictures from the ride.

My first quick stop was at the entrance to the Philip Merrill Environmental Center, which is the headquarters of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, one of my favorite charities. They work to limit the damage that the people living in the Chesapeake Bay watershed do to the bay and its natural inhabitants. Someday, I may take a few pictures of the center itself; it is a pretty awesome building with a lot of advanced features designed to show how to live and work comfortably with minimal impact on the environment.

I was quickly inspired again by this sight as I rounded the corner at the end of Herndon Avenue.

This is the view from the other end of the shoreline road looking away from the sun.

One of Annapolis's nicknames is Crabtown, and one of Maryland's famous products is its Chesapeake Bay crabs. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the Bay Foundation, the crab population has been shrinking and the supply is limited. There are some early morning crabbers at work, however, the small supply has led to pretty impressive prices.

As I rode through Eastport, I snapped this picture of one of our favorite local hangouts. The Boatyard is a sailor's bar in a sailing town and it is a great place to meet up with friends and to make new ones. It is also popular with families and serves some great food. After the ride was over, my wife and I went back and had some breakfast.

As is almost always the case, there were some rowers on College Creek, which runs through the Naval Academy grounds and past St. John's College. Both schools maintain boathouses on the creek and have active crew programs. Crew jocks love the calm early morning waters.

Another great, though young, Annapolis tradition is to stop by the Great Harvest Bakery. Jim and Linda Rodrock have a friendly business with wonderful products. Leave your Adkins books at home and enjoy!

The final picture is one of my old haunts. Though my current job does not allow much time for sailing, I still have a soft spot in my heart for the Naval Academy sailing program and its home, the Robert Crown Sailing Center. It is the headquarters of one of the best ways that the Academy has for training officers to understand the ways of the sea, to pay attention to weather, and to understand the important of buoys, lights, and sound signals. It is also a great place for a party!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Annapolis on Mother's Day

One of my favorite habits is to ride at first light. This morning, after taking care of some correspondence and doing a bit of blogging on the topic of nuclear power plants, the birds outside my window told me it was time to get rolling. Since it is Mother's Day and I had a date with my wife for breakfast, I planned on a shorter than normal ride.

Since I occasionally see things on these early morning rides that even other townies never see, I thought I would snap a few pictures to share. Here is a photo representative of the "traffic" that you can see on our main street; I often share the road with the trash guys and the dog walkers.

Annapolis has one of the best sailing harbors in the country, if not the world. Even though it is not yet summer, many of the moorings are already occupied by overnight guests. It is not even time for the normal migration from southern ports to points equal to or north of here. (One interesting fact I learned last year in a conversation in a local sailor's haunt was that insurance companies often offer lower rates to owners that move their boats north during hurricane season.)

In case you are wondering just what kind of biker I am, I thought you might enjoy a picture of my Schwinn Sierra. This trusty frame is one of the earliest mountain bikes made in America; I purchased it while stationed in Monterey, CA in 1985. Many of the components of the bike have been replaced since then.

The GPS keeps track of my speed and mileage and helps if I decide to get outside of my comfort zone and explore. The trunk makes me look a bit like an old fogy, but it contains my spare tube, a small tool kit, a dry bag for my electronics, and gives me space to carry home a bit of breakfast or the morning paper. Since I am out for exercise anyway, extreme weight savings or aerodynamics are not very important to me.

I get the bike tuned up each spring and love the comfortable ride. No shocks, but those wide tires absorb a lot of the bumps from my urban riding and occasional off road escapes. (If you look really closely at the little skiff behind the bike, you might be able to see a plastic cleat. I used to be the General Manager of the company that made those cleats for Carolina Skiff.)

Have a great day, especially all you Mothers out there!

Cherry Blossom ride

Like many tourists, I have taken some Washington DC cherry blossom pictures. This year, however, I forgot my camera several days in a row, though I enjoyed some wonderful early morning rides last month through a spectacular display. If you have never seen the blossoms, I highly recommend it, but I dislike riding my bike through crowds. It is amazing, however, how beautiful (and empty) the tidal basin area is during first light.

Here is a sample picture that I believe was actually taken by a friend in the mid-afternoon, but I thought it would at least help you build the mind's eye picture of what the blossoms might look like with the soft early morning light and no crowds.

I'll try to do better about remembering to bring my own camera so that the pictures are genuine bike trip photos.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Welcome to Atomic Cycling

I have been riding bikes longer than I can remember. Though it will probably never be economical and certainly will never be logical to produce a bike powered with atomic energy, there are at least two bikes in the world that are already powered by Atomic (as in my nickname) energy.

As I try to out run old age by pedaling around some of the prettiest cities I know of (including Annapolis, MD and Washington, DC) I plan to record some thoughts and photos to share. My musings may be of little or no interest to anyone else, but what the heck, blogs are supposed to be about personal passions.

Feel free to participate, lurk or ignore.

Rod Adams
AKA - Atomic Rod