Author Archives: Toni

Camping: Thompsons Lake

After we made it to camp and we relaxed a bit, everyone helped me set up my tent and get all my stuff in order. The last member of our party (Ken) finally made it up around 8, and it turned out he had left late so there wasn’t a chance that he would have passed me on my journey up the hill. We spent the rest of the night relaxing and eating the best lasagna on earth. Dinner was an awesome affair it had good food with great people and very interesting conversation.  Since I seemed to have past an invisible test, now that I made it up to Thompsons Lake everyone wants to take an even bigger trip, with a sag car. Thankfully, if we do go on that trip it will be later in the summer and I can work on longer rides.

When darkness fell we had a great fire, and continued the conversation sitting around the fire keeping warm. Everyone stayed up pretty late, except for me. I was beat, I headed to bed early, so I have no idea how the rest of the night went.

The next morning everyone was up early rising with the sun. Everyone was so quiet and peaceful that morning. We made pancakes with blueberries, and had fruit salad to start the day off. Breakfast was a happy event, everyone talking and laughing having fun. We spent the rest of the morning soaking up the sun,  just relaxing. After lunch everyone went on a ride down the trails that are around the campsite and into Thatcher Park. Everyone was gone for around 3 hours, and I guess there was a flat tire involved. I was still sore from the climb the prior day so I happily stayed behind.

Another couple of people joined us for dinner and smores that night around the campfire. John even came up with a jolly song about our trip:

We are a family…

Toni, Ken, Claire, Bert and Me…

We ride in Albany…

To Thompsons Lake and Schenectady…

Sunday was the day we were leaving so the object of breakfast was to use up the food we have left. We had reservation to meet at Indian Ladder Farms for Brunch at 12:30, so we had plenty of time. Once camp was broke down and everything put away, the people who rode up had the great pleasure of riding down. Let me say that I am pretty sure that was the fastest I had ever rode on my bicycle. It was slightly scary, but a lot of fun. The climb was almost worth the decent down the hills. I was really glad that I didn’t know how fast I was going. The Brunch at Indian Ladder Farms was awesome and it was sad that it was the last meet up before everyone headed home.

Overall, the camping trip was awesome. Everyone had a great time, and it was so worth the climb on our bikes up to Thompsons Lake. I would so do it again, which says a lot since the climb up there took my forever.

Written by Toni Cameron

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Camping: The Hill to Thompsons Lake

This weekend was the ABC camping trip to Thompsons Lake. It was a Friday to Sunday affair, but today I am just going to focus on the ride up to the campsite.

Disclaimer: I am a commuter; I like to ride to places. I am not the type of person who can just go out and ride big loops, just to ride. I ride to the library or Hudson River Coffee house, and sometimes even to my work when I am feeling energetic. I hate hills. I avoid going down State Street like no tomorrow, and when I am leading a ride with ABC you know I won’t take you up a hill if I can help it. I am also a slow rider; someone who isn’t in a rush and likes to enjoy the ride.

Now, that you know where I am coming from you can imagine the terror that filled me when everyone wanted to ride up to Thompsons Lake. It involves not just hill, but what I would call a small mountain. There was no way around it; I was going to have to ride up Thatcher Park Road. My only other choice was to drive up, and while there were people who did drive up to go camping with us, I just couldn’t do it. Therefore, I had to make it up the mountain on my pretty little bike.

For courage I bought some gloves so my hands wouldn’t hurt as bad and a new jersey that I thought I looked cute in. Going on this ride with me was Claire, aka Mom, and without her I don’t think I would have made it. Google maps says it takes 2 hours by bike to make it up to Thompsons lake. Maybe for someone who like hills, not for someone like me. So we left early, like 3 o-clock, since I knew it was going to take me forever. Ken who still had to leave was going to leave at five, and I knew I might not make it before dark if I left at five.

So off we went, heading towards the small mountain in the distance. We passed through Voorheesville, and we hit a small hill, which to me was torture. My goal was to make it up without walking. I did that, but I did have to stop. All that was running around in my head was “that really wasn’t even a big hill.” It was just a small one to get my blood going. It took some time, but then we were there at the bottom of Thatcher Park Road. We were standing there talking so I could rest and try to get my courage up.

To be completely honest standing at the bottom, I didn’t think I could make it up that hill. I had seen others go up it, and I really thought that they were crazy. It just wasn’t on my to-do list or even can-do list. Yet, I made it that far and had to keep going. Off we went. I knew that this was going to be hard. At the very beginning there was a jogger heading up the hill and I tried to keep up with him. I kept my pace, and then he took two steps in front of me leaving me behind. Claire passed me and kept pace with the jogger. Seeing her go up the hill was inspiring.  I thought maybe I could do this.

My eyes stayed on her backpack as I slowly climbed. Finally I had to stop and take a breath along with some water. Then back on my bike I went. I focused on each telephone pole and mail box. Bit by bit I made it along. When I needed to stop, I stopped. I didn’t get discouraged or feel rushed. I had friends above me on the mountain and Ken below me who hadn’t left yet. My goal was to not get passed by him. Finally, I saw Claire waiting for me next to a turn off to make sure that I went the right way. I stopped and relaxed for a moment while she spoke on the phone to Bert and John who were already at the campsite. I really needed that moment of just standing there. It kept me on my feet. That break did turn into a pit stop as I waited for my heart to stop pounding. Then off we went again heading towards the park and the lookout.

Getting to the lookout where I could see the starting point was awesome. I felt like I could do almost anything. Staring out over Albany, and knowing that I got up there by bicycle was something that everyone who rides should experience. I understood why people would ride up that freaking hill, and that they weren’t crazy; just really really smart. The rest of the ride to the campsite was awesome. I was tired but filled with joy. Bert and John rode out to meet us, the laughing and talking really kept me going. We had to stop to take photos at the sign to the Thompson’s Lake and I believe that part of me was in shock. I couldn’t believe that I actually made it up there on my bicycle.

It was awesome, and I thank everyone who has helped me get to that point. Especially, Claire who would tell me stories as we rode so I had something to think about besides how far we still had to go.

Written by Toni Cameron

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1st Friday Ride

What do fish, flowers, batman and really good food have in common? An awesome 1st Friday Ride.

This months 1st Friday Gallery Ride turned out to be pretty awesome. The weather was perfect for the whole ride from the start at the monument to the very end. We had an interesting group of riders with Chris and I at the helm. I totally wanted to check out the gallery at Dave Jones Locker along with the fish. So that was our first stop. The trip downDelawarewas nice. I love seeing those Sharrows on the road. It gives me hope thatAlbanyis going to keep moving forward as a bike friendly city.

Dave Jones had a really cool exhibit of NYC buildings painted on what seemed to be the side of old building’s brick facades and shutters. It was a really cool concept as far as I was concerned. From there were headed down to Lark toUAG. They had a really colorful flowers show and an awesome flower piece made out of the hubs of bicycles. Next was EBA Dance Theatre which had really colorful paintings of emotion. After that we headed down Lark to Central to New York Expressive Art where there was a very cool Batman painting.

At that point a discussion of where to go to dinner broke out. After riding around to a few different places, one was too pack, another closed, we finally ended up back on Lark & Spring at Kinnaree. Kinnaree was fantastic, if you are on Lark and want some Thai, Korean, Japanese, or Chinese food you have to check it out. It was one of my best meals inAlbany. Everyone in our group loved it. I can’t wait for a chance to stop in for another great meal. It ended the ride the perfect way with everyone full and in a great mood.

Written by Toni Cameron

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Bike Expo – Success!

Albany Bicycle Coalitions 1st ever Bike Expo was a success. Despite having a tall stack of obstacles stacked against us we did pull it off. We took over a parking lot down at the Corning Preserve and had a great time. The Hudson River Coffee House came down, selling some very good coffee and bake goods. The Downtube also came down selling different wares, and helping some people out with some last minute bike repairs before the ride. They also brought down a Brompton, letting people take it for a spin down the trail. That was one awesome bike.  ABC held a 50/50 raffle and the winner Claire donated her winnings back to ABC. Thanks Claire!

The Bike Expo was the first even that had ABC, NYBC, and the Mowhlak Hudson Cycling Club all in one spot. Everyone had a great time on the different rides, and the weather was perfect for the day. I just want to give a shout out to everyone who helped make this event a success! Thanks Again!

Written by Toni Cameron

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To replace or not to replace?

The object in question would be my car. It is dying, painfully. So, I am at those crossroads where I am trying to decide to replace the hunk of metal which costs me so much each year in repairs, gas, insurance, and all that stuff.

Road One – Don’t replace

The pros of not replacing my car, are huge. One, I wouldn’t have to buy a new car and spend all that money. Plus, I wouldn’t have to feed it gas, oil and all that stuff you need to do when you buy a car. I also would be free to look at housing options that do not include parking. I would also become a better cyclist and lose some weight which would be very nice. I would also buy a new bike sooner than otherwise.

The cons of not replacing my car are also pretty big. My family lives about three hours away by bus. I don’t mind taking the bus. The problem is when I get home. Public transportation doesn’t exist and the biking between family members would make the trip almost worthless. So, here is what would happen when I go back home. I might have to rent or borrow a car. I would have to become a better cyclist and actually ride my bike to work all the time. My commute, by bike, to work isn’t the best, and it isn’t the ten miles that bothers me. I have to cross a few dangerous roads, and traffic is horrible when I leave. I would also have to get better at taking care of my bike, which currently isn’t in the best condition.

Road Two – Replace my car

The pros are that I get a new to me car, and I wouldn’t to worry about getting places. The cons are that I have to pay a lot of money, cars tend to make you fatter, and I would be limiting my mobility in looking for cheap housing.

I am very undecided about this issue and have been looking for a used car for the last month or so. That’s when I seriously began to think about not replacing my car. What do you guys think? Is anyone here carless? What would you do in this situation?

Written by Toni Cameron

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