Thursday, August 20, 2009

Every Library test trip

So back a few years ago, I pondered visiting every library in Hamilton County. I have revisited that off and on a few times, and while I was off on vacation this past week decided to give it a test ride.

The reasoning was to see how well the directions held up, how fast I could ride (approximately) with traffic and such, as well as test how long it took me to get in the library, check out a book, and get back on the road.

I left my house around 2:00 or so. Plan was to go to 7 libraries and then meet up with the fam at the end. A little something like this.

I set off and got to the Madisonville library right away. Coming down the hill was interesting. I mean going fast is nice, but you never want to get TOO fast. I've never been one of those guys that can just get super fast without worrying about falling. There were a few patches of gravel on the road which got me a bit nervous. I was up to about 35 mph coming down the hill.

So, as I got going, I realized I had forgotten a few things. This tends to happen to me when I just go without really focusing and planning on everything. Forgot my sunglasses, forgot sunscreen (it was hot and sunny), any water, my bike lock and perhaps most importantly, I forgot any type of carrying case for the books that I was going to check out. My plan had been to just check one book out at each library, and then returning it at the subsequent library. But that still meant I had to carry a book on the bike with me.

So I got to the Madisonville library and hurried to check out a book. There were a few hooligans hanging out by the front door, but I hoped that I wouldn't be in there long enough for anything to happen, and I was right. I grabbed a small paperback, checked out, and headed on the road. Left on Madison and headed towards Oakley. Got in there, parked my bike by the front door and went in.

It was annoying there because there was this kid at the checkout desk asking abou drawing books and the librarian was helping him (fine) and then she offered to show him where some of the books were. And I waited... and waited... it was probably 3-4 minutes of me standing in line waiting to check out a book. (No self checkouts there). Eventually I made my way back down Madison towards Hyde Park. There was a lot of road construction there, but I managed to find my way to the Hyde Park library without a problem.

Again no self checkouts at Hyde Park and I had to wait for a bit. When I went to checkout, the librarian said that she had seen me on her way to work while on my bike on Whetsel. Good times! I was right in Hyde Park Square and did not realize that I was supposed to turn right onto Edwards. So I missed the turn and had to circle back (onto Mooney if you're falling along). I went past Rookwood and past I-71 and into Norwood. I turned left onto Williams and then right onto a different Madison.

But then, tragedy struck. I got a flat tire :-(. I tried to pump it back up but it definitely had a hole in it. I got out my patch kit. I had a really hard time trying to get the tire off the rim but eventually got it but either my kit was too old and not working, or I was not doing it right, but I could not get it going.

So I called Carolyn and had her come pick me up. The baby was still sleeping but we agreed to meet up in Norwood somewhere. I started walking that way. I found a penny on the sidewalk as I was walking, so you know it's good times. And then I got thrown out of Kroger.

But things went well - I had about a 14-16 mph average and it was taking about 1-3 minutes per library.

One annoying thing was that the receipts on a normal checkout don't have a timestamp on them. It does appear that the self checkouts have a timestamp, but I really wanted to get timestamps for each one just as kind of a record of the trip.

But I think that it makes things possible. I believe the shortest distance was 121 miles. If I could keep up a 14mph pace (which I think would be tough over that long) that would be 8 hours and 38 minutes. Then if I could average 2 minutes per stop, that's 42 * 2 or 84 minutes (1 hour 24 minutes). That's about 10 hours. I have 11 hours to do it from 10 to 9 (possibly 12 hours if I start at the Main library which opens at 9).

Or I could always hope the library levy fails and they close a few branches :-)


Carey said...

I still maintain 121 miles is too much for one person to do in a day. I've managed to do 51.5 miles and I was exhausted and it took 7 hours (of course I was meandering, looking for landmarks). Every mile you go is a mile you end up going slower. When you did Tour de Madeira 2007, you did 51 miles at an average of 11.1 mph. In 2006, you even recorded your average speed per leg, and you got slower and slower throughout (from 10.78mph at the start to 9.47mpg near the end)

Given previous data, 121 miles at 14 mph seems pretty improbable.

dan said...

Yes at current bicycling skill levels I agree it is improbable.

I guess that gives me something to work at!