Monday, September 6, 2010

Recumbent Ride - Quarry Loop

On Sunday I decided to ride the 50 mile Quarry Loop.  This ride is a large rectangle with the start finish in the south-east corner and in the north-west corner the Bucyrus operation of the National Lime and Stone Company which has been in business since 1903.

I packed extra water and a snack on the recumbent because this ride avoids all but the smallest rural villages and in 50 miles passes only one soft drink vending machine.  I got started around noon.  The conditions were ideal with low humidity but a steady wind coming straight out of the west.  The first 15 miles were tough but I have to comment again that the aerodynamic shape of the recumbent and rider is much better suited to plying strong headwinds. 

After a few miles I kept hearing the sound of some kind of motor in the distance to my left.  Finally I spotted this airship also heading into the westerly wind.  I watched the Good Year Balloon slowly gain distance on me for nearly 45 minutes.  I can only guess at the forward airspeed of the craft and I don't know whether out of boredom or to gain a few extra knots into the headwind the pilot steadily nosed up the airship then pointed it back down as if following a sine wave.  Strange and I could hear the race and lag of the engine as the ship pitched up and down.

When I set out to ride 50 miles of Ohio soybean and cornfields anything out of the ordinary is a welcome sight.  Especially dirigibles.  The sky was gorgeous and I could not resist some taking some pictures.  This cell phone towers is a visual marker or way point I look for as I near the western side of the route. 

Glass insulators in service
These days clear glass is not used much but occasionally it can still be seen in service.   The above photograph shows an electrical distribution wire atop a wooden pole.  I'm not sure if the glass half spheres are supporting the load of the wire and isolating the wire from the pole or if they provide some protection from flash over during a lightning strike and the steel rod passes through the glass? 

At the 25 mile point I reached the quarry.  I had no idea this limestone quarry even existed until a few years ago when a friend took me on this route for the first time.  The following picture is the old section of the quarry. 

The bridge along the county road that splits the quarry in two was out and being repaired so I had to add an extra five mile detour around the construction site.  The old bridge structure was completely gone.  Scaling the limestone cliffs that the bridge work spans with the recumbent was out of the question.


The active part of the quarry is on the north side of the road that splits the site.  These pictures illustrate the geology of this part of north central Ohio.  Clearly visible is the brown soil and gray clay layer over top of the solid limestone bedrock.  Materials mined from the ground here are used in construction and road building.

At the front gates of the complex I found a boulder filled with fossilized shells.  These remnants are from the days when Ohio was at the bottom of a vast prehistoric sea.  Because of the wind my ride time stretched out longer than what I wanted but still 55 miles is quite a trek regardless of the time it takes.  This ride was a great opener to the fall riding season which is my favorite time to ride.

Bike  Recumbent
Ride Time  4:01:56
Distance  55.45 miles
Average Speed  13.7 mph
Max Speed  28.3 mph


  1. Sounds like a fun day. I've never seen glass insulators like the ones in your picture. Have you ever considered getting a set of climbing spurs to climb old poles and pluck the insulators?

  2. Not really, Most of the glass that is still up on poles today are refered to as "commons". They have very little if any value and are mostly clear glass with a green one every so often. These are the newest of the glass insulators so there is still millions of them floating around. I already have plenty of these insulators so I don't need anymore. The other issue with climbing old poles is safety. The wood rots just under the surface of the ground so it's hard to tell if a pole is safe to climb. So unless I spot somthing really rare I wont be going up any poles.

    Yes, I had not seen insulators like these either so thats why I took a picture. I am interested in photographing the old poles with commons still mounted on them. I have found several locations within a 50 mile radius that have poles full of glass that I am planning to photograph for my series called "Insulators in their natural habitat". One site along some railroad tracks still has copper telegraph wires in place so these will be great photos. I'm more interested in preserving some images of how the insulators were used rather than obtaining the particular pieces themselves.