Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fine With Me Dining at Limerock Road Neighborhood Grill

Riding a bike is not necessarily about how fast or how far. Sometimes it’s about where you end up and during the recent Coffeeneuring Challenge (4th Annual) I ended up at Limerock Road Neighborhood Grill (LRNG), a place I’d visited in a previous incarnation. The coffee was good and the atmosphere was inviting; I knew I had to return and learn whether the food was equally pleasant.

I planned my visit to fit within LRNG’s Happy Hour window which is daily from 3 to 6 pm and for a day when sitting outside would be comfortable.  So, a few days after my previous chilly morning visit I returned when it was upper 70s and sitting outside was not only possible but pretty much required.
Because my tastes are simple I ordered some things I could understand; potato skins and beer. Because it was Happy Hour I sampled two on-tap brews; Brooklyn Lager and later, Sweetwater 420 Pale Ale. The potato skins were a very satisfactory finger food with more than adequate potato and the skins were tender rather than crisp, tough or chewy. There was neither too much, nor too little cheese and enough bits of bacon to add texture.

LRNG Potato Skins

An hour spent with a couple of beers, a quartet of potato skins, attentive but not overbearing service and delightful weather was about as much as anyone could ask for from any eatery and LRNG delivered. Park your car at Kanapaha Park and ride the 2.5 miles to Haile Village and the Archer Braid Trail extension, indulge at LRNG then work some of it off on the return trip.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Convergence: ABT, Haile Village and the 4th Annual Coffeeneruing Challenge

After years of debate, misinformation and misbehavior the extension of Archer Braid Trail (ABT) became a reality and making Haile Plantation’s Village easily accessible from Kanapaha Park.
ABT and Haile Blvd.
ABT and Haile Blvd.

The Village is an integral and extremely under used part of New Urbanist Haile Plantation.. On Saturday I combined the extension’s Grand Opening Celebration, my fifth stop in the 4th Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge and my regular visit to the weekly Farmers’ Market.

Fewer riders appeared at this event than at the Grand Opening of the first six miles in June ‘13 becasue of the unseasonable weather, but those who did were dressed for the sunny, chilly, windy November morning. Adding to the small gathering, though, were curious patrons of the Farmers’ Market drawn by the music of Weeds of Eden.
Weeds of Eden
Weeds or Eden
“We play original bio-regional music, folk and rock standards, Celtic tunes, and filthy pirate songs.”
 See facebook site

It turned into a friendly, busy get together. Of special note, though, is the courtesy of Gordy and his Limerock Road Neighborhood Grill staff who provided an assortment of finger-edibles, bottled water and congeniality.
Courtesy of Limerock Road Neighborhood Grill
Limerock Road Neighborhood Grill

Months ago I wrote a brief review of eateries in Haile’s Village, but focused on bike security. Four U-racks easily visible from inside make security a nonissue, though the cobbles into which the racks are secured make footing a mite awkward.
Bike parking at Limerock Road Neighborhood Grill
Bike security at Limerock Road Neighborhood Grill

When the opening event was announced I knew I’d make Limerock one of my stops on the Coffeeneuring Challenge for two additional reasons; I’d be in the Village for the regular Saturday Farmers' Market and Limerock serves Flagship Coffee (formerly known as Tree City). If the weather had been less blustery I would have settled outside to observe the goings-on, but had I done that I’d’ve missed the energetic and friendly staff and the comfortable Neighborhood Grill environment.
Limerock and Flagship Coffee
Flagship Coffee at Limerock Road

I’d visited the establishment in its previous iteration, but had no knowledge of the current state of is comestibles. As a place to hangout and enjoy some conversation it’d be hard to beat; comfortable seats at the bar, large windows with a pleasant view of Haile’s Square and a place to enjoy the Gators on a couple of large screen TVs (and Happy Hour when the Gators are on the road). Unlike many “sports bars” Limerock maintains its pub style without forgetting how to offer a family friendly, part-of-the-neighborhood enviornment.
Bright and Welcoming
Bright and Welcoming Limerock Road

The coffee was good. The service and accessibility of the serving staff was exceptional. Now it’s past time for me to see what they can do with their food. For the rest of you; leave your car at Kanapaha Park, follow the Trail, visit the Farmers' Market and go see Gordy.
Limerock's Specials
Limerock's specials

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

GCC Member? Visit The Village (or downtown) and Get A Deal

As a response to the completion of Archer Braid Trail’s extension through Haile Plantation one of the regular vendors at the Saturday morning Farmers' Market has created a product with bicycle riders (Gainesville Cycling Club members in particular) in mind and is encouraging them to visit the Village.

I have never been much of a fan of mustard, except for when I was a kid and went to Memorial Stadium in Baltimore where all hot dogs came with bright yellow mustard. As my tastes have become moderately more sophisticated I have appreciated the more robust flavors of what might be called "real mustard". I may never become a dipper and use a jar of mustard like hummus or guacamole, but I have learned that mustard . . . some mustards . . . deserve a place in my kitchen.

Nana Pat’s Goodies is one of the vendors at the Market who has embraced the idea that people on bikes is good for the Farmers’ Market.

Nana Pat's Mustard

Nana Pat makes both sweet and savory things, but it is her mustard that matters here. Her newest addition to the line of savories is Fat Tire Special, which uses, can you guess, New Belgium’s Fat Tire Amber Ale as its base. That, alone, would be reason enough to visit Haile Village on Saturday or Union Street on Wednesday, BUT . . . are you ready? . . . GCC members get a discount. A check of Nana Pat’s website blog says it all; she doesn’t commonly offer deals. What’s the deal? Fifty cents off the usual $7 large jar or two small jars (usually $4 each) for the price of a large one, should you want to share the joy. The blog posting also says that this is a limited time product, but I bet demand would win out.

Fat Tire Special and Midnight Oil

Anyone wanting a seriously good taste treat and wanting to buy locally should try Nana Pat’s stuff. For those of you who like to favor things on facebook and encourage others to treat themselves to something worthwhile, you can do it there, too.

Even if none of the regular merchants in The Village see the marketing value of encouraging the use of ABT, at least one Saturday morning vendor does.

Friday, September 19, 2014

National Bike Challenge and Coffeeneuring

The National Bike Challenge and Falling Over
This year’s National Bike Challenge gave me the same kick in the saddle as last year’s. My goal was an average of twenty miles a day and I was doing pretty well until I fell over kinda like Arte Johnson and his tricycle on “Laugh-In”; a 3 mph moment of carelessness. Landed on my hip, the same one that’d been repaired with titanium rods to hold the ball on the neck of my femur. Wasn’t nearly as much pain as there was blood from elbow, knee and finger, so I finished the remaining 16 miles. Later there was plenty of pain and I didn’t (probably couldn’t) ride the next day or Saturday, managed a cautious few miles thereafter, returning to the scene of the fall a week later.

During the Challenge, Archer Braid Trail through Haile Plantation progressed from construction site to completion. When I was able to resume riding it was very nice to cruise cautiously on the very smooth asphalt and over the numerous transition points. I missed my Saturday morning visit to the Farmers’ Market, but will enjoy it even more now, despite the missing piece of asphalt at Kimball Wiles Elementary School.

What About After the National Bike Challenge
So, how will I fill the hole left by no longer being able to compete for a year’s supply of toilet paper (yes, one of the monthly prizes)? Along comes Mary G. and her blog; chasing mailboxes. Commencing on October 4 is the Fourth Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge; 7 Cups (of coffee) in 7 Weeks (Saturdays and Sundays only). Say what?

The basics are this; visit one place where you drink coffee, document it, do that each of the seven weekends and submit your completed “challenge” at the end. Prizes? Yeah, some, I guess.
  • Difficult? Not really? Potentially a good way to discover your own back yard, so to speak.
  • Rules? Yeah and you can read ‘em here.
  • I’ve already planned my first several weekends; Tree City at the Haile Village Farmers’ Market, Limerock Road and patticakes (not open Sundays) also in Haile Village, Barnie’s on lower Tower Road and undoubtedly the Starbucks at Butler.
Look at chasing mailboxes and enjoy Mary’s whimsical perspective, except when she’s serious. Maybe Gainesville and GCC will turn in another stellar performance.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Some questions about ABT through Haile Plantation?

Raise your hand if you know the answer . . . 

1.Is ABT through Haile Plantation finished?
 Paving has been completed and all transitions within Haile have been excavated and concrete has been poured. All that remains is installation of bricks to form the necessary detectable warnings. Transitions along Tower Road have been surveyed.

2. When will the section of sidewalk be removed and asphalt applied in front of Kimbell Wiles Elementary School?

 The sidewalk will not be replaced. 

3. Why not?
 The county school system would not permit it. 

4. So, that's it?

The newly paved trail adds about 2.8 miles (less the .2 miles of sidewalk in front of Kimball Wiles) to the already well used 6.2 miles of Archer Braid Trail. It makes Haile Village readily accessible by bike or on foot from Kanapaha Park (about 3 miles) and provides a relatively easy 18 mile trip from the Park to Archer and back.

Hipp Construction did a fine job with ABT through Haile. By week's end all construction should be completed and clean-up and final touches well underway. If you haven't ridden or walked the new section of ABT you ought to.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Finding your FNBS, Part 2

It has taken a while but I visited two of the three remaining bike shops in G’ville; Pleasant Cyclery and Super Cool Bike Shop. For anyone who wasn’t here for the first installment it can be found by using this convenient link;

At both shops I wanted to learn how they might handle the questions of an older person who wants to begin or return to riding a bicycle. At each of the previous shops after some discussion I felt confident that such a person would be asked the important questions that would help both the shop and the prospective customer to decide which “next step” to take. The questions:

1.    How well do you ride?
2.    What do you want to accomplish?
3.    What kind of riding do you think you want to do?
4.    What’s your budget?

Pleasant Cyclery
Pleasant Cyclery
235 NW 8th Avenue, GainesvilleFL 32601
Of all the shops I visited Pleasant Cyclery was the least responsive. There is no longer a coffee shop here, which is disappointing, but it probably didn’t make good economic sense. The gentleman I spoke with was the only employee present and he was engrossed in repair work. He was courteous when I how he’d respond to an elderly person wanting to return to riding a bike after many years, but he was less interested in talking about the process he might use.

Two variables may have affected this encounter; I was not feeling jocular and he was younger than people I’d spoken with at other shops. Among the bikes on display was a step though model, but I had to ask about it. Pleasant Cyclery carries a wide variety of bikes and surely among the lines are bikes that would be suitable. I’d be unlikely to suggest it as a first stop for a Senior’s return to cycling bike.

After I sent a first draft of my observations about Pleasant Cyclery the co-owner offered that I had not gotten a true impression of the shop because he was on vacation thus putting greater responsibility on his partner. He invited me to return. I have not, but eventually will. I emailed an offer for him to address my four questions, but did not receive a reply. The shop also has a new internet address which is listed above.

Super Cool Bike Shope
Super Cool Bike Shop
3460 W University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32607
(352) 371-2453
The Super Cool Bike Shop has my least favorite name, but that’s probably related to my basic lack of coolness in bicycle circles. The young man I spoke to at Super Cool asked all the right questions and that was . . . well . . . cool. His suggestions for possible new bikes were reasonable. I was given some options they were all at the upper end of my proposed “about $500” budget. Used bikes were not an option but the possibility was discussed of upgrading if a rider decided he or she wanted to become more involved in riding and wanted another model sold there. Super Cool was a congenial place and maybe I was friendlier, too.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Three Weeks

The end is nigh; paving of the portions of ABT along SW 41st Place (Kanapaha Park) and Tower Road will begin next week along with the remaining section at Haile’s Equestrian facility. Predicted time for completion of the entire project is three weeks. This will include excavation and paving of the short section at Kimball Wiles Elementary School where ABT crosses Tower Road. Transition points at all intersections are marked and final work on drainage and landscaping has begun.

Is a Grand Opening being planned for this section of ABT? Linking ABT through Haile with activities in Haile Village seems obvious irrespective of the resistance by many Haile residents. Rather than being an unwanted eyesore, Hipp Construction has done a fine job of mating ABT to Haile Boulevard as it enters the Plantation and 91st Streets more aggressive and direct approach.

Getting to the Saturday Farmers’ Market from Kanapaha Park will be a pleasant ride and one that can be made safely by families. Several vendors at the Market who make delectable consumables are working on bicycle related items and might be encouraged to offer discounts or deals to people arriving by bike!

41st Place at Tower Road; Kanapaha Park
41st Place and Tower Road; Entrance to Kanapaha Park

41st Place; Kanapaha Park
41st Place at Kanapaha Park

Tower Road ready for paving
Tower Road ready to be paved

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Progress on ABT

Archer Braid Trail (ABT) through Haile Plantation continues its steady, if sometimes too slow, progress. Paving equipment has been moved to the section of unpaved trail passing Haile’s Equestrian Center suggesting that there’ll soon be asphalt from Archer Road at 91st to Haile Blvd at Tower.

The next significant and very obvious work is happening on Tower Road where the sidewalk on the eastern side of Tower has been removed and will be replaced as part of ABT. Significant work is being done to the crossing and transitions at the Kimball Wiles Elementary School intersection. Concurrently, paving of the new multiuse path is nearing completion from Archer Road to Kanapaha Middle School. It will eventually extend to join ABT at Kimball Wiles.
Sidewalk being removed in Tower
ABT at Tower Road 

Tower at Kimball Wiles Elementary
Tower Road at Kimball Wiles Elementary School

Haile Blvd (SW 46th Ave) and Tower Road
Haile Blvd at Tower Rd.

The section of Trail paralleling Haile Blvd is already being used by riders, walkers, strollers, and even skaters. I know I’m biased, but I think the Trail enhances the ride along Haile Blvd toward the Village. Making Haile Village more accessible can’t be a bad thing, especially on Saturday mornings for the Farmers’ Market.
Haile Blvd
Haile Blvd.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gainesville, we have asphalt!

Paving of the 91st Street section of Archer Braid Trail through Haile Plantation began today and by 1700 (5:00 pm) was nearing completion. Final preparation has also been done on most of the Trail paralleling Haile Blvd (SW 45th Blvd) and preliminary grading completed along the section passing by Haile Equestrian Center.
Let there be asphalt
Looking north on SW 91st Blvd from Archer Road.

Construction at intersection transition points along the entire route and at the intersection at SW 91st Street and Haile Blvd. is underway.
Transitions at intersections

Haile Blvd and SW 91st Street intersection
Intersection of Haile Blvd with SW 91st  Street