Drive My Bike


Catching Up…

It has been about three weeks since I last posted, so I figured I’d put something together to let you know what I’ve been up to…

EmigrationFullMileage

Probably the most noteworthy piece of news is that in the last three weeks I decided to start training to ride a Century (100 mile ride) at the end of September. I have become comfortable with 25 mile rides, and figured that it was time to take things to the next level.

The less noteworthy part of that same news is that in the same three week period I decided NOT to train for said Century ride. It goes like this…

Several weeks ago I decided that I’d do a 50-60 mile ride on a Saturday morning to start working up my mileage. I was a little intimidated by that mileage, and rightly so, since my biggest ride at that time was about 25 miles. I checked out a few route possibilities, and decided that I would ride from my house to the top of Emigration Canyon, and back, which I figured was about 60 miles. (You may remember that Emigration Canyon is where I rode with my friend Dave, but we started from the parking lot at the bottom of the canyon.)

The ride to the canyon was great, but once I hit the grade on the way up, I started running out of gas quickly. I took a break about halfway, caught my breath, and then proceeded on to the summit. I paused at the top and took a picture to prove that I had been there.

EmigrationMileage

The speedy ride down the canyon was effortless, and fun, but I got so comfortable that I almost crashed when I underestimated my speed and overshot a corner, missing the edge of the asphalt, and the rock filled ditch, by a few inches. At about 30 mph, that would have been very, very bad.

I had a steady downhill for the next 10 miles or so, and felt pretty good, but then I started hitting a wall. I had to do a few small, but fairly steep hills on the way home, and each one of those seemed to empty my gas tank. I had to take multiple breaks along the way, but eventually made it home. I took the picture at the top of this post, showing the 55.01 mile odometer reading, to commemorate my weary victory.

Looking back, I think the biggest problem I had was that I wasn’t drinking or eating enough. I started experimenting with Hammer Nutrition products a couple of months ago, and I’m very happy with the results, but I’m still figuring out how much water and fuel I need on a long ride. I think if I had fueled and rehydrated more regularly I probably wouldn’t have “bonked” so hard.

Anyway, I was so blown out by that long ride that it took the wind out of my sails for a bit, so I decided to postpone my first century ride until next year, when I can follow a more gradual training program.

In the meantime, I did a nice 35 mile loop on the following Saturday, heading downtown to the Salt Lake Farmer’s Market. I was determined to enjoy this ride, so I slowed things down a bit, and tried to eat and drink more. I stopped at the dog park and snapped a few pictures, which made things fun. I had some soreness in one of my knees, but all in all it was a good ride.

FarmersDogPark

Along with these weekend rides, I’ve continued my regular commutes to work on Mondays and Tuesdays, and I’ve been able to enjoy riding with a couple of regular commuters that I’ve become acquainted with on my route.

I’ve also noticed that there are a LOT more people riding their bikes these days, and most of them look like they are commuting. Vive Le Revolution!

Lastly, I figured I’d share a picture I took yesterday morning. I went to my gym for the early (5:45 am) spinning class that I hit semi-regularly. It is an intense class, and the trainer who leads it is an avid biker herself, so she makes sure we get a good workout. I was thoroughly exhausted when I left the gym, but this is what I saw…

LifetimeFitnessSunrise

That was a nice way to start my day.

Thanks for reading. Keep riding. Stay safe.

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Save Some Money Right Now
August 28, 2009, 10:41 am
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I am a pretty big fan of REI, and have purchased a lot of my biking equipment there, as well as getting a bunch of free advice. My local REI store has a great selection in their cycling department, and I regularly keep an eye on their outlet deals on their web site. If you shop their sales you can sometimes find great deals.

They have a BIG sale going on for the next week, and there are some great cycling deals.

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Several of the products that I now swear by are on sale:

Lights – The Planet Bike SuperFlash / Blaze combo light set. I can’t recommend this combo enough when it comes to lights that help you “be seen”. The SuperFlash rear light is the brightest rear flasher I have ever seen. The company claims it can be seen from a mile away, and I believe it. You really have to see one of these to know how bright they are. If you can only afford one thing for your night riding, buy a SuperFlash, as I think it is the best way to “be seen” out there.  If you buy the combo, you’ll save more money, because you’ll also get a nice 1/2 watt Blaze front light that is reasonably bright and has a solid mode and flashing mode. For about $10 more you can get the combo with a brighter 1 watt Blaze front light.  I use the Blaze in flashing mode to “be seen”, along with the next item…

Lights – The NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB rechargeable LED light. I picked this up on sale about a year ago, and it has made all the difference in my confidence level when it comes to riding at night and being able to see where I’m going. This is a serious investment, but if you end up riding a lot at night I recommend considering something like this. It is rechargeable, so you don’t have to worry about buying batteries, and will even recharge from the USB port on your computer. It is lightweight and easy to install and remove, so you only need it on your bike when you want it there. It is very bright, around 100 lumens. I use this in front along with the Planet Bike flasher, and I feel this gives me a good mix of “see” and “be seen. If you have a bigger budget, NiteRider introduced a couple of other models this year that are even brighter, so you might want to check those out.

Shoes – The Pearl Izumi X-Alp Seek commuter shoe. I have featured these here before, and I bought them when I was getting started with clipless pedals. They are comfortable, both on and off the bike. They are reasonably lightweight, and with the sale price you’ll be paying a lot less than most other cycling shoes.

Shoes – The Keen Commuter bike sandal. I was skeptical when I first saw these, and I don’t think I would have paid full price for them, but REI holds “garage sales” every few months where they clear out their returned goods, and I found a pair of these for $40, so I bought them. I’m really glad I did. I have worn these all summer as my main cycling shoes when the weather is warm. They are so comfortable that I don’t bother bringing along shoes to change into, I just wear them like normal sandals. I realize that the price is kind of steep, even on sale, but if you can afford them I give them two thumbs up.

I use all of these products on a regular basis, and I am very happy with them.

In addition, REI has cut prices on all kinds of other cycling products, from bikes, to clothing. I realize that with the economy right now, and this being back to school time, a lot of people don’t have extra money, but there are some good deals out there right now if you can take advantage of them.

In the interest of full disclosure, the links above are ad links, and if you click on them and then order from REI.com I will make a small commission on your purchase. If you have a problem with that, then don’t let that stop you from taking advantage of these deals… just go to REI.com on your own, or better yet, go to your local REI store and meet the people there and check out the products in person.

UPDATE: wordpress.com doesn’t allow any advertising… so they blocked the above links. I changed them all to normal links to REI.com… so go take a look and enjoy the deals..

Happy Cycling!



Tour Of Utah Pictures

I was able to catch two stages of the 2009 Tour of Utah last week. Stage 3 was an individual time trial held at Miller Motorsports Park, and Stage 4 was a brutal 96 mile cross country ride ending at Snowbird ski resort. Here are some pictures…

TourOfUtahLogo 

Tour de France alumnus Floyd Landis warming up for the Stage 3 time trial:

ToU_3_LandisWarmup

A local rider representing Canyon Bicycles finishing the Stage 3 time trial:

Tou_3_LocalRider

Lance Armstrong?… No, but a rider for the Trek team with a very cool looking outfit:

ToU_3_NotLance

Yellow Jersey holder Francisco Mancebo looking relieved to finish the brutal 10 mile climb up to Snowbird at the end of Stage 4:

ToU_4_ManceboFinish

Floyd Landis finishes Stage 4:

ToU_4_LandisFinish

Dave Zabriskie, fresh off of the 2009 Tour de France, finishes Stage 4:

ToU_4_ZabriskieFinish 

The winners of Stage 4 on the podium:

ToU_4_StageWinners

Francisco Mancebo, who went on to win the Tour of Utah, with the Yellow Jersey at the end of Stage 4:

ToU_4_ManceboYellowJersey

Attending these races was a lot of fun! I had never been to a bike race before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. The atmosphere was very casual and open, and spectators were free to walk around and visit with the teams. There were some incredible bikes, and lots of excitement in the air. I look forward to next year.



Tour Of Utah
August 21, 2009, 2:25 pm
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The Tour of Utah has been going this week, and I’m excited to finally be able to catch some of the action in person. It is not often that we get to see pros like David Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, and others, who just rode in the Tour de France. Pretty cool! 

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My wife and I are planning to see Stage 3 tonight, at Miller Motorsports Park. It’s a 9.2 mile individual time trial stage. After the race is done they are going to open the course up to the public so that anyone that wants to bring their bike can ride the same course the pros just rode. Sounds like fun! (Other than the fact they are predicting the temperature over the asphalt could be 110F or more due to the hot day today. Yikes!)

Tomorrow a friend and I are planning on heading up to Snowbird in the afternoon to catch the finish of Stage 4, which is a pretty brutal 96 mile ride over several major mountain passes, ending with the 10 mile, 3300 vertical foot climb up to Snowbird.

Finally, I’m also hoping to catch some of the final stage on Sunday, which is a 90 minute criterium race in downtown Salt Lake.

This will be the first time I’ve been able to catch a bike race in person since I started biking a little over a year ago, and I’m pretty stoked!

If you’re a local then I’d encourage you to come on out and have some fun. I believe that all of the events are free to watch. Find out more info at the Tour of Utah website.



What Would It Be Like?

What would it be like if the majority of commuters rode bicycles?

Think about it…

What would happen to the environment?

What would happen to healthcare… obesity… nutrition?

What would happen to our stress level?

What would happen to our sense of community?

Obviously bike commuting doesn’t work for everyone…

But what if it worked for most of us?

As you can see from the video, it is possible.

Thanks to Bike Commuters and Kona.



Another Terrible Reminder To Be Careful
August 18, 2009, 9:43 am
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There’s another horrible auto-cyclist accident in the news this morning.

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A driver in Texas, who was apparently drunk, hit a cyclist, who went through the car’s back window, and ended up in the back seat. The driver then drove home and tried to hide the vehicle, with the cyclist still in the back seat! A relative found the car and called 911, but the cyclist was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – A driver accused of slamming head-on into a bicyclist, who was left in the car’s back seat after he toppled over the roof and crashed through the rear window, was jailed Monday on an intoxication manslaughter charge.

Vincent Paul Riojas, 27, is accused of hitting Ronnie Monroe Keller, 59, on Saturday in Grand Prairie, a suburb of Dallas where both men lived. Investigators said Riojas was driving on Texas 180 when he drifted into oncoming traffic.

The impact hurled Keller into the windshield of the car and flipped him over the roof before he crashed through the rear window, investigators said.

Riojas drove from the scene to his home and apparently tried to hide the car in a side yard before fleeing, according to a police statement released Monday.

Riojas’ relatives found Keller critically injured in the car and called police. Keller was dead when he arrived at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

Quoted from MSNBC

This just serves as a reminder that no matter how careful we are when we ride our bicycles, we still have to constantly be on guard for things beyond our control.

Be alert. Ride safe.



All About Performance… HaHaHa
August 12, 2009, 8:43 am
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Wow… a year ago I wouldn’t even have understood this video… but now, even my wife found it hilarious!

If you don’t get it, don’t worry. Keep learning about bikes and bike culture and you’ll eventually find it funny.

Yes, I guess bicyclists are pretty weird… and yeah… now I’m one of them. 🙂

Thanks to Cyclelicious for this.