Drive My Bike


Choose To Ride
June 19, 2010, 11:19 am
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I had a choice this week… Ride or Drive.

I chose to ride, and it was great. 🙂

Young Boy

I managed to ride to work two days this week, which is quite a jump from the no days schedule in recent months.

Wednesday night I planned ahead to ride Thursday morning, and it was confirmed when my wife asked if she could take my car to drop a friend off at the airport. The weather is getting warmer, and I was concerned that Thursday morning would be a bit chilly, but instead it turned out to be quite nice. I wore a jacket, but started unzipping about halfway to the office. The ride home after work was a good workout, and I was feeling pretty good about myself and my one day of bike commuting for the week.

Thursday night came and I thought about riding again on Friday, but I talked myself out of it. “Don’t want to do too much in a single week yet”, I told myself. Yeah right.

So Friday morning comes, I’m getting ready for work, and I’m conflicted. I’m feeling conservative and thinking I shouldn’t ride again, but there’s a little voice inside that tells me I’m being ridiculous, that I used to do this all the time, and that it is only five miles to the office, so no big deal. I caved, and changed into my riding gear.

It was about the most gorgeous morning for riding that I could imagine. The temperature was perfect, just cool enough for comfort. There was a gentle breeze, but not enough that it was a fight to ride against. Blue skies. Close to perfection. Great ride!

So it’s a long day at work on Friday and the end of the day finally comes about 7:30, and I’m still at the office. My daughter has a softball game on the other side of town in 30 minutes, at 8:00. She’s already at the ballpark with my wife and other daughter. I can ride five miles home and then drive to the ballpark… or I can go into unknown territory and ride to the ballpark. I’d driven there plenty of times, but had never ridden out that way, and I estimated the distance to be about ten miles.

Once again, I chose to ride… and it was a fun adventure. It was about ten miles of urban riding, the last five of which were on a major road with no shoulder (Redwood Road for you locals), so I had to “take the lane” and hold my own in traffic. The traffic wasn’t too heavy, and I only had one person pass me really close. All in all it was a good ride, and the start of the game was delayed a few minutes, so I even made it there in time for the first pitch.

This morning I’m a little stiff and can tell that I rode more this week than I have in a long time, but it was worth it.

Choose to ride.

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Who Says It Is A “Road” Bike?
June 16, 2010, 3:23 pm
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Check out this crazy cool video of an amazingly talented fellow taking a carbon road bike where it isn’t supposed to go…

Mad Skills!

That’s about all I can think of to say about that. (Actually, I do wonder if they were able to pull off that video with the same frame, same set of rims, and no flats. Either way, an amazing bit of riding!)

Thanks to 100KM for this bit of coolness.



Seven Months In Hiding…
June 10, 2010, 9:49 pm
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Well, it has been seven months since I’ve posted anything here. What’s up with that? Actually, I’ve been wondering the same thing…

Half shy

What can I say? I didn’t plan to take a seven month break. It just kind of… happened.

The best answer I can come up with is that this has been a year of dramatic changes. The biggest of which has been a major career shift. For over 20 years I’ve been doing some kind of software development, and this year I decided to make a shift. I’m still working in the technology space, but now I’m on the sales and marketing side of things.

Wait… what? Yeah, I crossed over to “the dark side”, and now I’m a sales guy. 🙂 (And now I don’t think of it as the dark side either)

It’s been quite a ride. An all encompassing change that has rocked my world, but has been a wonderful adventure at the same time.

So what does this have to do with bicycles?

Well, when my life turned upside down it put a real crimp in my riding. Between the winter cold, the crazy new schedule, more than a few business trips, and the need to have intense focus in other areas of my life… riding just kind of went by the wayside. Yes, I got a few rides in during the winter. I rode to the office a couple of times, and I shivered on a couple of rides “just for fun”, but my riding was nothing like last year. In fact, I even got to the point where I didn’t want to ride. To be honest, that really bothered me. Riding my bike had become such a cool thing in my life, for all kinds of great reasons, and all of a sudden that desire was gone. I’d drive to work each morning and see people riding along my old route, some of which I knew by name from meeting on the road last year, and it just reinforced the fact that I was different now. With that in mind, posting something here seemed kind of hypocritical. I mean, I’m the guy who would always rather ride his bike, right? Well, apparently not.

So… that brings me to today. I’m happy to say that I’m back in the saddle… literally, and I’d like to think I’ve found a better balance and a healthier perspective.

Have I been riding like I did last year? No. But I have been riding. The weather has been nice lately, and I’ve had a few good rides. I’ve been trying to find a good rhythm when it comes to riding to work. So far just one day a week has been the goal, and we’ll see if I can bump that up a bit over the coming months. I would like to ride my first century this year, but I realize that will take a significant training commitment, so I’ll have to see how things go.

The important thing to me is that I’m riding again, and I’m enjoying it. I’ve remembered what I had forgotten.

I’m still figuring things out and trying to regain the balance in my life. I’m not there yet, but… do we ever get all the way there?

Probably not in this lifetime, but I think that’s part of the adventure.

P.S. For those of you that have continued to follow this blog, thanks for sticking around. I won’t make any promises right now, but I’m going to try to be a little more consistent. 🙂 See ya on the road.



And Now For Something Completely Different…
November 17, 2009, 4:29 pm
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Here’s something you don’t see every day… a peloton of sumo wrestlers!

SumoPeloton1

My daughter and I were driving around on Halloween day and came upon one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen when it comes to cyclists. There was a whole group of riders dressed in funny sumo suits. We were actually going the other way when we passed them the first time, but it was so cool that I had to get pictures, so we turned around and passed them again, grabbing some pictures out the window as we went by.

SumoPeloton2

There were probably at least twenty riders, and they were creating quite a stir. Folks were honking and cheering, but they seemed oblivious. I have no idea who the group was, and if the traffic hadn’t been so crazy around them I probably would have tried to make conversation out the window to find out.

SumoPeloton3

It made our day!

In other news…  We’ve had some unseasonably cold temperatures the last few days, which means it was 16-18 degrees (F)  when I left the house in the morning, making for a brisk commute! The temperature has climbed to the mid 30s for the ride home in the evening, and that has felt almost tropical compared to the morning.

The bike commuting herd gets pretty thin when it gets this cold, but I’ve seen more riders still out than I saw last year, which is pretty cool. (No pun intended)

I’ve got my cold weather commuting wear figured out pretty well these days, so I was comfortable. Layering and coverage is everything. Maybe I’ll do a post in the near future to review my current outfit choices.

Thanks for stopping by. Ride Safe!



Need More Space Than A Backpack Or Panniers?

Does it always seem like you need just a little more cargo space on your commute? Well maybe something like this is the answer…

CamperBike

A friend sent me this link to Kevin Cyr’s site, and at first I laughed, but then I realized how serious he is. Go to his site and take a look around. This guy has some interesting ideas on mobility and habitats. He’s also got some nice paintings.

This summer I’ve been using a backpack for my cargo since I’ve been riding Jake’s speedy road bike. The temperatures are starting to drop though, and that means packing a lot more clothing to stay warm, so soon I’ll be going back to my trusty Trek with a rack and panniers.

Yes, the Trek is a lot heavier than Jake’s road bike, and the fully loaded panniers make it even heavier… but I bet it is a lot lighter than Kevin’s camper 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.



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.

image

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!