Drive My Bike


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.

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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.



And So It Is Over
July 27, 2009, 4:12 pm
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This was the first year that I ever cared much about the Tour de France, and it sure was fun to watch the race play out each day. Thee weeks of getting up early to watch, or setting up Tivo. Three weeks of checking the standings. Three weeks of wondering if Lance will pull it off. Three weeks… and now it is over.

LanceTour2009

When the tour started three weeks ago, I had no idea what I was in for. I knew the Tour was the most famous bicycle race in the world, and that Lance Armstrong was making his comeback, and I knew it was a big deal, but that was about it.

Well, in the last three weeks I have learned more about the Tour de France, and bicycle racing in general, than I ever could have imagined. Words like “Peloton”, “Breakaway”, “Attack”, and “Stage” now roll effortlessly off my tongue. I even know who Phil and Paul are. 🙂

What a race it was! It was exciting each day to see the unique elements of that day’s stage, and to begin to understand the strategies that each team was going to try. I learned all about the unique scoring of the different stages, and why certain riders chose to pursues different goals.

On the final day it was beautiful to watch the peloton roll into Paris, and to see the tradition play out as Team Astana took the front and “protected” their leader. Then there was that final sprint… wow… so much speed!

It was great fun!

I now consider myself an avid cyclist and have put in a lot of miles over the last year. I have a great deal of respect for all of the riders in the Tour. Just getting to that level of athletic ability is something that few in this world can hope to achieve. Then, when I watch guys like Lance Armstrong, Andy Schleck, and Alberto Contador conquer something like Mont Ventoux on Stage 20 with so much power and control, I am simply amazed.

It was great to see Lance do so well in his comeback bid. I know that some are disappointed that he didn’t win the overall, but for a guy his age who has been “retired” for so long, I think he did an incredible job. Based on the announcement of his plans for Team Radio Shack, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lance at the top of the podium next year.

You can be sure that I’ll be watching.

(Photo courtesy of hyku)



Saturday Morning Canyon Ride
July 18, 2009, 8:58 pm
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This morning Dave and I road to the top of Emigration Canyon, a beautiful canyon in the northeast corner of the Salt Lake Valley. We started at about 6:15am, and it was a wonderful way to begin a Saturday. Who is Dave you ask? Well that’s another story…

EmigrationWithDave

Last Thursday evening I was sitting around the house and I just got kind of restless. I should have been really tired because I had done an intense spinning class that morning, and those usually completely wipe me out, but for some reason I just wanted to go for a ride. I decided to keep it simple, so I didn’t change into biking clothes, I just grabbed my helmet, announced my intentions to my family, and headed out the door. I didn’t really want to go far, I just wanted to get out and enjoy the night. I couldn’t decide on a good route, so I just started weaving through the neighborhood, and I eventually ended up on the road that is my main route for my commute to the office.

It was about 9:30pm, and was getting dark. As I pulled onto the main road I noticed another bicyclist a block or so in front of me. He was easy to spot because he had two really good red flashers on the back of his bike, and he was wearing a bright flashing headlight on his helmet. With a lighting setup like this I figured he was an experienced rider, so I decided to catch up with him and say hello.

As I got closer he must have sensed me coming up behind him because he pulled over to the right a bit to allow me to pass. (I later learned this was because he wears a good rear view mirror on his glasses.) I pulled alongside and said “How’s it going?”. That’s pretty much my standard greeting to other riders, and within a few seconds I can usually tell if the person is friendly and interested in talking at all.

Well, he was definitely in the friendly camp, and he responded in kind. We started talking about the weather and how it had finally cooled off a bit that night so that it was pleasant to ride again. He said he usually rides in the morning, but he had some schedule changes so he was trying to get a ride in that night. I shared that I had only been riding for about a year, but that it had become quite a passion of mine. I asked how long he had been riding, and how often he rides. He said he had been riding for probably 20 years or so, and got started when he lived in Europe. He mentioned that his son is training for a triathlon and so the two of them usually go for longer rides on Saturday mornings. I mentioned that I had been riding on Saturday mornings lately, and had been trying to find people to ride with. I mentioned that I had been doing more challenging rides lately, and had successfully ridden up Traverse Mountain, but had been thwarted by the heat when I attempted to ride Big Cottonwood Canyon a week later. We continued our biking discussion, over a few miles, and a few stops for red lights. He mentioned that he was getting close to home in a few blocks.

Then a curious thing happened. He said, “Well I would ride Emigration Canyon with you this Saturday morning.”

It kind of caught me off guard, and my initial reaction was to decline the offer, but for some reason I found myself saying “Yeah, I would meet you for that. What time?”

“How about 6:30? There’s a little dirt turn off at the mouth of the canyon, and we can meet there.”

“Okay. Sounds good. By the way, my name’s Scott.”

“I’m Dave. Do you have a phone number?”

I got his phone number, we shook hands, and agreed once again to meet at 6:30am on Saturday. Dave pedaled off one way, and I went the other.

It was done. I had just agreed to meet a stranger, that I knew little about, to go on a ride that I knew little about, early Saturday morning. That felt a little crazy.

All day Friday I was stewing on this, and a few times I pondered ways I could call and tell Dave that I would have to cancel: Family obligations, Too tired, blah blah blah. I’m glad that I didn’t do that.

Needless to say, we did meet this morning, and it was a great ride. We talked about all kinds of things on the 45 minute ride up the canyon. We reached the top a little after 7:00am, and paused for a few minutes to rehydrate. There were some folks up there enjoying the morning view, and one of them shot the picture at the top of this post. Then we saddled up again, and enjoyed the exhilarating 20 minute ride back down at about 40 miles per hour.

Oh, and one more thing about Dave. He’s 63 years old. When he told me this I was shocked, because when I met him that night I would have guessed he was in his early fifties. Not only is he an avid cyclist, but he also water skis, and does serious rock climbing. (By serious I mean… he backpacks in, climbs over 1000 feet to a summit, climbs down, backpacks out… yeah, serious!).

I hope that I’m that full of life when I’m 63 years old.

I would never have met Dave if I hadn’t started riding my bike to work a little over a year ago. Nor would I have ever known how cool the bicycle community can be, a community where two strangers can meet, and in a few minutes have enough in common to decide to meet up for an early morning ride. It reminded me once again why I love riding my bike.

Dave, if you read this, thanks for sharing a great ride with me this morning!



Top 10 Reasons to Be A Bike Commuter
September 11, 2008, 7:52 am
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j0202174

  1. You feel pretty green, and green is good.
  2. Passing cars that are stuck in rush hour traffic is awesome.
  3. It’s fun watching the people around you come up with excuses why they can’t bike commute.
  4. Getting back at all of those people that said you were crazy when you told them you were going to start riding your bike to work.
  5. Riding around on a bike makes you remember how fun it was when you did that as a kid, only now you look a lot cooler.
  6. Seeing the look of amazement on the grocery store clerk’s face when you ask her to put your groceries in your panniers, and she says "You rode your bike here?"
  7. Realizing that you can ride a lot farther than you think you can.
  8. Spandex is optional.
  9. Doing something fun and getting exercise at the same time – "Accidental Fitness".
  10. Getting to your destination with less stress than you started with.

I’ve had this list brewing for a while. It’s not perfect, but I finally tweaked it enough that I figured I’d go ahead and post it.

What do you think? What would you put on your top 10 list of reasons for bike commuting?



Bike Commuting In Cooler Weather

The backyard thermometer indicated it was 52 degrees (F) this morning when I was checking my tires and getting ready to leave, which makes this the coldest morning I’ve experienced so far in my bike commuting adventure.

image

I have a lightweight, breathable windbreaker that I’ve been carrying around in my pannier, and today was the first day that I actually chose to wear it. Even though I chose to unzip it after I got warmed up, I was glad that I had it on for the first couple of miles. I wear fingerless biking gloves, and with this morning’s cold I also noticed that my fingers were starting to go a bit numb. All of this got me thinking… what am I going to wear when it starts to get REALLY cold? We get lots of snow here in Utah, and it’s great for snowboarding and skiing, but the idea of riding my bike in that kind of weather is something that is completely new to me. I’ve read some other blogs out there, and folks like Warren T make it sound like they actually enjoy winter riding. I’m looking forward to the adventure, but I want to make sure that I’m warm and safe. Just like when I snowboard, I know that the right outerwear makes the difference between a great experience and a miserable experience.

So… I ask you, my readers… do you ride in the winter weather? If so, what do you wear?

UPDATE: I just found a great article with some very practical winter riding tips… The Gear Junkie: Winter Bike Commuting, 10 Tips to Ride Safe… thanks Gear Junkie!

UPDATE: Read about my 40 degree commuting here and my 30 degree commuting here



New Cycle Computer
August 31, 2008, 7:56 pm
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I mentioned last week that I got a new cycle computer, so I figured that I’d put up a couple of pictures and show how I installed it. This is not a fancy cycle computer, it is just an inexpensive one that I found for under $10, but it performs all the basic functions that I wanted, basically speed, distance, and trip time.Cycle Computer Display It also has a clock, maximum speed, average speed, a trip odometer, and a lifetime odometer.

Installation is fairly straightforward, involving mounting the display on the handlebars, and then mounting the sensor on the fork and spokes.Cycle Computer Sensor

The device uses a magnetic sensor on the forks that tracks a magnetic screw on the spokes. After installation you have to enter a calibration number from the instructions that tells the computer how big your wheels are, so that it can figure out how far the bike has traveled for each wheel revolution. Each time the wheel goes around the magnet on the spokes registers a single revolution of the front wheel, then the computer does some math, and bingo… it knows your speed and how far you have traveled.

In case you are interested in the details of how this thing works, I found a person who has posted the manual on their website… and I thank them!

I have to say that it is fun to know how fast I am going, and how far I have gone. If you don’t have one of these I would recommend considering one.