Drive My Bike


24 Miles and 22 Degrees
December 6, 2008, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This morning I was scheduled to have breakfast with some guys from church, and I got this crazy idea that I should ride my bike there. What made this seem a bit crazy was that the pancake place was about 12 miles from home, and it was supposed to be in the upper 20’s this morning.

MorningFrost

The farthest I had ever ridden before today was to meet a friend for dinner about 10 miles from home, so a 20 mile round trip. The coldest weather I had ever ridden in before today was a morning commute to work in 28 degrees.

I beat both of those today. It was 22 degrees this morning at 6:30 when I hit the road in the dark. I did the 12 miles to the restaurant in a little less than an hour, which I was happy with since I was trying to take it at a reasonable pace, and there are a few hills on the way.

I found it to be a real psychological challenge, as much as anything. Just past the six mile mark I hit “new territory”, where I had driven many times, but had never been there on a bike. The last mile or so I was counting down the blocks remaining. I was pretty tired when I got to the restaurant.

Breakfast and the time with friends was great, and I had several offers of a ride home, but I thanked them and told them I preferred to ride.

The ride home seemed a lot faster and a lot shorter. I guess that just goes to show how much of a mental game this all is. I was tired when I got home, but not nearly as tired as I was on the way there.

What made me decide to do this? Aside from just wanting to ride my bike somewhere, I think the biggest reason was just to test myself to see if I could really do it. I know that 24 miles is not that far for a lot of the bike commuters I read about, but it was a milestone for me. Combine that with the cold weather, and it was a real mental battle. Last night, and this morning, I kept coming up with all kinds of reasons why it was a bad idea and I shouldn’t try it. I’m glad I did.

So that was my morning… 24 miles and 22 degrees.



New Cycle Computer
August 31, 2008, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

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.



Yesterday’s Great Ride, and Today’s Small Victory

Yesterday I had the best bike ride I’ve had since I started riding again, maybe even the best bike ride of my life. I decided to just “go for a ride”… no real destination or purpose, other than to explore some places I had seen from my car.  It was awesome! I ended up riding about 12.5 miles, but I didn’t know that until I got home and mapped the ride. It was kind of like being a kid again, just riding around exploring. I found a couple of wonderful trails maintained by the city, and I took them almost as far as they would go. It was in the early evening, so the sun was setting and the temperature was great. It was the longest single direction ride I’ve done, yet I came home feeling completely energized and refreshed. That is what biking is about! I wish I had some pictures to share, but I need to get a small pocket digital camera so that I can record journeys like that. Hopefully in the future I can share them with you…

j0309213

On this morning’s commute, it looked like bike commuter rush hour! I counted eight cyclists, including myself, and three of them were going in the same direction as me. At one point, there were four of us on bikes, all waiting for the same red light. I would have loved to have known what the motorists were thinking as we all pulled up alongside. Actually I didn’t have to wait for the light, so I ended up with a couple minutes of glory that are hard to come by…

There are a few “regulars” on my route that ride some nice road bikes, and it is not uncommon for them to pass me. This has frustrated me, but I have learned that they are geared better and their bikes probably weigh a third of what my comfort bike and pannier weigh, so they have a huge advantage. Well, this morning I was able to turn the tables a bit, because they were stopped at the light, and I saw that it was about to change, so I maintained my speed, and blew past them as the light turned green. I shifted to my fastest gear and pedaled as hard as I could, savoring my victory. Alas, it was short lived, and they soon caught up to me and passed me, one seeming quite irritated, and the other managing a friendly “hello” as he went by. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, and I had a great workout and a good ride this morning.



4100 Mile Ride To Help An African Hospital… Completed!
August 8, 2008, 2:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I blogged before about the pastor that is riding his bike 4000 miles across the U.S. to raise $1,000,000 for a women’s hospital in Africa. Well this week he completed his ride. On Wednesday, August 6, Bruce Overstreet completed his ride from Clam Beach, California to Orchard Beach, Maine, a journey of over 4100 miles. Unfortunately the donations at this point are only around $20,000, which is far less than the $1,000,000 he had hoped to raise. They are still accepting donations for the project, so if you would care to give I’m sure it would be appreciated, and it is certainly a worthy cause. Read more about this at Bike4Mali.org.



How Far Is Too Far?
July 18, 2008, 1:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner last night, at a fast food place about 10 miles away. Normally, I would have driven this distance, but I decided that I would take the leap and ride my bike for the 20 mile round trip. My family looked at me like I was crazy when I announced my intentions. The best reaction I got was when I came riding up to the restaurant and my friend looked at me in disbelief as he exclaimed “You rode your bike?”

I have to admit that I was quite intimidated by that distance, and actually was trying to convince myself that I wasn’t crazy. Prior to this ride the farthest I had gone was a little over 8 miles each way, for a total of 16 miles round trip. Now that is nothing to a lot of you riders out there, and I know that guys like Tom do more than that every day on their commute to work, but for me it was a new adventure.

Overall, the ride went well, and I felt quite strong on the way there. The ride home was more difficult, and I was awfully glad when I pulled onto my street and could see my house up the block. Not only did I survive, but I did it! Even though I was tired, 20 miles really didn’t seem like 20 miles, and I would definitely do it again.

What about you? I know that some readers are just starting to ride, while some readers have been riding for years. What are your longest commutes? How far is too far for a commute?



Ride to raise money for African hospital… 1200 mile Update.
June 25, 2008, 10:54 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about the pastor that is riding his bike 4000 miles across the U.S. to raise $1,000,000 for a women’s hospital in Africa.  He has made it about 1200 miles so far, into southern Utah.  He’s had some real struggles with equipment and is a bit discouraged, but is pressing on.  I would encourage you to read his updated blog posts, and consider helping out the cause.