Monday, December 29, 2014

Where has it gone?

"Where has what gone?" you might be wondering. Or not. Where has the year gone, has my motivation gone, and my fitness gone? Would be the correct answer. Of course I know where it has gone - right out the window.

First went the motivation.  For some reason, once I met my personal goal of riding for 180 in a row, I just didn't have much more motivation to ride.  In fact I haven't been on the bike since I finished that personal challenge. This is terrible.  This is what has contributed to my overall lack of fitness (not that I had much to begin with).  Let's face it, as we age we are either actively working to maintain or possibly improve our fitness or are losing it. Since I haven't been riding I have been heading down the losing fitness road fairly quickly.

Along with the lack of exercise, we have come through the holiday season which is notorious for overeating and I have been keeping true to form in that arena as well.  Combine these 2 facts and obviously my weight has been on the increase instead of the decrease.  Time to wake up and face reality, I cannot afford to not work out.  My metabolism and eating habits just don't allow it.

This time of year is notorious for making resolutions to do whatever and unfortunately most of those resolutions rarely make it past the end of January.  That's why this is not a resolution but a commitment.  I will eat healthier and be more active starting today.  No sense waiting for the new year, for next week or until after my cruise in less than 2 weeks.  I have to start today and keep with it every single day.

I have been avoiding the scale like the plague because I know that it will not have any good news for me. I will get on the scale and note the number that it shows.  I will use this as my new beginning and move on from there. I am not happy with my current state of affairs, I have no one to blame but myself and no one can change it but me and that starts today.

I hope everyone had a great holiday and am looking forward to a happier and healthier new Year for us all!

Now, get on your bike and ride!!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Personal Challenge Completed

6 months ago I decided to challenge myself.  I decided that I wanted to ride my bike for 180 days in a row. It was tough staying motivated to do something every day for 180 days, but I made it. Its been an interesting ride.

Some days I rode longer than others, but I rode at least a mile every single day. The biggest challenge wasn't getting out and riding in the high heat of summer, but towards the end when the lower temperatures of fall arrived. I've proven to myself that I can set a goal and achieve it over a fairly long time period.

Here are some statistics from the last 180 days:

Total rides: 180
Total distance: 368.7 miles
Total Time: 29.75 hours
Total Burned: 44021 calories

My grandson asked me yesterday when I didn't ride if I was going to do it again.  The answer is yeas.  I am taking a short break but I will start a new 180 day challenge in the next few days and I hop to greatly improve upon those statistics.  This one will be a real challenge with the cold windy days ahead, but I will do it.

What challenge will you give yourself?

Get on your bike and ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time for an update

I realize I have been fairly quiet on here of late and I am hoping to address that with some more frequents posts, but I have a feeling I may be absent from this space for most of the month of November.  There are a couple of reasons for this and the biggest is that November is the National Novel Writing Month.  I am one again in the process of creating a novel of at least 50,000 words during the 30 days which is November.

On top of that my parents are coming to vist for 10 days at the end of the month. I haven't seen them since last year when they visited in September so that my dad and I could ride the Viva Bike Vegas ride together (Read about it here: Part 1 and Part 2). Obviously while they are here writing time is goingot be very limited.

One thing I will post about will be the wrap up for my personal challenge of riding 180 days in a row (today I am on day 178).  I will also go into a bit more detail on some of the health information I've found out from my doctor and several tests that I have undergone over the last few weeks.

One thing I do want to point out is that I've re-challeged myself to lose weight between no and the end of the year. So far, over the last 2 weeks, I have lost 6 pounds. This is a good start on what I'm hoping to be a 20 to 30 lb. loss by the time we go on the cruise in January.  It will be tough with the usual gluttounous holidays focused on food coming up, but I plan on doing it.  No more excuses.

So, thinkif this post as a preview of coming attractions for other posts soon to come.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Inspiration from an unexpected source...

I was surfing the book of face today and found a picture with a quote from an actor and martial arts originator and it surprised me in that it was truly inspirational and struck a chord with me.  I have been thinking about it since I saw it and can't get it out of my head as it truly has affected me.  Here is the photo:

In case you can't read the text very easily on whatever device you may be perusing my blog on, it says:

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."

This is a quote from Bruce Lee.  What resonates with me is that what we are truly capable of is beyond what our mind tells us we can do. Most of the limits people experience in life are limits they have self imposed because in their mind, that is all they can do. I don't care if we are talking about a physical act like lifting weights or running or cycling, or a mental one like solving a problem or being creative, our minds create limits for us and we live up to those limits.

I see this quite often when I am teaching.  Students have an idea that they can or can't do something in their minds before they even attempt to learn it and 99% of the time they are right, either way.  If they are sure they can learn it, they do.  If they are sure they can't do it, again they are usually right. What I have found is that it is very important to maintain an attitude that anything is possible and you will go so much further than you ever thought you could.  I have to remind myself of this every day.

What mental limitations have you placed on yourself that aren't true limitations?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Still here

I have been woefully negligent of this space for the last 3 weeks or so.  Most of the reason for that is little has happened in that time that is truly worth noting.  I am still riding everyday and have only 22 days left in my personal challenge.  unfortunately no progress has been made in the weight loss department and neither have I completed any rides or events of any note.

One thing that has been going on is an increased focus on my overall health via attending several doctor's appointment and having a variety of tests conducted on my body. No results have been revealed as yet due to one last test coming up this weekend. Once the testing is complete it will be time to sit with my doctor and discuss treatment options.  Nothing drastic is happening (that I know of) except for some resistant high blood pressure.  Let's hope the tests confirm this lack of other issues.

I do know that I need to get myself into better shape and will be starting to address this in the near future.  I mentioned my plan to lose weight through the fall and into winter and my doctor was skeptical due to the number of holidays frequently used as convenient excuses to overindulge in all things calorie rich.  I have hoped to prove him wrong, but so far he has been right.

Once I have a better idea of my medical status I will be making my plans to improve my overall heath and I will be posting it here, if for nothing more than public accountability.

I hope you have a chance to get out and enjoy the glorious fall weather and...

Get On Your Bike and RIDE!!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

National Bike Challenge stats

Yesterday was the end of the National Bike Challenge.  The challenge ran from May 1st through September 30 and it was designed to promote cycling across the country.

I was a little late to the party and joined on May 12.  The challenge is the catalyst which spawned my personal challenge to ride 180 days in a row.  To date I have ridden 139 days consecutively.

What is really great about the challenge is how cyclists support and encourage others along the way.  I actually joined the challenge with 47 other riders from my work.  We had a pair of awesome organizers (thanks Keely and Eric) and everyone was motivated to ride.  What I like is that you could see how well you were doing not only on a national scale, but a state local and organizational scale as well.

Let's break down the statistics.

Above is my overall statistics.  I rode 336.5 miles in 140 rides over the course of the challenge.  That earned me 3,136 points which placed me #4,757 out of 47,087 riders nationally.

Locally I was number 23 out of 202 riders.

At my workplace I was #9 of 48 riders.  Not too bad at all!

What I liked about the challenge is that they gave 20 points for getting on the bike and riding at least a mile on a day.  They then awarded a point for each mile ridden. This rewards perseverance which I how I placed so high.

I am certainly glad I participated in the challenge and look forward to it again next year.

Get on your bikes and ride!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The ride that didn't happen

Today's post was going to be about how I managed to complete a tough 25 mile ride for the Pedal to the Medal event on Saturday.  I was registered for the event and I intended to take my time and meet the challenge even though my longest ride of the year was just shy of 13 miles back at the beginning of May.  I panned on talking about the volunteers, the scenic course, the wind and how thankful I was for cooler temperatures.  It was going to be an epic story of struggle.

Alas, the tale was not meant to be.  I had logistical issues which arose with a vehicle in the shop and 4 grandkids needing to be a 2 different schools for their basketball games on Saturday morning. Family definitely trumps cycling so I didn't partake in the ride since we couldn't arrange the transportation of everyone to their assigned locations in a timely manner if I was dropped off for the ride, or I took one of the vehicles.

I am a little sad that I didn't ride, but it is more than offset by having watched the grandkids play their respective games. The 2 youngest are on teams in the same division and actually played each other so we had one win and one lose.  The second oldest played well, but his team lost.  The oldest played well as well and his team won! So we were 2 for 4 on the day.

Here are some pictures.

Would I have liked to ride? Sure I would, but in the end I'm actually glad I didn't as I would have missed the fun.

Get on your bikes and ride!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Amazing Jens Voigt

I am astounded.  It is truly amazing what a person can push themselves to achieve.  Jens Voigt today set the UCI one hour record by traveling 51.115 km on his bike in a one hour span. That is almost 32 miles in an hour.  He did it all alone on a track in a velodrome.  No drafting, no one to help him.  It was all Jens. I watched the coverage via VeloNews' feed. The also wrote up an article about the effort here.

Jens is famous for saying "Shut Up Legs," when racing. That is obviously what he was telling himself as the minutes counted down towards the one hour mark and he was actually increasing his speed near the end of the ride.  His early laps were just under 18 seconds and towards the end he completed several laps in under seventeen seconds.

Watching him reminded me of the movie 'The Flying Scotsman' which follows the career of Scotsman Graeme Obree.  in the film it documents his unique accomplishments breaking the one hour record through innovation with a very unique riding style for the time. His breaking of the record created a bit of controversy and was eventually disqualified but the UCI only to be later reinstated.

What is amazing is how hard and long they are able to ride at their almost absolute threshold. Towards the end of the run, VeloNews was talking with one of the Trek team technicians who was detailing the statistics they were receiving from Jens in real time.  Everything from cadence to power to heart rate was instantly available to the team throughout the entire ride.  With 10 minutes to go in the hour Jens' heart rate was 170 BPM and according to the team he can go significantly higher.

My hat is off to you, Jens for your amazing accomplishment as you retire from professional cycling at the age of 43.

Get On You Bikes and Ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guess what day it is...

While technically it is hump day it is also the anniversary of my birth 52 years ago.  I really do find it hard to believe that I am 52 years old. Personally I don't think I'm old and if you ask those around me you may be told that I certainly haven't grown up. :)  I know I am getting older, though as the body doesn't respond the way it once did.  I may have to make a much more concerted effort at improving my health in order to continue to have a quality of life that I want.

Quality of life.  To me that's the key. I want to do what I enjoy, but I realize that it must be in moderation and the good must be balanced by the not so good. Sure I can have some cake and ice cream for my birthday, just not half the cake nor a half gallon of ice cream! Not to mention I really then need to be physically active to combat that rush of calories.  Fortunately I can ride my bike and that is a good thing that I enjoy that is also good for me.

So, I started this post thinking I would do a look back over the last year of the highs and lows, the accomplishments and misses, but not today.  Maybe at the end of the year.  Today I am going to enjoy what I can and do what I must and be thankful for those birthday wishes from family, friends and acquaintances.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sometimes I amaze myself

OK, I have been riding my bike every day for the past 118 days.  Sure the majority of the rides have been short, in the 1 to 2 mile range.  I figured I haven't been doing much to help my cycling fitness by doing such short rides.  To test myself, yesterday I decided to go all out on my one mile training loop just to see what I could do.  My previous best was completing it in 3:46.  Last week I had done it in 4:02 and that seemed like the best I could muster.

Well, I was flying last night.  Looking at my results after the fact I hit 25.6 mph according to my Garmin before I had to make one turn.  Overall, according to Strava, I completed the 1 mile loop in 3:37.  That's a full 9 seconds faster than my previous best.  My average speed was an astonishing 17.2 mph. Here's the Strava report:

It seems that even the little bit I've been doing every day has been helping to build a little bit of cycling muscle in my legs.  Of course I was cooked after that short distance with my lungs burning as I tried to suck in oxygen, but it was a good effort.  I was very happy!

Now to work on quickly increasing my distances so I will be ready for the extended climb for the ride on the 27th.  Sure the climbs are only about 6 miles long, but they are a constant climb over that distance.

Get on your bikes and ride!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Crisis Averted

OK, I took my bike in last week for a tune up and some service thinking I might need to replace the bottom bracket.  I had talked to the mechanic at my LBS and he was going to take it apart and give me a call if that was the case. I dropped the bike off on Friday and they said it would be ready on Saturday by 3:00.  I was stoked they could do it so quickly. I didn't get a call on Friday, but Saturday about noon my phone rang and I was dreading the call figuring it was the bad news. I was pleasantly surprised when I answered and was told that my bike was ready!

So my wife and I went to pick up the bike and I talked to the mechanic.  The bottom bracket is worn and will need to be replaced in the future but it is still good to go for now.  They took the measurements so they would know exactly what to order when the time came. I was more than happy with the service.

When I got home I took it for a ride and it was wonderful.  No noises from the bottom bracket.  No wobble in the pedals.  It ran nice and smooth.

Fast forward 10 days.  I took my bike out the night before last in a light drizzle and right away there was a strange noise coming from the rear wheel. It sounded like a spoke making noise and it happened with each revolution of the rear wheel.  I stopped and checked for a broken spoke, but didn't find one. Figuring I should be gentle on it, I slowly finished my ride and took my bike into the garage to see what I could find.

I went around the entire back wheel checking each spoke. They were all good it seemed.  I decided to wait a day and see what might happen, thinking it might be the rain which was contributing to the noise. Sure, I knew it was unlikely but I didn't see anything wrong.

Last night I jumped on the bike for my ride and it was again making the noise with every turn of the rear wheel. I slowly finished the first lap.  As I got close to home I tried to note where the noise was coming from on the wheel.  I slowed to a crawl and started walking my bike and there was no noise.  I sat on the saddle and slowly pedaled and no noise.  It wasn't until I was doing about 3 or 4 miles and hour that the noise started again.  Fortunately I was able to stop the bike with the tire in the position where the noise occurred.

I grabbed the rear wheel to holed the position and carried the bike into the garage.  Noting where on the wheel the loose spoke was likely to be, I flipped my bike over and started checking the spokes one more time.  There was one spoke in the target area which was just a bit looser than the others.  I could tell by the feel as well as by the sound when I strummed it.  I grabbed my spoke tool and tightened the spoke one full turn.

I then strummed it again and the sound was close to those around it.  I spun the wheel looking for any deviation in it's true and there was none.  I flipped the bike over and headed out for another lap and was very relieved when it was once again whisper quiet.

Not sure what had happened to the spoke that it would suddenly be loose and making noise, but I am very glad it was an easy fix.

Time to ramp up the miles and the climbing because in just over 2 weeks I have the 25 mile Pedal to the Medal ride for Special Olympics.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Postponed until 2015

Well I am disappointed.  Went to the Viva Bike Veags site this morning and this is what I saw:

We have been looking forward to participating in this as a family.  Now its time to look around for some other, short, family friendly events.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fall already

August has come and gone.  Its now back to school time and the start of the fall riding season.  At least that is the perception.  Unfortunately it seems mother nature hasn't gotten that memo and the last few days have been the warmest we've seen since the middle of July.  Our daytime highs have been in the 104 to 108 range and the humidity has been a bit above normal as well.  Certainly not the fall weather I have been looking forward to.

The warmer temps have limited the amount of time I have been spending on my bike.  I'm still riding every single day, but each day's ride has been shorter than they should be.  I'm only doing 1 to 3 miles.  Sure, for a lot of the rides, I ride hard for the short distances, but I know I need to really concentrate on going for longer rides.  I have impressed myself just a little bit with how fast I've gone on one of my new training loops.  I call it loops within loops on Map My Ride.

Basically I head out from the house, going around the outside of the neighboring subdivision, then I dive into it, loop around a block and head back out to make it back home.  One "lap" is about 2.28 miles.  I like the fact that I'm riding in the subdivision as there is less traffic that I have to worry about.  the roads are also in very nice shape.

Add to that I recently got my bike serviced.  i had thought I needed a new bottom bracket as there was binding and strange noises coming from it when I really applied pressure to the pedals, but a thorough cleaning and greasing and its good to go for a lot more miles before it needs to be replaced.  Now I can pedal and not worry that something will fail or that I'm doing damage to the bike.

My first good ride of the Loops Within Loops route had me complete the distance of 2.28 miles in 9:56 which netted me an average speed of 13.8 mph.  I rode it a few more times, not really pushing because of my bike issues.  Now that the bike is better, I pushed it over the weekend and netted a time of 9:10 and an average speed of 14.9 mph.  Quite an improvement, especially with the short distances I have been doing for the last few months.

I am hoping the weather does finally cool off and I can start getting in longer rides. My first real test of the fall is coming up on September 27 when I am doing the Pedal to the Medal for the Special Olympics.  We were supposed to be doing the fun ride next Saturday but there is no way to register and the organizers haven't responded to my latest email.  The site says to check back mid-August for the registration form and since it is already the first week of September, I don't see it happening.  I'm really bummed too as the grand kids were looking forward tot he organized ride.

So, let's get out there and start putting some miles on as the weather improves.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Will it happen

This is the question I keep asking myself. 'Will it actually happen?'  What, you may wonder, am I talking about?  The Fun Ride at the Viva Bike Vegas Ride coming up in less than 3 weeks on September 13.  I keep checking the site, looking for the registration information and for the last 4 weeks or so it has said check back mid August.  Well, we are now into late August and the form still is not there.

I even emailed the event coordinators and their response was the same - it will be there soon and they will even email me a copy of it when it is available. They said there was an issue with the start/finish line and as soon as the new arrangements were confirmed the form would be posted.

I really hope this does happen as we will have the full crew taking part.  Every one of us - all 7, will be riding in the event.  Because of this I think we will ride the 5 mile instead of the 10 mile route. This is something I really want to do - have all of us ride together!  I hope they do get it all straightened out and we can do this ride.

A note posted on the site over the weekend indicates that the finish line for all the rides has been moved to the RTC building in downtown Las Vegas.  The maps have not been updated to reflect this change as yet.

In order for us to all ride I have to get to work on putting some bikes together.  Right now I have the first one about 90% done.  The wheels are trued, the handlebars are adjusted and the brakes are working.  The last piece to work on is the shifting.  Right now it shifts through about half of the gears.  Time, patience and adjustments are needed.  As for the other bikes, unfortunately one is lacking usable sifters as the grip shifters are broken, completely.  Another may have a bent derailieur. Its time to dig in and work on them.

Get on your bikes and ride.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


I am often amazed at what others are able to accomplish.  A great example of this is what Fatty has just finished relating on his blog.  It is his race report from this year's Leadville Trail 100 ( LT100) mountain bike race.  He is a great story teller and mast of multi-post race reports.  His report this year is one of his shorter ones, encompassing only 6 posts, but it is a compelling story of challenge and accomplishment.

One of the parts that got me the most was his genuine pride in the fact that his wife, affectionately known as 'The Hammer' actually beat him this year by 11 seconds. that he got to see her perform at her absolute best and finish with a great time is something that tugs at the heartstrings.  Not to mention the fact that he completed a 100 mile mountain bike race, at altitude, on a single speed bike bike in significantly less than 9 hours. Great job to both the Fatty and The Hammer.

Reading these types of stories gives me hope and optimism that if I work hard and follow through on my training I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.  Stories like this recharge me and make me want to push myself farther than I have been. These stories are truly an inspiration.

To read Fatty's race report, start here with Part One. Then two, three, four, five and part six.

Oh and stay tuned to his blog as I believe we will soon be treated to a recount of the race from The Hammer's point of view which should be awesome in its own right.

Get on you bikes and ride!!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

90 days in a row

Its hard to believe that I've actually ridden my bike at least a mile every one of the last 90 days.  Besides eating and sleeping, when was the last time you did anything for 90 days in a row?  I know its been a long time for me.

While I haven't been riding very far on any given day, I have been enjoying the ride. Of course this is only the halfway point in my personal challenge. Here are some interesting stats as pulled from DailyMile:

# of rides:     90
Total Distance:     201.95 Miles
Total Time:     16 hours 24 Minutes
Total Calories burned:     24452

From these numbers I calculate the following:
Average pace:     12.31 mph
Average ride length:     2.25 miles
Average ride duration:     10:55

I find it interesting that my average is under 11 minutes per day. That doesn't seem to be very much time out of my day.  Then again this is only measuring the actual moving time on the bike.  I figure a good 11 to 13 minutes additional time per day with changing clothes, pumping tires, waiting for the Garmin to find the satellites, etc. Still not a large amount of time.

All of these statistics will be increasing as I increase the distances ridden per day over the next couple of months to prepare for and participate in the upcoming events like the Viva Bike Vegas Fun Ride and the Pedal to the Medal.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

I've said it before

and I hope I don't say it again, but my track record so far says otherwise.  What, you may wonder, am I talking about? I am starting over.  I am getting back into the swing of things and tracking my calories in order to make progress in the right direction on this weight loss journey towards a healthier me. I have to come clean here, I have lost weight since the first of the year but it has not been fat.  It has been fluid.

I've been hoping for a miracle, I guess.  Hoping that some magic combination of medications from my doctor will shed a significant amount of what I need to lose.  Obviously that is not the case.  I had dropped almost 50 lbs. by increasing my diuretic to the point that my kidneys had started complaining.  We've backed off on that and I gained back almost 20 lbs. in 2 short weeks.  Since then we've changed medications again and I seem to be fairly stable in the weight department and my blood pressure is OK.

One thing that has been out of control lately is my caloric intake.  I've come to realize that I am a bit of a stress eater and the stress levels have been elevated over the last few moths.  That has not helped.  Not tracking any calories hasn't helped either.  I know what I need to do and starting today I am doing it. I've logged into My Fitness Pal for the first time in almost a month and I adjusted my daily net calories down to 1800 per day.  My goal is to stay within this number every day with my net calories. This number is significantly lower than what the guided number per day would be, but I know that their number is a bit on the high side for me.

Along with the tracking of all my calories eaten, I am also planning on increasing the calories burned on my daily bike rides.  Currently I'm averaging between 2 and 2.5 miles per day on my bike and I will be increasing that rather shortly to 5+ miles per day and then a steady increase from there.  I know I can do it, I just have to get out there and put the time in.

To help increase my mileage I am going to get at least 3 of the bikes I recently purchased in riding shape and I will have some riding partners to keep me motivated and riding. Since they won't be getting up with me in the early mornings, I may go to multiple rides per day in order to help them get ready for the ride as well as increase my fitness.

So, you will see more posts from me with more information on my fitness level as well as increased mileage and a few posts on the work to get the bikes in riding order.

and remember we all need to:

Get on your bikes an ride!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I've taken on a project to get the family rolling

Well, I've certainly done it to myself again. See, I have been looking for a bike for my oldest grandson. He's been wanting a mountain bike so I've been watching the list of craig to see what might be available and I'd seen a few decent deals but something kept me from pulling the trigger. Then, yesterday, I saw an ad that said 5 mountain bikes $50. Here is one of the pictures included with the ad:

Now, the ad did say that they were in need of some TLC, but I figured that I could handle the minor issues these bikes might have. On top of that the seller was willing to deliver then for a small fee.  I figured it was worth the gamble so I contacted him to see if they were still available.

He replied that they were and he would be happy to deliver them.  We set up a time on Wednesday (today) and that was it, I thought. When I got home last night, however, there was a text from the seller that he had forgotten a previous engagement he had on Wednesday, would tonight (Tuesday) work? I let him know that it would, indeed work and we set up a time.

He had underestimated how long it would take to get to my house from his, but eventually he arrived and I took all 5 bikes off his hands.  After we had unloaded them he let me know that he does home cleanup and they had been working on a short sale house and as they were cleaning out the yard they found these 5 bikes in the weeds.

Looking at the bikes I see that they are not high end, but not the cheapest either.  They are one or two steps up and they appear complete. Every tire is currently flat but the tires themselves look to be in decent shape.  Over the next few weeks I'm going to see what I can do to get them back on the road so that the grandkids, and my daughter, will be able to ride them since we need to get some miles in before the fun ride on September 13.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Decisions made

Going to take the Diamondback into my LBS on Friday to get it serviced.  I weighed the pros and cons of self servicing vs professional servicing taking into account a lack of appropriate tools, a skills and knowledge gap and the fact that with just a little effort I can get my Schwinn rideable, it was a no-brainer. So I'll get in a quick ride tomorrow morning on the Diamondback then transfer my lights and possibly the seat to the Schwinn and take the Diamondback in for service.
I know I am faster on the hybrid than I am on my cruiser.  Exactly how much I don't really know.  I guess I'll find out over the next few days.

I've been looking ahead and there are some interesting rides coming up in the near future that I really need to increase my mileage to get ready for.  The Viva Bike Vegas Fun Ride is a 10 miler that the grandkids (at least 2 of them) will be doing with me.  That's only 6 weeks away.  The Pedal 2 the Medal is 2 weeks after that and I'm eyeing the 25 mile route.

The last ride I am looking at is the Honor Ride for the Ride 2 Recovery.  That is on November 8 and it is a 40 mile ride.  The good news is I have lots of time to prepare for that ride. the bad news is my longest ride over the last 3 months is only 12.5 miles.  I definitely need to start increasing the mileage on a daily and weekly basis.

So, what are your plans for up coming rides?

Even if you aren't doing an organized ride:


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What to do.

I've had my Diamondback Edgewood for over 2 years now. I still like the frame and the awesome wheel set built up fro me by Ray over at ProCyclery last year. What I'm finding, though it that little things are starting to need attention.  I'm beginning to get lots of creaks and moans and funny feelings in my pedals when I turn the cranks. I've tightened the crank arms and that helped with some of the creaking and groaning, but there is still some play in the crank assembly itself. I can take either pedal and move it back and forth about an eighth of an inch.  That doesn't sound like a lot, but I know When I am pedalling up a slight incline, I am putting a tremendous strain on the pedal and therefore on the entire drive train and crank assembly.

This has me worried.  I am loathe to pull apart the crank assembly fearing the loss of bearings and there fore making my bike unrideable. Of course that means I need to take my bike in for service.  The problem I have with this is that my other 2 bikes are not rolling at the moment and the usual turn around at the bike shop is 3 days. Normally a 3 day break wouldn't be a big deal but I am at 74 days in a row of riding for my personal challenge.

As you can see, the dilemma is purely self created in that I created my personal challenge and I am the one who should be servicing my own bike. A secondary issue I'm having with the servicing is a lack of appropriate tools to actually remove the crank arms and the spindle.  Of course this is an issue that I'm sure can be corrected through the wonders of the Internet and online shopping.

As of now, I am still undecided which way to do - do I chance the bike being down for multiple days taking it in for service, or do I order the tools and parts and attempt it myself with the possibility that I may end up taking to the bike shop anyways. Right now I have not made up my mind and I would love your feedback on the matter.

As always

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

What does it take to put on a charity ride?

I recently read a ride report from Dave Buckney over at Cycling from fat to fit regarding a ride he had done with his family titles 'BHF Goodwood 2014.' Essentially it is an event where people can sign up and then do laps around the track at Goodwood near Portsmouth in England.  It sounds like it was an absolutely wonderful day of riding with friends and family and enjoying traffic free pedalling.

This got me thinking about the Corporate Challenge Bike Races I've done (read here and here) over at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex and how it could be interesting to arrange a similar event here in a cooler part of the year.  That got me wondering what, exactly it takes to organize such an event.  I think it could be fun, there is certainly no shortage of worthy charitable causes that could benefit from such an event.  I can even imagine getting some sponsors on board.

So, my question is a general one to anyone who might have experience putting on a charity cycling event, or any charity event - what does it take to put on this type of an event?

Conversely, if there were an event like this in the Las Vegas area, who would attend?

Please, by all means let me know your thoughts on this whole crazy idea!

And don't forget to Get on your bikes and ride!!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Its my FitBit's Fault!

At least that is what people are claiming when they say they are gaining weight after buying a fitness tracker like the FitBit or Jawbone UP or Nike Fuel.  This is what I read in an article published online at The article is here.


Basically what the article is saying is that some people are experiencing a weight gain after buying one of these trackers and  following the caloric advice on their site.  Essentially they are claiming that by tracking their activity, it is causing them to gain weight.

I'm sorry, I don't agree.  That would be like saying that because I started tracking my driving and how much fuel I'm putting in my car my mileage has decreased.  One has nothing to do with the other.

I think the problem is that people are not viewing what the fitness bands are for correctly.  The true power and purpose of the bands is to help to motivate an individual to move more.  Period.  Now they also try to help by estimating an average calorie burn for said movement, but it is based on statistical averages for "normal" people.  I hate to break it to most significantly overweight people but their bodies and metabolisms are not "normal."  There is a reason they are significantly overweight.

In order for the sites to give any type of estimated calorie burn, they have to go off of what an average burn would be for a person of x height and y weight. Does everyone burn calories at the same rate?  No way.  That would be like saying I have a 4 door mid-sized car so I should get so many MPG without taking into account the size of the engine, type of fuel, style and speed of driving, etc.It just doesn't work.

In the weight loss battle there are many things that can affect your ability to lose weight.  Types of calories you are eating, how "intense" or strenuous your work outs are, are you frequently in stressful situations, do you have a metabolic deficiency of some sort.  All of these will affect your weight loss.

Going back to the car analogy.  Even if I had 2 identical cars that traveled the identical distance, but one started slowly and smoothly, gradually easing up to the speed limit and coasting to a stop when needed.  While the other floored it from every stop, kept the speeds 10 mph over the speed limit and slammed on the brakes for each stop.  Which one would burn more fuel?  The one driving in a more intense manner.

So, by all means use these fitness bands as motivational tools to help you become more active, but don't take their estimated calories burned as gospel, nor necessarily follow their recommended consumption. This would be a place to start, but if you find it ins't helping you to lose weight, then start reducing the calories and increasing the intensity of your activity.

and don't forget - have fun and get on your bikes and ride!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One third done

Yesterday was Day 60 of my personal biking challenge and I rode my 60th day in a row.  I know for some that isn't a lot, but to me that is proving to myself that I can commit to and follow through on something. Granted my numbers are small compared to some, but I have learned over the last few years not to measure myself against other's accomplishments, but against my own goals.

With that said, let's look at a few of the numbers involved with these 60 days of cycling:

Total Miles:  138.2 miles
Total Time:    11.26 hours
Total Calories burned:   16,807 Calories
Average Ride Distance:  2.3 Miles

As I said, not huge numbers by any stretch of the imagination, but its the consistency and repetition that is key for me.  I hope to start increasing the average ride length through the next 1/3 of the challenge but it will be difficult at first as we are definitely in the hottest part of the year, here int he desert southwest.

I hope everyone is able to get out and enjoy the summertime here in the northern hemisphere and don't forget to...

GET ON YOUR BIKES AND RIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Saturday Night Ride

I went for a ride at Dusk on Saturday and there were still a bunch of people setting off fireworks.  As I rounded the corner onto Quarterhorse (less than a quarter mile from the house) there was a dog that came running by out of the common area between the 2 subdivisions.  He was terrified of the fireworks going off.  He was running away from me, north on Quarterhorse, until a firework went off in front of us and he turned around and ran the other way.  I tried calling him but he wasn’t stopping. I considered turning and riding after him, but I didn't know where he had gone so I continued on my lap and decided to stop and try and catch him if he was still there when I came back around.

I finished my first last and was just approaching Quarterhorse when he came running around the corner and up between 2 houses on the street behind us.  I “knew” the guy in one of the houses from saying 'hi' and talking about bikes as I frequently saw him out there when I would ride by.  He smokes in his garage and frequently leaves the door open about a foot or so for ventilation. Well as the fireworks were still going off the dog, who was quite large (my guess is a collie/yellow lab/shepherd mix), tried to get under the door.  He got his head under and was pawing at things in the garage, trying to squeeze under the door.  I petted him and tried to coax him out but he wasn’t coming.

Troy (the guy who lives in the house) heard the noise and hit the opener, opening the garage door.  As the door went up, the dog went all the way in next to the car and towards the door to the house.   I let Troy know there was a dog coming in and he and his wife were of course wary.  The dog went by the door to the house and lay down. He was panting heavily and looked exhausted. We approached him and looked at his collar.  He had a tag, but the tag was just a rabies tag from the animal hospital no name or contact number on it.  

Jane, Troy's wife went in and got a bowl with some water in it.  he took a few sips but it seemed like he was still terrified and couldn't stop panting enough to take a drink. He wouldn’t really move once he was in the garage.

Troy and Jane are not dog people.  We started trying to figure out what to do. I told him I was going to go get my car and we’d see if we can get him to my house. I figured we already have 2 dogs so maybe he'll feel more at ease.  Not to mention it was very warm in Troy's garage.  

I rode home, told Michele what was going on and we grabbed a leash and took the car back to Troy’s house.  The dog hadn’t moved.  He was still panting a million miles an hour.  We tried coaxing him with more water, with a hot dog, pulling on the leash.  None of it got him moving.  He wasn’t easy to move either weighing probably over 100 lbs.  Finally I had Michele take the leash and I got behind him and pushed him up to his feet and he headed towards the car very slowly.  He got to the car, put his front feet in, but then he couldn’t seem to get the rest of the way into the back seat so I helped lift his rear end in and he was finally in there.

We took him home and I had to practically lift his rear end to coax him out of the car and into our garage.  I have a piece of carpet in there he laid right down on, still panting a lot. We got him a fresh bowl of water and turned on the ceiling fan to get the air moving for him.

We took a couple of pictures of him and Michele started looking on Craig’s list for any ads for lost dogs.  I stayed in the garage with him and kept giving him water (he drank about 2 quarts) and even put some ice in a baggie and laid it on him trying to cool him down.  He eventually slowed his panting some and laid down on the floor on his side to rest.  It was good that we had the ceiling fan in the garage to help cool him.

About 20 minutes later the doorbell rang and it was Troy.  He and his wife had heard someone out calling for a dog and they talked to the guy, finding out it was his dog that had just gotten out that evening.  He came with the guy to our house (not quite sure how he knew exactly where we lived, but he must have recognized my car).  We opened the garage and the dog seemed happy to see him.  He called it by name and it came to him so we knew it was his dog.  He said the dog was older and that he had problems with his hips which is why the dog didn’t want to move.  All in all is was a good night as we reunited the dog with his owner.

So I only rode 1.3 miles that evening but I think the short distance was definitely justified as we had a chance to do a good deed.

Get on your bikes and ride and do a good deed.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Childhood bike memories

Just read a post over at the Trailer Park Cyclist that was about the freedom of our youth's spent on two wheels and how the bike represented our freedom when we were young.  He even had a picture (I borrowed) that I can totally relate to:

This is so true!

I remember riding my bike everywhere when I was under the age of 16.  We would ride 12 or 15 miles in an hour or two just cruising to various friends' houses to see if they were home.  We would ride to the mall, we would ride to the lake, to the community pool, we rode everywhere.

I remember one time I was a bit late getting home.  I was maybe 12 or 13 and I was riding my dad's old bike.  It was a 26 inch and had saddle bag baskets on it.  I was cruising across the side streets in a hurry to get home.  As I approached one intersection I saw a car coming towards the stop sign and slowing down.  I kept my head down pedalling hard and didn't pay attention to the car as the woman pulled right in front of me into the intersection.

At the last minute I see her pulling in front of me.  I hit the coaster brakes locking the rear tire but there is no way I can stop.  I slam into the drivers door and end up doing a cart wheel with the bike.  I fall to the ground with a couple of scrapes but am otherwise unhurt.  The woman gets out of the car and keeps asking me if I'm all right.  I say yes, embarrassed that it happened and scared of what my parents will say. 

I pick up the bike and do a quick assessment.  The only problem seems to be a bent basket.  The car wasn't as lucky as it had a dent in the door and the drivers side mirror had broken off. The woman is asking me where I live and I say follow me and pedal off towards home.

She follows me and when I get home I head into the house filled with dread.  I was late and now I had damaged the woman's car.  my mom sees me and knows there is a problem.  She asks what's wrong and I tell her there is a woman who wants to talk to her.  She heads to the door and I head to the bathroom to clean and bandage my scrapes.

I don't remember what happened with the woman or the car or if we had to fix it or not.  I never did get in trouble for the accident, I think they were just happy I was OK.

Another memory is a couple of years later:

My legs are pumping as fast as I can make them go. I am crouching down over the handlebars, getting as low as I can trying to get every last bit of speed from my yellow, 10 speed Schwinn. I am breathing fast and hard, trying to get oxygen into my lungs to supply my straining, burning muscles. My heart is pounding like a bass drum in my temples.
My brother is just ahead of me and I am inching closer and closer, trying to pass him before we get home. He looks over his shoulder, a brief glance, shows him that I am gaining on him. I can tell he has nothing more to give. I pull just even with him as we arrive at home. I didn’t beat him today, but one day I will. I let my Schwinn coast past the house and it is like I am flying effortlessly along.  The summer twilight is fading as we put the bikes into the shed and head in for a cold drink of water.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Riding

Summer riding here in the desert southwest is a challenge.  Even getting out early in the day means it will be hot.  Take my ride yesterday morning for example.  I was on my bike before 5:00 AM and it was still 87 degrees outside! Of course to most people that is very warm.  I actually felt fairly comfortable compared to be ride the previous evening.

I waited until after the sun went down and it was dark outside with the hope that the temperature might be a bit cooler than our 109 degree high for the day.  Yes, it was a bit cooler - only 101 degrees at 8:30 pm. There was also a slight wind blowing.  With the heat radiating from the pavement it actually felt like I was riding into a large hair dryer.  Instead of feeling a slight cooling from the wind rushing past as I rode, it felt hotter than if I was standing still.

I only rode a short distance and was very warm.  What was truly remarkable to me was that when I stopped, the loose fitting shirt I wore settled against my skin and it reminded me of putting on warm clothes straight from the dryer! It was warm against my skin.  I decided that was enough and went in to cool off. Sitting in my chair is when the sweat really started to flow for the next 10 minutes or so as my body cooled itself off.

Sure I know that you can acclimate yourself to extreme weather conditions but I have to say that my growing up in the upper Midwest through cold winters and warm summers conditioned my body one way and these temperatures are challenging that conditioning. In the cold months here, when it gets into the 40's I'm frequently outside without a jacket while those more acclimated to this climate are bundled up in winter coats. I don't mind living here then.  Its now, when most areas are enjoying going out and riding, that I am feeling especially challenged.

I will muddle through and survive these hot temps, but certainly am looking forward to the cooler month of Fall and Winter.

Get on your bikes and RIDE!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Of Time Zones and Application Interfaces

From the title you might think this post has something to do with my day job where I am frequently testing applications in various scenarios to make sure they perform as intended.  That is not the case, though.  This has to do with how my data is being displayed for a ride I did Monday evening.

You see, there were some family matters to attend to and since I was running short on sleep I didn't get up and get my ride in before work on Monday. In fact I didn't get in in right after work, either.  I eventually got my ride in at 10:34 pm on Monday.  Now I didn't go far, being so late.  Nor was I out long - the ride was only about 9 minutes. I did get my ride in for the day, though.

I uploaded the data to Daily Mile, Plus 3 and Strava with no issues.  I also uploaded it to Map My Ride which interfaces with the National Bike Challenge to track my progress.  Everything looked good until I went back into the site on Tuesday and it showed that while the ride was on 6/23, it posted to 6/24.  Looking at the National Bike Challenge as well, it showed I had missed the ride on 6/23.

I went back into Map My Ride and attempted to make a change to show the ride on the 23rd.  Unfortunately when I made the change it moved the ride to the 22nd.  I changed it a second time and now it displays correctly in Map My Ride, but from what I understand is that once the data from a ride is uploaded and synced to the National Bike Challenge site, it cannot be changed "for the integrity of the contest."

So I am now left with an empty day where I did in fact ride.  I wrote to the support people at the National Bike Challenge but I know they are going to tell me the fault lies with Map My Ride.  I also wrote the support people at Map My Ride, but don't have high hopes of a resolution.

Is this a big deal in the overall scheme of things - no, not at all, its just that one day stands out like a sore thumb in the midst of all the other days in a row that I've ridden, which at this point stands at 40 days in a row with just under 100 miles in my personal challenge.

Get On Your Bikes and RIDE!!!!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

VIVA Bike Vegas is Back!

I was so happy over the weekend when I was reading an email from Lisa over at Biking Las Vegas ( in which she shared the good news that a new company has picked up the Viva Bike Vegas Ride and it will be back again this year!

From the website:

Thanks to Perimeter Bicycling Association of America (same ride organizers that host the popularTour de Tucson event), for picking up the ride, and for continuing on the tradition of hosting a well organized and fully supported century ride that is sure to be the largest and most popular ride of the year!  Perimeter Bicycling has developed collaborative partnerships with the RTCcity of Hendersoncity of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to help support and promote the ride.
The event is scheduled for Saturday September 13, 2014 and the main rides are a 100, a 50 and a 25 mile ride.  Their rides are unique in that all 3 distances will finish at the Discover Children's museum by starting at various locations along the same course.

There will also be a 10 mile, and a 5 mile fun ride.

I was talking to my daughter and it looks like we are going to do a family ride of the 10 mile route with myself, my daughter and 2 or 3 of the grandkids depending on who feels up to it.  It should be a blast!!!!

Here is the website for the event:

Get on your Bike and RIDE!!!!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

36 days in a row

OK, I have to be honest here, when I put together my personal challenge of riding 180 days in a row, I knew there would be easy days and there would be hard days.  I knew some days just getting on the bike would be a struggle because of... you name it: heat, wind, rain (we can hope can't we???), schedule, etc.  What I have found through the first 36 days is that even with these obstacles (except for the rain) it hasn't been hard at all.  I actually look forward to riding and get a little anxious in the evenings if I haven't ridden yet.

Sure some people might argue that my 1 mile rides are cheating just a bit, but I say I made up the challenge and that a 1 mile ride is just fine.  I didn't start the challenge for the purpose of riding any specific distance, I started the challenge to try and make riding more a part of my life.

I am actually looking forward to the days coming soon when I will ride multiple times in a day with my grandchildren.  Sure those rides will be relatively short, but the fact that I am riding is what's important.  That it's with my grandkids will be quite the added bonus.

Having this challenge coincide with the National Bike Challenge just makes it that much better.  Because of the number of rides I have been doing, I am in the top 10 riders in my company and number 29 locally as of this morning.  that is awesome! I never dreamed that I could do that well in a challenge against some serious riders.  Sure most of them have much higher mileage totals than I do, but my daily riding is garnering me lots of points.

I hope everyone has a chance to get out and enjoy themselves.  Remember to be safe out there but...


Monday, June 16, 2014

Still doing it despite the wind

This morning I got up at 4:00 and got in a short 5 mile ride before work.  The temperature was great - right around 70.  The only issue I had this morning was with the wind.  Seems to have come back with a vengeance. Of course it is the wind which is bringing in the comfortable temperatures, but it is also very challenging.

Yesterday's peak wind gust in my area was 50 mph between 8:00 and 9:00 last night.  The Max Sustained wind was 39 mph during the same time frame. My ride last night occurred between 8:00 and 9:00 pm.  No wonder I was having an issue with the wind! Fortunately this morning the winds were a bit less with the sustained wind around 20 mph and gusts to 40 mph. It was still a struggle, though since they were from the WSW which makes them a stiff head wind on the slight uphill portion of my route.

The good news is that I have now ridden 32 days in a row.  I can't believe that much time has already elapsed in my personal challenge of riding 180 days in a row. I really do see this as a doable challenge as long as I keep focused on the goal. Secondary to the riding every day is a goal to increase my mileage in order to be ready to crush the Pedal to the Medal ride on September 27th.  I see no reason this won't happen and I would love to have some company on the ride.

Get on you bike and RIDE!!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dirty Kanza 200 - A Masterful Race Report

If you haven't done so I highly recommend reading Janeen's write up of her recent race Dirty Kanza 200.  Here are the opening 2 paragraphs:

You. You are a frivolous person. A frivolous person with frivolous thoughts that spin and cartwheel on the front lawn of your mind. Legs flinging, knees bent, your thoughts less perfect with each rotation. Less complete and full.
This gravel is onto you. It’s not stupid. It sees your nerves as easily as if they were strung across this road at foot-tripping, shin height. That armadillo husk, cracked and desiccated, melon-ball empty like some hollowed-out canoe—it is onto you. It mocks you. You too, it says, shall be a hollowed out shell at the end. Consider this a warning.

Read the rest HERE

Monday, June 9, 2014

Feeling Neglected?

Good readers, I do apologize for my lack of posts the last couple of weeks.  Not much exciting has been happening on the fitness/cycling/weight loss front.

One good thing is that I am still on track for my personal cycling challenge.  I have ridden 24 days in a row now and covered just under 50 miles.  Granted my average ride length is short, but the fact that I am actually getting out there on days that I surely would not have is the good news.  I am getting to the point where it feels wrong if I haven't been on my bike on a given day.  This is good!  Now I need to start increasing the mileage.  One problem has been the times I am riding and how they are not conducive to long rides due to the heat.

On the fitness front, I have been walking a little along with the riding, but its nothing to be proud of.  Distances are very short.  Unfortunately I haven't been in the water in a long time as well.  Looking ahead to the next few months' schedules, I see very few opportunities to get into the water.  Lack of training in this arena has caused me to rethink my plans for the fall.  I have decided that I will not be doing Pumpkinman this fall.  I hadn't realized how much moving to the southwest part of town would impact my training.  When I lived on the east side, near Henderson, there were several pools within 10 minutes of the house.  That is not the case, now.

Sure, I know if I really wanted to do it, I would find a way to make the training happen.  That's just it, I am not motivated nor excited to do the event and therefore am not going to do it.

I have been looking for charity ride in the fall and I have one.

This ride supports the Special Olympics. From the website: "Pedal to the Medal offers something for riders of all levels and abilities with several route options and a free bicycle rodeo for both children and people with special needs.

Choose from a 25 mile, 50 mile or Century Ride.  The 50 mile and Century rides include an optional timed hill climb up Mt. Potosi."

I am excited about this ride as this is a cause I do believe in.  My nephew participated in the Special Olympics for a couple of years back in Michigan and I saw the wonderful opportunities this organization provides for the athletes.  Why not join me on this ride????

Get on your bikes and ride!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Challenge is going well

So, a couple of weeks ago I set a challenge for myself (here) to ride my bike every day for 180 days.  I'm here to say that the challenge is going well and it is working.  It is getting me on my bike, even for short short rides, on days when I would have passed because of this or that.  I know those this or that's are just excuses, but they would have kept me off the bike.

What's nice about the challenge as well is that it encompasses another challenge: The National Bike Challenge.  I am excited to be part of our work place team, which is part of the local team under the Las Vegas Bicycle Coalition.  Personally I hadn't heard of them until I signed up for the challenge.  Through my efforts I have so far earned the Silver Badge.

The National Bike Challenge runs until September 30.  I hope to keep earning many more points and possible improve my ranking as my mileage goes up throughout the summer.  Currently I am ranked 16th in my company, 41st locally and 9118th nationally.  Not to shabby!

I hope everyone can find an activity they love and stick with long term.  Cycling is my activity.

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

We need bike routes

Today was day 4 of my six month challenge and I got in my 4th ride.  I am so glad I gave myself this challenge as it has kept me motivated to get on the bike at least once a day. Granted my rides have been short, but they have been rides which is the important part.  I have been staying in the neighborhood partly because its a known territory, but also because I have nowhere close that I need to get to that is accessible via bike route.

Just last week, Lisa over at posted the fact that there is a new version of the RTC bike map available on their website at  Excited to see all of the possible routes I could ride near my home, I went to the site and downloaded the map/brochure.  Here is what the entire Las Vegas area looks like:

As you can see there are many bike lanes, multi use paths and bike routes designated through out Las Vegas and Henderson.  Gray lines are just major roads without bike lanes.  Now I live in the southwest part of the valley.  Here is a closeup of a roughly 3 miles radius from my house:

As you can see the only road with any bicycle route near me is Blue Diamond Road (Hwy 160).  Now this is a 4 lane, divided road at this point, with cars traveling 55 to 65 mph.  While OK for an occasional ride, I don't relish riding there in the dark or near dawn or sunset due to the lack of visibility.

I assert that if there was additional cycling infrastructure I would be even more likely to ride to run errands or head to a store or shop instead of just riding to ride in the neighborhood or for exercise. I've actually tried to figure out a safe route to ride my bike to work, but cannot find one. The first 2 to 3 miles from the house are on roads with no shoulders, no bike lanes and no streetlights making them not safe for morning or evening commutes when its likely to be dark.

With this glaring lack of bike friendly roads in my area, I decided to write to the RTC and see what their plans are for creating bike friendly streets.  The default automatic reply said it would take up to 3 weeks for them to get back to me. I'm not holding my breath but I hope I do get a response.

So, my personal challenge has been a success so far and it will continue.

Are you riding more this month being that it is bike month?

Get on your bike and ride!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bike Challenge Day 1 Ride 1

Today is the first day of my challenge and it was my first ride. I consider the challenge a success already in that it got me out and riding this morning.  Without this challenge I likely wouldn't have ridden today. With the challenge I did get out and ride. It was only a short ride, but it was a ride.

I was happy to get out there.  As I was riding, though, with every turn I was hearing a creaking from the lower part of the bike. It seemed to be coming from the cranks. Looking down I noticed the chain was moving left and right relative to the front derailleur. Something was loose.

I headed back home and took a look to see what the issue was.  I feared it was a bottom bracket issue, but was relieved to see the issue was with the crank itself.  It seems the right crank arm was loose. I found a socket and tightened the nut.  I flipped the bike back over and headed back out on my ride.

Thankfully no more creaking was coming from the crank.

I had no destination nor route in mind.  I rambled around the block and the neighborhood. I simply was riding for the enjoyment of riding.

It was hot and getting hotter so I headed back home after just a short ride.

I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy a day.

Get on your bikes and ride!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Personal Biking Challenge

I find I do much better at staying focused and motivated to do what I need to if I have some type of a challenge in which I am participating.  Last year I challenged myself to ride every day in the month of August.  I was successful and met that challenge.  Having done so I rode a total of 220 miles, my highest mileage month last year.  I know it was good for me to be riding that much and I need to do more of it.

I also think back to when I was a young teen/preteen and I rode everyday.  Not only was it my primary mode of transport, but it was fun!  We would ride for the fun of it with no particular destination in mind. Sure there are way more priorities and time is not as free as it was then, but I still think I need that freedom and getting out to just ride. I need it for my physical as well as my mental well being.

To that end I have come up with a personal challenge for the next 6 months - ride my bike at least once a day, every day. I do realize this is a huge commitment and it will be a challenge to accomplish it, but that is my goal.

Now there may be some debate as to what it means to ride my bike every day. As far as I'm concerned throwing my leg over the top tube and pedaling any distance is riding my bike. To record the occurrences I will be relying on my Garmin and uploading the data to the various tracking sites like Map My Ride, Strava and Daily Mile.

I have even created a personal challenge on Map My Ride to track my progress towards this goal.  I'm hoping to be able to add some sort of widget to the right on my blog to help track this as well.  We'll see about that.

The Challenge starts tomorrow and runs until November 14.  I hope to be able to report on that date that I was successful and rode every day between now and then.

What challenge will you give yourself?

Get on your bikes and ride!!!!!!!