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!!!!!!