Archive for April 2009

28 miles to work this morning

April 29, 2009

Well, we did it!  We got out and rode the tandem this morning.

Pam and I decided last night that we would start our usual summertime morning tandem rides today.  We’re still not sure whether we’ll move to Tuesday/Thursday and ride instead of doing boot camp those days or just do one morning ride a week and keep going to boot camp.  Because Pam has to be at work earlier on Monday and Friday, we’re limited to riding Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.   I’m torn both ways…I enjoy the boot camp, but I also love the morning rides with my wife!  What’s a guy to do?

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It was still plenty dark when we left the house, but I had moved my Serfas headlight from the commuter to the tandem and it provided enough light to get us through the scary dark road down over Pearson Creek.  Once we got through that section, we were enough out in the open that there was plenty of light in spite of the cloud cover.   As usual, we were to our turnaround point at Logan Rogersville High school before it got light enough to see the bike computers.  The one drawback to riding in the dark like that is that I tend to hold back a little on the speed until I have better visibility.  If you look at our split times for the course, we always go faster on the way home than we do on the first half.

I could tell from the burning in my quads that we hadn’t done that in a while!  I’m in pretty good shape from riding, running, and boot camp, but nearly all of my riding has been in 10 mile increments and hardly any of it on the tandem so it will take a few days to get into real riding condition. 

We arrived at home with exactly 20 miles on the bike and a 15.4 mph average speed over the hilly course.  That’s far from a good time for this ride, but considering it’s about our 3rd tandem ride since last fall, I’m not going to complain.

When I jumped on the mountain bike for my commute in to work, I was immediately struck by how slow and inefficient it was compared to the tandem, so I think I’ve strengthened my resolve to move the rack back over to my Giant and commute on that at least for the summer. 

God bless….

TW

Smoked!

April 28, 2009

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On the way home from work the other night, this guy pulled up beside me at the stoplight at Chestnut and Sherman Parkway.  I saw him coming and didn’t think anything of it until I heard what sounded like a weed-eater idling next to me.  Glancing over, I was shocked to see a little 2-cycle engine mounted to the rear of his bike.  There was a control trigger on his handle bar, and some kind of roller on the top of the back tire to provide the push.  I joked about him being a cheater, and he just laughed, gunned the motor, and proceeded to pop a huge wheelie right there at the intersection!

When the light changed, he pedaled a couple of strokes, hit the gas and literally left me in his dust.  He smoked me badly up the hill in front of the baseball stadium!  If only he were wearing a helmet….

Just about a block from the fitness center this morning I had one of those experiences with a driver where they decide that since I’m on a bike, they’re just going to slowly pull out in front of me and make me slow down rather than pass.  This baffoon looked right out at me, then deliberately pulled right in front of me.  After I slammed on the brakes, I gave that one handed gesture (No! Not the finger.) that asks the question, “What are you doing, you moron?”. 

On the way to work this morning, there were three of us cycle commuters riding within a block of each other.  I was coming from boot camp, and we all hooked up just north of Battlefield Road on Jefferson.  There was a young guy on a single speed and an older gentleman on a recumbent.  You don’t often see that around here.  I guess it must be the warmer weather (and the fact that today is supposed to be the only dry day for the rest of the week). 

I keep thinking about going back to my road bike for the daily commute.  I like the comfort of the mountain bike, but for some reason I’m getting impatient with the lesser efficiency of that bike now that the weather is getting warmer and I’ve been real frustrated at how different the road bike feels when I get on it.  I used to feel like that thing was a dream to ride, but now it just feels awkward and uncomfortable.  We’ll see what happens….

Do you ever go through phases like that?

God bless…

TW

Keen Cycling Sandals – First impressions

April 27, 2009

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I love my good old Keen sandals for casual wear during the summer, so I was intrigued last summer when I began seeing that they were now making a pair of cycling sandals.  I had considered getting a different brand of cycling sandals a couple of different times, but always backed out because Pam has a pair of Shimano and just doesn’t like them at all.  I thought that if anyone would make a cycling specific sandal that could meet my expectations, perhaps it would be Keen, so I picked a pair up this spring.  I’ve now ridden for a grand total of 30 miles in them so I thought I would present my first impressions.

  • I really like the sandal as opposed to the full Sidi MTB shoes I’ve worn for several years.  They’re cool and refreshing to wear.

  • These sandals definitely don’t fit like normal Keens.  The toebox is more narrow than my other keens.  I suspect this is to allow the cleat to be centered on the bottom of the foot and still fit on a pedal.  I had read this in reviews and decided that I wouldn’t buy a pair until I had a chance to try them on.  That was a good decision.  Unfortunately, when I checked, nobody carried them locally so when I was in Denver last month, we stopped at REI to try them on.  They had them sized in US sizes, and since I normally wear an 8 1/2, that’s what I tried on first.  No way!  My toes were scrunched together, and while the length was probably OK, it just wouldn’t have worked.  By going up to a size 9, I got enough room for my toes, but the sandal looks a little long on my feet.  It probably looks odd to me since I’m so used to my normal Keens.

  • Even though these are sized at US size 9, the size conversion on the box puts them at a EU 42, which is normally what I wear in cycling shoes so I might have ordered the right size after all had I gone ahead and ordered them online.  All the shoe size converters I’ve seen in the past convert the 8 1/2 at a 42.

  • Off the bike these shoes are a dream to walk in.  They are soft and supple, and generally feel very similar to my other Keens.  The cleat is recessed enough that I was able to gingerly walk across the hardwood floor in our living room (don’t tell Pam!) without it hitting the floor.  I noticed that when I was walking around outside I would occasionally hear it grating on the concrete, but I think in general these shoes are probably safe to walk around indoors with as long as you’re careful.

  • On the bike, I can tell the sandals are not nearly as stiff as any of the cycling shoes’ I’ve worn.  You’re going to lose a lot of power transfer with them, so you wouldn’t want to wear them if your goal is to “go fast”.  I’ve not worn them yet on the tandem, so I’m not sure if this is going to be a handicap on it or not.   From the few miles I’ve ridden in them, I can definitely tell that I wouldn’t want to ride 100 miles a day in them.  Where the cutoff is, however, I can’t say at this point.

  • These sandals are pricey!  At $115, they are more expensive than standard Keens (which already command a hefty price tag) as well as any other cycling sandal I’ve seen. 

  • There are enough open areas in these sandals that you will burn parts of the tops of your feet if you’re not careful.  I normally have pretty distinctive “Keen Sun Tan”  lines on my feet, and these are just going to make them more pronounced.  Use your sunscreen!

My bottom line after 30 miles is that I’m looking forward to wearing these shoes a lot more this summer.  They are advertised as a “commuter” sandal, and they seem to be a great choice for that.   Pam’s already talking about getting some of these for her.  We started saving our pennies for them this weekend!

edit 6/28/2009

After riding with these sandals for the past couple of months, I’m pleased to say that they’re everything I hoped they would be.  They are awesomely comfortable off the bike, and have become my favorite shoe.  With the advent of hot weather, I’m loath to put my other ones one.  The one drawback is as mentioned above, they’re not very stiff at all and if I ride longer distances or push hard in them, my feet and calves will be sore by the end of the ride and the next day.  In spite of that, I still keep grabbing them whenever I’m about to jump on the bike!

edit again 11/2/2011

Nothing has changed!  I still love the Keens and consider them my first choice for warm weather with one caveat.  Longer rides on the tandem just don’t cut it.  I”m better off with my regular shoes on tandem rides over about 30 miles.

God bless….

TW

Bike Springfield 2009

April 25, 2009

I participated in Bike Springfield 2009 this morning.  Forty-three fine souls showed up on a windy Saturday to take the 6 mile historical tour of downtown Springfield.  I had volunteered as a ride leader a month or so ago and was interested to see what kind of folks would turn out.  It seemed to be a mix…roughly split 50/50 between those of us who ride around town all the time and those who may have just been out for a nice outing on a Saturday.  There were several couples there that I remembered from other rides, and even one couple that I know….Joe Bob and Faith Fuller were there on their Trek tandem.

I thought there was supposed to be some sort of program before the ride actually started, but if there was I missed it.  When we departed the C’U parking lot, I had a group of 5.  Besides Joe Bob and Faith, there were Jan and his daughter Jordan, and another gentleman from Forsyth who’s name got away from me.  We took a slow path over through OTC, then up past the ballpark (where there was a game getting ready to start….Go Cards!) to St. Louis Street.  After the talk by the first History Museum docent, we rode down St. Louis Street to the Square where John Sellers told us about that area.  We then went south on South Street, and circled back to the Old Calaboose for our third lecture.  Our route took us over to Main Street and a loop back to Booneville Street where Joe Bob and Faith had a flat! 

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Beginning Instructions.

 

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Some of my group

 

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First Stop on St. Louis Street

They didn’t have a spare tube, so they just decided to take on some air and make a run back to the parking lot at CU.   Without them, our fourth stop was at the new Courthouse, then we rode to our final history docent up on Commercial Street.  That stop also coincided with the first day of the Farmer’s Market this season, so there was quite a bit of activity there.  Someone was selling hula hoops and there was a constant parade of folks showing what they could do with them!

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Downtown

 

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The Courthouse

In all, I thought it was a pretty nice event, but I think they should have kicked it off with some formality.  I suppose I was expecting a few more folks but in hindsight I thought the groups were about the right size and if there were any more, it would have been harder to keep them separated at the various stops.

I did have a chance to finally meet Andy from Carbon Trace.  It was nice to finally put a face to the website!  Afterward, we rode part of the way home together since he lives on my preferred route home.  As we approached his house, it appeared that his wife and daughter had some work for him to do!  They were out planting shrubs. 

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Andy

Between the ride to the office, the actual tour and the ride home I ended up riding about 23 miles this morning.    Not a huge mileage day but at least I got to ride my bike!  I’m easily pleased, aren’t I?

God bless….

TW

Fun Friday

April 24, 2009

We took the day off to play, so I started the day out right with a hard 20 miles on the road bike.  I’ve been hitting it pretty hard this week, and I could tell that my legs were a little tired, and they really never got over that feeling.  I did our standard morning ride out to Logan Rogersville High School and back, but was glad that I was out there as early as I was because it was already windy.  I worked hard on the way out, then tried to keep up a good effort with the wind helping me on the way home.  I ended up with a respectable 17.8 mph average when I got home at 8:00 am.

By mid-morning, Pam and loaded up bikes and drove down to Dogwood Canyon to ride their trail.  We were a little disappointed that the wild dogwoods have almost lost all their blooms, but it was still a beautiful day to be down there.  We took a picnic lunch and ate it by one of the waterfalls, fed the fish, then took a nap in the grass by the creek.  The trail is only 7 miles round trip, and we rode it at a snails pace, but had a really great time. 

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Checking out Libby's bike

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Pam on the trail

 
 

 

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I rode my bike to Arkansas

 

We took Libby’s bike for Pam to ride since she doesn’t have one of her own.  As I took it off the rack in the parking lot and set it down on the pavement the front wheel went “THUNK”.  As I checked it out, I nearly had a heart attack!  The silly thing was on there so loosely that it only needed a couple more jostles before the wheel would have fallen off somewhere along the highway and we would have never known it!

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We came home topless

It was  a great day with a special person.  We need to do stuff like that more often!

God bless…

TW


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