Monday, January 31, 2011
I was going to play with my lincoln logs and atari on Saturday, but my friends said we should go ride bikes. Since I like being friends with my friends I said, "okay" and agreed that we should ride bikes together. Sometimes we do that at my house and sometimes at my friend's house. Maybe I should have asked you, mommmy, if it was all right because my friends wanted to ride bikes on the highway instead of in our driveway. But since I like being friends with my friends I said, "okay" and met them on the highway. Highway 195.
From there, we started riding up a hill. A long hill. And then we started riding in the wind. A lot of wind. And then they started to go fast. A lot of fast. And then my legs started to hurt and my lungs started to burst and then my eyes started leaking. It looked like crying but I'm too big a boy to cry, so it must have been water leaking from my eyes because of the wind. And then it started to rain, which was good because you couldn't see the tears, I mean leaking, from my eyes.
I like being friends with my friends, but they weren't playing nice. I tried to go home like you told me I should do if my friends aren't being good friends, but they wouldn't let me. They told me that instead of going where they wanted to go, that because I said I would go home they said they would go another way that would be easier for me. But they said it like I couldn't keep up with them, which would make me mad except it was true so it just made me sad so I said, "okay", but then they went a different way but they still kept going fast and the wind kept blowing and it kept raining and my legs kept hurting and my lungs kept bursting and my eyes kept leaking until it was finally time to go home.
I was happy to be home and away from my friends that weren't being good friends and then I decided to drink beer and after a while my legs stopped hurting and my lungs stopped bursting and my eyes stopped leaking and everything was okay, except I don't want to go ride bikes with my friends anymore because I'm not sure if they really are my friends. I think beer is my friend now.
Thanks for listening mommy. I feel better now.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Then it was down Southeast Blvd where I had to dodge icebergs in the bike lane and on to Rockwood. A quick run down Washington and on to newly paved 2nd Avenue and no bike lanes. I got stuck behind a woman in a Ford Escort who was so engrossed in a conversation on her cell that she was oblivious to the green light facing her. Finally, I was moving again so right on Cedar and then 1st Ave and Two Wheel Transit.
After dropping the supplies off, it was time to head south to the Hangman Valley. I thought, hmmm, the Bluff may not be in too bad of shape and I am riding a mountain bike, so.... Why not?
Weave my way south on Cedar, to 7th where the secret access to the train tracks and awaiting bluff is found. Down the hill and up the trail - dang, too tall a gear and I stall out. Get going again, hit the trail and start to climb. The ground to my right begins to disappear and I find myself grazing the uphill slope with my left pedal to my annoyance. Though I am no pro when it comes to riding, I wondered why I was making these mistakes when riding on dirt.
Next, comes a slightly technical uphill with rocks and mud - no problem. I pick a gear and a line and hit the gas. I miss the line completely and just about lose it on a slick rock. So it goes across the bluff - missing lines and not clearing sections that I flew over this last fall. I am flummoxed.
Then it occurs to me, I have either been riding road or trainer for the last 4 months. I have become off-road rusty - there now the world knows my secret shame. Picking gears, weight distribution, picking and holding lines, comfort with riding single-track with a big drop to my right - all gone. It is amazing the bike handling and judgement skills you take for granted when you are riding a lot during the season. Now I have something else to add to my spring training plans so as to not look completely lame when I ride off-road with anyone.
Bottom line is that the bluff is in pretty good shape for the end of January if you were thinking about a quick outing. There was not any snow or ice until the shaded areas past the golf course. Even then it was doable. The slope, sand and exposure to wind seem to make it passable long before you can ride elsewhere and I felt fortunate to be out riding in the dirt in late January. The sad part was I did not see anyone else out riding. Hopefully, that will change as more ride reports begin to filter-out.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
You can decide for yourself whether the science and assumptions for the model are sound, but again, as long as you use the same equipment each time, the model will allow you to see trends in your performance.
Hopefully this provides some tools to help you get the most out of a bicycle trainer and give you a training base when you hit the road this spring. Feel free to stop buy Two Wheel Transit to discuss your specific needs or look at trainers in person. See you on the road!
Friday, January 21, 2011
Here is the resulting Q & A:
Question - Rider 1, what is your approach to the 2011 season going to look like?
Rider 1 aka Mr. Millimeter - Well, first of all, I am building a house so that is going to take up a lot of time. In fact, I have been blogging about it at Meadow House so take a look at it and discover a love affair between a handsome communications professional and his dream home. It really should be a series on the Arts and Lifestyle channel. But back to biking. I have been reviewing the position of my cleats in relationship to my metatarsal bone and have been seriously thinking about a multi-micron adjustment, probably about, now wait for it, maybe as much as 5 millimeters. I know that it might impact the wind-up on the sprint, but the trade-off is better power through the stroke right from the start line. So, I don't know where this might take me, but I am giving it serious thought when I'm not thinking about my house project. I'm doing a blog about it, by the way.
Question - Rider Two, what it is on your mind as the cycling season starts?
Quicksilver - What does that mean? The cycling season starts when your training wheels comes off and doesn't end until you trade a bike for a wheelchair. I haven't stopped riding and I won't stop riding. Sure, the most glorious time of the year comes around again, when wind and rain and mud and belgians and frittes and mur de hoy and arenburg forest all have their spotlight, but if you haven't been riding non-stop, you aren't ready. Now if you would kindly bugger off, I am going to ride my bike.
Question - Rider Three, what will the 2011 cycling season look like to you?
Rider Three - I have lots of plans for this year. It will be my most PRO year ever. First, I am going to support pro cycling this year by seeing if I can get my hands on performance enhancing drugs and one of those powerful but silent motors for my seat tube. Also, I am planning to break a lot of expensive equipment and whine as much as possible. And, to finish it all up, I am planning to blog about all of it, create some self-indulgent animated videos, and try to buy my way to more speed.
Question - Are you planning to ride your bike or race, Rider Three?
Rider Three - Oh, that. Well, sure. I am going to self-actualize. I am going to be positive. I am going to do a 6-minute ab workout followed by the 3-minute butt buster so that I look my very best in my team-issue skin suit.
Question - That is all well and good, but are you going to actually ride your bike?
Rider Three - Um, no. The whole idea to adding more riders to the team is that I can move into more of a managerial position but the team as a whole will still be pedaling just as many miles. I will be available to drive for motor-pacing. I can yell, "Venga, venga, venga" whenever the team goes by my barcalounger. I will be mixing margaritas and cooking up steaks on the deck to provide fortification for the team. See, that kind of thing. There are a lot of important things to do that just might take me away from any actual pedaling of the bike. I would like to say it is an age thing, but then Quicksilver always points out that he is a couple Mur de Hoys away from 60, so it really just comes down to being fat and lazy. Thanks for asking though.
So there you have it. Three approaches to cycling in 2011. As soon as I know the other team riders well enough to create nicknames for them and make merciless, or at least mirthless, fun of them, I'm sure they will be providing some additional thoughts. In the meantime, enjoy the sleet, the Versus coverage of the Tour Down Under and dream of bike rides. Or margaritas and steak.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
On the other hand, the effect on the ambiance and attractiveness on the store front is less than ideal for a retail business. It makes it difficult for people to see in the store in most lighting conditions and can be a little intimidating for those who are new to the TWT experience. It really hit home this year when I went outside to look at Tomas' latest artistic creation (think of the movie Christmas Vacation) with the Christmas decorations in the storefront windows. Our Christmas tree and everything else looked like they were doing 8 - 10 years of hard time in a foreign prison for some heinous crime rather than bringing holiday joy to good little girls and boys.
The bars have been a topic of discussion for some time and recently resulted in a blistering executive session among the power brokers in the store. Insults were hurled like snowballs by unhappy undergrads at the last Apple Cup, threats and near violence erupted at several points, but we trudged doggedly forward until a decision was finalized - the bars over the windows are coming down.
Actually, Tomas and I were standing out front the other day when Bruce was not there to supervise us and I said. "Do you think it would be hard to take these bars off?" To which Tomas replied, "Not really." And that is how it was decided to take the bars off to make the shop a little more appealing and friendly while providing Tomas with an unobstructed canvas.
Swing by in the next week or so to see the carnage - I mean progress as we remove the ironwork and walls between us. Hopefully, it will be a good move.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
We will be doing short profiles of the riders in the upcoming days or week. This is going to be a little tricky since three of us have only been known as Rider One aka Mr. Millimeter, Rider Two aka Quicksilver and Rider Three aka Mr. Loquacious aka Mr. Breaksequipment aka Mr. Why-does-a-guy-that-large-get-a-spot-on-a-team-with-a-group-of-A-Pack-Riders, but we will figure that out.
We have also expanded our list of sponsors and look forward to welcoming them to the Team Two Wheel experience. When the ink dries on the contracts, we will bring out the names.
So to recap, we have a team, but won't tell you who is on it; we have sponsors, but won't tell you who they are. Yep, sounds right.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
5 years ago I was 25 pounds overweight, slightly stressed and bordering on chronic hypertension - not a good recipe for living to a ripe old age. I had given-up on riding bikes 10 years earlier due to some bad back pain every time I rode my Bob Jackson. I knew I had to do something so I started riding a mountain bike I picked-up at a garage sale.
I enjoyed getting out again and found my back tolerated this more upright posture on a bike. I started thinking about road riding again and petitioned my ever patient and supportive spouse for a new bike after researching this new fad called compact frames. During my hiatus from cycling technology had evolved for aging boomers giving them a more relaxed fit (like our Levi jeans) for creaky backs. (Who says us boomers have not had a positive effect on the world?)
After educating my spouse about the brave new world of bicycles and related pricing, I was ready to get a new road bike. I strolled into Two Wheel Transit with my mountain bike and said something to the effect of if you can duplicate this position on a good road bike, I will buy it. Before I knew it I was riding home on a brand new Klein with a big goofy grin. The long rides I fondly remembered were now incredible challenges that left me drained and defeated. I persevered one pedal stroke at a time and started racking-up miles.
I tracked every ride in a spreadsheet even though my therapist says I am recovering from my CPA affliction. I had a goal, to begin bike commuting from home to my workplace in Fairfield which was 25 miles each way and needed to track when I could do it. It took almost 2 months to build-up to that point, but on May 18, 2006 I did my first round trip bike commute to Fairfield. 24 more such trips followed that summer and the commute became a highlight of my day. That first year I pushed the pedals 4,507 miles between March and December. I lost most of the extra weight and began to reverse the negative trends in my health.
Along came other goals and I continued to track my miles to gauge fitness and progress each year. I included trainer miles though some folks may argue that they do not count, but a mile is a mile as far as I am concerned. Like weight or age, positive things like miles and milestones creep up on you. Just before New Years day, I was entering my ride data an realized I had logged over 25,000 miles since April 2006. Somewhere in the dark dusty recesses of my mind, I remembered something about the earth's circumference at the equator being about the same distance.
Sure enough, I looked it up and the circumference is reported at 24,901 miles around. So I looked back in my trusty log and found that I had passed that milestone toward the end of ride on my trainer on December 23, 2010 without realizing the significance. This most likely falls into the category of who cares for most normal people, but is one of those things that keeps me riding just for the joy that it brings.
Had I known where this was going, I would have let my nerd tendencies roam free and mapped out which parts of which countries I would ride to next as I crossed seas, continents and mountain ranges. Perhaps it is better this way as my kids already think I am strange enough.
Regardless of why or where you ride, keep riding because you just never know where it might take you. So now that I have ridden around the earth, does anyone happen know how far it is to the moon?
On VeloNews, the cartoonist makes fun of a team called, "Old Guys Who Get Fat in the Winter." I am the poster child for that team this year. I had a ride with multiple falls on September 11, a day that will stand out in my memory now, and then another injury a few weeks later, followed by a car crash a couple of weeks after that, followed by months of sloth and inactivity caused by an unusually heavy work load, horrible winter weather and a major issue between the ears.
As a person who is normally positive, I would suggest putting all of that behind me, but the reality is that I can't put it behind me when a) my behind is so big and b) my legs won't allow me to move fast enough to put anything behind me.
The old school advice was that you should ride the first 1,000 kilometers of the season in your small chain-ring. I am going one better and riding the first 1,000 kilometers in the smallest gear I have, because I can't move the damn bike forward in any other gear. The idea is with riding the small chain-ring is that it promotes "suppleness" in your cycling stroke.
Today, I was as supple as a marble statute. I was as supple as a cadaver with rigor mortis. I was as supple as the asphalt road under me. I was as supple as the trunk of a mighty oak tree. I was as supple as Mt. Rushmore. I was so supple that my legs crinkled with each pedal stroke and I still have the crease marks. If I was an SAT test, I would be, "Supple is to Rider Three as Life Force is to a) a parrot nailed to its perch and pining for the fjords; b) Tiger Wood's endorsement potential; or c) an extinguished star being sucked into a black hole." If I were a new show on the Oprah Network, I would be "Stiffy McStifster's Overweight and Undertrained Stiffness Challenge" and I would be the supreme champion. If I were a contest on American Idol, I would be the guy with his pants on the ground and too stiff to pick them back up. If I were - Oh the hell with it. You get the idea.
Other than that, though, it was awesome to be out for a ride in January when the weather felt more like a decent April ride. I know it won't last, but it was a good reminder of things to come and things that I should have been doing.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
A trainer is a device that holds a bicycle stationary and provides some sort of resistance against the rotation of the rear wheel. The resistance is necessary since the natural forces of wind and uphill climbs do not exert force on the bike while it is stationary. Absent resistance you would quickly spin the rear wheel too fast to get much of a workout (think revving a car engine in neutral vs in gear).
The resistance is provided by either a fan, special magnets or a series of blades that turn enclosed in a sealed chamber filled with fluid. The fluid type is very popular because good units are quiet and provide a very realistic feel to the rider. Prices range from about $100 to $500 depending on the type of resistance and other features. Plan to invest an amount somewhere in the middle for a quality unit that is well designed and will last you for years.
Most of us have ridden some type of trainer once we got into cycling and learned the hard way that physics and biology do not take a holiday during the winter. If it is possible, the laws of the Universe become even more severe as the available light and temperatures drop.
Monday, January 10, 2011
It can be frustrating to be a trend spotter, setter and influencer. Especially when other teams look at your well-designed team uniforms and think to themselves, “man, I wish we looked that good. Maybe we should just copy Team Two Wheel!
Let me illustrate.
Note the clean lines, abundance of negative space and purposeful focus on black and white logos. Except for the red “2” in the logo. It really pops, and stands out in a peloton of 150+ riders.
Evidently, two years after the debut of this jersey, which is pretty much awesome, others latched onto our design. Some might call this “copying.” But I’m sure the ProTour team designers instead would describe their lack of creativity as a “shared design philosophy.”
Team Sky: Just like the underachievers from Team Two Wheel, the underachievers from the UK chose a black and white theme, save for a brilliant band of blue. (When you’re in the UK everything needs to be “brilliant.” That’s just the way it is.) They even kept co-sponsors on the jersey to a minimum. Just like us.
Team Leopard/Team Liger: Yep, more black and white. And to make things worse, we ride Treks too. One of us even has a Benz. Copy-leopards!
And of course, Garmin – Cervelo. Again, black and white with a pop of color. Or colour if you’re in Europe. Of course Garmin’s designers have the gall to include a bunch of co-sponsors in their design.
Then again, they printed “TATA” on their jersey. If you’ve ever been on a Morning Ride you’ll know all too well that one rider who shall not be named (but whose name rhymes with “Non Fozo”) often talks about TATAs.
So, where does this leave us? Between Two Wheel Transit, Garmin, Sky and Team Liger there’s going to be an awful lot of confusion in the bunch this spring.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Okay, a slight bit of hyperbole, but you get the idea. Imagine having to move hundreds of pounds of product from farm to market over miles of dirt roads without the aid of a truck or other motorized vehicle. Now add the issue of speed since the product loses value the longer it takes to market. Finally, think of the trip back to the farm to work on getting the next load ready and you get a glimpse into the life of a small coffee farmer in Rwanda.
These farmers work on farms with 300 or fewer trees and earn an average of $250 per year so resources are scarce. Some began carving bikes out of wood just to have some way of transporting coffee to market. This included wooden wheels, bars, forks, and platform and no way to propel or stop the bike. Imagine "riding" this bike with 300 pounds of cargo - not safe, fast or efficient which is where Project Rwanda comes-in.
Project Rwanda provides farmers with a safe and specially engineered bikes called coffee bikes to help them with their transportation issues. The bikes are not a gift, but a self-sustaining micro-loan worth $200 that must be paid back to the Project. Reduced time in getting coffee beans to market can increase the price paid to the farmer by as much as 15 cents per pound - this premium goes a long way to improving the lives of the farmers and their families.
In case you have not already guessed, Two Wheel Transit is "All-in" in terms of support for this project. It has all of the elements that make it worth the effort - bikes, improved lives through bikes, great organization, efficient operations, coffee, the human spirit and of course, bikes. (Yeah, we said bikes twice.) We have a coffee bike mock-up in the shop so people get the idea and ask questions. (Bike is graciously on loan from Dr. Corey Judd of Inland Imaging)
We have been matching donations for the Project which have been dropped-off at the shop from our very generous customers. To date, we have raised $544 - enough for 2 1/2 coffee bikes. We are also donating 5% of the sales price of each 2011 Trek bicycle purchased from Jan 3 through Feb 15 to the fund in hopes of raising more.
If you or someone you know is considering a Trek purchase this year, doing so before February 15 will net a great bike and help a great program. If not, stop by and drop some coin into the Project Rwanda water bottle as a donation.
Get more information, make an online donation or visit the Project store at: http://www.projectrwanda.org/
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Looks to be a pretty potent team to say the least now that Andy has addressed that undocumented shifting feature that appeared in the Tour last year with a healthy dose of Shimano Di2.
In other news, Lance is back for another run this year on Team Radio Shack. Should be an interesting year in pro racing - all of which will be overshadowed by the unstoppable force of Team Two Wheel. Stay tuned for more details...
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
As you make your New Year resolutions, consider driving less and cycling more. Based on the annual figure, a 25% reduction in driving to school, work or daily errands would save approximately $1,750 and improve fitness, reduce stress, reduce traffic and reduce your carbon footprint.
Seems like a great trade-off. Where else can you find this type of financial return in today's market?
Here is more of the story:
Monday, January 3, 2011
Rumblefish Awarded Best 29er Product of 2010
Rumblefish is a 120mm/110mm travel 29er trail bike loaded with Trek-exclusive tech, including DRCV rear suspension, Active Braking Pivot (ABP), G2 Geometry, QR15 thru axle, E2 headtube and fork, and integrated bottom bracket. The result is a bike that enables riders to tackle technical terrain previously unimaginable.