Just a quick shout out to Road Holland for making seriously stylish wool-blend cycling apparel. I’ve had my eye on this orange dream all winter and I finally pulled the trigger and purchased. More poly than wool, I was cute and cool riding an impromptu 65 miles round trip for lunch in New Jersey.
Click on the photo to check out their women’s line. A few clicks more will display their men’s line as well. Fits cyclists up to XXL (men) and XXXL (women). Ride stylish!
Something I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I am a data nerd. I love quantifying how awesome (or terrible) something is. I have a job that involves analyzing data every day (although not to the extent of a researcher – that’s crazy data). So it should be no surprise that I use Strava to quantify my everyday cycling as well as my weekend jaunts. I want to know if I really was as fast as I felt this morning or if I was really a slow-poke. How does this compare to other times I’ve ridden this route?
And I can get competitive too … but mostly I just like putting data around my fitness.
Remember that century I rode in late February? Yeah. I’d only been out five times prior this year. Granted I kept my base miles up all winter by riding as often as possible on weekends – but I’m still impressed with this feat.
March was a tough month to ride – I was on vacation for two consecutive weekends – but clearly I got out more than January and February combined (# of rides, not total distance).
April has been an explosion of bicycle happiness – over double my miles month-over-month. I’ll hit one thousand miles in seven more bike commutes. Seven! My cycling-for-transportation miles have exceeded my cycling-for-sport miles fairly consistently this year mostly because I have been plugged into the bike commute scene. It’s probably the most refreshing way to start and end a workday – fresh air, usually sunshine, and the gentle hum of the wind between your spokes.
Ok – enough geeking out on this. See you on the road!
This morning I was supposed to run my first five-mile event/race but I didn’t go.
* I feel terrible today. Some combination of intense seasonal allergies and camping Friday night and most of the day Saturday has rendered me exhausted. I ended up sleeping over 12 hours last night.
* It was 35* when I got up and while my cycling wardrobe extends into cold weather gear – my running gear does not.
(I’m not even talking about technical clothing – I do not own sweatpants or long underwear to layer under my fitness gear. This will need to be remedied.)
While I do not regret my decision, I am disappointed in my apparent inability to keep up with everything I want to do. When I was ten years younger, I would have easily been able to plow through the allergies and exhaustion. But I’m not 25 any more and the reality is I need more down time than I did back then.
This brings me back to the yogic philosophy of honoring your body wherever it is. Some days you will be able to go further than you ever thought possible, others you won’t. And you need to accept where you are in this moment. So today will be a day of rest and being present with my family.
A five-mile run will still be there when I am ready.
So last night I decided to take my bike back to my LBS for new rim tape and to change out the (old and busted) bar tape instead of doing it myself. The bar tape on Lady Rainicorn is very old, slightly ripped and has zero cushion. The first couple rides were definitely an adjustment from EDM, with her plush bar tape. My reasons for asking the shop to do these tasks are two-fold:
1. because while replacing the rim tape seems straight-forward and easy, I don’t really want to have to take off and put my tires back on AGAIN.
2. I’ve never done it before and kinda just want someone else to take care of it for me right now.
So I started thinking about maybe changing the color of my bar tape from white to …. what? Red? Blue? What would look awesome and what would just look super dumb? I mean, we’ve all seen bikes that look amazing – and more bikes that are just not well thought out.
Ultimately I chose to get re-taped with white because my hoods are white and I thought white hoods on red or blue bar tape would be awkward. And the guy selling me the tape insisted it’s a “classic” look.
What do you think? Have you played around with color for your saddle/bars/wheels? Please share in the comments (bonus points for photos)!
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ETA: Just picked up LR from the shop (excellent turn around since they told me it might not be until Wednesday next week). Finished the white bar tape with …black duct tape (really? y’all didn’t have white duct tape?) and black plugs. Replaced the original seat with a Terry Liberator X Gel in black. So now the color scheme is all messed up and my bike looks hodge-podge.
(previously it was white bar tape, finished white, with chrome plugs. And a white seat.)
Today has been such a hodgepodge I can only hit the highlights in a plus/minus system:
+5 points: second consecutive day bike commuting – and I was on time today!
+5 points: the weather was phenomenal – like 60*F when I left at 6:28am!
-10 points: get call from school nurse in the afternoon. Daughter needs to be picked up.
-10 points: Flat back tire when I get my bike from the rack.
+5 points: I’m a pro at fixing flats. Like it only took 15 minutes. Woot!
-5 points: hands covered in grease, blood, and sweat by the end of this particular flat repair.
-5 points: three spoke have poked through the rim tape! Wondering how the hell shitty tires AND pokey spokes got past the LBS when I sent the bike in to be overhauled. Did they even LOOK at my bike?
+100 points: ingeniously deciding to use tube patches to temporarily seal the pokey spokes away from my new tube.
– 1,000 points: CO2 inflates cold, quickly, and if you slightly overinflate on a hot day – BOOM.
(yeah, I did hang my head there and felt slightly defeated – burned through my only spare tube!)
+100 points: commuter friend has a spare in my tube size! hooray!
+100 points: AND he has a hand pump with a pressure gauge!
And we’re off …
+100 points: detouring up Rex Avenue after viewing two hidden statues in the park
-200 points: 10% grade, no climbing gears, big rocks. Had to throw in the towel only a 1/10th of the way up the half-mile. Walked my bike a boss.
Feeling beat cycling home. Backpack feels heavy and legs feel shredded.
Take daughter to the local urgent care – sure enough, she broke her arm.
Finally getting dinner at 9:30pm. Hate to admit I’m taking the train tomorrow – today was just too much excitement.
As a parting image, here’s a snapshot from yesterday’s commute. I’m wearing my very favorite jersey (Twin Six Grand Prix) which just so happens to match my commuter bike. I couldn’t resist being all matchy-matchy. Jersey came first, just for the record. 😀
There’s a lot of information out on the internet on how to bike commute (or just ride) safely – things like Avoid the Door Zone, Be Visible and Predictable, and Get Used To Being Honked At. It’s all true and great information. But if I may, I’d like to share another piece of safety advice that is often overlooked: your emergency pack. Sure you probably toss a spare tube, some tire levers, and either CO2 or a hand pump in your saddle bag or rack pack … but I’m not talking about gear.
Every ride, you need to have the following on you so that Go-d forbid something were to happen you can get help quickly.
Emergency contact info, be it on paper or tagged as ICE in your smartphone.
The code for your smartphone if you use password protect.
Also, if you are riding solo – tell someone you know and trust where you are going and when you plan to return. Bike safe, friends!
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I’m on Week Two of bike commuting twice a week and it’s going amazing. I had one day where I failed to have an afternoon snack before I rode home from work and even though our time didn’t increase, I felt horribly sluggish and full of effort. Lady Rainicorn doesn’t have climbing gears so steep hills are a challenge – but worth it. I can feel my quads getting stronger. I’ve also noticed that technique counts – when I mash my pedals, I tire quickly but when I focus on round pedalstrokes, the hill doesn’t seem so hard.
I’ve also been exploring multi-modal commuting – commuting using a combination of cycling and public transportation. On the days I am not able to bike all the way to work, I’ve been riding to the train station and locking up there. It’s actually quite nice to zip down the street in the morning and then be home at the end of the day in under 5 minutes.
Yesterday I rode to work and back with my commuter friend. On the way home we detoured up through Forbidden Drive. It was a lovely jaunt through the Wissahickon Valley Park at a lower speed, admiring the old stone bridges and beautiful surroundings. The 1.2 mile uphill slog from the creek back up to Mount Airy was better than I expected. It’s great because you come out of the creek basin and suddenly you are almost home. Refreshing and relaxing!