A simple awareness test: DOTHETEST
A combination bike trailer and jogger (by attaching the third wheel to the hitch and a handlebar to the cabin), the CoPilot A can handle 1-2 small kids or pets.
I haven’t tried the CoPilot A as a trailer yet, but as a jogger it is light and amazingly easy to turn. I’ll review the trailer once the snow melts and my boy comes.
This week my wife and I have been rolling around in something a little less eco-friendly than a bicycle: a 1989 Bronco. Our Honda in the shop, my wife has needed me to drive her to work until I taught her how to drive a stick shift.
So I’ve been out of the weather as the temperature dropped last week. Back in the saddle on Sunday, I was shocked by how cold I felt and how slowly I rolled. My pace literally slowed to about 5mph, and after only a mile I realized I couldn’t make it to church without hating the day I first biked. So I turned back, feeling like a nincompoop. I tried in vain a second time to bike, but after less than a mile I again turned home, ego bruised, forehead pounding… and frozen crystals of moisture in my nose making for strange breathing.
My ego is certainly bruised. But, not so badly as if the temps had been only 30 degrees with a 12 mph wind. The weather when I rode was 17 degrees with a 40mph almost direct headwind. It is time for a ski mask. :)
Our club posted the number of miles logged by members. I’d like to highlight just the “commuter” miles we rode. This year, members logged over 52,000 miles (1,300 of them were mine :D) ridden on a bike instead of in a car (joy rides don’t count as commuter miles). In terms of CO2 output if we conservatively assume that everyone who biked these miles has a car getting 28 miles per gallon, we saved at 36,000 lbs or more of CO2 emissions. We probably saved a whole lot more, really, since most cars aren’t that efficient. Sweet!
OK, let’s make a long story short. I backed over my own bike the night before the Hilly, since I was in a hurry and the bike was somewhat hidden, propped against the passenger-rear fender of my car. Yikes. My wife and friends were all going camping that weekend at nearby Lake Monroe. I was going to ride during the day and camp with them at night, but I ended up camping the whole time. Sigh. It was fun, but it hurt every time saw a bike on the back of a car on the drive through Bloomington, IN.
Though in the last 4 1/2 months I must have gotten at least 10 flats, I have never had a flat in the front tire. Perhaps this can be explained by one of these factors:
- The back tire does not swing out as wide as the front tire during turns. (Take a look!)
- Your weight is mostly supported by the back wheel; therefore, when you run over glass, your body weight squishes the glass into the back wheel but not into the front.
Considering these possibilities, for us to make the back wheel equally unlikely to be punctured as the front wheel, we ought to consider swing wider around obstacles and getting off our bike ASAP if we go over glass to get the weight off the tire and glass immediately. Since glass does not always penetrate the inner tube immediately, but often lingers on the tire for a few turns before being ground into the tube, a quick dismount and spot-check for glass can save you a flat.
Stopping after every encounter with glass isn’t practical during a club ride, perhaps, but it is on a commute, and that is where you have the most issues with glass anyway. While most flats happen regardless of spot-checking (we aren’t always aware of running over some glass, and sometimes punctures are immediate), you may find that preventing just a few flats with a habit of immediate spot-checking is worth the effort.
Yesterday I took a ride east to Greenfield. As the roadway turned from city to rural, I could see a that most of the fields were shaved. Even as a I held my breath I smelled pleasant, thick fiber. A tractor worked on one field, spewing out mown corn material into a big-rig. The last few fields still standing were tall and dry, wrapped occasionally with a purple flower. Most of the vista looked like the earth’s 5-o’clock shadow.
This straight-east shot was a little uphill out of town, a feature I enjoyed on the return trip!
But like clockwork, after about 20 miles I start to hurt in the saddle. Super yikes. I would like to fix this problem: pain between the legs is worse than pain from fatigue, for me. I was trying to sit on one cheek, ride standing up, and I even got off the bike a bunch of times, feigning interest in many of the garage sales around the city that weekend.
Probably the best way to fix my pain would be to buy actual bike shorts with the pads on the cheeks. Maybe the pads would lift me off the seat enough to allow veins to flow freely in the perenium. A more likely, but expensive, fix is a new saddle with a cutout. But I’m trying to save money by biking; those seats are like $150-200! Since I can’t seem to tell if there’s a problem for about 20 miles, would I not need a company that lets me try the saddle for a whole day before choosing to buy it? That seems like it would be unlikely. I’ll start by trying bike shorts… I’ll get them soon: I should try them before the Hilly!
Ok, I didn’t ride like the jerks in this (admit it) cool video, but today I beat my wife and friends to lunch though it was 2.3 miles away from my work but only about 1.5 from their school, and I was on bike and they were in cars.
First of all, they had to walk out to a parking garage to get the car and drive around looking for a place to park by the restaurant. I rolled my bike right out of the office and strapped it to the tree by the front door.
Second, I don’t think there is anything dangerous or annoying (though maybe illegal?) about riding on the sidewalk downtown if the walkway is really wide, like two sidewalks wide, and I ride at a really moderate pace. That option open, if I came upon a red light, sometimes I could just turn left at that street and ride with the pedestrians for a block. I love when I never stop.
Third, and most of all, cars aren’t going much faster than a bike downtown anyway. I love it!
The Hilly is coming up Oct. 13-14! This will be my first “century”–if you can call something a century when the miles are split over two days–so I’m nervous about keeping up on my hybrid. Fortunately I’m starting to get my strength up.
On Saturday I was able to keep up with the lead pack for half of a 40-mile breakfast ride, which felt really good until I saw that so did this German-American 67-year-old. Yikes. He was chiseled out of granite, and could probably outrun me, too. lol.
The breakfast ride was nice especially because the rest of the groups who were riding took a slow pace so that you just enjoyed the ride and could chit chat. All the packs of riders regrouped three times, which also was nice since you could switch riding groups.
Well, the most memorable part of all of this ride was this guy whose voice sounded like Snape’s. It took me a while to place it, you know, where you recognize it so clearly but can’t remember who it is… Gosh, it’s funny to imagine that voice talking about bike gear.
Link: Ride Map (41 miles, flat, rural)