15 posts from December 2009

December 30, 2009

Unexpected

My normal workout routine has been blown off course this vacation - in some unexpected ways. 

Expectedly, and as a bonus, on Christmas Eve, Chris was off work, so I took a dawn patrol ride with my friend, Jen.  We braved the cold (while we certainly do not have the weather most of the country is enjoying this time of year, 45 degrees is chilly when heading downhill), and rode some local hills.  It was a nice change to have a bike ride mid-week, which dark has prevented me from doing since October, and I was thankful to have my best riding buddy able to join me.

Continue reading "Unexpected " »

Addressing Qualifications

I work in a bike shop.

The phrase I hear from customers the most is, "I don't race or anything, so I don't need a really fancy bike."

Then I explain that most of our customers say the same thing. Only a small fraction of people who walk in for a road bike are intending to race, and most of those people want to do their first triathlon but "not be really fast or anything, I just want to get in shape."

It is unfortunate that so many people see cycling as a competitive sport and little else. The diversity of cycling experiences out there is one of the reasons I love cycling so much! Sure, I've raced. But I also commute, tour, and ride my bike just for the heck of it-- because it's FUN!

Some customers walk in and say, "I'm not a real cyclist.." Oh, this drives me NUTS! I know that they are equating "cyclist" with "bright lycra," but baby-- if you ride a bike, I don't care what kind-- YOU. ARE. A. CYCLIST!! A cyclist on the bike path. A cyclist on the way to work. A cyclist around the neighborhood. A cyclist at the grocery store. You are a cyclist, a cyclist, a cyclist!

So now that we've established that you don't have to "race or anything" and that you are indeed a "real cyclist," let's address the idea about not needing a "fancy bike."

Substitute "fancy" for "performance, durability and comfort." Wouldn't any cyclist want those things? A lightweight bike will help you get up hills easier, it doesn't mean that you have to go charging up them. A bike that is built to last will save you grief and money on repairs, it isn't only the racers that need that. And comfort-- do I really need to twist your arm on this one?

If you're thinking about buying a new bike for the new year, and you're tempted to say any of the common customer phrases above, think again. I want you to walk in there tall and say, "I am a cyclist. And I want a beautiful, comfortable bicycle."

December 28, 2009

Flashing back again

I love cycling too much to use my blog space whining about cars...and yet this is a story I'm compelled to tell.  Much as I adore our national parks, they are not always welcoming of cyclists.  In July, 2008, we were thrilled to arrive at Glacier National Park just days after the snow-covered road opened for the season, ready to pedal up and over the Going to the Sun road.  I feared the road would be terribly steep, with cars whizzing by and white-knuckle, hairpin turns on the descent.  We knew we had to be off the road by 11 a.m. (no bikes between 11 and 4) so we started the day at 5:30 a.m., fighting gusts of wind and awed by the dramatic views of clouds, lakes, and wildflowers.  The summit was chilly and the downhill stretches were tricky, but it was undoubtedly a proud day to cycle along such a storied road.  

So I thought were were in the clear at 10:30 when we hit the flats and stopped to warm up at the Lake McDonald Lodge.  Sat by the fire to warm my toes, relieved to have made the journey strong and safe.  Just after 11, the four of us cycled on toward the park's exit when an officer pulled us over for a lecture on rules, warning us to stay off the road til 4 pm unless we could find a ride.  Not usually a rule-breaker, I bit my tongue.  Why were we causing a safety issue when our lane was clear and most of the traffic was heading in the opposite direction, into the park?  Why did the park require each cyclist to pay the same entrance fee per vehicle as a 6-passenger mini-vany?  Why did cars get the road at prime time in the middle of the day -- couldn't the park require visitors to ride shuttles instead to minimize the traffic?  Flustered and fuming, we paced along the shoulder of the road and started looking for potential rides (surprisingly, hitch-hiking is legal in the parks).

Our luck soon arrived in the form of a small pick-up filled with kayaks.  Jon hoped to get one of us in the truck, and maybe a few of the panniers.  Driver: "No, we'll get you all in."  Soon they had ropes out and we were hoisting up the bikes - 2 on the roof of the cab, 2 strapped over the kayaks, with our bags stuffed in between.  The four of us piled in and within minutes, we'd cleared the park boundary, safely back in legal cycling territory.  

It gets better.  David casually mentioned our interest in finding a water park along our route.  The kayak guys told us, "You're going to pass Montana's biggest water slide today."  By 3:30, we were tubing through Big Sky Water Park.  Big Sky was just 1/4 mile off our map so we would have never found it had it not been for our hitch-hiking adventure.  I'd still like to see some bike lanes on Going to the Sun road, but on that day, I was pretty content with out little detour.

December 27, 2009

Dear Santa take 2

I shoulda asked for a plow.  

Crap.

Christmas blizzard 2009

December 23, 2009

Dear Santa...

...I'd like a 2010 XO1. 

Thanks to a generous boss, this wish will be able to come true. Gravel rides, here I come.

Xo1_blackwhite
 

Twas the Night Before....WHAT?

28007154_santa%20rampage%202009 This is what the Rampaging Santa's in Milwaukee WI looked like as they delivered humor and good cheer along with candy and presents this year.  I have heard that Chi town started this upbeat tradition over 10 years ago.  What do YOUR Santa's do in YOUR town?

These guys and gals raise money for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin besides handing out goodies as they ride along city streets.  There's a lot of bubbly good cheer that goes down before, during, & after - but Santa has to keep warm and toasty!  Not to be outdone, Beantown has it's own "Santa Speedo Run" - is that right, Caitlin?  I won't post their photos (they aren't on bikes!) but I bet you can google for funny images.

Have yourself a Merry Christmas, A Happy Holiday and A Prosperous New Year!

December 22, 2009

Bike Tour flashback

Blairmore, Alberta, July 2, 2008

7:52 p.m. Sitting in the campground's hot tub, watching the storm clouds roll in after a 75 mile day.  

7:56 p.m. Food inventory: Peanut Butter crackers and Mentos.  

8:01 p.m. David on the phone to the local pizza shop "We'd like the 2 for 1 pizza special and a 2-liter bottle of root beer.  Can you deliver that to campsite #15 at Lost Lemon Campground?"

8:17 p.m. Rain starts pouring in sheets.  David, Mandy, Jon, and I huddle under the megamid.

8:32 p.m. Pizza arrives tentside.  We feast and fuel up...Glacier NP awaits.  

PizzaLostLemon
   

Last Minute Gift Giving Idea

Don't delay!  Book the Christmas Gift that will keep on giving!  You and your honey will rack up memories for a lifetime just by taking a bike trip with Trek.  You can reserve "the bike trip of your life" right now, right on line.  Go to www.trektravel.com and peruse the offerings.  We recently took the Wine Country Tour in California and
had the best time imaginable!  All we had to do was arrive with our bike & dinner clothes and everything else was provided.  The newest Madone bikes, fantastic B & B's for lodging, fabulous food, savory wines and vineyard offerings and the "bestest"P9270011, most fun guides that knew about the region like the back of their hands.  What a perfect get-away to look forward to.  But there are also international trips and many locations throughout the U.S. so you have many choices.  I want to share - in photos - some of our great days with other biking buddies that loved wine, adventure, and camaraderie.  Go for it - get your last minute gift at Trek Travel.  By the way, you don't have to be a "riding" expert, all levels of riders were accommodated.  Some riders liked to ride a little, shop a little, drink wine a lot!
  

Continue reading "Last Minute Gift Giving Idea" »

December 19, 2009

Snowy Solstice

So it's been below 20 degrees here for much of the week and the snow should start falling in just a few hours...I love these cozy, winter days with holiday lights on, cookies in the oven as we look forward to some skiing.  But my bike hasn't been out for a week or two and I have yet to try a spinning class or a trainer (living on the 3rd floor, I'm a little wary of making our neighbors listen to me pedal indoors).  Roxy and RJ's posts about training certainly have inspired me to think differently about my winter plan.  My usual routine is to walk and run and walk some more, play with our dog, go to yoga classes, ski when there's snow, and wait for bike season to come around again.  This year, I've joined a gym and I'm eager to vary my exercise options.  Zumba, anyone?

Perhaps one day there will be a velodrome in Boston to give cyclists a winter escape...

December 16, 2009

Thoughts on Training Plans

If you have spring or summer cycling goals, this is the time of year to develop a training plan.

Now, "training plan" doesn't have to mean that you're gearing up for a great big championship race (but it could!), it can also mean that you're working toward that fun charity century ride or bike tour. The real purpose of a training plan is to: chart progress, articulate goals big and small, and create a progressive riding schedule that puts you in peak condition for your target event.

CHART PROGRESS

You don't have to be on a training plan to have fun on a bike-- but if you are, you can keep track of how you have improved, which will encourage you to keep riding!

ARTICULATE GOALS

Goals are much less likely to be realized if they hide in a dark corner in the back of your brain. Write your goals down! Declare them! Share them! And if your goal is big, create a lot of little goals to meet it. That way you can reward and recognize your progress!

PROGRESSIVE RIDING SCHEDULE

If you ride medium fast here and there, ride hard once in a while and take it easy when you're tired-- you will certainly be a fit and healthy person! However, if you want to be in "peak condition" for a certain event or ride, a training plan will methodically build your fitness-- moving from endurance to strength to speed. 

If you have not been on a training plan before, try one! I recommend doing it with a coach's guidance (such as a coach from Chris Carmichael Training Systems). 

A training plan doesn't have to be rigid and BORING. You can go for playful rides with your friends, racing each other to the yellow sign down the street. For an endurance ride, ride to a faraway diner you've always wanted to try. If you need to recover from a tough ride, take it easy and spin down to the local cafe to meet a friend.

So if you have cycling goals that are swimming around in your brain-- give it a try!

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