Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Happy New Saddle Day

Ok, I gave the stock seat on my Domane a good 300 miles, and while it was okay, I couldn't do more than 10 miles at a time before I had to get off for a bit. And even during that 10, I found myself moving around a lot, trying to alleviate pressure points.

So I spent the bucks and got a Specialized Power Pro with Mimic, and holy fark, what a difference.

(Yes, I put a Specialized saddle on a Trek bike. I'm evil like that.)

I put it on this morning, and as soon as I headed out, I knew there was going to be a huge difference. I usually start out with an "ouch" that settles into, eh, okay. This time I just sat and rode. My sit bones hit where sit bones are supposed to, I didn't feel pressure or pain, and didn't move around at all.

I gave it 7.5 miles, kinda slow, just getting the feel for it and a new pair of gloves. By the end of the ride I knew I needed to lower the nose of the seat about a millimeter, but other than that, yeah, this seat is worth the cost.

Tomorrow's ride will likely be twice as long to give it a good test; I've already adjusted the nose and am ready (presuming I don't go out here again this afternoon...) but I have a feeling it's going to be a fairly comfy 15.

Saturday, February 15, 2020


I didn't get back on the bike until yesterday. My shin was all kinds of ouch, feeling like a sunburn being rubbed by sandpaper every time I took a step, so pedaling was probably going to drive me a bit nuts. I listened to the little voice in my head that said to wait--which was helped out by several days of heavy wind--but yesterday was bright and beautiful and I just kinda had to.

It felt good. But I got a few miles into it and noticed a click that occurred with every pedal rotation. My first worry was that I'd done damage to the bike when I went down last week. My second was that if I kept riding, something was going to give and I'd eat asphalt again. So I stopped, and spent some time slowly back pedaling to see if it was the chain or the cogs, or what.

I noted one little blip on one cog, one tooth, but wasn't sure. So I ended the ride at 5 miles, which was fine for the first one after a week.

This morning I put the bike up on the work stand and tried again. I didn't know if I'd be able to figure it out--I'm still way too much of a newby--but I hoped I would at the very least be able to get some video and articulate to the bike shop what the issue was. And I found that same little blip, but I could not replicate the click.

I rotated the pedals forward, backward, fast, click.

So, I too the bike down, decided to go for a ride to see what was what, and right at 10 minutes, the click started again. It was with every full rotation of the chain, I thought, but when I stopped and tried to back pedal, no click.


I decided to take a minute, think, get a drink. And as I held the metal water bottle, turned a little, I heard it. Ice cubes against the metal...

I'm a moron.

Friday, February 07, 2020


A couple days ago, while we were out on a planned 10 mile ride, I tried to go up a sloped curve--the kind typically found at the entry to someone's driveway. I've gone up this exact spot a couple hundred times over the last 3 years, no problem, but this time I didn't quite approach it at the right angle, the tire caught, and I went down like a sack of potatoes.

Just =boom= onto my left side.

It was a good thing I wasn't alone, because I needed help getting up. Getting old, it sucks. If not for the bike still begin firmly between my legs I could have just rolled over and crawled up onto my knees and then up, but I was kinda stuck. And everything hurt. But, the Spouse Thingy helped me up, I made sure I could still move essential body parts, and we then slowly made our way to Dutch Bros where I could sit and assess how I really felt.

Nothing was broken, but my entire left side was not happy with me. And in that moment, more importantly, the bike was okay. We took fifteen minutes, shared a drink, and then finished the last 3 miles of the ride.

Got up the next morning and holy hell. Ouch. All over. And as the day progressed, the bruises began to show. My right index finger must had gotten caught under the brake lever, because it's a lovely shade of red. My left shin must have hit the ground first, given there's a nice softball sized bruised rearing its lovely head, and it's a bit swollen to boot.

My left shoulder, left hip, and my neck are all reminding me that they, too, were unhappy with meeting the ground.

Still...I was mostly miffed about not being able to ride. I mean, I could have, but it wasn't a great idea.

Now today I'm sitting here, looking outside because it's a gorgeous day, trying to decide if it's worth getting on the bike and piling onto the pain. My left shoulder especially is telling me it's still not happy, and my shin hurts every time I walk.

But I kinda wanna.

We'll see.

Oh, and I still keep reaching for brake levers that aren't there. Muscle memory is a hell of a thing.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Hm. Well.

Something I hadn't considered before buying the new bike (not that it would have mattered) was the whole kickstand situation. I knew it wouldn't come with one, but I have a spiffy kickstand sitting in the garage and figured I would just slap that sucker on and be done.

Yeah. No. It doesn't have the mounting plate I expected. Now, I can get a kickstand that works with it, but now I'm thinking, eh, why bother? This is a bike I don't plan on leaving anywhere except the garage. It's a ride-to-ride bike, straight out of the garage back into the garage. I'm not putting a rack on it, won't carry a lock unless I feel like I have to, no baskets or saddlebags... Just ride.

Of course, today it was cold and rainy, and I'm not confident enough to ride this bike when it's wet, so I took a little bit to put a bottle cage and Garmin bracket on, and then stare outside like I was personally offended by the weather. Tomorrow should be better and I'll get my first real ride on it. I did a short, check-it-out ride yesterday, just 5 miles, but it was enough to tell me I'll need time to get used to the weight of the bike--holy cow it is light--and using my core better.

One thing I kept reaching on my short ride yesterday for was something I haven't used in 38 years:

Suicide brake levers. The few times I had my hands on the flat part of the bar, old muscle memory expected them to be there. I don't expect to ride in that position a lot, but there's a tiny part of me that wishes they were still there, even if they weren't the most effective way of braking.

I'll get used to it.

So, fingers crossed that tomorrow's a great day for riding, because I'm a few kinds of excited about it.

Monday, January 20, 2020


2020 Trek Domane AL 2
This is going to be so much fun

Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Smidge Over 60 in Two Days...

Last year I was supposed to participate in the Komen 3 Day Walk in San Diego. Sixty miles walked over the span of three days; it's kind of brutal, there are HILLS, it hurts, and yes, it forking hurts.

The surprising thing is that anyone does it more than once. But, there are hundreds who do it every year, and I've done it several times. But last year I was unable to go, and after having raised over $2000, I felt as if I owed my donors those miles.

It's happened before; I've walked the miles later. But those miles are not as hard, because I have control over the environment and don't tackle those huge hills. I have comfortable places to stop for breaks, instead of the quick grab food and go pit stops, and I can have lunch anywhere I choose instead of sitting on the ground trying to make myself eat another Panera sandwich.

To make up the miles this year, I decided I would bike them. And instead of three days, I'd do it in two.

I had serious doubts about the number of miles I would be able to do in one day. I was fairly sure I could do 30, if I took several breaks. I doubted I could do more than 40, even with those breaks. Still, the 40-mile range is what I was shooting for, thinking I could do the rest the next day, likely very slowly.

I set out around 10 am on January 11th, and took my first break right at 20 miles. And I felt good. I wasn't pushing it too hard, so my legs weren't screaming at me, but the most surprising thing was that I wasn't screaming at my saddle for biting me in the asterisk. I sat an an outside table at Starbucks for about 15 minutes, then hopped back on.

By this point I was confident about 30 and hopeful about 40, but didn't even consider more than that.

At 40, I was tired. My knees were starting to mutter things at me, but I wasn't spent. So I kept on. I was getting looks from people who had seen me ride by a dozen times--it's a small town and there are only so many routes I can take--but I felt like I had five more miles in me.

At 45, the idea that I probably could do all 60 began to settle in my brain. That was only 15 more. Another hour. Of course I could do that.

But then I got to 48, and the knees were screaming instead of muttering, and my backside was crying. At 50 I was only a few minutes from home, so common sense won out.

I stopped at 51.55, and thought that was enough. If I'd walked in the 3 Day, I probably would have jumped in a sweep van a few times, and only done 50-55 miles. The number of miles felt fair, and I called it done. After that, I was certain I would wake up in a ton of pain, barely able to move, and riding again wouldn't just hurt, but HURT.

But...I got up on Sunday and felt fine. A cycling friend recommended that I do a short ride even if I hurt a little for no reason other than to push the lactic acid out of my muscles, so a short ride it would be.

I did a squidge under 11 miles.

So, really, I did it. 60 miles in two days.

No, I don't think I'll do it again. I think I got lucky this time, with energy and low pain levels, and I didn't burn as many calories as I thought I would...but damned if I wasn't hungry as if I had. I wanted to eat ALL THE THINGS for the rest of the day, and I took in as many as I burned.

I'm not even sure my future charity endeavors will require the racking up of miles.

Either way, at least I know I can do a long ride if I feel it's important. And doing those miles was important to me. Those who donated did it for the charity, but still.

Now that it's done, I'm looking forward to this:

Trek Domane AL2. I ordered it last Friday and it should be here by Monday. This will be my first road bike in 40 years. The last one I owned was a Schwinn Continental that I bought in 8th grade and sold my junior or senior year of college. I loved that bike and still have regrets about letting it go. I dig my pink bike, I dig my little Townie, I dig the hybrid...but I've been itching for a road bike and decided to get an entry-level Domane.

I have a feeling 10 miles on this will hurt a little at first.

No worries, though. Give me a couple months, it'll be fine.

Friday, January 03, 2020

Okay, so, I have been riding...

I had a goal to hit 2,000 miles by the end of 2019, and I squeaked into that in November. I think I ended the year with 2300 or so, but I forgot to check on the 31st and by midnight, the ticker had rolled over to a big fat 0 for 2020.

On the plus side, I'm already at 40 for 2020...which is also my goal for this year. 2020. Mostly because I signed up for a run-the-year challenge and hope to get a lot more than that, but 2020 seems like a good goal to shoot for.

On the minus side...yeah, that pretty white bike I bought in August just isn't going to cut it. I mean, it's a fun ride, but it feels like being on my pink bike, and if I'm going to experience that ride, I'll just take the pink one.

The one I really want...
And the half learning curve is such that I'm more worried about hurting myself than I am in mastering it. So next week I'm putting both up for sale, with the idea that the funds from that will go toward a road bike. I've been itching for one the last couple of months and have my eye on an entry-level Trek Domane AL2, though I'd really like the Domane SL5. Major price difference, though. So we'll see.

$900 versus $3000 is a pretty steep difference and it would be a no brainer if I already knew how well I would take to drop bars. But if I get enough for the two bikes, and possibly the Street Strider and Flex bike...hell, I might go for it.

But first...I have a 60 mile ride to get done, miles owed for a missing charity event. Fun times.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

I need a bigger garage.

Townie Commute 27D
Okay, this happened.

Like, it happened the day after I last posted, though I had to order it to get it at the shop I wanted and in the color I wanted.

Townie Commute 27D, which brings me up to, ah, 5 bikes? Or actually 5.5 bikes, because this also happened:

Not dying on the Halfbike

It's a sucky picture, but I snagged it from a short video Mike took while I was trying to learn to to ride it.

It's a Halfbike 3, a toy I was lucky enough to win, and a toy that is so forking hard to learn to ride. It looks like it should be easy, but it's the opposite of easy and I just might kill myself on it.

I haven't spent much time on it because there's a lot of stumbling involved, and we agreed that we would not take it out alone until we both have the hang of it. There hasn't been a lot of time to play with it, owing to heat and Real Life, but next week the temps are suppose to cool down and we have no other plans, so... yeah, we'll find a nice flat place and go play with it. After we finally get it, I may ride it a hell of a lot because it's one hell of a workout.

In the last month I have been riding, just not as much as I like. I missed a week due to pet sitting (could have taken my bike, but am not yet comfortable in that neighborhood) and some rides have been cut short because of the heat. I had really hoped I would acclimate better to the heat, and I have a bit, but not as much as I need to ride during the summer here.

Right now, the pink beast is in the shop getting the brakes checked over. The pads were replaced a couple hundred miles ago but the squealing returned, along with a rubbing sound. The rubbing worries me more than the squeal; it might just be out of alignment but it might be the disk...and my up-close vision isn't good enough to really see what's going on.

It's not like I don't have other bikes to ride. This morning I took a couple of them out, swapping out every 2 miles or so because I really want to see which of the Townies I enjoy the most.

I was surprised.

Townie 7D
The Commute is solid, but heavy, and I feel every bit of those 40 pounds going up a hill, but other than that, it's fun. I'm not at all speedy on it, but I'm not racing so it really doesn't matter. The 7D is lighter and I notice that when I'm riding, but I'm not really any faster...yet it feels like so much more fun.

The more I ride them, I'm pretty sure the Commute will become the grocery-getter. The baskets fit on it and it's got a nice front rack; I could haul an entire weeks' worth on it, no problem. The 7D is the fun bike, the one I'll ride just to get a ride in.

And I went back and forth on selling the Marin, but if I'm honest with myself, I just don't want to. I want to figure out how to make it work for me. I'm putting the flat bar back on it and ordered some ergonomic grips, and we'll start there. I have the spiffy Terry Butterfly seat my friend Char gave me for my birthday, and if everything else dials in, I'll get another Kinekt seat post for it.

The main reason for selling it was space. Our bike storage space is 90% of a single car stall, and we had a big scooter and motorcycle in it along with the bikes. I sold my scooter, and we're going to try to sell the motorcycle next week, which will open up all kinds of space. I can put a rack on the wall for the bikes not in rotation, and keep them...until I find something else. I don't need or want to keep the Raleigh Venture, but at some point I'd like to get another electric to add to the stable, so that Mike and I can take them places and ride where there are hills.

With autumn sneaking up, I think I'll get more miles in. And hopefully get fully back on track to crush my 2000 mile goal for 2019.

Oh and I still have this.

It's been in the storage shed for a long time, because it kills my knee, but...

I'm in better shape.

I might be able to ride it now.

I freaking love having options.

And damn...I hardly had any tattoos when that picture was taken and it looks kinda...wrong.

Monday, August 19, 2019

I'm getting behind...

I set a 2000 mile goal for the year, but with 600 to go I think I'm a little behind schedule.

Part if it is spending so much time fiddling around trying to make the hybrid fit. Part of it is too many uber-hot days that I haven't been able to ride in.

I've tried acclimating to warmer rides, but given that I overheat easily, there's a threshold I don't dare cross, and it's right in the 95 degree range.

But, I'm looking at another bike tomorrow, and I've removed most of the extras I added to the hybrid in preparation to sell it. I really hope the bike tomorrow will fit well; it has a moderately crank-forward position--not as much as my Townie, but closer to my Pedego--and it's a 27 speed so hills won't be as much of an issue if I encounter them.

I doubt I'll buy it tomorrow, but I might put some cash down if they don't have the color I want and can get it. It comes in white, and I kinda want that. Other choice is black, and...meh.

I'll take black if it's all I can get and the bike is perfect.

But...I gotta get out more. I don't want to get too far behind.

Saturday, August 17, 2019


I've got the seat height on the Marin dialed in, I think. The new seat still hurts but it also still has that feeling that once it's broken in, it'll be awesome.

It's still not perfect, and the more I ride, it's nowhere near great. I swapped the bars out initially because I had a lot of shoulder and back pain, and now that I'm not hyper-focusing on my knee, I can feel the same tugging between my shoulders and the same lower back pain.

I took it out for a short ride today, trying to pay close attention to the things that bother me, seeing if I could figure it out without bugging a bunch of other people. If I can get more upright, it eases up. If I lean forward more--as if I were riding with drop bars--it eases up. Yet if I change the bars again, I may be back to square one, dealing with my knees because the overall geometry will change.

I've hit the point where I kinda want to sell this bike, and sell the older Raleigh, keep the Townie, and look for a more upright bike with more than 7 speeds. The downfall of the Townie is the gearing and its weight; 99% of the time it doesn't matter, but if I hit a hill, I'm gonna have a bad time.

After the short ride on the Marin, I grabbed the pink beast and headed back out, and it was nothing but fun. I need that, but without the motor.

I've been eyeing the Electra Townie Commute--upright and 27 speeds--but I have to clear garage space before I can even think about it.