Thursday, April 18, 2013

What kind of bike are you?

I've been wanting to write this blog for a while now. A fun exploration of the kinds of bikes available and what they may or may not say about us. I'll warn you up front that I'm liberal in my bike choices... I'm a bi-bicyclist lol

 THE ROADIE: The road bike is a very common choice and comes in a variety of frames - steel, carbon, titanium, aluminum and a mix of the above. This style can be used for commuting, group rides, solo rides, racing or standing around looking cool!

When you own and ride a road bike with matching kit you are usually thought of as the "Lance Armstrong" wannabe, snobby, uptight cyclist (partially guilty here since that's my bike). I suggest real cycling clothes and helmet, matching is up to you!
THE COMMUTER: or grocery bike (yes it's my bike), with baskets and the "mattress" seat. This bike is for the casual ride and/or the rider who has a place to be and stuff to buy. Some people like to ride these with their tiny pooches in the basket, but my dog is 14 lbs which is to heavy for the front and he hates riding in back :(

Baskets can be on the front, back, sides of the back wheel and these come in single gears or multi! No matching kit needed and depending on your city you may not need a helmet.
 THE MULTI-TASKER: The hybrid was my original choice when I was deciding is I'd "Like" to cycle frequently and can offer lots of riding choices. It's more rugged to go on dirt trails, but not as heavy as the mountain for riding on the road. I rode this for a bit and didn't worry about "hurting" it. Once I realized I might actually get into this thing, I moved up to a road bike.

Mountain kit or road kit optional on the hybrid. Street clothes are ok, but if you plan on doing serious trail work, I suggest a real kit and helmet.

THE ANGRY RIDER: The mountain bike rider is someone who likes to get dirty and beat the hell out of their bike! These bikes are made for harsh environments and rugged people who don't mind breaking bones on occasion. Designed for the off-road activity and exciting unknown they aren't for the faint of heart.

Lots of people race mountain on pre-designated off road trails, usually in a time trail race (how many laps in X time). I suggest a full mountain kit and especially a helmet!

THE BEND-DOVER: The time trial and/or triathlon style bike is for the lean in and race kinda person. These bikes are designed for fast movement and training of specific muscles. The geometry is intended to help rest muscles you may need for the swimming and running aspects of triathlons and provides a super aerodynamic riding posture... unless you have hips like mine.

A full road bike kit is suggested, especially a helmet... matching would also be suggested lol. Those TT and Tri folks are special ;)

THE DOWN LOW: The recumbent bike is usually something "driven" by the more mature rider. I ride with folks on these and they like to wear sandals and talk about how much their ass DOESN'T hurt... The one down side I'm told is that you can't move in the seat on the long ride... Lots of funny jabs we take at each other (Roads and Recumbent)... but it's all in good fun.

Yes some come with a windshield, kinda pimp right? Wear any damn thing on you like, I suggest a helmet on these since you'll likely be on the road!

ALL STYLE: For any rider it's about the fun, the enjoyment, the time on the bike... and in that vain you can find all kinds of cool rides out there. Hand built, Old school like this one... We just love bikes... and you can't tell me that when you see someone on an odd or unique bike you don't form an opinion of the rider!

As a roadie I like to make fun of myself... to see just how silly we are... check out this cool vid, it's one of my funny fav's:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Who needs Directions?

I'm the type o gal that just opens the box and starts putting things together... I might end up looking at a little something, but I'm terrible about following the rules. Tab A, Slot B, whatever! There are lots of training models out there and tons of theories about how to be or become your best... but I would rather find it through trial and error. Knowing that I'm not joining some racing team tomorrow, I figured I got time... right?

This year, my second season on the bike, I decided to up my game a bit with some new pedals and a heart rate monitor. I figured I could track my progress on a spreadsheet and see if it's helping my rides. Today I took my new toy for it's first spin. I don't like wearing the watch... so I'll have to figure out how to mount it on the handle bars.

I put in 25 miles and burned 1281 in calories. Avg speed was only 14 mph, but I was more interested in paying attention to my heart rate... scary thing:

That seems kinda high? No? It's obvious that I'm terribly out of shape and find it amusing that I'm paying for gadgets to tell me so! This is the Polar FT40 model and I think I'm going to get some good use out of it. The guys at the store told me I should do my heart rate first thing... to get the real "resting" rate. To be fair, they weren't clear about that in the instructions :) I also noted this unusual clicking noise and thought something was wrong with my bike... no, um, my heart was gonna explode and the watch was telling me to slow the F*@&%&K down. Nice right? Didn't need instructions for that shit, let me tell ya!

I also slipped into something a little more comfortable today, the new Time iClic 2 Carboflex pendals :)

I found them to be firm and you need to apply pressure to be "in" these babies. You also had to be firm in the turnout. I'm wondering if this is the design or if they will get easier in time and wear. I am very pleased with the ease of entry in terms of automatic placement. Your foot just finds this baby... ahhh, so nice. But, I would have ridden longer if I'd gotten the cleat position better. Mile 22ish I noticed some burning pain in the knee... and try as I might to adjust for a longer ride, I had already irritated it to much. :(

This year is going to be a year of trial and error for me as I try to find the right mix of calories, protein, carbs, etc for an improved year. My goal is to be able to stay on the bike shortly after HHH this year, unlike last years major Bonkout... If I had only put in a recovery ride I may have been ok.

I don't find disappointment in learning as I go, I find it to be one big adventure that takes my mind of stress and work and whatever else. I imagine that most people who got on the bike didn't have world class trainers, physicians, dietitians, etc telling them what to do. For the rest of us, it's about the ride itself. I do think the heart rate monitor is a huge asset, it helped me listen to my physical responses better than I previously did. I was more aware when I was reaching a red zone and not afraid to back off for fear of looking like a slacker.

I don't know about you, but I ride to live and sometimes live to ride. I'm 43 now and I know people in their 30s having heart attacks and dealing with health issues they should be able to overcome. I do this for me, my stress, my blood pressure, my sanity, my weight... it's one thing I've invested in that I can stick with and feel good. Since I don't much read directions or listen to what just anyone has to say... I don't push my thoughts on my friends either. We can only direct our own lives, choices and thoughts... and no one, especially me, wants directions from anyone else.