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A few unrelated cycling musings

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

I’ve got a few disjointed cycling thoughts swimming around in my head. I might as well get them out there.

  • Sometime in the last couple of weeks, I reached 1,000 miles of cycling for the year. This feels odd because from January through March, I actually rode more miles than in any previous year. But, nearly all of it is commuting and other utility cycling. Very few recreational rides. So, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been riding as much. I tend to not count commutes when I’m thinking about the riding I’ve done, but truthfully at 11-12 miles per day, it adds up to a lot.
  • That said, I don’t anticipate the huge upswing in mileage in April/May this year that I had last year.
  • I commute on the fixed-gear bicycle on Monday. I found it a lot of fun riding around campus, and town, on the fixed-gear bike. The biggest downside was, I worked up much more of a sweat than I normally would, on a geared bike. Also, I had to carry my backpack on my back instead of in my milk crate. Not very comfortable.
  • On my way home that day, I thought I felt more play in the chain than I should. On closer inspection, I noticed my chainring is coming loose. I’ll have to fix that before I ride the fixed-gear bike again.
  • That made three fixed rides in a row (or four, if you count morning/evening commutes separately). The next day, I commuted on the Trucker. Coasting felt really VERY odd. I was a little surprised at how tricky it was to switch back.
  • Yesterday I found time for a brief evening ride on the Bianchi. After riding the slow Trucker and pedaling harder on the fixed bike, the Bianchi felt even faster and smoother than usual. And, I managed to push up the hills in a bigger gear, too. It just felt GREAT riding such an efficient bicycle. This was the most refreshing ride I’ve had in a while.

2010 Retrospective

Friday, December 31st, 2010

2010 was a great year for me, cycling-wise … in many ways, my best year ever.

General

I’ll talk about the goals I set at the beginning of the year in a minute. I did pretty well overall, but most of the best stuff that happened this year wasn’t directly connected to a goal.

Most importantly, people. I rode with others more often this year.  I rode with Bill a couple more times, and I started riding with Tim and David, when we are able to connect for a ride. I rode with my other friend Dave when I could, but we didn’t get to ride as much this year. I also did some club rides, although I found that most people in the club have a much different riding mindset than I do.

I also rode my first centuries this year, and got more interested in long-distance cycling. I didn’t pursue this as much, later in the year, but it’s something I’m definitely still interested in.

Probably the best two rides of the year were the two days of riding in Big South Fork with Tim and David. (Part 1 | Part 2)

I also got significantly better at riding in various inclement weather conditions, especially snow, ice, and night riding.

I didn’t do a lot of mountain biking this year, but I did ride my mountain bike a lot in the snow, and on gravel roads.

Goals

Here are the cycling goals I set last year, and how I did:

  1. Ride 3,000 miles.
    I far exceeded my expectations, and rode 5,007 miles. In fact, I just hit 5,000 miles on the very last day of the year. Pretty exciting way to wrap up the year!
  2. Ride a century (100 miles in one ride).
    I rode five century+ rides, including the 160-mile Ride Across INdiana.
  3. Do at least three overnight bike camping trips (S24Os).
    I didn’t do any bicycle camping at all this year.
  4. Do at least one longer bicycle tour, two nights or longer.
    I didn’t do a tour.
  5. Ride my bicycle in at least two states other than Indiana.
    I rode in four new states: Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
  6. Explore new roads and trails.
    I did.
  7. Continue 100% bicycle commuting.
    Not quite 100%, but close.  Occasionally I will have to drive; mainly if there is a car problem, I drive the car to the shop, ride my bike to work, and ride back to pick up the car. Also, I drove for a couple of weeks after my foot surgery.

Basically, I exceeded my goals in every way, except that I didn’t do any loaded bike camping this year. For whatever reason, I never really felt the urge this year. Next year, I hope to do better. I’ve enjoyed bike camping every time I’ve done it, so I’m not quite sure why I didn’t go this year.

More miles than ever before

There are two main reasons for my huge mileage increase over previous years (my previous record was 3586.5 miles, back in 2007):

  1. I moved further away from work, but continued to commute each day.
  2. I bought a road bike, which allowed me to rack up miles faster, and made longer rides more doable.

Mileage Breakdown

  • Road: 2753.45
  • Commute: 2010.28
  • Mixed terrain: 758.98
  • Mountain: 210.91

Bikes

  • Surly Long Haul Trucker: 2911.23
  • Bianchi Imola: 1540.80
  • Fuji Tahoe 29 Comp: 337.84
  • Miyata Street Runner: 217.50

October recap

Monday, November 1st, 2010

October was a great month of riding for me, especially gravel, with a great ride in Ferdinand, IN, and culminating in a two-day camping trip in and around Big South Fork, in southern Kentucky/northern Tennessee.

I was easily on track for a 500-mile month, with 483 miles going into the weekend, but I didn’t ride at all over the weekend. It feels sort of wasteful now, but I just didn’t. I did rest a lot, and I’m finally starting to feel rested again after that exhausting camping trip. Really it was a lack of sleep that had me exhausted more than the riding, but both played a role.

Now that I’ve had a bit of a break, I’ve got it in my head that I need to be more proactive about evening rides. Normally, I try to do two evening/training rides each week. This gets more difficult as the days get shorter, and realistically I haven’t stuck with this plan for a while. But I need to try harder. Some weeks I haven’t even done ONE evening ride, and commuting itself is not really enough training to stay in shape for the longer rides, which I want to continue doing. A better light is in my future, hopefully, but not immediately. I’ll have to make do with what I have for now.

So, October stands at 483 miles. Not bad. I’m at 4,120 total for the year so far. I’m close enough that I really think it would be great to hit 5,000. That would take a real push, so we’ll see! I’d also like to do at least one, if not two more, century rides before the year is up. That would certainly help move me toward 5,000 miles for the year.

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