Mrs. Bgddy and I are about to supercharge our cycling adventures. Paved roads shall no longer be a requirement for us to ride.
I had been holding out. Only two of our group have a dedicated gravel bike so we’ve managed to stick with the mountain bikes. My wife brought up that she wanted one last year but I suggested that she would be better to ride mountain bikes with us, rather than ride a gravel bike. If she switched, initially she wouldn’t have to work as hard to keep up, but eventually she’d suffer on her road bike because she’d effectively be taking it easy all winter long…. right up until road bike season, at which time she’d have to play catch up to the rest of us.
Then my buddy, Chuck, went and bought a gravel bike last week…. and Saturday my cycling brother from another mother, Mike, bought one as well. Well, my other buddy Phill already has a gravel bike and so does Diane… So with the friends in our world going gravel, so did we – otherwise we’d never keep up.
We decided to go entry level, as we’re buying two bikes. Also, you’d expect my bike to be the first one, right? Red on red, super awesome? It’s not, that’s Mrs. Bgddy’s. Mine’s the second one. Mine’s a 56, my wife’s a 54. Anyway, we’re a Specialized family and we’re not changing anything there – both are Diverges. My wife’s is a 2016, mine’s a 2017.
No more having to plan our rides around pavement – this year we get to go anywhere we choose to point the front wheel – and with that, we’ll get to avoid a lot of the traffic that we all hate. We’ve already got a few rides planned for areas that we normally choose to avoid because of traffic – and now, with dirt roads on the table, there’s no limit to where we can go. Next year is going to be fun.
For bikes where the cables knock together when you roll over bumps, there is a very simple way to stop the noise, rather than learn to live with it.
I have one on my Venge, too:
Now, there exists a contingent of purists out there who will cringe at the sight of that little, plastic piece of brilliance. Their bikes rattle when they ride. And they’re proud of it, because old-school!
I, on the other hand, like a quiet bike. A sweet, sexy, quiet bike.
Keep your cables right and all you’ll have to listen to is the wind whipping by your ears and the sweet “swish, swish, swish” of the tires on the asphalt as you cruise into the sunset… If you rode that close to dark, which you don’t do because…. well, let’s not open that can of worms, eh?
I love riding in the fall, but not for the normal reasons…. Cool weather, changing colors – those are great, but they pale in comparison to my reason for loving fall cycling.
I got home from work at 3:30 in the afternoon. You’re thinking that’s an easy day, right? That was 13-1/2 hours. Better to work when every one else is sleeping, I get more done. Anyway, I was whooped so I took a 20 minute nap. I woke up recharged and ready to go.
I dealt with some work stuff while I readied the Trek. I waited till 5, changed and headed out the door.
It was warm out, maybe three degrees above normal, or a perfect room temperature. I had a smile stretched across my face before I rolled over the quarter-mile mark. Coming up on the middle of October and I’m riding outside in shorts and short-sleeves. It just doesn’t get better than that.
I just did my normal 17.6 mile route and I loved every one of the 4,940(ish) pedal strokes. There was nothing unique about my ride yesterday, but it was good.
It rained all day Thursday, and Wednesday too. Wednesday was a day off and I rode the trainer on Thursday. Good Lord, the trainer…. Not the trainer!
I love autumn cycling because the weather this time of year is a little crappy, so every chance I get to ride outdoors is special. Every ride feels like a treat, and for that, I am grateful.
*Obviously, riding a bike or running is no guarantee you won’t end up playing pill roulette. Bad things do happen to fit people. On the other hand, without fitness and an intelligent diet, your chances of blowing an ungodly amount of your monthly income on pills increase exponentially. Sadly, that choice is quite real.
For those of us who exercise regularly already, the news that exercise can help fight depression won’t blow up anyone’s skirt. Hell I knew and was writing about that years ago… I just never knew so little would work! And there’s a study attached to it.
Personally, I’m an hour a day kind of guy, but for others, say those who don’t like to get our so much, the hour a week news could be a life-changer.
My friend, Tony, put out a great article about the subject in the Title, so please check it out at the link above.
After, try this little experiment: Go to a supported ride or a running race. Look around at the participants for a person who appears angry or sad.
I doubt you’ll find one. Out of all of those people, you probably won’t find one person in a foul mood.
I know I’ve never been out of sorts before one of those events. The vast majority of us will be smiling and having a good time – and that’s before the event. After is even better!
Any way, please check out Tony’s post… Then pass it on… and get your butt out the door!
With the days getting shorter and the end of Daylight Saving Time coming, we’ve been combining the A and B groups for the first 15 miles or so of the Club Ride.
It’s a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing for some who can hang with a 24-26 mph sustained pace. For those who struggle at that pace, not so much.
We rolled out promptly at 5:30, a large group, easily 25 of us. I was surprised at how good my legs felt, too. I felt that “End of Season” let down a couple of weeks ago, where you’re tired and you know it but you just can’t manage to take time off yet, and your legs are like, “Dude, seriously?” Instead of cooked last night, I was really into the ride, and it was awesome.
And my brother from another cycling mother, Mike, was doing well also… he was still with us at 16 miles, as we got into the hills. After the second set of hills, he wasn’t. Diane and Mike on their tandem had fallen off, and Phill with them, and Mike and Big Joe were a half-dozen bikes off of them. I told Matt and a couple of others that I was going back for my buddy.
I drifted back, passed the tandem and Phill, and let Mike and Joe reel me in. As they closed the distance, I picked up my pace till they seamlessly joined me.
First, I got them back on with the tandem and Phill, then I took the lead of the bigger group. And I dropped everybody, trying to reel in the lead group. Twice. I hate it when I do that – I feel like an @$$hole. I dropped to the back of that gang so I could learn the proper pace so I could actually help… Two miles later, I had it and we cruised.
The B Group had dropped from the A guys and we were slowly reeling them back in… and after a swift downhill followed by a long climb, I could see some of the B Group, most of it, were waiting for us.
Together, we cruised in strong – 1:20:12 for the 29 miles and change – 21.7 mph for an average. I took third in the intermediate sprint (two guys were off the front and I didn’t see them till we were approaching the line) and second in the finalè…. and some members from the church down the road were waiting in the parking lot for us with cold water and Gatorade. Seriously.
Then I headed over to the local burger joint, which was holding a fund raiser for the High School girl’s (my daughter’s) swim team. I was joined by Matt (the owner of the LBS), Chuck… and Chuck’s wife and son. Chuck brought his family out to eat to support my daughter’s swim team.
We had a lot of laughs whilst eating some fantastic burgers.
I drove the whole way home with a smile on my face. I got to be a friend, and two of my best were friends to me last night. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
I joined the bike club to ride my bike with some decent people and ended up getting some of the best friends a guy could ask for. That’s the best bargain for twenty-five bucks I ever found.
I had a pretty rough go of it, as far back as I care to remember. My owners got their money’s worth though – I definitely left it out on the road.
I was made in 1999, in Wisconsin, USA and I was a sight. Eventually I ended up at a bike shop in southeastern Michigan as a loaner. I spent some hard time there, and I was beat up pretty good. Still, I gave those who rode me everything I had. I can remember chasing down this ultra-nice Tarmac on a test ride…. it was a really short ride, and it turned out the guy I’d chased down was a National Champ. I still had it.
Life started looking up shortly thereafter…. I was just sitting there in the basement of the shop when I was brought up and a mechanic started looking me over. New brake and shifter cables, derailleurs adjusted, etc. My setup though, now that was a bit of a problem. The owner of the shop hiked up my handlebar so it was darn-near level with the saddle. I’m a race bike. Still, I did make it out the door, and thankfully my new owner spent several hours cleaning me up and started dropping my handlebar almost immediately.
My new owner started putting new stuff on me shortly after bringing me home – and I don’t think he knew what he was doing though… He put mountain bike pedals on me. Then a Specialized saddle!
Specialized! On the other hand, the old fella had some heart. We rode alone, just he and I, for quite a while but, under my expert tutelage, he actually managed to get pretty quick – of course, my thoroughbred pedigree didn’t hurt. Ahem.
Then, all of a sudden, things took a turn for the worse. My owner picked up a brand new, lightning fast, lightweight steed…. and a Specialized.
I went from Numero Uno to the backup. I only got to go out when the weather was iffy… On the bright side, cycling in bad weather is badass, and I am definitely badass.
Then I started getting some new parts, and that was nice. New pedals, new stem, new handlebar, a nice carbon fiber seat post… Unfortunately my owner chose me for a ride on a relatively nice day – it was nice being out in the sun! We parked at a playground for his kids and they scattered to play on the inflatable bounce houses… and some mutton-head knocked me over, scratching the heck out of my paint. My owner was visibly shaken when he saw what had happened.
You can guess what happened next. I was relegated to wet rides and trainer days in the winter. Dammit, do you have any idea how soul-crushingly boring that stupid trainer is?! Here I am, one of the most successful frames in American cycling history, and I’m relegated to a frickin’ trainer.
That wasn’t the end of the story though. One day, my owner started stripping me down – he took almost all of my parts off – there were a couple that required special attention…
Then I went back to the shop. Three weeks later and looked like this:
New King headset, re-packed bottom bracket bearings… It was perfect, and I looked awesome. I even got a new saddle, a Selle Italia. As an American, I don’t have much use for Italian stuff (even if my owner is part WOP), but it was better than a Specialized saddle:
This year I’m making it out while the sun is shining! No chance of rain and I’m out there cruising around, usually three or even four days a week! I went on a four-day tour – once reserved only for the Specialized – and it didn’t even rain! Four days, a hundred miles a day… Here we are on day four:
Better, I got new shifters (shown above), a real Bontrager saddle and some of the baddest-@$$ leather bar tape available…
Not only am I back, after 18 long years and some really tough miles, I’m as good as new with a new lease on life. Best of all, I’m having fun. I don’t always get the best days, and the fast days are reserved for the other guy, but I’m definitely getting my due, and that’s all an old Hall of Framer can ask for. I am a 1999 Trek 5200 and my life is good.