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Daily Archives: October 12, 2012

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Chicks On Bikes…And Other Simple Cycling Rules

Let’s see, specifically how fast I can undo all of the good things I’ve written about in the last few days – in one post (maybe two)… I’m just kidding – really, no phony baloney “just kidding”, I really am joking… This is a serious post, written by a serious guy, about women on bikes – especially because I’ve got a seriously self-conscious wife who looks a hell of a lot better than she thinks in cycling garb… Ladies, generally speaking, at least in the eyes of most men, you look a lot better in cycling kit than you think. There is a cut-off of course. Perusing the net yesterday I bumped into a funny post that illustrated this with a “what you think we see/what we actually see” photo… Let’s just say in many cases what women think we see is a bit harsher than what we actually see.  Of course, being of slightly more than average intelligence, I won’t attempt to define that, specifically, here. If you are obese, then caution in picking the cycling kit if you are the self-conscious type can be warranted. Maybe go a little loose on the jersey. Other than that, there’s not much else you can do . Cycling shorts are what they are, there is no way around them that I know of – I even felt a little odd at first and I was in pretty good shape (though a touch chunky). The important thing to remember and concentrate on is that your self-consciousness will be short-lived if you put in the miles and follow a decent diet. Now this is a tough position to be in because it is rather normal to tie self-consciousness to the enjoyment of exercise… I should know, part of the reason I used to feel out-of-place in a gym is because I still feel like the scrawny kid I used to be – if you think it’s tough being an overweight woman, try being a skinny young man… I’ve written about this once or twice before, the older kids used to call me “Cambo” in my early teenage years… I didn’t know what that meant till I was in college.  I was home from a break and asked one of the guys I used to play backyard ball with what the dealio was.  It was short for Cambodian…  Back in those days we didn’t have an emotional self-esteem police so they couldn’t be locked up for being jerks, nor could I sue them for every penny that they’re worth for permanently scarring my fragile self-esteem…  No, I had to do the old-fashioned way:  Look at it for what it was and do a butt-load of push ups – then forgive those jerks for being jerks.  Hey, what do you know, no more scarred self-esteem (it must be magic or something). There’s a flaw with thinking that you’re too big to exercise (or to wear the appropriate clothing to do so) though.  As long as you’re not doing something really egregious, like wearing your cycling helmet backwards or wearing cargo shorts over your cycling shorts (on a road bike – more than acceptable on a mountain bike) or wearing your sunglass arms under your helmet straps, most experienced cyclists will be happy for you that you’re out there.  In other words, you’re emotional reaction, as normal as it may be, is exactly the opposite reality. To explain, I’ve seen some hefty folks out running and when I see a Clydesdale on a bike the first thing I think back on is what it was like when I first got into running and cycling, and how weird I felt, and how much gumption it takes to stick with it.  While there will be snobs out there, we all run into them, the vast majority are glad to see you out there.  In other words, more often than not, that self-conscious feeling is due to internal emotions rather than external stimuli.  You’ve gotta let that shit go.  Tell that committee member in your melon to shut it and get to the back of the class and sit in the corner…  Every time he (or she) acts up, smack ’em back in the corner where they rightly belong. On the other hand, there are some “don’ts” when it comes to cycling attire.  Let’s review some rules:

1.  If your gut hangs out of the kit, it does not fit

2.  Fruit and Spandex do not mix – especially ifyou’re a GUY!!!

3.  Dude, saddles are not an option, they’re a necessity.  Also, if you crash and can impail your chest on your stem, you’ve got a problem

              And one from the Bike Snob:  This one is specifically for us guys:  Don’t dress like chicks.

Dammit, if you do that, you deserve it when you are laughed at.  Sorry man, but banana hammocks are bad enough on a beach.  Diggin’ the mirrored shades too.  Woof.  Oh, and for extra credit, when is the only time – unless you wish to advertise your gayness to the world – a man can ride a pink bike? A.  When he’s fast enough to kick everyone else’s ass – and even then it’s questionable.  Just sayin’.

Fair warning.  Don’t do that stuff – and if you’re huge, and I mean huge, please take the spandex off and replace with appropriate clothing before you go to the grocery store.

UPDATE:  My apologies for the way the WordPress editor ended up hacking my post together.  I tried to fix it five times and truth be told, it’s too pooched to fix.

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Mountain Bike Vs. Road Bike… A Natural Progression

I started cycling, almost a year and a half ago now, with cost effectiveness in mind.  I knew one thing – that I wanted to do a triathlon, bad.  I’d been running for years and it was getting a little monotonous.  I still enjoyed running enough, and I certainly loved being fit, but I rarely looked forward to running.  When I decided to buy a bike, I started out as cheaply as I could get with a $20 yard sale Huffy, then bought a friend’s spare Trek 3700 that I still own and love.  I rode the hell out of that bike for almost four months before picking up my first road bike.  I went the same route with the road bike, as inexpensive as possible, choosing it on Craigslist.  After finding out the hard way that it was too small, I picked up a legitimate used, carbon Trek at my local bike shop – cycling was never the same for me after that.

I’ve been to local trails mountain biking with a good friend of mine who I met through running,  but have spent far more time on the road bike – 450 miles to 1 since January 1st.  I love the road, everything about it – I can even live with the traffic – especially now that I’ve learned a few things about the road:  1.  The more respect I have for motorists, the better they treat me.  This isn’t always the case, I’ve been buzzed on the farthest right practicable more than once (that’d be left for you folks across the pond, obviously), but for the most part, folks around my neck of the woods are very decent.  and 2.  The more I look like I belong there, the more I’m left alone.  I’m a cyclist for crying out loud and even I get bugged by cyclists on the wrong side of the road – or even worse, those who change lanes depending on which side has the traffic – if ever there was an example of colossal stupidity, that ranks right up there.

That said, where I used to ride my mountain bike on the road on a daily basis, now that I’ve got a road bike, it’s just not the same…  I’ve been out on the dirt roads three times this year on the fat tire bike, twice with Mrs. BgddyJim and once solo.  The two times with my wife was great because I was simply happy to be out for a ride with my wife, but on the solo trip all I could think about was how much I’d rather be out on a trail somewhere, or on the paved roads on my road bike.  Now that I’ve got a road bike, while I dig the fact that there’s hardly any traffic on our dirt roads, when I’m on my mountain bike, I just can’t help but feeling like I’m missing out on the dips, turns, roots, rocks and crazy bike handling that comes with trail riding.  It’s also so much slower, I feel like I’m pedaling my butt off but not getting anywhere – in other words, I have a hard time getting into the gravel road riding anymore.  It’s just not the same, unless I’m riding with my wife.

This will always boil down differently for different people, but if I had to do it all over again and choose one over the other I’d probably still pick the mountain bike over the road bike because of its versatility.  Thankfully I’m not that unfortunate, because going from the mountain bike to a road bike was a natural progression for me.  I started out happy to be riding and to be able to do so on a daily basis without hobbling myself for the other 22 or 23 hours a day as would have been the case with running, but once I found out how enjoyable it is to ride on the road, especially on really long rides, in groups and on mountain roads, there was really no going back.

History, Taxes And The Debate – Debunked

When it comes to whether or not tax cuts should be “paid for” as stated in the debate by vice president and Congressman Ryan…

First of all, so far, the idea that tax cuts need to be “paid for” is silly. Historically, every time that taxes have been lowered, government income has risen. Every time.

This was true under Kennedy, Reagan and Bush (W.). In fact, President Obama wants to raise capital gains taxes from 10 to 15 percent… This will decrease government revenue – everyone knows this – and he was even asked if, knowing this, he would raise the tax rate anyway. His answer was in the affirmative… The question that should have been asked of the vice president is how do you plan on paying for the tax increases that the administration wants?

What has always bugged me about the tax debate between Republicans and Democrats is that the debate always centers around how much the government should take, and never about how low could taxes be to maximize government revenue… In other words, tax increases and the debate that surround them are illustrative of how Democrats will cut off their nose to spite their face.

Finally, if I had my wish, I would get rid of the breaks that allow almost 50% of Americans to escape paying income tax at all. Oh, I’d leave the bottom 20% alone at no income tax, but I’d cap it at twenty… Then, once the “fair share” lunacy was settled, I would tie the rates together… A tax hike for one is a tax hike for all, a tax cut for one, is a cut for all.

If you’d like another funny example of how this phenomenon works in reality, Democrats love to say that government revenue didn’t increase because of the Bush (W.) tax cuts. In fact, there are newspaper and magazine articles, written by liberal leaning publications of course, that try to show this to be true… There’s a trick to how they report the data: They cut the study off at 2004, just one year after the tax cuts took effect. In 2005, 2006 and 2007 government revenue increased to levels more than a half a trillion dollars more than the best that the Clinton administration ever took in. With the zeros, that’s $500,000,000,000. The reason for this is simple. The economy grows when taxes are lowered, when this happens, government revenue increases. It is not, despite what some would like to make it, rocket science.

In other words, President Obama has said that he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy. A press that pays attention would ask how he plans on paying for that increase.

Running: Oh How Quickly I Forgot

Cycling was out today. With sustained winds at 25 mph I didn’t want to start hating the wind again. It’s also a balmy 60 sunny degrees outside and I didn’t want to miss out on that either, so I went for what was supposed to be an easy 32 minute, 4 mile run.

I got home from work, changed around and headed out – my first run in a few weeks now… Apparently I haven’t been running enough because I was walking within a mile and a half, heart beating visibly against my Under Armor shirt. I got to going again after 15 seconds and cut the turnaround point to a 5k distance. I tried to make it back as fast as I could but I was struggling to catch my breath – and I couldn’t figure out why, other than I’m just out of running shape. As I neared my driveway, I cued up my silenced Endomondo – Thanks Chatter 😉

I passed the three mile mark in under 24 minutes – 5k in 24:45, average pace 7:53… But how could that be? I walked – twice!

I got my answer when I looked at my splits. First mile: 7:06. My second fastest mile. Ever. I was only 3 seconds off of a personal best and had I not slowed a touch in the last quarter of that first mile I’d have beaten my personal best one mile by a little more than 30 seconds.

Daddy forgot how to pace. I may have gone out just a touch too fast.

Well, this is not a bad problem to have. Live and laugh.

On another note, if at first you don’t succeed… I just woke up from a 3 hour nap – I’ll be watching the Tigers again tonight. I did last night as well and it went a lot better… Maybe I’m not that damn old after all.