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Daily Archives: September 2, 2013

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The new bike pink cloud part 2

Well things didn’t exactly go as planned… The idea was to take it easy and use a full hour to ride just 17 miles. Um, I don’t think my new Venge can go that slow unless there’s a a decent hill or mountain involved. I ended up with 20 miles at 18.3 mph average – and I really had to dial it back to do it.

The truth is, of course, it’s still a bike – I had this in me all along, my melon got in the way. I could look at this negatively if I chose to, I could dwell on it, analyze it and take a big bath in the crap if I chose to. In the end it wouldn’t do any good – or at the very best it wouldn’t be any fun.

So live and learn, and bring on that frickin’ Tuesday night club ride!

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The Difference Between Cycling And Motorcycling…

Once you get to a certain point, cycling (bicycling) can cost as much as riding a motor cycle – except for one key cost…

Gasoline.

My bike runs on fat.

Have a nice day.

My Two Cents On Fred and Doris…

Most people wonder, God only knows why, when it comes to Freds, why we just all can’t get along. These are the politicians among us of course. They know darn good and well why the roadies give Freds a tough time, but they couch the language in such a way that nobody could possibly be down on Freds because, after all, they’re people too, “they just dress weird”. Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is going to get ugly in a hurry because I’m not subscribing to (or consigning) that BS.  First we must really define what a Fred is to the group – and what a Fred is not.  The short version, from my experience, is this: a Fred is one who is ignorant of many of cycling’s necessities and customs and is therefore ignorant of the delicate responsibilities of cycling in a group. They then pose a danger to all.

Many will conflate a poor cyclist with one who must get by on second-hand equipment or one who may break a certain rule such as riding with a saddlebag or a jersey that’s a bit baggy or maybe cheaper, less expensive clothing, shoes and pedals with one who is completely ignorant of decorum and therefore should be watched like a hawk to make sure they actually know how to ride the bike they’re on. This confuses the issue purposely – and by that weaker definition I was a Fred too, for quite a while.  I rode a used bike for almost all of my first two seasons. I ride with a small saddlebag and I rode for a full season with cheap $30 cycling shorts, mountain biking shoes and pedals – it was all I could afford at the time to ride both road and mountain bikes.

Yet I was welcomed into the group by even the most seasoned of our cyclists – because I possessed a key set of skills:  I learned how to ride in the group safely before I showed up to ride with the group.  Now there are some things that one can only pick up with experience, but the big things are out there to be learned prior to pulling into the parking lot.  Let’s look a little deeper so that we can make this interesting.  The Fred to look out for can usually be categorized:

First, there are the whiners

These are the Freds who piss really people off.  They’re the “why do they ride so fast, why can’t the wait up for the slower folks” people.  If you’re on a “no-drop” ride then you may (and only ‘may’) have a point.  If you’re on advanced ride (like the one I frequent), then shut it.  You’re wrong to even think that the faster riders should wait for you.  You’re in the wrong group and that’s nobody else’s fault, you whiney petulant little person.  The group is not there for you, you are there to be a part of the group.

Then the wardrobe challenged…

Next are the egregious clothing challenged Freds. They’re the one’s with their tightie whitie waistband is sticking out from their cycling shorts and over their jersey tee shirt.  Feel free to laugh but I’ve seen this.  Now, the fact that it’s just plain funny has nothing to do with anything.  Cotton underwear under the cycling shorts is such an obvious no-no that anyone who has ridden for more than ten miles knows it’s like riding on razor blades so if you’ve got a guy (or woman) who shows up dressed like this to the 30 mile advanced ride (where most of the field gets dropped by the end) then chances are he (or she) has absolutely no idea what they’re doing.  At 10-15 mph this isn’t such a big deal.  At 25-30 it’s huge…

Finally the equipment challenged

The equipment challenged show up with a bell on their carbon handlebar.  You’ll be riding too fast to effectively use a bell – if you don’t know this, you’ve got problems.  Nobody cares about an older well-maintained bike… They will take notice of a poorly maintained old rust bucket.  The plastic spoke protector behind the cassette?  Oh, dear God in heaven no.  If you don’t know enough about your bike to keep the chain from jumping the last cassette sprocket into your spokes you’ve got problems.  Reflectors?  Club rides do not happen in the dark, why would you need reflectors?  That’s for commuting (though competent cyclists known for commuting can absolutely get away with reflectors in a club setting).  Camelbak?  Those are for mountain biking though I’ve worn one once and I have a good friend who wears one all of the time (and he catches a fair amount of grief for it, he just doesn’t care).

Any one of these three Freds can get away with minor infractions to the rules.  On the other hand, some are simply too egregious to get away with…  The bottom line with the rules is they’re obnoxious on purpose.  They’re there for safety’s sake and here’s how this works:

If you are unaware of the rules of group riding then you are probably new and will need to be watched closely for basic cycling mistakes (pushing too big a gear, no ability to ride in a straight line, inconsistent speed etc.).  Cycling in a group is exceptionally dangerous.  Think about it, when you’re driving a car if you follow within a few feet of another vehicle you will be getting a ticket if a police officer witnesses it.  In a pace line you’re usually talking about mere inches.  Nothing will get a group more nervous than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs than a shaky cyclist because they hurt people.

Then you’ve got the “I’ll show you by purposely not conforming to your stupid rules” cyclists and the whiners.  They make it fairly obvious that they think the world revolves around them.  They don’t play well with others as a result.  This is not conducive to cycling in a pack because everyone in that group counts on each other to ride predictably so that we can all get home to kiss our loved ones.  If you’re going to be a pain in the ass about the rules, chances are you won’t be thinking about the person behind you when you stand on the pedals to stretch your legs…  You’ll drop back a foot in a split second causing the person immediately behind you to hit the brakes which can lead to a whole mess of trouble behind them.  They’re the arrogant, self-centered cyclists – and to make matters even worse, they’re usually nursing a fairly large inferiority complex to boot.  There is no room for self-centered cyclists in a club ride.  In fact, if you earn such a reputation and you pay attention, you’ll notice that the group always attacks or speeds up immediately after you take a long pull.  They’re trying to drop you because you’re a jerk.

Contrary to popular belief, especially in small towns like mine, you get a lot of “Fred” leniency if you are a competent cyclist.