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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Bike Quiz:  What is that Squeaky Sound, and Why is Backpedaling so Sluggish?!

This one just happened to me on Saturday…  Entirely out of the blue.  Friday’s ride it was fine, Saturday, squeaky.

You’re riding along and you notice a squeak when you pedal, forward or backward, and it’s driving you up a f@cking wall (or you don’t even notice it till someone asks you why your bike is so squeaky).  While riding, you think it’s coming from the back of the bike but you’re not entirely certain…

What do you do?

A) Panic, bikes aren’t supposed to squeak!  You take a shortcut back home, throw the bike in the car and immediately take it over to the shop.  On arriving, they inform you that they’ll have it figured out and fixed next week, sometime.

B) Clean and lube the chain.  When that doesn’t do it, you figure skip it, the universe has given you a squeaky bike so you’ll grow to love it’s squeakiness.  You also blame yourself for thinking a squeaky bike into being and forcing the universe’s hand.  (LOL)

C) Take your dirty steed to the power wash.  Obviously the dirt on the frame is making the bike squeak. You liberally blast the hell out of every nook and cranny of the bike and let it air dry, only to find that now everything on the bike squeaks so you refer to B.

D) Don’t panic.  Finish your ride strong, shower, eat, take a nap and bust out the lube and cleaning products after you’re refreshed.


…Because it beats whining that I wish I would’ve come June.

My friends and I put in just shy of fifty miles yesterday.  Today was to be right around forty, but it was cold.  The mercury was just peaking its head out of the bubble when I woke up this morning:  17 degrees (F or -8 C) though I could see the skies were fairly clear and we weren’t scheduled to start until 9:30 am…  Maybe we’d get lucky and it would warm up in a hurry.

No such luck.  It was a balmy 19 when we were unloaded the bikes.  The wind started whipping before we hit mile ten.  The sun was out, thankfully, but it stayed cold.  The. Whole. Damn. Ride.  

I on my Venge and Mrs. Bgddy on her Alias, we cranked out just over 38-1/2 miles in 2-1/2 hours.

With the sun out, even though it was 15 degrees colder than yesterday, it wasn’t all that bad, actually more enjoyable than yesterday when it was so cloudy we had to resort to clear glasses.

We finished just after noon – and it was still only 27 degrees (-2 C).

I very well could have stayed in bed this morning and whined about the cold…   Then I could have whined this summer about not getting enough miles in over the spring when they’re “easy”.  Call it compound whining.

Instead, I got to get 38 miles in with my wife and five of my friendsBecause it sure beats whining that I could have put in the miles come June when the real riding is in full swing.

The Beauty of Cycling:  The Arm Flick, What it Means and It’s Many Wonderful Uses in a Marriage

If you’re into cycling, you already know how wonderful the sport is.  The speed, with respect to road biking and every part of mountain biking.  Being hungry and able to eat better than a small bird, the bikes themselves…  Let’s face it, it’s all good.

However, there is one tiny aspect of cycling in a group that makes life grand, that puts a spring in my step like no other:  The arm flick.

As the cycling season kicks off in fly-over country (and yes, Chicagoans, you are fly-over country too) it is time to disect every little aspect of cycling as if it were a form of mythical awesomeness, not just riding a bicycle.

The arm flick may seem to be, to most casual observers of the Tour de France, simply a gesture used to get the cyclist behind to move up in the rotation.  Oh, ye simpleton.  The arm flick, especially when used in a club ride, means so much more.  

That lone flick of the arm, in a fraction of a second says, “My brothers and sisters, I have laid myself bare.  I have given you my everything oh sweet friend, and have no more to give.  Please, oh kind friend, take my position that I may replenish my constitution in your life-giving draft.”  

That’s a lot of meaning in a simple flick of an arm!

That is not all however, my most excellent friend.  If you are lucky enough to cycle with your mate as I do, the arm flick becomes an unspoken language of tenderness, caring and – dare I say, Love itself.

Used on the couch, it carries such meaning as “Honey, my dearest, please take remote in thine hand and clickest thou over to the game to allow me the opportunity to ascertain the contest’s score”.

Or, “My handsome hunk of a human heating coil, scooteth thou over and shareth thine sweet warmth that I may fall into life-regenerating sleep.”

It can say, “Dearest woman, I have given my all in support of our humble home by laying plunder to countless billions of blades of grass, that you may enjoy our palace grounds…  Wouldest thou make me a sammich?”

As any husband can relate to…  “My steady rock, thine pillar of awesomeness, wouldest thou see to this most lengthy of lists, manual chores that are too technically difficult, with need of tools and sweat of brow, that thou may recieve some honey on retiring this evening…”

Or any wife…  “Dearest love, giver of thine love to me and life to our wonderful children, my beautiful wife, a tragedy of tragedies…I seem to have run out of clean underwear!  Wherest hath thou placed the folded laundry?”

Or even, “Sweet man, my ample bosom longs for your tender caress, get in here, big shooter!” (Thanks to Mrs. Bgddy for that one).

So, as we in the upper hemisphere begin to celebrate the oncoming summer, use the arm flick well and often…  And as soon as I come up with a witty one-liked, I’ll make a tee shirt out of it as a part of my soon-to-be released apparel company.

Now, what do you use the arm flick for?

Brillianize:  Possibly the Best Carbon Fiber Frame Cleaner and Polish on the Market.

I had a job about five years ago that called for some beautiful and exceptionally expensive ceiling tile.  The tile came with a specialty cleaning product that we used to pretty up the tile in the event fingerprints were left on the tile:

Now, if you know anything about acoustical ceilings you know the tile in those to photos are wildly expensive.  The owner spent ridiculous amount of money on those two ceilings but I’m here to tell you, they looked awesome when we were done (especially the first one).  In any event, we were supplied with a lot of polish for the tile.  I left some on site and brought the rest back to my office where it sat for several years.

Last week, my wife picked up a bottle of the polish and asked if we could use it for anything or if we should get rid of it…  I read the spray bottle:
Hmm…  Plastic Cleaner…  Then I got to the small print in the red bubble:  Carbon Fiber.  I knew exactly what I was going to try the stuff on.  Last week, Sunday, was Venge Day around these parts and it just so happened that about one mile into our 47 mile ride, I rode through some unavoidable cow manure (a farmer sprayed his field within hours of hour ride and failed to wait for the sprayer to quit spraying before he pulled onto the road – there was no avoiding it).  After my nap I cleaned off what little remnants were stuck to the frame and pulled out the Brillianize…  The results were nothing short of astounding (and keep in mind, this bike is more than 1-1/2 years old and has in excess of 5,000 miles on it):
That photo was taken with my iPhone too – it’s not even a decent camera.  I simply followed the instructions on the package and ten minutes later, well it looks better today than it did on the showroom floor.  And the best part is the stuff is relatively cheap (between $5 and $6) for a bottle that should last years.  A simple Google search will turn up about a dozen places to buy it, and I cannot recommend the product for cleaning and polishing a carbon fiber bike highly enough.  It’s fantastic.

Stay tuned to fit recovery tomorrow, March 22, 7:00 am EST

I wrote a post last evening that is my best work yet when it comes to funny cycling stuff…  Tested on my wife first, she laughed (yes, out loud) from the second paragraph until long after the last period…

It posts tomorrow, Sunday morning, at 7 am.

Bike Quiz:  All of a Sudden the D@^^n Bike is Hard to Shift…  What Do You Do?!

You went out yesterday and rode through a hurricane.  Fortunately the wind was at your back so it was neat hitting 84 mph, soft pedaling.  Unfortunately, there was a spot of rain you had to drive through.

The next day you head out to recon the damage, running through a few chin-deep puddles.  Or you cycle in England, pretty much the same thing.  On your way home you hit a dry stretch and go to shift into the big dog (that’s the big chain ring, Noobs) only to hear a gnarly screech and your two shifting fingers break at the knuckle.

What do you do?

A.  Take the bike home, hit eBay and upgrade the shifters and dérailleurs.

B.  Decide that you really don’t need the big ring anyway and vow to become the fastest baby ring cyclist EVAH!

C.  Dude, bust out the lube!

D) Pull over and wave the bike above your head, waiting for the team car to promptly deliver you a fresh one.  (Thanks to the tempo cyclist for that one)


You ever have one of those days… ?

I had to fire four of my guys the other day, leaving me woefully shorthanded.  Today I had two peace officers in my office who were there to make sure that those guys returned the last of my tools.  In the meantime I had a ton of work to get done…  And I got about four hours of sleep last night.  

I arrived home to my spectacular wife who, well…  She’s just awesome.  We talked things through and then it was time to fix my head:

Cycling, for me, is the cure for “those days”.

Pro Cycling, How Hard Could It Be?  Pretty Stinkin’ Hard.

At the club ride the other day, we were headlong into a brute of a headwind when Greg, a mere Cat 3 FOG (friend of the gang), rolled up, turned 20 meters ahead of us and took the lead.  Forty seconds later there was a gap…  He was throwing down a hundy (100 rpm cadence) and pulling away – sitting up, on the tops (hands on the bar tops, the least aerodynamic position on the bike).  Naturally, we normal folk were all in the drops, lamenting the fact that we hadn’t stayed home as the vast majority of the group had.

If you’ve ridden a bike and seen footage of a race, you’ve probably wondered, “Meh, how hard could it be?”

My wife is a 16 mph pacer, a mile and a half under my recovery ride pace.  I can do to her what Greg does to my friends and I.  Effortless, BAM I’m on the gas and pulling away, leaving my wife huffing and puffing to wonder, “WTF”…

Now, I’m assuming a Cat 2 can pull away from my buddy Greg like he does me and I do my wife.  Wait, that doesn’t sound too good.  I digress.  A Cat 1 can do that to a Cat 2 and a Tour Pro can do that to a Cat 1.  See where I’m going with that?  I love hearing that the Tour de France’s average pace is 26 mph – it makes me think, “Hey, I’m not that far off” – or it used to.  Then again…  Oh yes I am.

I suppose my point, if there must be one as I ponder my humility as it was laid in my lap a few nights ago, is this:  My friends and fellow cyclists, ride your ride.  Wait up when you can or if you choose, put the hammer down as you please.  Love your bike and ride it, as friend and elder statesman cyclist says, like you mean it but know that if, for any reason, we find it too difficult to keep up, we are not are not a failure. Failure, while only a temporary malady of the mind, is reserved for those who choose excuses or to stay home.  Hold your head high, except in a headwind.  In that case, put your head down and grit your teeth and give it your best. Don’t accept your limitations but don’t expect to change them overnight either.  Don’t sabotage your awesomeness then look for others to blame.  Ride your ride and be happy.

Finally, be an ambassador for the sport.  Always.

Bike Quiz:  You just got a new cassette and chain put in your bike.  While out on your first ride…

This is the first post in a new series I’ll be running on Fit Recovery called Bike Quiz.  I hope you either A), enjoy the post B) get a good laugh or C) learn something from one of my oft-made mistakes and get a laugh from my self-deprecating style of looking at life and, um, cycling.  That said, here’s the scenario:

You just had a new cassette and chain put on your bike.  The first time you take the bike out you notice a faint (minor) clicking when you pedal in the three smaller cogs on the cassette, but only when you pedal.  What do you do?

A)  Get off the bike mid-ride, slam it to the ground and walk home or call your significant other for a lift.

B) Sue the bike shop (or yourself, obviously, if you put the cassette and chain on) for poor workmanship, take to tweeter and the social media discouraging everyone on the interwebz from frequenting the establishment.

C) Take the 1m:24s required to index and dial in the rear derailleur after your ride (or during if you’re on a long one).


Fifteen Miles of Raw, Gnarly Suckin’…  I Mean Cyclin’

I’m sitting in my car writing this. The heater pegged and the thermostat shows 37 degrees:

What that photo doesn’t show is the sustained 20 mph winds with gusts approaching 30.  I still showed up for the club ride even if 75% of the group stayed home.  So did my buddies Mike and Brad.  

We did the seven mile warmup loop though there wasn’t much warming going on there. It sucked but we had a laugh about it. The tailwind for three miles was at least nice. The ride started woefully understaffed at six on the nose and the few racers broke away after a mile.  I could have gone with, I had plenty of leg, but Mike and Dale hung back so I decided to hang with them.  We anticipated a break when we turned north, only to find the wind had shifted more toward the north – and had picked up steam since the warmup.

We called no mas maybe a minute later.  Rather than head back we chose to do the warmup lap again and then call it good.  We ended up with fifteen miles but there wasn’t much fun to be had. Even a quick little 32 mph sprint failed to put a full shit-eating grin on my face (just a partial).

I told my wife I had no fun.  That’s an over exaggeration, I did have some fun but it did suck.  Better than sitting home of course, but not much.

Okay, now I have to get my butt in the house and get out of this garb.  A hot cup of coffee and a shower and I should be good.