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Monthly Archives: April 2018

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Cycling, Tire Changing, and How to Avoid Using the Tire Irons for that last Pain in the BUTT part of the Tire that won’t seem to slip over the Brake Track…

First, don’t resort to the tire irons to get your clincher tire seated in the wheel. The chance that you’ll maim the inner tube is too great.

I know how hard it is to refrain. I do, because guess who has two thumbs and has a tough time not reaching for them when the going gets tough (and did maim the tube)? This guy (points both thumbs back at me).

First things first, if you’ve got room (2014 or newer road bike, you should), use 25 or 26mm tires. They’ll give you a little more play, they’re not noticeably slower and they vastly improve the ride of your bike.

Second, get the bead to the center of the rim by pinching both sides of the tire and giving it a little twist, every six inches to a foot, all the way around the tire till you get to where the tire won’t slide into the rim.

Third, and this will really help, hold the rim parallel to the ground with both hands on either side. You want the section you’re struggling with farthest away from you. Now, place that section of rim down on the ground so the wheel is standing upright. Take the heel of both hands and starting at the top of the tire, slide your hands along the tire toward the ground – you’re effectively pushing any slack toward the section of tire you’re struggling with. Done with a little force, this will help a ton.

Finally, and this is the inside pool of the pro, it’s not about lifting the tire bead into the rim – you’re not strong enough (nor am I, that’s why I reached for the tire irons!). The key is to push the tube up so you don’t pinch it between the bead and the rim (this will likely result in wasting a CO2 canister as well as you’ve just pinched a hole into your precious tube… so now you’re double hit). Once you get the tube out of the way – you can give yourself a little slack by taking some of the bead out of the rim – then you roll the tire into its home. Grip with your fingers and roll with the pads of your hand. It should roll right in there with a little fuss and effort.

The keys are, again, confidence. You don’t need the tire irons. Center the tire and work any slack to where you need it. Clear the tube out of the way and roll the tire into place.

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A Surprisingly Small Group and Our First Perfect Day for a Bike Ride

It feels like the weather’s finally broke and we can get on with spring. When I woke yesterday morning I expected a big group for the ride. I was shocked when only two others beside my wife and I showed. It did make some sense, several of our friends headed over to the west side of the State for Barry-Roubaix, the largest gravel road ride in the USA, but I still expected six or eight.

I’d pulled out the big gun for this ride.  I’ve been riding the Trek since last fall and have it dialed in excellently, but I was missing the easy speed of the Venge.  Apples to apples, and both bikes at the very top of their operating ability, the old Trek can’t hold a candle to the Venge.  Literally and figuratively.  The 5200 is an excellent and comfortable bike but 14 years of technological advancement in carbon fiber is simply too great…

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Final tally notwithstanding, we rolled at 9am, Mike, Chuck, my wife and I. The conditions, for the end of April, were stellar. Sunshine, 41° (5 C) and virtually no wind.  We kept a lively but easy pace for the first six miles or so before turning dead into what little breeze there was.  Holding 19 wasn’t all that hard but my wife was suffering a late night, little sleep and tired legs, so we kept the pace low for her.  She left the group at about the ten mile mark to head back… our daughter had to prep for her first high school prom (! DUDE!) so my wife wanted to get back to her.

I’d dressed a little under for the temp because I knew it would warm up soon enough but I struggled against the chill on the upper body for about 45 minutes, and then… boom, I the warmth of the sun on my red long-sleeve thermal finally cut through the cold.  Apparently my friends felt it too because it went from quiet to lively talk about how great a day it was for cycling all within ten minutes.

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We all took turns, over the course of the next 35 miles or so, expressing how much fun it was to be out in good, warm weather.  I wish I could put it into writing, how enjoyable it was, the relief, to be out with two of my good friends like that, after one of the longest, coldest winters in Michigan history (the longest since 1874).  I felt like our planned 50 just wasn’t enough – a stark contrast against looking forward to being done after 25 or 30 miles in the cold.

We stopped into the bike shop to say hi to everyone on our way home and they were hopping inside…  People milled about all over the shop.  Everyone in our group, everyone, has a high-end bike.  Be it a Specialized, Trek, Giant or even a Merckx, we’re all sporting top-of-the-line stuff so we like to line our bikes up along the outside window as free advertising for the shop owner and eye candy for the shoppers (who are usually inside looking for a leisure bike of some sort).  Several stopped to ogle after completing their purchases.

After our greetings we headed out and threw a leg over the top tube for our final five miles to home, but horror of horrors, I discovered I would be shy of miles!  On the first perfect cycling day of the year, a day that was finally warm enough that you didn’t have to worry about sweat killing you because it sucks heat out of your body 25 times faster than air, I simply couldn’t come up short of our planned 50!

I chose to stick with Mike and Chuck to Chuck’s house (Chuck lives just over two miles from my house) and rode Mike home down another mile toward his house (Mike lives two miles from me as well), then took it back to my place.  I pulled into the driveway with 50.12 miles.  Perfect.

I had a couple of delectable pulled pork sammiches for lunch, with slaw and Devil’s Spit barbecue sauce from Famous Dave’s (it’s hot, but not as hot as the name suggests, it’s a spectacular spicy BBQ sauce), watched some of the Tiger’s baseball game and took a 30 minute nap.

I’ll tell you, it’s nice to be back on my “more mileage” schedule.  This week, after this morning’s 50, I’ll top 200 miles for the first time since last fall.  Everything seems easier when I’m on that schedule.  My body works better, food tastes better (and certainly does less damage, heh), and my attitude and outlook on life are better.  Folks, life is better.

Winter’s Last Hoorah… and I got Caught in the Middle of It

Tuesday there was no way I was riding. Barely above freezing, with 18-mph wind. I like to think of myself as tough, not stupid. I rode the trainer.

Wednesday was supposed to be better, but go from rain to snow in the afternoon. Not exactly the best conditions for a ride so the plan was to hit the trainer yet again.

However, miracle of my week, the Weather Channel said the rain would hold off till 7pm… what to do, what to do. No question I was riding, hey 40° (3 C) is still better than freezing even if it is 20° (7 C) below normal (Al Gore, call your office). The question was which bike to take!?

With a gnarly east wind I really wanted to take the Venge. As silly as it may sound, riding it in the wind is like cheating compared to the 5200. On the other hand, the Trek is just a little more comfortable, even if it is four pounds heavier. Side by side, the Venge is the better bike to ride, by a long shot….

I liked the Trek for this one, simply because it’s a little harder to ride. Better to push the harder bike earlier in the season, then let loose on the good bike later.

The first mile was nice. The second, with a strong tailwind was awesome. A mile north, turn around and back south… followed by three dead into the teeth of the wind. Okay, that kinda sucked. I was wishing I’d picked my Venge a half-mile into that headwind slog. At one point it pushed me back to 14-mph.

I just kept my head down and pushed through it. I turned south and that was a lot better… right up till it started sleeting. Right then I was glad I’d picked the Trek.

The roads started getting wet. I could have gone home. I could have made it home in less than seven minutes from right there.

I didn’t turn back though, because that would have made for a short post. I did pick up the pace – no sense in prolonging the mess.

Soon enough I was on the last mile and the ice was picking up in intensity. I rolled into the driveway after a fairly easy sixteen miles in just over 53 minutes.

Winter held on a hell of a lot longer than it should have but I was glad to get one last tough guy ride in before the good weather finally showed up. Now it’s time to make up for lost weeks….

The Never-ending Winter gave Me an Opportunity to Learn how to Train Better on the Turbo… err Trainer.

When winter throws you $#!+ stained snow, make $#!++¥ snowballs…

It was 35° (1 C) with a brisk 18 mph wind from the west for last evening’s Tuesday Night Club Ride. I didn’t even take the Trek off of the trainer. That temp is more than 25° (8 C) below normal. F**********ck THAT!

Mrs. Bgddy has been a little impatient with my penchant for blaring Star Wars over our Bose Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound system. You know how it sounds in a theater? My living room system is almost that good – certainly louder. It’s freaking fantastic.  Unless you’re my wife, apparently.

Anyway, happy wife, happy life, I opted to spin outside of the box with my movie watching last week. I dug out a pair of ear buds and sat my phone on my Trek’s sweat thong, tuned in to Alien Covenant and cranked it up.

Halfway through I became acutely aware of how hard I was spinning. Sweat rolled off the tip of my nose. My bibs were wet with sweat and my shirt was drenched. To be honest, I was a little surprised that I had another gear on the trainer.

I didn’t let up, either.  I just let myself get lost in the movie and rolled on.

I’ve had three days on the trainer since switching from the big screen to the small and all three were excellent. I’m sure I’ll switch back when my wife and I are riding together, but as good as those three trainer sessions were, I’m quite happy with the small screen. It’s a better way for me to train on the trainer.

All of that trainer BS is out the window, though. Finally.  I’ll publish a post about my laughable Wednesday ride tomorrow, but we are beginning a week of fantastic weather. Sunshine and mercifully average temps (low 60’s). It’s time for some big miles.

A Revolutionary Way to Change a Bicycle Tire… Here’s a Hint: Leave the Tire Irons in Your Saddle Bag

Everyone I’ve ever seen change a tire has used a tire iron. Every. Single. Time.

Until last week.

I was dropping off a rear wheel at the shop to be relaced. Seconds before I left I realized I needed my rear tire to put on a spare wheel I had at home. No sense in riding a new tire this early in the season, right? Of course right.

I raised a finger in the air and exclaimed, “Wait, fine shopkeep! I need my tire!”

I strode confidently toward one of the shop benches for tire irons… I was in the back of the shop. Matt, the owner, stopped me in my tracks.

“Neigh, neigh, my young apprentice, we shan’t be needing the irons of the tire”, he said.

Aghast, I stumbled backward as if mortally wounded, clutching at the heart fluttering in my chest…

“Kind sir, that’s imposs…”

My word trailed off as, with a pinch, a twist and a healthy push, the tire and tube were stripped from my clincher wheel.  I $#!+ you not.

I looked at him as Luke first looked on Yoda after realizing who the little green fella was.

But unlike young Skywalker, I’d paid attention to those deft three moves and I shall now pass them on to you, my friends, because that’s how I roll.

May the Force be with us.

First, let the air out of the tube, all of it. Dead flat.

Next, opposite the valve stem, pinch the tire so you’ve got the tire and tube between your thumb and forefinger.

Next, bend/wiggle the tire back and forth until you can see a little daylight betwixt the tire bead and rim, like so:

Then, with one move, twist and push the tire away from you and the rim… the tire and tube will come off, straight away – and the twist is not left or right, it’s away from you, top to bottom (or tread to bead):

You want to look like some kind of pedaling Svengali? Next time you’ve got a flat, try that little move and watch the jaws go slack.

Dude.

*** I should add, here, this won’t work with every tire and rim combination – some tires are simply too tight on the rim, though I did this with two different sets of wheels and it worked both times for me.

How to Stop a Panic Attack, or how I could have stopped Mine…

Panic attacks are real and they SUUUUUUUCK.  I was hit by my first (and thankfully my last) about eight months after I sobered up.  I happened on a post published on a blog I just started following a few weeks ago that would have changed how I handled mine.  I’m passing this on for any newcomers to sobriety who frequent my blog…  If you haven’t experienced a panic attack yet, fantastic!  Read the post anyway in case in comes up down the road.  I wished I had this 25 years ago:

https://navigatemyrecovery.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-panic-attacks-in-order-to-stop-them/

If you are having, ever have had, or haven’t yet had a panic attack, the linked post will help. Check it out.

What You Need to Know About Road Cycling when Entering the Sport for Fun, Weight Loss, or just because…

Friends, Romans, and soon-to-be cyclists, there are a few helpful things, let’s call them nuances of the sport, that are helpful for the new and aspiring cyclist to know going in. I am going to try to come at this from a more obscure standpoint, not necessarily the simple, cookie cutter points.

First, buying a Peloton stationary bike and paying the $40 monthly fee to ride it is probably the more expensive and boring way to get into cycling. I can see a lot of boxes being ticked with it, though… You don’t have to rely on weather, time of day, traffic, just to name a few. On the other hand, you also don’t get to see anything outside of a computer screen and the surroundings of whatever room you choose to put the exercise machine in. One of the more enjoyable aspects of road cycling is seeing the countryside from the saddle. While there are dangers to cycling, if you don’t live in a major city or can get out of town to roam the countryside, there is nothing better than cycling to see the world you’ve been missing from the driver’s seat.

Road cycling will challenge your definition of “expensive”.  You’re thinking $500 for a bicycle is nuts.  I’ll tell you $5,000 for a bike is reasonable, understandable, and a fantastic investment in one’s health. Better, given some time in the saddle, I’d put money on you agreeing with me. How often have you heard a doctor say, “Whatever it is you’re doing, keep doing it.”? That becomes the refrain after cycling several years. It did for me.  Not only that, what sounds better, buying a few expensive bikes or funding your doctor’s weekend vacation home because you’re fat and sick?  I’ll take the former, thank you.

New studies out show that cyclists get a special boost to their immune system and that a cyclist’s immune system looks decades “younger”. This isn’t a surprise to me as I’ve been living it for years. While I used to get sick a few times a year, I rarely catch a cold (or the flu), even when it’s traipsing through my house in my kids.  Regular exercise, I should say regular vigorous exercise, keeps me healthy beyond what I thought possible.

Many people think taking the time to exercise takes up too much time…  Cycling, especially road cycling, doesn’t take as much time as one might think, especially if all you have to do is get dressed, wheel your bike out the door and start riding.  I manage to ride an hour daily during the week for much of the season and three or four hours on Saturday and Sunday.

Next, be prepared to feel more relaxed the other 23 hours of the day (or 20 as the case may be)….  If you’re lucky enough to love cycling, you’ll likely find that life changes pace a little bit.  Those everyday pains you used to live with go away.  You no longer run out of breath walking up four flights of stairs…. and if you’re as fortunate as I am, you’ll enjoy your balanced life a lot more.  You will likely come to find that you miss your bike if you can’t bring it with you on vacation.  You’ll find yourself more irritable.

Then, once you get back from that vacation, no matter how active it was, you’ll throw a leg over your top tube after getting back and three miles down the road all will be right with life again.

Cycling, for some, is just something you do.  For those of use who embrace it as a lifestyle, you’ll find life much more enjoyable than you thought possible.  Find some friends to ride with and you’ll wonder how you ever got by before you knew what a crankset was and that a good one can cost more than your first bike – and you thought that was expensive when you bought it.

This has been a public service announcement from Fit Recovery, on the behalf of spring, cycling and friendship.  Ride hard my friends.