CycleFest 2008 at Wakefield March 21, 2008
I Miss My Bike March 20, 2008
I just got back from 4 days in Vegas with my husband and my parents. I’d say a good time was had by all. I have been insanely busy with work outside of those 4 days and am STILL busy trying to meet a deadline at the end of the month. I really miss riding my bike. I enviously watched a woman on her brightly-colored bike and inverted handlebars as I sat in a cab on the way back to the airport. I hope that I get some riding time in this weekend as I’m still playing catch up from being out of town. I must remind myself that I work this hard now so I can ride later especially when the weather gets nice again. It really just bums me out though.
First Commute of the Year March 11, 2008
Last Thursday, I finally made my first ride into work of the year. My commutes are never round-trip since one leg of the trip is almost 16 miles. That probably makes me a pseudo-bike commuter. I do pack a lot since we dress business professional at work and I can’t keep a stock of my necessities in our locker room since we can’t rent them. I weighed my panniers when I got to the locker room and they were 18.2 lbs which included a laptop, an outfit, shoes, a towel, small bottles of toiletries, and my makeup. I really only noticed the extra weight while I was going up hills in that I was slower. I firmly believe now that my rack will suffice is that for the most part on the ride I had pretty good clearance with full panniers. If I had bigger feet or shoes though, I probably wouldn’t have the option.
The commute was uneventful just as a commute should be and I’m really getting use to the seat now. It’s downright comfy now. I really love my bike and feel like I have the right one since the concept of touring and really long rides really appeals to me.
I came across Adventure Cycling’s website and looked up their C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage fully-supported tour. If we weren’t going to buy a house this year and otherwise be busy I would probably consider going this year but am instead really gunning for doing it next year. Like REALLY considering doing it. Next year is the time because then the husband and I will probably try to start a family afterwards and who knows what will happen then?
Till then, I ride!
Lights and Commuting March 4, 2008
There was a great post on the Team Estrogen board that I frequent. Someone asked about lights while commuting and which were the best, etc. A board member from Seattle posted some great information that I thought was worthwhile to share.
“A group of us got together here in Seattle and did a little night time testing with a variety of lights and reflective equipment. My impressions from that session
Very bright lights are not necessarily any safer – if you are blinding drivers it actually makes YOU harder to see – as all the drivers can see is a small bright point of light and the rider behind gets entirely lost (as does any signal you might be making)… They are great to see by, but if you choose to use one, be very careful where you point it… (and for petes sake if you ride on a bike trail don’t blind other riders with it! turn it down or away from the faces of other people)
Helmet mounting your reasonably bright lights makes them very easy to control – you can put the light where you need it and you can briefly “flash” drivers to get their attention.
Flashing lights say bike all over (this can be good or bad…) and they are more eye catching than steady lights. Just be sure your flashing taillight is not obstructed by any bags or baggage you might be carrying and make sure the batteries are fresh enough that your light is still bright. If you have an old red LED, it may be time to invest in a new one – the new ones are much brighter and more noticeable. Those little blinky valve stem lights were a big surprise. They actually worked very well.
Over everything else reflective items make you noticeable. This was surprising to me. I figured good bright lights and lots of them would trump any reflective materials – Nope! The most eye catching thing anyone had that night was one of those standard dorky orange and yellow strap on traffic triangles… Reflective piping and patches on clothing – especially parts that move a lot, like your feet and legs are very good. Colored reflective materials were more effective than plain silver. One guy had his bike covered in orange reflective tape – he was very visible. Tires with reflective sidewalls looked very good from the side, which is often a hard angle to be properly lit from.
Lastly have someone ride your bike – then you can see just how visible you are and see if anything needs to change. I added a whole bunch of reflective tape and sew on strips to my messenger bag after the session.”
I will probably invest in another roll of reflective tape as I’m paranoid about not being seen on the road.
Pics of My Kona Sutra March 3, 2008
The rest are here: http://ryanandangel.smugmug.com/gallery/4412583_qXMgh
These were taken before I put the rack on the bike obviously.
I finally got to spend some quality time with my new bike. If you are keeping count, since I sold the hybrid and bought the Sutra, our household consists of 3 bikes to include my husband’s hybrid and the old roadie I bought off a Craiglister (which I will sell now). On Saturday, I took the fenders off my husband’s bike at his request and put the Cateye computer on it. I then took my old rack off the old roadie to see how it would work on the Sutra. I attached it to the seat post with zip ties and it’s pretty darned sturdy. I put a pannier on to see how it would do since I know a lot of people have issues with clearance while pedaling. I do hit it a little bit but nothing too bad. I had ordered a Tubus Cargo rack from REI using the 20% coupon but will probably cancel it since I think I have something that works.
I never mentioned that among my birthday presents from my husband was a Garmin Edge 305 with Cadence. I ended up ordering the heart rate monitor separately with gift cards for Amazon since my current Oregon Scientific heart rate monitor went wonky on me. So I put that on the Sutra on Saturday as well. It was amazingly easy having gone through 3 wired bike computer installations in the past already.
Like many of you, I have been pining for nice cycling weather and with a sunny day with low winds and non-frigid temps in the high 40s on Sunday I decided to take the Sutra on her maiden voyage. My intended route was along the W&OD from my house to mile marker 0.0 in Shirlington (Arlington, VA). I took her for one quick spin around the neighborhood to get acquainted and to make sure that I could clip in and out easily since I’m not 100% on that just yet. Then I was off!
It was a fantastic ride! The ride to Shirlington is always easier than the ride back. There can be a headwind many times on the return trip and I had always suspected that there is a gradual ascent on the return. Thanks to my Edge 305 I can now see that is true: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/5087280
I still have to get use to this less-upright position and my shoulders, neck, and upper back are definitely feeling it today but my legs feel great! I’m still breaking in the seat but it is no where near as bad as when I first tried it out. The Sutra is such a smooth ride and peppier than you would think it to be. It was a total blast!
I know I still haven’t told the story about how I came to this Sutra. It is quite a story so I will have to save it for another post. I’m still learning to not be quite so verbose when telling a story. 😉