Where The Bike Takes Me

Continuing this journey of cycling in efforts to get into shape, lose weight, enjoy the outdoors, and save my knees from their arthritic state at 28 years of age.

Where I’ve Been May 13, 2009

Filed under: cycling — f8th637 @ 11:14 am

I know there’s been quite a hiatus in my postings. Coincidentally, however, I noticed that my last post was in December while I was in Pittsburgh spending the holidays with my in-laws. It was during this visit, my friends, that my husband and I learned that we were expecting! I’m due September 5th and it looks like we’re having a girl. I have ridden since finding out. There was a nice 17-mile ride my husband and I did in February to explore our new neighborhood. Oh yes, we bought our first house over the winter as well. I have good reasons for not posting. I more recently rode 8 miles on the W&OD here after work one day but realized that I was not going to be able to do that much longer on that bike as it made my tummy uncomfortable. I could probably do about 5 miles and be fine. But here the mixte comes to the rescue! I took it out of the shed yesterday to see if I’d be more comfortable riding on it and it looks like the Sutra will be retired for the rest of the year. I will say that after that 8-miler a few weeks ago I felt great the next day. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure that Baby Girl is as avid a cyclist as her parents are.


The Pittsburghers Put Me to Shame December 30, 2008

Filed under: cycling — f8th637 @ 7:58 pm

I’m in Pittsburgh visiting my in-laws in hilly and chilly country. I have seen way more cyclists on the road than I totally expected. It didn’t get out of the 30s today. I think the high may have been 34. It didn’t stop the guys I saw today decked-out in full weather gear panniers and all. Kudos to you! I haven’t ridden outside since October maybe. . . tsk tsk.


First Indoor Training Class with Melissa Dalio November 9, 2008

Filed under: bike,cycling,Cycling in the DC Metro Area,Great Ideas — f8th637 @ 4:34 pm

So, I’m behind in some blog posting.  I meant to blog about how The BIke Lane in Reston was holding classes for Yoga and indoor training classes twice a week starting this month.  The indoor training class is either Wednesday morning or Sunday morning and costs $30 for a month.  Last year, I was thinking about how great it would be if there was a place I could take a spinning-type class in the winter months where I wouldn’t have to commit myself for a year.  With these classes in Reston, I sign up monthly.

I missed last week’s first class since I was in Orlando on vacation but I did go today.  We worked on leg speed.  I was clearly the most inexperienced out of everyone (that always seems to be the case.)  There were four of us.  We worked for 1.5 hours on cadence and pedaling techniques using intervals.  The 1-legged intervals were PAINFUL.  You wouldn’t think that it would be difficult to do these but they are.  I challenge you to maintain a cadence of 90 RPM with a clean pedal stroke for 2 minutes.

I came home after the a stop at the Starbucks for one of their Banana-chocolate drinks (yum!) and a quick stop at the craft store.  I promptly passed out.  I am TIRED and I know I’ll be sore tomorrow.  My quads are kinda fatigued but nothing like that Pilates class I attempted a few weeks ago.  This’ll be good for me even if it may hurt a bit.  This is what I need to motivate me at the moment.

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My Bike is Mad at Me October 19, 2008

Filed under: bike,cycling,Gear — f8th637 @ 9:40 pm

I haven’t ridden the Sutra outside since the Wednesday after the Trek (which I know I still have to write about) where I rode in to work.  That was mid-September. Then the reunion-planning got into high gear and well, the riding, fell to the way-side.  The good news is that now the reunion is behind me and it was a great success.  Since not riding, I’m pretty sure I’ve gained some weight.  This past week I put the bike on the trainer and rode it for 30 minutes.  The Sutra was mad that I hadn’t lubed her chain and that I hadn’t ridden her outside in about a month.  In this month, I have attempted a truce with gifts.  I bought her two Knog Frog LED lights: one in Olive with a white LED and one in a yellow-orange with a red LED.  I have mounted them yet they have yet to see the light of day.  I also lubed the chain and made her saddle look like new by picking up a tin of Brooks Proofide and giving the saddle some love after the 3-days of rain from the Trek in Cape Cod.  I have promised the Sutra that I will ride her in to work one day this week so that she can see the Fall foliage that is starting to come up.  I am hoping then she won’t be mad at me anymore and may even forgive me.

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The Awesome People at Twin Six October 17, 2008

Filed under: cycling,Gear — f8th637 @ 2:12 pm

I know it’s been a while since we got our Fat Cyclist jerseys from Twin Six. I have worn mine several times but my husband only got to wear his once or twice before the thread at the bottom holding the elastic started to unravel.  Sadly, the jersey sat in the bottom of drawers for a few months.  I kept meaning to ping Twin Six and tell them the sad plight of my jersey.  I didn’t really expect much but you know how small certain worlds can be.  I actually finally had the chance to e-mail their customer service while they were at Interbike actually and heard back from Molly.  She suggested that I send in the jersey and she could at least have it repaired at a tailor and sent back.  A few days later, I got an e-mail from Molly saying that she was shipping a brand new ’08 men’s orange jersey instead of the frayed one I had sent her.  Said jersey came in the mail yesterday, and it is indeed a brand spankin’ new.  I don’t have a lot of faith in customer service these days and I’m sure I’m not alone in this but I think Twin Six has it right and stands behind their products obviously.  If you haven’t had a chance to check out Twin Six, I’d definitely recommend it.  I really like the cut of their female jerseys.  Thank you, Twin Six!

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New Look & Late-Night Ramblings September 6, 2008

I decided just now, without any forethought, to change the look of my blog. I felt just now that it was too sterile looking and I wanted something that had a wider layout for the posts because I’d like to incorporate more pictures. I like how this theme kept all the categories in place for my links. Some themes just did away with the categories altogether and just lumped all the links in one big blogroll. You would have loved that one. So what do you think? Yea or nay?

I’m up late because I’m having my monthly bout of insomnia which I think is exacerbated this month by a.) this upcoming reunion I’m planning and b.) IT’S A WEEK TILL THE AUTUMN ESCAPE BIKE TREK! This time next week I’ll have completed the first day of the 3-day tour. I am a bit worried I haven’t got as much riding time as I think I should have. I don’t feel I’m as strong as I was earlier in the summer which is probably never good. I did drag my husband and Bach out west to do Scott and Jim’s Lovetts or Leesit ride on Labor Day. More on that in the next post. The ride did further confirm with me, however, that I needed to take the bike into the shop for some work.

I went to Bikes at Vienna bright and early Thursday morning a few minutes after they opened up. Tim, the head mechanic, was there. He worked on the Lotus for me a few months ago and really digs that bike. When I told him the changes I wanted done with it he was like, “Ah, someone’s been visiting the Rivendell website.” I knew I was talking to a man after my own heart when he said that. Haa haa! So he transformed it and gave me grips to match my honey Brooks which is no longer on that bike sadly. (If anyone has one they are looking to get rid of please let me know!) He said if I was ever interested in selling the bike to let him know because he might know someone who would want it. I think the bike is a tad bit too small for me but I love how light and smooth it is especially compared to the Kona and my husband has come to terms with the fact that it is my “fun bike” as he calls it that I just can’t let it go.

Anyway, I told Tim the issues I’d been having with the Sutra. I realized he didn’t know who I was without the Lotus. I told him I moved the Brooks from the Lotus to this bike and then he remembered. (It’s like dog owners who can tell you the name of the neighborhood dogs but not the name of their owners.) I told Tim about the clicking noises I was experiencing in the crank/bottom bracket area and the shifting issues that I knew just needed an adjustment. I also had a crimped cable up front that I had noticed long ago but never got checked out. I also needed bar ends because I somehow lost both of them. I installed a kickstand (just plain old one) earlier in the week but never got around to trimming it down to the length. I had Tim take care of all that for me too. He noticed (like I had) that my rear disc brake seemed to rub. I have tried all kinds of adjusting on that thing and when I put the kickstand on I decided to check the rear tire and brake. I loosened the brake as much as I possibly could and then turned the wheel. It kept spinning and spinning as it should. But when I hit the brake hoods and pulled the levers it was so slack it did nothing so I had tighten them back and was back to square one. Tim noticed this without me even having to point it all out. I was like, “If you can fix it, that’ll be great!”

So he gave me a “tuneup lite” as they call it which is basically adjusting the brakes and the shifting cables. He also regreased my pedals and tightened the crank bolt and the chain ring bolts to help me with the ticking sound. He then straightened that bent rear brake rotor as well. He replaced the crimped cable and the housing, gave me bar ends, and trimmed my kickstand just like I asked. And the bike was ready a day early. 🙂

I can’t wait to ride it and try it out but sadly I will have to wait until Sunday as tomorrow a hurricane is suppose to blow through. It’s 3 AM and aside from a little rain earlier in the evening I haven’t seen much else.

There are no Kona dealers in the area except for Proteus that I can tell. Everyone else keeps the usual brand names. My Kona Sutra is the first one he’s worked on and Tim said he enjoyed working on the bike and that he liked it. How many bike mechanics tell you that? He also really liked my VO baguette handlebar bag. What I really like about Tim and the other guy who works there (whose name I never get but knows me by my Lotus too) is that they kinda dig the things I do to my bikes. Tim’s a huge Brooks saddles fan. He even noticed the reflector decals I put on the bike and asked me if it came that way or if I did it myself. My husband says I girlify the bike but I like to think I just personalize it. Ok, it happens to have yellow reflector flower decals. I only bought them because they match the yellow accents on the Kona logo and the yellow Candy C pedals on there. I didn’t buy them because they were flowers. I know it’s silly but it tickles me to no end that they appreciate the ‘style’ (was the word they used) that I have with my bikes. Of course, to each his or her own. I’m just glad they get me. 🙂


Fall is Coming! August 26, 2008

I think I blogged about this last year but somehow the days getting shorter snuck up on me yet again this year.  I left the office at 6:45 PM today, stopped at the nearby Wal-Greens (the one in Herndon) to pick up my prescriptions from their drive-thru (I do it all the time) and it was pretty dark by the time I got to the Whole Foods in Vienna.  I still had a ride time of about 25 minutes to go.  There were plenty of people still on the trail but naturally today I had no light and no really bright or reflective clothing.  I did take the one reflective band I keep on the bike and slapped it around my ankle.  It was slim consolation but it was some.  I got home just as it was too dark to see outside without a light.  I was booking it out of straight nervousness.

Anyway, I spent this past weekend going to REI trying to find a suitable handlebar bag to carry my SLR for the Autumn Escape Bike Trek in a few weeks.  The Detours Zoom bag ended up being too small for the body with the lens attached.  Just a wee bit too small but I did like how padded it was.  I was leery of the plastic clip to attach it though.  Anyway, I didn’t find what I was looking for in terms of a handlebar bag at the REI but I did find the high-viz green vest/jacket combo that I was looking for.  Score!

On Sunday I stoppped at Bikes at Vienna to check out what they have.  I figured they had a few of the higher-end handlebar bags.  I was really looking for the black and yellow Ortlieb bag but they had both a small and large Arkel handlebar bag.  The small looked too small for the SLR and the big seemed like it would have more than enough room.  Where’s the medium when you need it?  Anyway, it was a bit pricey but Robert at Bikes at Vienna (who loves to take pictures too) brought up a good point, “Would you rather buy a new body (for the camera) or spend a $100 or so on a nice bag?”  I figured I’d take it home and give it a try. I really, really liked how the mount was metal.  I wish it had come with a raincover though.  I set it up last night and I swear it only took me like 10 minutes to mount and all.  Today I tested it on my ride home.  It feels solid, like an extension of the bike really.  Of course the bag jostles a bit but I was not at all worried about the thing coming loose or anything like that.  My next test will be with the SLR and maybe some clothes or something to help pad it.  I had my bike lock in it today for the hell of it and while I could see it affecting the steering it wasn’t anything to write home about.  The real test will be when it’s full of stuff but so far I’m really liking it.  I plan on spraying it inside and out with some water sealer spray.

I really love the Velo Orange Baguette bag. I love how it’s big enough to actually hold things in there.  It’s kinda smooshed up against my rack at the moment but I love having the extra storage options.  What can I say?  I’m a bit of a utilitarian rider.  I will probably take the rack off for the tour in a few weeks.  I think that with the handlebar bag I should be fine.  I also think that my husband should start carrying some of his own stuff.  😛  So we shall see.  I’ll take pictures of both bags on the bike.  I just need to get it on the trainer so I can do it justice.  Do people put kickstands on touring bikes?