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.

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?


Local coffee shop offers ‘Bicycle Benefits’ – Green Daily August 21, 2008

Filed under: bike,cycling,Cycling Elsewhere,Great Ideas — f8th637 @ 5:59 pm

Because I don’t have time to blog properly. . I’ll just share this:

Local coffee shop offers ‘Bicycle Benefits’ by Laura Malesich Aug 21st 2008 @ 4:51PM

Typical of most days for me I am sitting in a coffee shop blogging. (Thank goodness for Americanos and molasses cookies today!) Enjoying my treats and typing away I look up to the glass window and discover this subtle little sticker that says “At this location your Bicycle Benefits get you: A 12oz Coffee FREE!” Always feeling guilty about my coffee-addiction expenses I stare in disbelief. Racing to type in the web info to make sure this isn’t some mean trick I discover Bicycle Benefits — an organization that promotes those businesses in the U.S. who have made the commitment to offer their cycling, earth-friendly customers a discount. Order a sticker, place it on your helmet, and proceed into the nearest Bicycle Benefits business in your area. (So far it looks like that is limited to British Columbia, Colorado, Montana, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Utah and Wisconsin).

Local coffee shop offers ‘Bicycle Benefits’ – Green Daily

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One Month till 2008 Autumn Escape Bike Trek August 12, 2008

Filed under: cycling,Cycling Elsewhere,Event,Gear — f8th637 @ 9:11 pm

I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated. Between work, planning my high school reunion, and life in general it has been hard keeping up sometimes. We did sign up a few months ago for the Autumn Escape Bike Trek thrown by the Lung Association of Massachusetts and we have pledged to raise $1000 as a two-person team. It is our first charity event after all. It’s also our first tour of any kind and we’re really excited about that! If we raise $1000 by August 18th (this upcoming Monday) then we get free valet luggage service to our cabins every night, a VIP pass to cut in line for meals and massages, and a 2008 Trek cycling jersey!! Online we have raised $705. I have also sent them $160 in checks that still have to post. That basically leaves us $130 to the $1000 mark. Can you help us reach our goal? Please check out our team page at: http://www.mrsnv.com/evt/e01/team.jsp?id=1679&tid=832

In other news, the B17S Brooks that was suppose to go on the mixte now has a home on my Sutra instead. My girly bits are no longer being smooshed but I do have a feeling that if I had a regular B17 I would be even more comfortable. I’ve also recently purchased a pair of De Soto Arm Coolers (great especially in the shade!), a Detours Zoom bag for the DSLR I’m considering bringing on the tour, and a VO Baguette handlebar bag because I think it will work better in general with my rack setup and the Brooks. I’ll let you know how the bags turn out when I get them in.  I need to start logging some more miles before the tour. I’ve also noticed that I seem to have gained weight. I blame it on the heat and how it demotivates me to ride outside. :p

Yes, I know I still owe a ride report on the Long Island Harbor Ride. Yet another thing on my To-Do list. 😉


The Mixte Gets a Makeover June 17, 2008

Filed under: bike — f8th637 @ 9:10 pm

I picked up the mixte from Bikes at Vienna a little after 7PM (they officially close at 7) and am incredibly ecstatic at how she looks. Aside from the rust spots on the bike she is like a brand new bike. Since I got her I have replaced the tires, the saddle, the handlebars, the grips, the chain, the cassette, and the brake levers. She now shifts like a dream and I’m sure that chain slippage problem is now a thing of the past. Now that I’m so use to the road bike stance of the Kona Sutra it’s actually weird riding on a bike upright. I’ve still got some adjustments to make on the bike like move the saddle back a bit and put the rack and maybe the fenders on it. If I do put the fenders on it then that means they no longer sit on the floor of the spare room. 😛 Pictures to come when she’s done but she now has a Honey Brooks and matching grips. Stay tuned!


Imagine that . . Exercise as a way to get a hyper kid to settle down June 10, 2008

Filed under: bike,cycling — f8th637 @ 9:33 am

“Everyone commutes in the Smith household, whether it’s to school or work. Wanda Smith rides with their son William, 7, to Highlands Grove Elementary, and she began commuting to her job at FITniche at Lakeside Village in early May.The bike riding served as a way to expend some of William’s energy before the school day started. He previously attended private school and was accused of having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.After lots of money and testing, only to find that William was “all boy,” Wanda Smith said she began walking, running and riding bikes to school with him to help burn some early-morning energy. Now he’s a straight-A student who doesn’t get in trouble.”

Bike Commute Tips Blog: Florida: Bicycles more popular

Growing up, my siblings and friends and I were CONSTANTLY outside playing. Whether it was rousing games of team tag once the sun had gone down or just playing baseball in the backyard, we were almost always outside. I remember when I was away at college my younger sister who was still in high school yet not old enough to have her license was lamenting how she couldn’t get around anywhere. It got me to thinking about what we use to do around that time. Then it hit me that we walked or biked everywhere. We would ride our bikes to friends’ neighborhoods miles away. I feel that somewhere in the time between I grew up and my sister followed suit, the NON-emphasis on walking and riding a bike seemed to emerge, if you will. I will even go so far as to say “playing outside” was de-emphasized and I didn’t really notice it because I was just getting older. We grew up with video game consoles too but they were things you played when you couldn’t go outside like when it rained. I fully believe that if you give a kid an outlet for all his energy you’ll find yourself with one happy maybe even balanced kid. I’m glad that Wanda Smith figured this out as well. Don’t medicate your kid, get him outdoors instead!

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Thanks Elden, Susan, and TwinSix! May 27, 2008

Filed under: cycling,Fellow Cyclists,Gear — f8th637 @ 8:32 pm

I ordered my FatCyclist jerseys (one for me and one for my husband) as soon as they went on sale and a week later they arrived in my mail box.  I must say that I LOVE that woman’s fit.  It doesn’t squeeze me in all the unflattering places (tummy) some other jerseys do. I still have the tag on so that diamond thingy on the front is not there.  It is a beautiful jersey, pink to boot, and goes to an AWESOME cause!  To Elden and Susan, WIN!

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