Four Tips to Overcoming Group Ride Fears

Saturday morning was kind of a big milestone for me in that I made myself go ride what I consider my first local bike shop group ride. I know that may sound crazy to some of you but I’ve been putting this off for a while and I’m not sure why. Actually, I do know and I’ll explain. First, let me explain why I consider this my first local bike shop group ride. I did a group ride last year with one of the local bicycle clubs and we started from a restaurant vice at a local bike shop. About three weeks ago I did a group ride that started from a local bike shop but was actually a group training ride for the Tour de Cure. There was a big turnout for that ride so I don’t consider that a good example of a typical Saturday morning shop ride. Two days ago I got up the courage and showed up at one of the local stores to do the normal Saturday morning group ride. I’m glad I did. The Fear of the Group Ride I think showing up and riding with a group can be a big hurdle for newer cyclists to get over. Why? Because of the unknowns. Will you be welcomed? Will you get dropped by mile five? Can you handle riding in close proximity with others? Is it OK to not have carbon wheels or a full team kit? And so on. Not knowing stuff like that can be a big deterrent in not showing up. There’s the social aspect too. Let’s face it, cyclists...

Four Tips to Help Balance Family Time and Cycling Time

A reader left a comment on my last blog post that I thought was a good topic to write about so here it is. The topic is balancing your cycling with the need to also devote time to your family. It’s a delicate balance that can be easily upset if you’re not careful. Here’s my perspective on it. Those of us that are married, have kids, or are at least involved with another person romantically, know that meeting their demands and needs can put a damper on our cycling time. Conversely, devoting too much time to cycling leads to them feeling neglected. If you’re like me, and have specific cycling goals, you may find yourself stressed trying to meet the demands of both. Cultivating our relationship, whether it’s with the family or the bike, takes time. Time spent with the family and time spent in the saddle putting in the miles. Four Tips to Balance Is there an easy way to solve this puzzle? I don’t know about easy but there are several different things you can do to ensure you don’t upset the balance (or anger the significant other). I’m by no means a relationship expert but I think I’ve got a good routine worked out that not only gets me riding time that I desperately need but also lets me spend time with the wife and girls. Here’s some tips: Ride when they sleep. Many of you know that I ride early, before anyone else is up. In fact, I wrote an entire post on why I think the morning is the best time for cycling. During...

500 Miles Down

Today marked the first day of riding with the new wheels and chain so I was eager to get out and ride today. The temp was right at 50F when I left the house at 5:15 AM but, thankfully, there was no wind. It’s the small victories. If you missed it, I had a new wheelset and chain put on yesterday. The chain was due to normal wear and tear but the wheelset was due to me just being too heavy for my old set. My weight mixed with a low spoke count and straight pull spokes just wasn’t working well. I had broken three spokes over the last couple of months and was routinely experiencing high noise from my rear wheel. Happy with the Wheels and Chain Anyway, I headed out this morning eager to see how the new wheels performed. They’re great so far. They are heavier than my old set which makes for a little higher rolling weight but they didn’t seem to affect my performance as I was still able to turn out a 15 mph avg pace ride over 11 miles with no issues. I would expect every wheelset to work OK for me on the first ride so we’ll see how they hold up as my training for the Tour de Cure starts to ramp up. The new chain was great too and really smoothed out the shifting. I can’t describe to you how nice it was to ride in relative quiet this morning with no noise from the rear wheel. Just awesome. 500 Miles Down Today also marked a milestone in my...

New Wheels and Chain

Last week was another good week of riding with a great ride on Saturday of 26 miles. Saturday wasn’t without issues though and it came from a source I’ve had problems with in the past. My wheelset. If you’re a heavier rider and having wheel problems you may want to check this out. My try at completing my first century back in 2009 was wrecked by issues with my wheelset. I was just too heavy for them and they finally gave up the ghost a couple of weeks before the century. Buying a new wheeset for that old bike just wasn’t practical so I didn’t get to ride the century. Fastforward to now and I’m experiencing a similar problem. I’ve broken three spokes over the last couple of months with the last one being two weekends ago during the Tour de Cure training ride I did. I had the wheel fixed that day but over the course of last weeks riding I began to experience a lot of noise from the rear wheel and when I stopped to check it on Saturday’s ride I found several loose spokes. I finished the ride but knew that I had to do something. Over the weekend I visited two different shops to get opinions. Both recommended a different wheelset due to my weight (275) which didn’t surprise me. I did get a good lesson on different wheel types and what makes one stronger than another. The biggest incompatibility problem with me and my current wheelset is that it uses straight pull spokes. Straight pull spokes are used on a lot of different...

Biking to Live and ClassicCycling.com Tour de Cure Contest

Ok folks, I’ve been working on this one for a while and am now ready to launch the first contest here on Biking to Live. Not only can you win something cool but you can help me by supporting the Tour de Cure and their fund-raising efforts for the American Diabetes Association. I’m sure most of you know that I’m riding the 100 mile challenge at the Tour de Cure here in Jacksonville, Fl on May 21, 2011. In an effort to raise as much money as possible, I’ve put some time into trying to setup a contest. This contest is the first of a couple I have lined up and I hope to have more before it’s over. Without further ado, let me get into the particulars. Welcome ClassicCycling.com ClassicCycling.com is an online store based in Harrisburg, NC that features a great selection of cycling products from brands like Hincapie, Giordana, Capo, and Castelli. They’ve got great customer service that I can vouch for personally. A few months ago I was in the hunt for a new pair of bibs and was having a hard time finding something that would fit. Shane at Classic Cycling contacted me via Twitter and helped me find a great pair of Giordana bibs that I love. Shane and ClassicCycling.com are helping me out again by offering a $75 gift certificate to the winner of this inaugural Tour de Cure contest. They’re also giving out some coupon codes to those of you who want to increase your chances of winning the gift certificate. Intrigued? Cool. The Rules To enter the contest all you...

A Fresh Local Bike Shop Experience

Finding a good local bike shop can be challenging. You hear too many stories where customer service isn’t good, prices are outrageous, or they have a poor selection of cycling gear. I see it here too and that lead me to look around when shopping for tires last weekend. The bike shop I normally frequent is convenient. They have two stores in the area and both are close by car. I’ve experienced good customer service with them and gotten help with some mechanical issues on my bike. Everytime I go in there though I get frustrated with the equipment selection. They sell basically one brand – Bontrager. Personally, I have nothing against Bontrager but I’d like to be able to have other options and you really can’t do that in these shops. So, after experiencing another pre-ride flat and finding some cuts on my tires last Saturday, I decided to invest in some new tires before starting my Tour de Cure training plan. I already knew the selection at the shop I normally frequented so I decided to shake things up and try another shop. Boy was I glad I did. Journey Into the Unknown As my wife and I were driving out towards the beach where this ‘other’ shop was, she was asking questions about my tires and why I was getting flats. You see, about three months ago she bought me a new back tire at the store I normally go to and it was a hard case tire meant to reduce flats. So you can understand her questions. We talked about tires, cuts, and so on....
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