Deeds (Rides), Not Words (Excuses)

Besides the wind the weather here in Dallas has improved dramatically over the past few weeks. It’s getting darker later each night and that makes for great riding in the evenings after work. I should have started my evening riding about three weeks ago but only got out there the first time last night. Got a Good Ride in Last Night I was actually supposed to pick up a bike rack last night but when that fell through I wound up with time to ride. The wind was blowing but I decided to go anyway. I’m glad I did because I had a great ride. Here’s a link to the route/numbers for the ride over on DailyMile (which I love by the way). 16 miles at 13.2 avg speed. Not bad for my first evening ride of the season. The wind was an issue on part of the route but I just dealt with it. The ride up The Three Sister (three hills on the way home) actually went OK but I have a long, long way to go until I’m riding up them with any kind of form/speed. Those three hills are killing my overall average speed. My body felt good during the ride and I actually worked up a good sweat. I had some issues with my right leg (discomfort on the right inner thigh, a little knee discomfort, and a hot spot on the right foot). Left side was perfect so this left me a little baffled. When I got home I gave everything a once over and noticed my saddle was pointing to the right....

Using Google Maps To Recon A Bike Ride

Internet technology has come a long way in the last five years. One area in particular that I use a lot is online mapping. Specifically Google Maps. I use it to look up directions, find restaurants/stores close to my home, and to look at potential bike routes. When combining some of the tools available within Google Maps it can also be used to recon a potential bike ride you may be planning to do. This is especially helpful if you’ve never ridden the route before. This SundaySaturday is an organized bicycle ride in Lancaster, Tx called the Lancaster Country Ride Presented by the Greater Dallas Bicyclists. Since I had never done an organized ride before, I was available this weekend, and Lancaster wasn’t that far away, I thought I might try it. I didn’t know anything about the route so I took a look at the 23-mile route on the website and then headed to Google Maps. (Click any pic below to enlarge) Plot The Route Google Maps doesn’t have a route planning function like Map My Ride but you can still achieve a similar result by using directions. Since the route started in downtown Lancaster I found two businesses near the start/finish and told Google to give me some directions. The route it gave me was only 362 feet, by bicycle, which was to be expected. If you move your mouse over the route you can drag the route Google gave you to follow a route you want. I did this and stretched the route from 362 feet to 23 miles by following the 23-mile cue sheet found...

Cycling After Being Sick

I spent most of last week being sick with sinus and allergy problems. So much so that I missed almost two full days from work and spent a lot of time in bed on meds. Because of that I didn’t get any time on the bike during the week. About Thursday I started to feel human again and was looking forward to getting a Saturday ride in. Saturday morning finally rolled around and I did get a ride in. The conditions weren’t ideal (see pic below), I was still a little weak from being sick, but I couldn’t resist the urge any longer. Out the door I went. Surprise, Surprise, it was Windy Looking at the weather report on Friday I knew I would face some wind no matter what time I rode. I’ve gotten used to it after being here in Dallas for just over a year now but it still makes me shake my head when I see weather reports like the one below. Maybe you can see the problem (it’s spelled WINDY): The wind would actually get worse later in the evening and I saw one report of gusts up to 41 mph. Ridiculous. It was probably gusting to 20 mph when I rode. The problem though is that even though I’m riding a loop down at White Rock Lake, the wind swirls due to surrounding hills and you end up facing a headwind on most of the ride. So much fun. Almost Bought the Farm I was only about a half-mile from the house and came to a four-way stop intersection. As always I slowed...

Six Tips To Repairing A Bicycle Flat Tire

Getting a flat while out riding will happen to all of us at some point. It’s inevitable. Just as sure as the Sun will come up each day we can all look forward to it. It doesn’t have to be the end of the days ride though if you’re prepared and know a few tips to make it easier. Six Tips To Easier Flat Repair Be prepared. If you’re out riding with no way to repair your own flat then you’re riding on borrowed time. If you’re riding with friends you may be able to bum something off one of them but if you’re all alone and 30 miles from nowhere then you’re what I like to call ‘screwed’. Being prepared starts with having the equipment needed to repair your own flat – patch kit, tube, tire levers, pump/CO2, etc. Most all of this can be easily carried in a seat bag and I discuss this in the article I wrote about what you should carry in a bicycle seat bag. Having the right tools doesn’t help if you’ve never used them though. Practice changing tubes while at home until you get the hang of it. Shift to the smallest cog if the flat is on the rear. Putting the chain on the smallest cog on the cassette will make it much easier to remove and install the rear wheel. Chances are you won’t be in the smallest cog when you notice the flat. To get the chain there just shift the gears, pick up the rear wheel by grabbing your seat with one hand, grasp a pedal with...

Post Winter Road Cycling Safety Tips

Now that winter is over for a large portion of the country (sorry if you live up in the North) spring is either coming on in full force or slowly creeping it’s way in with daytime temps climbing back up into the 60F to 70F range. These temperatures are what we’ve been waiting for and are just teasing us to get back outside and ride. The rain, snow, and ice that winter brings can have serious effects on the surfaces we ride on and can significantly increase the chances of our being involved in an accident if we’re not careful. Heading outside to ride after being on the trainer is awesome but there are some things you need to watch out for in order to make sure you come back in one piece. Four Things To Watch For Sand and Gravel. When the roads start to ice up and become slick, the transportation departments like to use sand and gravel to help cars maintain some semblance of control. It doesn’t help those that still want to drive at Nascar speeds during these conditions but for those who are cautious it can help. The problem for cyclists occurs after the snow and ice melt. The sand and gravel that was used to cover the roads is left behind after the snow and ice melt leaving it thick in some areas or just lightly coating the surface in others. You need to be cognizant of this potential hazard because hitting a patch of loose sand or gravel can easily cause you to face plant. Kevin over at The Life and Times...

Five Steps To Choosing A Road Cycling Helmet

Thanks to Victor Jiminez of Bicycle Lab (@bicyclelab on Twitter) for his assistance in putting this article together. As the weather warms up ever so slowly here in North America, more and more cyclists will be leaving the trainers behind and heading outdoors to get their rides in. Before heading out we need to make sure we have all the required equipment and one of those items is our helmet. Of all our road cycling gear, I think the helmet is the most important item as it offers protection for our gray matter in the event we do crash. Five Steps To Choosing A Cycling Helmet Find your price point. Road cycling helmets are typically between $60 and $250. Design, materials, retention systems and purpose are what drive the prices. They all offer protection if you crash but features like custom fitting mechanisms, visors, adjustable/removable padding, reduced weight, exotic materials, and extra ventilation will cost more. More expensive helmets tend to have more adjustable fit and retention systems. For around $100 you can get a very good quality and nice fitting helmet. Check the certification. Cycling helmets have certification? Absolutely. Helmets sold in the U.S. are required by law to meet testing standards as set forth by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). The purpose of these tests is to make sure that the helmet can handle the impact if you were to crash. With helmets getting lighter and more comfortable every year a standard is necessary to ensure that you’ll be protected. Look for the CPSC stamp or sticker on the helmet. Pick some helmets. Road cycling helmets...
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