Yesterday’s 10-mile bike ride was nearly perfect. The weather was warm, but not hot, and it just felt great. I haven’t seen a turtle on the greenway this year. Maybe next time.
I adjusted my seat so it’s set all the way back. It feels more comfortable and keeps me from shifting around. The geometry of this new bike is a little different. I’ve read it’s smaller and the distance between the bars and seat is shorter. If the bike were any smaller, I think it would be too small. As it is, I’m comfortable with it. It does make me curious about other sizes. The bike shop didn’t measure me, and the last bike just seemed to fit. This is supposed to be the same model, but there are quite a few changes from the 2012 model to the 2013.
Cami has had an old mountain bike sitting around. I think it’s from 1994 or 1995. A search for “Scott Arapahoe” hasn’t yielded much information on the bike. We have talked about selling it, or giving it to someone, but the brakes weren’t working properly. The brakes are Shimano Altus CT90 and their claim to fame is having a failure-prone piece of plastic that holds the spring. The spring puts tension on the plastic part, which eventually breaks the brakes. Mwah ha, so funny.
We debated whether we should put any money into it, but we decided it would have a much better chance of finding a new home if it were running. Even if we don’t make any money, it’s better than throwing it away and having it serve no purpose. A local bike shop had replacement brakes (CT91) that are supposed to have solved the problem.
Both sets of brakes now work great and it shifts smoothly. It’s a solid bike so it should last a while. Everything sounds nice and quiet now, but it wouldn’t hurt to tear apart the wheels and repack the bearings. The bottom bracket could stand to be looked at as well. There is a recall from Shimano on the cranks. Apparently they can fall off. The guy at the bike shop said we just need to bring in the bike so they can look at the serial number and Shimano will send replacement parts. Awesome.
I’ve been riding casually for several months now, with the goal of getting used to the new bike and getting used to moving. Now that I’m in better shape I wanted a benchmark to work from so I took my Garmin GPS with me. It clips to the handlebars and shows me things like average speed, top speed, elapsed time, odometer, etc. I already knew the distance I would travel, but I wanted to know my average speed. There are variables I can’t control, like how many people are walking on the path, and how many of those people are walking four-abreast so the path is completely blocked and I have slow almost to a stop before somebody lets me pass. But, overall, I think it’s useful to know the numbers. I ended up going 10.44 miles at an average of 14.1 miles per hour. It took me just over 44 minutes to make it out and back. I’m not sure how I stack up against other people, but I was pretty pleased. It feels great to get out there and ride, especially when the weather is cooling down. It’s still plenty warm. I love it.
Cami and I were driving past what used to be Borders, and I noticed it’s been replaced with an REI. It’s probably been there for months, but I hadn’t paid attention. I checked prices on a new set of pedals and also a bike rack for the car. It’s been ages since I’ve been to an REI, so I wanted to see if they still had me in their system. Sure enough, they do. I could get 10% back if I make my purchase there. Woohoo!
I got caught in the rain on my ride this evening. I should have turned around earlier but I thought I could make it. It was totally unsafe, but a wonderful experience to ride with the lightning strikes off in the distance and thunderclaps all around me. The bike trail was deserted on my way back and the forest it bends through was dark, with just enough light to see all of the amazingly tall trees. Eighty degrees with light rain falling, fireflies dancing here and there. Thunder booming. It was amazing. I was thankful for all of that beauty and praying for safety from the lightning so I could live to tell Cami and Ellie about it.
After quite a bit of waiting for the bike shop to do enough testing of the brakes, Trek replaced my bike frame under warranty. I understand that they wanted to make sure other options had been explored before going to that extent, but I was very glad when they finally decided to do it. I knew it would fix the problem because no amount of brake adjustment had made any difference. Several of their mechanics had worked on the pads and the rotor, and the noise kept coming back. After they would work on the brake, I wouldn’t hear any noise, mainly because there isn’t any friction between the pad and rotor at that stage. As I went through the bed-in process, the brakes would start grabbing more, and I would start hearing a slight harmonic sound. The more I tested, the more I would hear the harmonic tone – not loud but it was there. Eventually, I would get a loud harmonic honk when I applied the brake, as loud as ever, vibrating the whole frame.
Here is a picture of my previous frame. Note the position of the back brake, and where it bolts on.
This is the new frame, a 2013 frame. The brake is attached in a totally different place.
The braking is excellent, with no noise. I love the bike now and highly recommend it. Thanks Trek and thanks to Cycling Spoken Here in Cary, NC for helping me work through this problem.
I haven’t been out on the bike for a few days, and tonight seemed like a good night to ride. The weather is super nice – not too hot or cold. Even with the sun getting low, the greenway had quite a few people out walking. My legs were burning something fierce after just a few miles. As a consequence, I should sleep well tonight.
Before Ellie was born I went several months riding 10 miles a day, 5 days a week. I knew from the start that my bike was too small (long story) but I thought by using a longer seat post I could make up for it. The more I rode, the more I started to get lower back pain while riding. Eventually it just stopped being fun. Around the time I first started feeling the pain I went to a local bike shop to find a longer seat post. Talking with one of the sales guys got me thinking strongly about a new bike, even though I didn’t feel I could afford one. I got the longer seat post but my riding faded after that. With a new baby in the house there were plenty of other things to occupy my time.
Gaining weight over the past 6 or 7 months has given me the itch to get another bike, and with our tax return I was finally able to make it happen. The kid at the bike shop showed me the bike and then told me to take it for a test ride. I loved it. After a 5 minute ride I came back and sealed the deal. I rode it three more times today and it still feels wonderful. Cami has been very supportive. She knows it means a lot to me and I am very thankful to have her as my best friend.
Cami will inherit my old bike, which should fit her well. It’s actually a very a good bike. She isn’t that enthusiastic about riding it – bikes aren’t her favorite form of exercise – but I think it’s going to be fun, especially if we can find a way to get Ellie out there too. Woohoo!
I walked the same route today and I felt pretty good. The sun was getting pretty low when I started and by the time I finished it was getting dark. The weather was perfect. Toughening up my feet is going to take some work. After about a mile and a half they start feeling like I have sand in my shoes. If I were to check my socks they would be perfectly clean. The soles of my feet just aren’t used to much walking these days.
I had a good talk with Will. We chatted about art and the projects he is doing with Photoshop. Apparently his tutorial videos are selling well. I always have the best of intentions, but Will gets things done.
The weather was so inviting today, I just had to get out and experience it first hand. The temperature was in the low 70s, with some nice sunshine. The birds were fully cooperative in providing the sound effects.
The total distance was about 3.5 miles – just enough to give me some exercise. My tender feet are my weakness, and near the end of the circuit I could feel the heat from the friction in my shoes and socks. The feet just need more exposure to walking to build up some callouses.
The best time to walk would be in the morning, but I tend to keep Cami up late talking. That makes getting up difficult. My goal is to make 2 days in a row, so tomorrow morning I’m going to do it again, even with a bit of a cold coming on. Wish me luck.
My trip to North Carolina has been delayed until tomorrow. The car is in the shop getting a new ball joint installed. I also have a new turn signal lens to install. Those fixes should allow it to pass inspection, and then I can get the registration taken care of.
Since I won’t have a chance to ride again for at least three days, I decided to make this ride count. I tried to keep going steady even in the downhill sections. The only time I stopped pedaling was on the very steep downhill. When it flattened out, I was pedaling again. My body is adjusting well to the exercise, and I get stronger every day. Instead of creeping up the steepest part with frequent pedal rests, I gear down now and go at a steady pace. Love it.
Yesterday’s ride was especially nice, in part because I had Saturday and Sunday to rest. The weather was perfect like Baby Bear’s porridge – not too hot, not too cold, but juuust right.
Today’s weather is the same. It’s some kind of wonderful out there this time of year. Birds are everywhere.
My legs were still feeling some of the strain from yesterday. But, I still felt great. My ability to push through the burn is far advanced from where I started. My quads start burning and I just go, go, go. I can usually find a pace that allows me to keep going without any additional pain. In comparison to a real snobby cyclist I’m sure I am still very weak. I’m workin’ on it!
I’ll be taking my trip to North Carolina probably Thursday morning. After working this hard to build up my strength and endurance I’m worried about slipping into inactivity. I’m hoping to bring my bike with me and ride it there.