twentynine inches • one gear • zero travel

Keep Riding A Minor Matter
Sometimes a weekend comes around with the kind of perfect weather where any cyclist worth his salt wants to be out sunrise to sunset. This was such a weekend, blue sky and summerlike temperatures. On such a weekend, it’s too easy to fall into the trap that you need to drop everything, forget about anyone and go out and ride. If you’re on Strava, your mileage log orders you to do the same thing - take advantage of the nice conditions and add X more miles to the X miles you already have.
This weekend, I left Saturday out and Sunday, my wife and I met friends for coffee around 11AM. We chatted until way after 2PM. I still got to head out and ride and it was good. While pedaling into the late afternoon I thought, you know, good company while sipping a good cup of coffee are far more rewarding than those unridden miles that could have been. At the end of the month are those miles on Strava in any way important? Who flipping cares if you’ve done 200, 500 or 1000 kilometers? If you ride, ride when you happen to have the time and make sure not to ride away from your wife, your family and your friends.
Distance:65.2 km (40.5 miles)Elevation:1’420 m (4’658 feet)Time:02:41:29Speed (avg/max):24.2/81.4 kph (15.1/50.6 mph) Zoom

Keep Riding A Minor Matter

Sometimes a weekend comes around with the kind of perfect weather where any cyclist worth his salt wants to be out sunrise to sunset. This was such a weekend, blue sky and summerlike temperatures. On such a weekend, it’s too easy to fall into the trap that you need to drop everything, forget about anyone and go out and ride. If you’re on Strava, your mileage log orders you to do the same thing - take advantage of the nice conditions and add X more miles to the X miles you already have.

This weekend, I left Saturday out and Sunday, my wife and I met friends for coffee around 11AM. We chatted until way after 2PM. I still got to head out and ride and it was good. While pedaling into the late afternoon I thought, you know, good company while sipping a good cup of coffee are far more rewarding than those unridden miles that could have been. At the end of the month are those miles on Strava in any way important? Who flipping cares if you’ve done 200, 500 or 1000 kilometers? If you ride, ride when you happen to have the time and make sure not to ride away from your wife, your family and your friends.

Distance:65.2 km (40.5 miles)
Elevation:1’420 m (4’658 feet)
Time:02:41:29
Speed (avg/max):24.2/81.4 kph (15.1/50.6 mph)
Yippie, New Cell Phone
When it comes to electronics such as laptops or cell phones, we have the money-saving rule in our house that my wife gets the new stuff and I get her old stuff. So, when her MacBook is getting old and she needs a more current piece of hardware that runs the most current piece of software, my aging MacBook gets replaced by the one she hands me over. These hand-me-down laptops are always young enough to run the latest OS X, and always powerful enough for the little bit of insignificant stuff I use them for anyway. The stuff that gets pushed off my desk also finds new users. We pass that equipment on to our family in Brazil, where anything Apple remains stratospherically unaffordable.
When the new iPhone 6 was released it was met with excitement. Not because I’d be getting one, but because my wife would lovingly give me her iPhone 5. So, now I’m no longer three versions behind the current Apple gizmo, but two. It packs 20 apps onto one screen versus 16 on the 4, has a better camera, more power and twice the storage capacity of my old 4. Best of all, only slightly taller than the 4, there no worry about getting it into a cycling jersey pocket. Speaking of that, I’m glad my wife didn’t get a 6+. Because two, three years from now such phablet would certainly not find its way into a cycling jersey pocket. Zoom

Yippie, New Cell Phone

When it comes to electronics such as laptops or cell phones, we have the money-saving rule in our house that my wife gets the new stuff and I get her old stuff. So, when her MacBook is getting old and she needs a more current piece of hardware that runs the most current piece of software, my aging MacBook gets replaced by the one she hands me over. These hand-me-down laptops are always young enough to run the latest OS X, and always powerful enough for the little bit of insignificant stuff I use them for anyway. The stuff that gets pushed off my desk also finds new users. We pass that equipment on to our family in Brazil, where anything Apple remains stratospherically unaffordable.

When the new iPhone 6 was released it was met with excitement. Not because I’d be getting one, but because my wife would lovingly give me her iPhone 5. So, now I’m no longer three versions behind the current Apple gizmo, but two. It packs 20 apps onto one screen versus 16 on the 4, has a better camera, more power and twice the storage capacity of my old 4. Best of all, only slightly taller than the 4, there no worry about getting it into a cycling jersey pocket. Speaking of that, I’m glad my wife didn’t get a 6+. Because two, three years from now such phablet would certainly not find its way into a cycling jersey pocket.

On The Heel Healing Road
This past week I ended up with a fairly painful jogger’s heel. Fortunately, the weather was pretty crappy, so it wasn’t terribly hard to stay off the bike and give my foot the needed rest. Thanks to occasional icing and walking around in Crocs, things have been improving enough since Thursday to go out on a ride today. Long, steady, easy without pushing too hard was the motto. The foot did well and seems on the right track to a full recovery.
Distance:97.7 km (60.7 miles)Elevation:2’272 m (7’453 feet)Time:04:07:54Speed (avg/max):23.6/70.2 kph (14.7/43.6 mph) Zoom

On The Heel Healing Road

This past week I ended up with a fairly painful jogger’s heel. Fortunately, the weather was pretty crappy, so it wasn’t terribly hard to stay off the bike and give my foot the needed rest. Thanks to occasional icing and walking around in Crocs, things have been improving enough since Thursday to go out on a ride today. Long, steady, easy without pushing too hard was the motto. The foot did well and seems on the right track to a full recovery.

Distance:97.7 km (60.7 miles)
Elevation:2’272 m (7’453 feet)
Time:04:07:54
Speed (avg/max):23.6/70.2 kph (14.7/43.6 mph)
Ready For “Winterschlaf”
Suffering from what I think might be a mild case of jogger’s heel just at a time when fall moved from sunshine to rain, I stayed off the bike all last week and instead spent a whole three evenings getting my Neilpryde Alize ready for its yearly “Winterschlaf”. This typically involves cleaning the bike from top to bottom with sophisticated cleaning utensils such as toothbrushes and toothpicks to get the last dirt molecules out of the tiniest little gaps. In addition, I disassembled all moving parts, popped off all bearing seals and applied a fresh layer of grease to all of them. Bike reassembled, the frame and fork got a nice rubbing with Turtle Wax. Failed to mention that the bike also got equipped with a brand-new set of Rotor QRings to be ready for next spring. In the meantime, other bikes are meant to be ridden. Zoom

Ready For “Winterschlaf”

Suffering from what I think might be a mild case of jogger’s heel just at a time when fall moved from sunshine to rain, I stayed off the bike all last week and instead spent a whole three evenings getting my Neilpryde Alize ready for its yearly “Winterschlaf”. This typically involves cleaning the bike from top to bottom with sophisticated cleaning utensils such as toothbrushes and toothpicks to get the last dirt molecules out of the tiniest little gaps. In addition, I disassembled all moving parts, popped off all bearing seals and applied a fresh layer of grease to all of them. Bike reassembled, the frame and fork got a nice rubbing with Turtle Wax. Failed to mention that the bike also got equipped with a brand-new set of Rotor QRings to be ready for next spring. In the meantime, other bikes are meant to be ridden.

App Cleanup Day

Many iPhone apps get downloaded, opened once, then clutter up my phone never to be used again. I’m not the person who installs a lot of them to begin with, but I’ve had a bunch that were basically never launched again after an initial quick peek at the app. The junk and the useless get deleted right away, but some idly fill a small square of screen hoping for a finger tap that ultimately never happens. From time to time it’s good to take inventory and flush out the un- and underused.

Monday Randoms

After an absence from riding due to my attendance at the AMB tradeshow in Stuttgart and a less than ideal weekend weatherwise, it was that weather that prompted me to look at the rides I’ve done so far this year. As I save all my GPX tracks from the tiny i-gotU tracker to a Google Drive folder and organize them in subfolders by year and type of ride (road, MTB, CX and fat), it was fairly easy to get a picture of what I’ve done during this fairly wet, some would go as far and say summerless, season. As both cyclocross and fat-biking are about to begin again in October, I limited the number crunching to road and mountain biking.

YearRoadMTBTotal
2013234871
2014612485
Difference+38-24+14

While there will be more road and hopefully mountain bike rides in 2014, the numbers paint a fairly clear picture: 2014 was not a mountain-biking year. My 29er has carved tire tracks into the trails a measly 24 times while my two road bikes got a taste of tarmac a whopping 61 times. If the trails don’t dry up in the coming weeks, the 29er might not even roll out the basement again as the fatty will soon take over.

All that said, I’ve spent about the same hours cycling this year as last, but I’m way ahead as far as number of miles. There are still three months and a handful of days left, so it’ll be interesting how the weather and the arrival of winter will influence the final numbers. Weather, after all, is the primary factor that dictates what type of riding I do - be it road, mountain, cyclocross or fat-biking.

When The Weather Isn’t Cooperating
This morning I filled my hydration pack with water, fruit bars and a flask of honey. I had some big plans and a peek at the sky seemed promising. When I pedaled up the first climb, the sky up above the mountains was low and grey. Great for a day out climbing, I thought. Well, the higher I got the wetter it got. First it was just the pavement under my tires, then the air turned from moist to rain. While climbing all that was no big deal, but in the first descent I had to reach for my arm warmers. By the time I arrived at the foot of the steep descent, my shoes and everything else was soaking wet. This wasn’t going to be the day for that big ride. Without much debate, I immediately decided not to soldier on in such conditions. I turned onto on another climb to get me back the way I came from, added a little out and back, then hit the way home.
The plan - a mega-loop hitting a whole bunch of climbs - remains a plan. Hopefully, another weekend this or next month will offer better weather to tackle this ride one more time, and hopefully finish it successfully. I was excitedly ready, the legs felt great, only the weather didn’t want to cooperate.
Distance:63.7 km (39.6 miles)Elevation:2’166 m (7’105 feet)Time:03:03:49Speed (avg/max):20.8/74.2 kph (12.9/46.1 mph) Zoom

When The Weather Isn’t Cooperating

This morning I filled my hydration pack with water, fruit bars and a flask of honey. I had some big plans and a peek at the sky seemed promising. When I pedaled up the first climb, the sky up above the mountains was low and grey. Great for a day out climbing, I thought. Well, the higher I got the wetter it got. First it was just the pavement under my tires, then the air turned from moist to rain. While climbing all that was no big deal, but in the first descent I had to reach for my arm warmers. By the time I arrived at the foot of the steep descent, my shoes and everything else was soaking wet. This wasn’t going to be the day for that big ride. Without much debate, I immediately decided not to soldier on in such conditions. I turned onto on another climb to get me back the way I came from, added a little out and back, then hit the way home.

The plan - a mega-loop hitting a whole bunch of climbs - remains a plan. Hopefully, another weekend this or next month will offer better weather to tackle this ride one more time, and hopefully finish it successfully. I was excitedly ready, the legs felt great, only the weather didn’t want to cooperate.

Distance:63.7 km (39.6 miles)
Elevation:2’166 m (7’105 feet)
Time:03:03:49
Speed (avg/max):20.8/74.2 kph (12.9/46.1 mph)
Lake Loop My Way
Today I left the house having a loop in mind. When I arrived at the foot of the first climb, the lakeside silence suddenly died in the pop-pop-pop of gunfire. No, this wasn’t a bank robbery gone wrong or anything like that. My climb just happened to cross path with the bullets at a small shooting range. A rope had been strung across the tiny road I wanted to climb - no trespassing. Alright, I thought to myself, I’ll just continue my ride along the lake and hit a different climb. But as soon as I had sight of St. Peter’s Island, I scrapped the idea of that climb and decided to head out to the island and ride back along the lakeshore on the other, southern side.
Riding through the vineyards along the northern side of the lake I had to pass a few hikers, but other that that no one was on the narrow, paved vineyard roads. Once I hit the gravel roads out to the island and back along the southern edge of the lake however, I met a bunch of your typical weekend pleasure cyclists, who quickly reminded me why I don’t usually ride such roads. There’s nothing wrong with the not-so-fit and the not-so-skilled riding their bicycles. On the contrary, it’s great that they do. Rather, I should remind myself to either ride where they don’t or take my tempo down a notch because too many of those folks have their eyes on everything but the road ahead with the result that they zigzag all over the place. I had a few close encounters with a couple that was riding side-by-side not knowing whether to go left or right while I came fast charging and some silly dude on a brand spanking new Specialized e-bike suddenly deciding to make a left turn right in front of me. Note to myself - only do the lake loop in crappy weather or during the winter - risk of collisions will be greatly reduced.
Distance:62.2 km (38.6 miles)Elevation:667 m (2’189 feet)Time:02:10:12Speed (avg/max):28.7/65.2 kph (17.8/40.5 mph) Zoom

Lake Loop My Way

Today I left the house having a loop in mind. When I arrived at the foot of the first climb, the lakeside silence suddenly died in the pop-pop-pop of gunfire. No, this wasn’t a bank robbery gone wrong or anything like that. My climb just happened to cross path with the bullets at a small shooting range. A rope had been strung across the tiny road I wanted to climb - no trespassing. Alright, I thought to myself, I’ll just continue my ride along the lake and hit a different climb. But as soon as I had sight of St. Peter’s Island, I scrapped the idea of that climb and decided to head out to the island and ride back along the lakeshore on the other, southern side.

Riding through the vineyards along the northern side of the lake I had to pass a few hikers, but other that that no one was on the narrow, paved vineyard roads. Once I hit the gravel roads out to the island and back along the southern edge of the lake however, I met a bunch of your typical weekend pleasure cyclists, who quickly reminded me why I don’t usually ride such roads. There’s nothing wrong with the not-so-fit and the not-so-skilled riding their bicycles. On the contrary, it’s great that they do. Rather, I should remind myself to either ride where they don’t or take my tempo down a notch because too many of those folks have their eyes on everything but the road ahead with the result that they zigzag all over the place. I had a few close encounters with a couple that was riding side-by-side not knowing whether to go left or right while I came fast charging and some silly dude on a brand spanking new Specialized e-bike suddenly deciding to make a left turn right in front of me. Note to myself - only do the lake loop in crappy weather or during the winter - risk of collisions will be greatly reduced.

Distance:62.2 km (38.6 miles)
Elevation:667 m (2’189 feet)
Time:02:10:12
Speed (avg/max):28.7/65.2 kph (17.8/40.5 mph)