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Catching Up

17 May

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Greetings fellow bike fiends!

It has been a while since I last posted, but I still ride and still love cycling – blogging evidently – not so much.

Since it has been a while, I thought an update might be in order.

2015 Goals ~ First off, as far as my previously posted cycling mileage goal for 2015, I exceeded it. In the past that used to happen frequently, but in the last few years I have typically missed the mark. My 2015 cycling goal was 3,000 miles, I finished the year with 3,187. Nothing grand for many cyclists, but for me it was an achievement I was proud of, mainly because of how I did it, which I’ll explain in a bit.

As you might recall from my posts last year, I decided to continue April’s #30daysofbiking through the rest of 2015 with a #RideEveryDay goal. To that end, except for 12 days, I managed to ride every day from April 1 – December 31, 2015.

Going in I knew I likely wouldn’t be able to ride every single day – sometimes it just isn’t possible. There were days while traveling when I didn’t have one of my bikes so I had to get creative with how I could get my hands on one to keep the streak intact – anything short of stealing. So I utilized bike share, test rides and borrowed a bike from someone while traveling once for a quick ride.

Most importantly for me, riding every day changed the way I ride. I used bikes much more for transportation than I ever had previously – a big win. I also took shorter, slower rides which I found renewed my enthusiasm and love for cycling. No gadgets, no lycra on some rides – just me pedaling for the joy – and the goal of riding every day. Cycling had become too much about the miles, average speed and the like. Working a bike ride into my daily activity made me shift my focus from doing training rides to using cycling to get places, for recreation or stress relief or just to enjoy a beautiful day.

2016 Goals ~ When 2016 rolled around I wasn’t sure if I would set another goal to ride every day or wait until April’s #30daysofbiking and try to ride daily the remainder of the year – or neither.

As it turned out several illnesses over the winter made my decision for me.

Although I did bike some in January, February and March, more days than not I didn’t. I managed to ride every day in April, and the first part of May but then I missed a day, than another and so decided 2016 would be different with a change of focus.

With no daily goal of riding I have found more time for long walks, a few over 10 miles, the longest has been just over 15. I’ve also implemented daily weight training and yoga/stretching. Mixing it up basically and cycling is just a part of the mix.

Intermittent Fasting ~ Another part of the mix has been to implement Intermittent Fasting (IF). I utilize the 16/8 IF schedule 7 days a week. Basically I skip breakfast – black coffee only – and eat my first meal around noon or so. Dinner is around 7pm than nothing after 8pm until at least noon the next day – 16 hours of fasting.

Google Intermittent Fasting if you’re interested, there are some great resources on the web, one of which you can find here.

I love it. It’s easy, you don’t get hungry and if you want to turn into a fat-burning-beast, exercising during that fasting window is the way to do it. I’ve lost weight, but more than that I’m gaining muscle, getting leaner, from burning fat – win/win. Intermittent Fasting has become popular in the last few years and there are a number of ways to approach it, you likely can find something that will work for your lifestyle.

Primal Blueprint ~ Another change I’ve made is to follow the Primal Blueprint approach to food and exercise. You may not have heard of Mark Sisson but he’s a goldmine of nutrition and fitness information. You can find him and his Primal Blueprint at Mark’s Daily Apple website.

If you are familiar with Paleo diet, Primal is basically Paleo with a heart. The basic rule is you eat real food, not processed food – like meat, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables and some dairy. Unfortunately for a sweet lover like myself, chocolate cake doesn’t fall in the realm of “real food” but you can still enjoy wine, dark chocolate and the occasional indulgence – including chocolate cake.

The Primal method allows for an 80/20 adherence, mine is more like 90/10 or 95/5. I was very strict the first 6 weeks or so. For the most part I eat what I want, and certainly eat enough where I am satisfied. If it didn’t work well for me I wouldn’t do it. It doesn’t feel like a “diet”, you don’t go hungry and you eat good food. You do cook more and eating out requires a little thought and planning, but there are huge payoffs.

The surprising thing too has been 1) how easy it is to do, 2) how easy (fast) it is to lose weight, 3) how much more energy and focus I have.

Normally I don’t push or write about my lifestyle choices – sans cycling obviously – but I’m making an exception for Primal and IF because it works so well and is so simple. It seems like one of those things that’s too good to be true, and too good not to share.

If you are interested, check out the links above and like with everything else, google. Does anyone practice Intermittent Fasting or the Primal/Paleo way of eating? Feel free to comment below, I’d like to know your thoughts/experiences.

 

Re-Cycle

25 Jun

One of my bikes I have always loved but I’ve never really loved riding. Know that feeling? Beautiful frame, pretty color, just a classic bike, the 2010 Jamis Aurora Elite.

aurorablue

 

The frame is Reynolds 631, with a sloping chromoly lugged crown. A thing of beauty, and a ride that smoothed out the rough roads around here. What didn’t I like? The disc brakes, the fenders, the toe-overlap and the too-long reach, mainly. The 50cm frame was just a little large, but the next size down was a 47cm – too small. A Goldilocks dilemma, with no “just right” size I opted for the 50cm.

I adjusted to the slightly too tall frame, but I never adjusted to the sluggish ride. So much slower to accelerate than my Scott road bike, and consequently over the years I rode this beautiful looking bike less and less. My plan was to sell it and buy something like a Trek FX or similar.

Fast-forward to May.

Since I rarely rode it anyway, I decided take it to northeast Ohio and keep it at my mother-in-law’s so I’d have a bike when I visited. With my commitment to RideEveryDay I wanted to make sure I had access to a ride when visiting and I’d buy the FX or something similar to ride here.

Additionally I decided to spend a few bucks (turns out more than a few, but isn’t that always the case with us and our bikes) and make it more to my liking. A few weeks ago I took it to my LBS of late and replaced the disc brakes with calipers and the 90mm stem with a 70 to improve the reach. I also had to go to a narrower tire so I switched to 25mm Gatorskins. The fenders were a joke so I removed them plus the rack. I may get a seatpost mounted rack.

The result? Well, the bike isn’t going to my mother-in-law’s any longer because I ride it almost exclusively now. Sorry Rocket (my Scott). The difference in the ride is nothing short of amazing and has me questioning what took me so long.

The biggest difference? Has to be a tie – between the improved acceleration/ride quality and the improved cockpit and comfort. I LOVE this bike – and now I LOVE riding her.

The moral of the story:  if you have a bike that doesn’t quite do it for you, before you sell it and buy something else maybe try to see if you can make it right.

www.loveofbikes.com

2010 Jamis Aurora Elite – For The Love of Bikes

www.loveofbikes.com

2010 Jamis Aurora Elite – For the Love of Bikes

 

 

Two Mile Tour

19 May

Not a three-hour tour, a two mile tour.

If you’re old enough you may remember Gilligan’s Island and the three-hour tour… three-hour tour.

Got the song in your head now? Me too. Sorry.

About the Two Mile Tour. I came across this cartoon by Bikeyface on Twitter last week. It hit home with me.

 

2miletour

 

Riding a bike doesn’t mean riding some long distance, well it doesn’t only mean that. Riding a bike can mean pedaling for a block, a mile, two miles or a century. It’s all riding.

So it is about the bike, but it isn’t about the distance. Cyclists, myself included, tend to get hung up on mileage and speed. That’s changing for me though.

With my attempt to ride every day – prompted by April’s #30DaysofBiking – I’m learning a bike ride doesn’t have to be at least 20 miles to be worth doing. I wasn’t aware I operated on that belief but I did.

With the #RideEveryDay policy some days my bike ride has been as short as a mile or even less on a few days when it was pouring. RideEveryDay isn’t about the miles as much as it’s about riding the bike every single day no matter what. I’ve missed a day, May 8th, because I was away from home and didn’t have a bike, but otherwise I have.

Bikeyface’s point is that just about anyone can ride two miles and then build on it if they want. They may never choose to ride further than a couple of miles and that’s okay.

They may never choose to wear lycra shorts or use clipless pedals and that’s okay too. Good in fact.

Honestly I’m relatively new to the camp of “biking” rather than “cycling”, where with the former anyone can do it, and the latter is populated by two-wheeled addicts (or enthusiasts if you prefer) like myself and probably you with our high tech gear on our high-end bikes.

If you pay great attention to wind speed and direction you’re likely in the cycling camp. Before smart phones and apps the weather channel was my most viewed cable channel.

I get that the cycling model I’ve always subscribed to has not appealed to the majority of people. It hasn’t brought bicycling to the masses by any stretch. Seems to me that most of the new people coming to cycling/bicyling just aren’t interested in seeing how fast and how far they can ride. They aren’t interested in what their resting heart rate is (46) or their average speed (15-16 if it’s flat). They are drawn to biking for transportation and fun.

Personally I don’t care what brings people to biking just so long as they’re here.

The love of bikes can include all of us: athlete types, people riding for transportation and the people who haven’t been on a bike in years but remember it fondly and want to try it again, just for the fun of it.

For those people, two mile tours, in street clothes, sans helmet if they choose, might just be the ticket to get them riding. Hope so.

 

 

Day 34

5 May

Thirty fourth consecutive day of riding. A short ride it was, just over 5 miles, through my neighborhood.

A pleasant ride on a beautiful morning.

Had I waited until the afternoon, or worse, tonight to ride, I’d still be trying to get dry and warm.

Love all the heavy rain now though!

#RideEveryDay

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.loveofbikes.com.