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18 May 2006 @ 10:29 am
The Conversations I Looked Forward to Having This Morning  

[Cross-posted from my MovableType Blog]

(as they played out in my head)

"I rode my bike to work this morning."

"Umm, don't you always do that?"

"No, let me restate: I rode. my bike. to work. this morning."

(further hints for the still clueless): "No train was involved. 50 miles door-to-door")

WOO!

Now, if I could just get Homer Simpson singing Black Sabbath out of my head. "I. Am. Ironman. NANA-NANA-NANA-NA-NA-NUH-NA!" It was only 50 miles. At a group pace.

Edit: Hahahahahahahahahahaha! I earned half-again my Points™®© allowance in Activity Points™®©. Southwestern Eggrolls, anyone? ;-`)

 
 
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: "Iron Man" — Black Sabbath (in my head)
 
 
 
Brianbk2w on May 18th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
Excellent! Now do it 10 more times.

What county line is that in the icon?
Erik Ogan: haloeriktheplaid on May 18th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
Los Angeles. It's from the AIDS Ride. (The original image)
Erik Oganeriktheplaid on May 18th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
Notice I refrained from the snarky response: "I have, it was called the AIDS Ride. 575 miles."
The Onion Girl: attitudetshuma on May 18th, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
And I'm noticing that you didn't actually refrain. :-P
Erik Ogan: haloeriktheplaid on May 18th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
Dammit, she's on to me....Act natural, and whistle innocently....
Erik Ogan: bikeeriktheplaid on May 19th, 2006 12:14 am (UTC)
What county line is that in the icon?

Made it more obvious. That crop job has bothered me for a while. You were the straw that broke the camel's back.
stealthymonkey on May 18th, 2006 05:44 pm (UTC)
Sweet mercy! Awesome!!!!!!

ANd here I was feeling good about riding five miles in hail...Congrats!
Erik Ogan: for hireeriktheplaid on May 18th, 2006 05:57 pm (UTC)
Um, riding ANY distance in hail is far worse than what I just did. It was a gorgeous spring day. Well, not so much when I started at 6am, but eventually. :)

20° temerature differential. In CA, that's what passes for weather. (At least this time of year)
stealthymonkey on May 18th, 2006 11:04 pm (UTC)
Nevertheless, this fattiecyclst salutes you and your achievement!

Huzzah!

You're going to sleep like a dead lead log tonight. It's going to be awesome for your body.
Jonahjd5p on May 18th, 2006 05:51 pm (UTC)
Gogo Gadget . . .
Gogo Gadget Power Legs . . . err Lungs . . . err . . . everything.
Awesome man!
Enjoy the greasy goodness . . . you've earned them.
Erik Ogan: bikeeriktheplaid on May 18th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Gogo Gadget . . .
Actually, at the pace we did it (14.5 mph average) it wasn't particularly taxing on those parts. But (and the cyclist in me is ashamed of this) by about mile 40 my back was tired of holding posture. (I probably would have had a better time without the Camelback which, in hindsight, wasn't strictly necessary.)
Erik Ogan: haloeriktheplaid on May 18th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Gogo Gadget . . .
Oh, and no greasy goodness for me. I weigh in tonight.
clynne on May 18th, 2006 08:25 pm (UTC)
Very impressive!

Don't you love the virtuous feeling you get when you're all "and now I will eat this DISGUSTINGLY UNHEALTHY TREAT and STILL HAVE POINTS LEFT!"
Erik Ogan: haloeriktheplaid on May 18th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
I'm looking forward to it, but I weigh in tonight, so I've been trying to keep my expenditures to a minimum. Once the scale has been mollified, it's off to the GREASY GOODNESS for me.

Matt has been baiting me with peanut-butter filled pretzels at games tonight, and I think I'm going to have a bunch and not worry about it.
georgejasgeorgejas on May 18th, 2006 09:49 pm (UTC)
err, dude. i think all that biking may have affected your sanity.

:-)
michael pendletonschwap23 on May 18th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
Well, shit! I'm impressed! that's the kind of thing I like to tell myself I *could* do (if I reeeally wanted), but since I will never try, we'll never know... Here's my current excuse: I currently live a ten minute *walk* from where I work. It would take me almost that long to get my bike out of my apartment! Additional excuses are available at no extra charge...
Tim Showalterts4z on May 18th, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
dude, you're psycho.
bayareajennbayareajenn on May 20th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)
He is not psycho. Man, I'd love to be able to do that. And not just for the egg rolls. ;-)
Erik Ogan: for hireeriktheplaid on May 20th, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

Man, I'd love to be able to do that. And not just for the egg rolls. ;-)

Actually, it's not all that hard. The key is to start small and work your way up incrementally. In fact, I'd bet you'd have an easier time of it than I did the first time I started riding to Intuit (you're probably carrying around quite a bit less excess, and you've been walking, so you probably wouldn't fall on the bed, incapable of movement after the first time.)

While small, incremental increases are key, it also helps immensely to have nice, scenic locales and a group of people to go with can also be a big help (provided everyone agrees to match pace, and nobody is overly taxed). The only trail I can think of down your way is Coyote Creek Trail. It's quite nice, but I'm sure there are others closer to your house.

If you really want to start riding, I'm going to organize an all-skill level ride over the Golden Gate Bridge on 6/10. From there we'll probably ride down (it's almost all down hill) into Sausalito. There's a ferry there back to SF from there, so if you met us near the bridge, it would be a fairly easy ride, and it's really a fun one. You should at least consider parking in the Marina & riding over the bridge with us. It's great fun.

I might also be convinced to come down & ride Coyote Creek again, if you (plural or singular) were contemplating it.
bayareajennbayareajenn on May 21st, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
When I was in college I used to bike 10 miles a day (5 to work, 5 back) in the summers, as well as everywhere I needed to go. I had this crappy KMart "racing"/road bike, but I loved it.

Now I have this other bike. It was supposed to be an upgrade (bought about 10 or 12 years ago). It's a Trek brand ... uh hybrid I think it's called? You know, not exactly a road bike, and not exactly an off-road bike. Unfortunately, however, I *hate* riding it. It's too big, too heavy (imo), and I prefer the racing-style handlebars. So, I stopped riding.

What I'd really like to do is get a high-end-ish racing-style bike -- lightweight, thin wheels, the kind of handlebars I like -- and start riding again regularly. Those bikes, however, are expensive. Around a grand last time I went bike shopping (10/12 yrs ago), and probably even more now.

I'm also not sure I'd be very good or very comfortable on a bike. I still weigh over 200 pounds. Tim and I set the goal that once I hit 199.5 or below, we'd go bike shopping for a real nice bike, but that hasn't happened yet.

The bike rides you've proposed sound totally cool, right up my alley. But I really, really hate my bike. Alas, I think I can't join you until I get that problem fixed. Unless you have any other ideas? Keeping in mind, of course, that we are also cash-strapped at the moment (school, wedding, wedding rings, wedding garb, traveling, 3 receptions).
Erik Ogan: bikeeriktheplaid on May 22nd, 2006 01:56 am (UTC)
Ack! I've exceeded the maximum comment length. That's what I get for rambling.

Now I have this other bike. It was supposed to be an upgrade (bought about 10 or 12 years ago). It's a Trek brand ... uh hybrid I think it's called? You know, not exactly a road bike, and not exactly an off-road bike. Unfortunately, however, I *hate* riding it. It's too big, too heavy (imo), and I prefer the racing-style handlebars. So, I stopped riding.

The (far and away) most important feature of any bike is that it fits you. If the fit isn't right, nothing else will make up for it. That being said, I know there are psychological factors to take into account.

My mountain bike (also a Trek) felt a tad big when I bought it (I got a great deal on it, less than half the MSRP in the same model-year, and that colored my vision more than it should have), but I've grown used to it, and now it just feels right. Now barreling down single-track in the middle of nowhere on it feels better than anything that you can do with clothes on should, but I used to ABSOLUTELY hate riding it on the road. When coasting, I heard and felt the knobby tires smacking the road, losing forward momentum at an alarming rate (some of that was probably in my head, though), and the upright posture made me feel like a sail for even the slightest head wind.

There are quite a few people who love their hybrids (Yojo, for example). I, however am not a fan. (Jack-of-all-trades, master of none, IMNSO) That being said, there are probably some things that can be done to help your enjoyment

The easiest is that I'd suspect some of you "it's too heavy" feeling has to do with how it handles when you ride it. That's most affected by the tires & wheels. Swapping your tires out for something thinner (or even just something designed for a higher pressure) will make the bike feel quite a bit more nible. It might be that you already have the thinnest tires you can get for your wheelset (though I'd doubt that), and I don't recommend swapping wheels on a bike you hate.

I recently did basically the opposite on my touring bike (that I've built up into my commuter bike). I went from 19mm to 35mm tires (I wanted 32mm, but they were out). I did that to gain some stability on the rough road surfaces around my house. At first I was annoyed by the loss in agility (and more annoyed that it should have occurred to me that it would happen, I should have stuck it out and gotten the tires I wanted). I've since gotten used to the agility, and am a lot happier with the stability.

The advantage of this simple upgrade is that you should be able to get the tires for $20 or so. (Especially if you wait for an inevitable sale.) Oh, and they'll probably require different tubes. $3.


...cont.
Erik Ogan: bikeeriktheplaid on May 22nd, 2006 02:03 am (UTC)
What I'd really like to do is get a high-end-ish racing-style bike -- lightweight, thin wheels, the kind of handlebars I like -- and start riding again regularly. Those bikes, however, are expensive. Around a grand last time I went bike shopping (10/12 yrs ago), and probably even more now.

Yes, but the truth is from year to year the improvements are incremental (at best). Carbon-fiber frames seem to finally be coming into the mainstream, and for those who simply MUST have the absolute lightest bike possible, that's where they'll go, and it might make sense for them to buy a new bike. Personally, I don't feel comfortable riding PAPER! (I'm also a big guy, so I'm harder on a frame than some lithe twenty-something with more money than brains.)

Other than that, there's functionally very little difference between model years. A bike a few years old will cost you less. (Or, looking at it the other way, the same money will buy a better bike)

Not that I'm one to talk, I was chatting with Stork on the train on Friday about working together and having custom titanium frames built. (My body proportions make it very difficult to find a production road bike that fits me (stubby, stubby legs, long torso), it's one of the reasons I use a touring frame as a standard road frame. The only way around that is to have one built for me. And if you're going custom, well, you might as well go titanium. :)


I'm also not sure I'd be very good or very comfortable on a bike. I still weigh over 200 pounds. Tim and I set the goal that once I hit 199.5 or below, we'd go bike shopping for a real nice bike, but that hasn't happened yet.

If it's been 10 years since you rode regularly, you're bound to feel a bit unsure of yourself at first, but you'd get your legs under you again in short order. As to your weight, I'll merely point to the fact that I did all the training and the California AIDS Ride itself in the mid-200s, and that was the best shape I'd been in since swimming in HS.

As for buying a bike, let me share a "secret" with you: bikes depreciate faster than cars! You can save yourself a TON of money (and end up with a much better bike!) buying used. Craig's List is a boon, as long as you can be a little patient (and know what you want). There are a few bike shops around that deal in used bikes, which is a happy medium, though the savings aren't as substantial.


The bike rides you've proposed sound totally cool, right up my alley. But I really, really hate my bike. Alas, I think I can't join you until I get that problem fixed. Unless you have any other ideas? Keeping in mind, of course, that we are also cash-strapped at the moment (school, wedding, wedding rings, wedding garb, traveling, 3 receptions).

Well, apart from the tires I mentioned above, I have one other idea for "too heavy." Mountain Bikes (and most hybrids are based on MtB's) are geared lower than road bikes, and it's possible that you feel like you're doing more work / not going as fast in the top gear. But I suppose you don't know the tooth counts on your chain rings & cassette off the top of your head. :) In any case, changing that's probably trouble than it's worth.

What is it that you miss about drop bars? Do you miss having different places to put your hands, or did you enjoy getting down into a tuck? If you are looking for more hand positions, I'd strongly recommend bar-ends. They can be had relatively cheap at any bike store, and you can set them to any angle you'd like and they greatly increase the number of hand placements.

It's possible to get drops for a mountain bike stem (which yours probably is), but road handle bars are 25mm wide, MtB bars are 1" wide. That 2/10" difference is just enough....Hybrids also tend to feature an upright posture with a highly pitched stem, in that case you'd probably want to swap it out as well.

The trouble with replacing the handlebars, is that you'll have to replace the shifters & brake levers, as well. An alternative where you might be able to keep them is to try a moustache bars.


I've babbled enough.
bayareajennbayareajenn on May 25th, 2006 03:07 pm (UTC)
I do have bar-ends, but I don't like them. I dunno why I'm so stuck on the tuck position; it's just what I like I guess. I mean not the whole time, but most of the time, esp. when going fast.

I pretty much decided that if I was going to spend the money to change the bike's wheels and handlebars and whatnot, I may as well spend the money on a new (or different) bike I like.

I will take your advice, however, and start looking for used bikes of the style I want. I'd like to talk to you some more about this stuff in person sometime. Right now -- way too hectic for me, but soon I hope.
Kevin: Hironamshubwriter on May 24th, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC)
all-skill level ride
The all-skill level ride sounds interesting. Becky's bike is in need of a tune-up, and I no longer own a bike, but those are both fixable problems. Our knees might be a bigger problem, but perhaps we can do some biking around the block before then.

The problem is I don't know how often I'd use a bike. I wouldn't ride all the way to work; San Jose to Mountain View is a long way, and the public transportation options don't appear to be that great. The Google shuttle stops by at Los Gatos, but that's the other way.
Erik Ogan: haloeriktheplaid on May 27th, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC)
Re: all-skill level ride

The all-skill level ride sounds interesting.

Yay! It'd be great if you guys came!

Becky's bike is in need of a tune-up, and I no longer own a bike, but those are both fixable problems. Our knees might be a bigger problem, but perhaps we can do some biking around the block before then.

That might be a good idea, but most of that can be taken care of also by stretching well beforehand, and making sure you're completely warmed up before tackling any major climbs. The conservative pace we'll set will also help.

The problem is I don't know how often I'd use a bike. I wouldn't ride all the way to work;

Yes, I was very lucky that my commute to Intuit from Sunnyvale was as short as it was. It allowed me to start small, but also ride regularly so my abilities grew quickly. (Well, quicker, anyway)

Most of the people I know, however, start out by riding recreationally on the occasional weekend. Many don't really progress beyond that, but the key is that they're having fun doing it.

If you're unsure you'd want to do that, I may have a solution for you. I have two bikes. You could ride one with us over the GGB and see how it feels. I suspect my MtB is too small for you, but it's technically big on me, what's your inseam?

If you're beyond that step already, I'd suggest buying a cheaper (USED) bike. I'd suggest a mountain bike (or a hybrid, ignoring my comments above), the upright posture is more comfortable for someone who's not used to riding. Plus, it's easier to take a MtB on the road than the other way around (it's called cyclecross, and it's a whole lot of fun, but not for the faint of heart, but I digress)

As for riding around near you, the aforementioned Coyote Creek Trail is an option, but for you the Los Gatos Creek Trail is very close to your house, and is a nice, long, fun, flat (if memory serves) trail. It may be just far enough that you'd want to put the bikes in/on the car and drive to it, but it would be an excellent introduction. I might even be convinced to bring my two bikes down at some point before the 10th if you'd like to mix these two suggestions up a bit.

San Jose to Mountain View is a long way, and the public transportation options don't appear to be that great.

Down the road (hah! get it?) SJ->MV may be within your reach. Before that, it looks like you COULD take VTA Light Rail (from the Hamilton or Bascom) to Mountain View, and then ride on the Stevens Creek Trail to just behind Google. I'd suggest trying it on a weekend sometime to get a feel for it. My Caltrain monthly pass affords me free VTA, so if you'd like to try that when we try the Los Gatos Creek Trail, I could show you the route (it used to be my commute to work)

The VTA System Map and the Bikeways Map (years ago, I had a paper version of this map) from this page are really handy resources for figuring this kind of stuff out.

The Google shuttle stops by at Los Gatos, but that's the other way.

Depending on where, you could ride on the Los Gatos Creek Trail, but it doesn't look that short a trip for starting out.

Erik Ogan: haloeriktheplaid on May 20th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
No, psycho would be randomly deciding on Wednesday to do the Skyline Blvd. route.

Which, actually, I did. It's gorgeous. But also longer, and much hillier.

So I came to my senses and hooked up with a group riding the (disjoint) Bay Trail route. Flat (once I left the city) is key.
bayareajennbayareajenn on May 20th, 2006 02:50 am (UTC)
Holy cow!

So I have to ask: how long did it take you?
Erik Ogan: AIDSrideeriktheplaid on May 20th, 2006 06:07 pm (UTC)
3:20 ride time, 4h elapsed time (hooking up with folks at Milbrae took a while, plus riding sweep to make sure everyone made all of the turns (and made it to their destinations) accounts for the missing 40 minutes.)