Archive for March, 2011

March 18, 2011

Get Out the Lead, Man

Because engaging your muscles to cover 140.6 miles wasn’t quite enough. A new race, a new format, complete with a new distance of insanity. Brought to you by the organizers of the famous Leadville 100 (the 100 mile Mountain Bike race, made even more famous in 2009 by Lance’s smoking time, and with the last few miles with a flat tire.) the LeadManTri is the newest test of physical endurance (maybe not the most extreme, but the newest) in the outdoor arena of Multisport.

You can read all about the event on the page, but the quick run down (courtesy of my favorite daily newsletter, Everyman Tri,) is roughly a 3.1 mile swim (compared to 2.4 for IronMan) 132 mile bicycle (112 for IM), followed by a half marathon (where IM demands a full marathon). Sounds simple enough, right? Training for the LeadManTri will certainly follow a different approach in order to compensate for the longer swim (where most people claim their weakness), and the longer bicycle ride (a strength for many), and shorter run.

This is a pretty exciting twist to the traditional full IronMan distance. I guess we’ll wait to see if it catches on in popularity, and whether or not it does, the main 2 questions remain: What are you doing now? -and- What next?

March 14, 2011

Cycling and Yoga

It’s funny to think of being new to something so old. Yoga has been around for how many centuries, and here I am stumbling around like it’s the greatest new invention since quick release wheels.

Cycling is all about flow. It is relatively low impact (unless your city doesn’t maintain your roads), but cycling injuries can derail all that fun you have on your bike. Staying loose and staying fit (to include a strong core) are both essential to racking up miles of two-wheeled smiles. Expanding your cross-training into a Yoga practice can help prevent many injuries, and keep you on your bike. (Physio Works is an informative site for learning about prevention, causes, and treatments of various injuries.)

All of the Yoga information on the web can be daunting, but if you’re serious about cross-training to enhance your cycling experience, I would suggest considering which of the following three questions best applies to you (courtesy of WebMD) and go from there.

  1. Are you doing yoga for fitness and to get in shape as well as to explore the mind-body connection? Then choose a more vigorous yoga style like Power Yoga, Ashtanga yoga, or Bikram yoga. All three styles combine an athletic series of poses into a vigorous, total-body workout.
  2. Are you starting yoga with an injury or a chronic medical condition? Or are you older and out of shape? Then start with a slower, more alignment-oriented class like Iyengar yoga, Kripalu yoga, or Viniyoga. All three focus on finding the safest, most precise alignment for each student in every pose.
  3. Are the meditative and spiritual aspects of yoga your primary goal? Then try one of the yoga styles that include plenty of meditation, chanting, and the philosophic aspects of yoga. For example, you might try Kundalini yoga.

Of course, the biggest factor is going to be what is available and convenient to you. Too much travel time on top of an already busy family, work, and training schedule might be even more discouraging to beginning a successful Yoga practice. Your local gym might offer Yoga classes, and many of these instructors are very well qualified and very effective. Yoga Finder is one of many great websites to find classes and styles in your area. Yoga Site offers short definitions of the seeming myriad of styles available.

Whatever you choose, even if your choice is to dabble, stick with it! Any new practice gets better with time, focus and dedication.

March 12, 2011

Collapsing Into Now

Saturday, March 12, 2011. Happy Birthday, Jack Kerouac! What does Kerouac have to do with bicycles? Nothing as far as I can tell. I’m sure he rode a bicycle at some point during his life, but he didn’t do so in the presence of a photographer. Not a photographer who is familiar with Google Image upload procedures. Anyway, Kerouac has been dead for as long as I can remember, but yes, there are many of us who still make reference to him as though he is still alive. My answer to my friend who mentioned this overlooked abuse of the present tense, and to you if you’re so inclined to wonder, is simply: If you had the talent and drive to create something timeless, you have the advantage of putting in a bid for immortality.

Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to ride my bicycle to work. I had measured the approximate distance in my car, and came up with 2.1 miles. The route I would actually take on my bike ended up being 3.4 miles. I can say with straight-faced sincerity that very little beats the feeling of generating your own power with those muscles God gave you as a means of getting to work. The only obstacle (besides weather) is going to be finding a consistent way to get my pants to work without looking like I wrestled in a bicycle-greased-wrinkle-lodge and lost. There is a great website available about commuting by bicycle, called (oddly enough) Bike Commuters. You don’t get any extra love by telling them that I sent you, but they might check out my blog if you mention me. Thank you in advance!

Collapse Into Now, R.E.M.’s newest album invaded the stores on Tuesday, March 8th, and I waited until today to grab my copy. Why? Beats me. Maybe I’m getting older. Maybe I wanted to treat myself for Kerouac’s birthday (he’s moved along, remember?). Or maybe I’m still sore about nearly everything that happened after New Adventures in Hi-Fi, when Bill Berry left the band. That one isn’t entirely true, I have listened to Accelerate more than any other in recent memory, but even that one had a lot of non-R.E.M.-soundishness to it. I won’t be so bold as to proclaim that R.E.M. is back, but I haven’t been this happy on the first day of a new R.E.M. album since skipping school my senior year just to be at Turtles (remember that place?) when they opened so I could get the first copy of Out of Time, or faking illness when I was in the Navy (Pensacola) to be the first to get Automatic for the People. Maybe the most fun I had with a new R.E.M. album was with my buddy Kevin in Norfolk when we went to the Midnight Madness sale to get Monster before it was available to the public. Okay, so R.E.M. has always been a big deal to me. The new album is already so much more than I expected, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

On days like today I feel that my entire history is collapsing into now, and since I’m heading out to see where this ride will take me, I think I have the perfect soundtrack.

March 8, 2011

ElliptiGO-go Gadget!

Not really a bicycle, but if you have the dough, I think this would be worth the investment. The one pictured here is called the ElliptiGO and is ridden by Dean Karnazes. I’m sure there are other people who ride them, but this is the Dean-Man, and he’s a heck of an endorsement! (Not that he is in anyway affiliated with me or this blog. True, he should be, but at the moment of this writing, he is not.) ((In fact, at the moment, he is busy running from the West Coast to the East Coast to raise money to help fight childhood obesity. Yeah, I’d say he gets my respect for that!))

This machine is a low impact way for you to log your running miles, but without the confines of being indoors. I imagine it would be a great assistance for those recovering from foot, leg, knee, or lower back injuries. It would probably also be of benefit to recovering saddle sores, or other ailments induced by those teeny little bicycle seats for too long. In other words, a Cross Trainer.

If you’re still not convinced, you can request a free test ride, and from my skillful clicking and probing, I have found a dealer right here in Atlanta, Busy Body Gyms to Go. The main ElliptiGO page has an easy access menu for those non-Atlantians who found there way to my lusty blog, but if you are local, the tedious work of searching has been done for you.

Spring is sending out her invitations, see you outside!

March 7, 2011

Laboring in Love- NAHBS 2011

Every year people get together with their handmade bicycles and turn the show into something of a party. Or so I imagine. I haven’t yet been to an NAHBS show, but it looks like something I’d dig.

Rather than spout off a lot of what I don’t know about these bikes, I’ll just post a few of my favorite pics and share the link to their hand-grown home site. (Along with some mindless rabble that emulates my jabbering enthusiasm.)

Cherubim — A whole lot of  “I don’t know” mixed with a bunch of “Gotta get one.”

~

Panda Bicycles— Yes, yes, as a matter of fact I think I love you too!

~

Vulture Cycles— It’s a significant guarantee that I’m going to dig on anything Red, but this could have been any color, almost.

~

YiPsan— Oh my, my, oh hell yes, honey put on that party dress! (Yes, this one inhaled all my creativity.)

~

And, of course, you can always check out the NAHBS 2011 site for yourself and see what might inspire you to start Spring before the actual kickoff on March 20th. Happy trails and well pedaled rumps!

March 7, 2011

Trekking with the Big Blue Book

Yesterday, I finally gave in and spent some of my money on Park Tool’s Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair. It was never an issue of not having $25 to drop on this thing, it was always a matter of not wanting to relocate $25 of my money. Park Tool is an industry leader, but well, I could find most of the info online, and sometimes I just like to tinker.

REI, the blessed saints that they are, had my copy of the BBB stowed neatly away in the clearance section. Still wrapped, mostly untouched, and sadly unloved. A mere $11.93 would change both of our fates, and send me packing with this polished stone of non-fiction literature.

Yeah, well, ahem, this isn’t a sales pitch, and I’m not going to be paid to endorse this product, but I will say that it is a great resource to have, and being able to take it outside during a tune-up is a major time-saver. (I’m pretty paranoid about toting my laptop around, especially where tools are involved, in case that was your solution for me.)

If I have a critique of this book, it is that I am now holding a very thick marketing campaign that is actively targeting my future earnings. Page after page reminds me that I need this tool, I sure could use that one, imagine how smooth she’d roll if I had one of those . . .  I think you get where I’m going.

As it stands, the weather is warming, the days are expanding, and every bicycle in every nook of the world could use some level of love before the Spring bicycle routes erupt into full bloom. Just under 24 hours into our relationship, I can see where this book would have been worth the $25 I was always so reluctant to spend. Lighten your wallet, show some love, ride your bike.

March 6, 2011

All About Cycling

Cycle (n.) – any complete round or series of occurrences that repeats or is repeated. -Osis (sfx.)- suffix expressing state or condition, in medical terminology denoting a state of disease

There it is, everything you need to know about the intent of this site, neatly packaged in one compound word– Cycleosis. I haven’t yet thought out all I’d like to do here, but you can rest and be assured that whatever I do will have something to do with Writing and Cycling. The trip will be fun, especially since none of us know what is around the next curve or over the next hill. Just keep pedaling and we’ll all get there together!

How else to begin writing about the riding life than with a few polished literary quotes on the topic:

The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.  ~Christopher Morley

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.  Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.  ~Ernest Hemingway

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.  ~Grant Petersen

Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.  ~Albert Einstein

Get a bicycle.  You will not regret it if you live.  ~Mark Twain

(Special thanks to the Quote Garden for ignoring the fact that I lifted all of these quotes from them without permission.)