Archive for the ‘General Cycling’ Category
We started clearing out an old shed in my mother-in-law’s yard, so that it can be demolished in a few weeks. The shed had been unused, probably, for decades – so who knows what was living in there. All I know is that, with my fear of wasps and spiders – and not to mention small critters that bite – I wasn’t going near it. Fortunately, my wife is a badass and those things don’t seem to bother her. Once I got the overgrown shrub chopped down from in front of the door, it was easier for her to gain access and drag out this beauty for me.
Reading on, you’ll see that I use the term ‘beauty’ quite loosely and probably with a bit of sarcasm.
I’d spotted this ‘beauty’ a few months back, when we had originally thought about clearing out the shed. Through the shrub and slightly opened door, I could see the dark silhouette of an old bike, left to rust at the back of this dark shed. I kept wondering if this was some sort of forgotten treasure of vintage steal, that was only waiting to be salvaged and restored to it’s former glory. Even when my wife, bravely, rolled it out over the busted bags of fertilizer and potting soil, I had high hopes that it was going to be a ‘beauty.’
Not this time. Upon closer inspection, I realized that this bike had seen much better days. The rust, corrosion and the decades of Texas summers had taken it’s toll on this guy. Even so, my mind started wandering into a world of sand paper, chrome polish and elbow grease, to see this ‘beauty’ restored to a showroom finish. Perhaps I had seen too many episodes of American Restorations on the History channel. Unfortunately, I had been down the road of restoration, and the result – if ever finished – is never worth the amount of work I would put into it.
I wondered if it would be worth it to pay somebody to restore it. But then I started to look into the brand and model of the bike. It’s an old (I’m assuming late 60′s early 70′s) Columbia 500. After doing some digging on-the-line, I discovered that the Columbia brand, although it has a rich heritage of building bikes since 1877, is known for manufacturing “…quality bikes at affordable prices. Developed to satisfy the demands of the casual rider, who expects the feature, quality and confidence in a brand of bikes found in specialty bike shops. Columbia bikes offer a brand that is well recognized by consumers and at the same time offers a different product at a great value!” I read this as cheap department store quality bike.
After doing a bit more, light digging, I came to realize that it wouldn’t be worth the effort or expense to restore this ‘beauty.’ It’s too bad I don’t own a small bike shop or café, because this would make the perfect decoration to hang over the awning.
I saw this on Alma Road in Plano, Texas, the city that neighbors mine. I’m not sure if this was painted by the city or by a concerned citizen, but it definitely caught my eye. Unfortunately, with it’s placement right next to the actual hazard, so it’s too late to do anything to avoid it.
Perhaps the city of Plano will fix this road soon, because it’s one of the best routes for cyclists into town.
This is my fifth year to participate in Methodist Health System’s WildRide! Against Cancer. Unlike last year, when I rode the 64 mile route with my buddy and barely made it, I opted to go easy and just do the 40 mile route (Well, with the new starting point this year, it was only 38 miles). The day was beautiful and the wind a little forgiving, which made this year’s rally one of the better ones for me.
Like with every WildRide, I keep promising myself that I’m going to get a new bike that’s lighter and not so mechanically challenged. Instead, I keep riding the only geared bike that I own - my 21-year old DiamondBack Apex mountain bike that’s been converted to a commuter. It’s heavy, the wheels wobble and the original drivetrain is showing it’s age. But, like the previous 4 WildRides and dozens of commutes to work, it gets me to where I need to go – even if I have to work a little harder.
As I stated earlier, this year’s rally started at a new location. It was still close to my house, so I opted to ride my bike the 4 miles to the rally. The new staging area was nice, but didn’t seem as well organized. I’m sure it’s just growing pains and getting used to the new place.
The starting lineup is usually much longer, giving room to all the cyclists who are planning on riding the 64 mile route – which is probably 75 percent, leaving the remaining lineup space for the 40 and 16 mile group. This year, it seemed to be the reverse, which left about 25 percent of the space for the lead group and a lot more for the rest. This forced many cyclists to cram together at the front, some waiting on the sidewalk and on the road median. Quite frankly, the rally always starts out slow for everybody, so it doesn’t really matter where you start.
Other than the awkward, overly-crowded start, the rally was really nice. The 40 (I mean 38) mile route was mostly the same with the typical rest stops, and riding over the Lavon Lake dam is always spectacular. Since I rode solo, this year’s ride was a bit lonely. Also, even though it wasn’t going to be as hard as last year’s 64 mile route, I think I had underestimated this year’s ride. I had forgotten that the 38 mile route was still a challenge for me, and it caught my legs off guard for the last few miles. I completed the route, but that 4 mile ride back to my house was miserable.
Here are a few pics of this year’s rally. Click here to see the entire set.
Originally posted on Bike Friendly Richardson:
Oncor is just about finished with the Owens Trail beautification project and would like to invite you to their celebration.
We are looking to get the word out about the celebration to be held on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to noon that marks the end of the Owens Trail beautification project. There will be free, springtime family-friendly activities centered around the trail and the Oncor Texas Trails project.
As part of the promotion next week, we will be posting an invitation on our newsroom website, TheWire.Oncor.com, and similar messages to our social media networks.
We would love for all neighbors and members of the community to come out and join us!
We are grateful that Oncor has chosen on of our trails as the first in this beautification project, and we hope to see it become available on more of their right-of-ways.
I’m not sure if you remember, but my bike mirror broke last season.
I was never a mirror user, until I actually tried one. After talking to a few folks and listening to some opinions, I decided to get a the kind that attached to my glasses, instead of my helmet or bike. I chose the Third Eye mirror which was available at my local bike shop. Overall, I was pretty happy with it.
There were only two things that disappointed me about it. The first was it’s limited positioning. I’m sure it was user error, but I could not get the Third Eye positioned right on my glasses to keep the mirror from creating a blind spot when I was actually scanning for oncoming traffic. My solve for that was to mount the mirror on the right side so that my left side scanning would be obstruction free. The other disappointment was that it only lasted a year before breaking.
After it broke, I began shopping around for a better solution – with no promising results. My goal was to find something more durable, not very expensive and not look so geeky. That led me to look into making my own, as suggested by my friend, Mike. The problem with making my own is that I never have the right parts or tools and it always ends up costing me more in time and resources – plus, it never comes out right. For now, it’ll just be one of those projects that I’ll complete later.
So, I’ve been mirror-less until a few weeks ago, when a man named Patrick McMahon, who runs the Etsy store, ReBcycle, contacted me. He stated that he might have what I’m looking for and provided a link to his store that offered mirrors that were very similar to the DIY project that I was looking into. The only difference was that his were already made.
I looked at his options, which were all nice, but I really wanted one made from the bottle cap of one of my favorite beers, Left Hand Milk Stout. We exchanged messages, and I found out that not only was he nice, but also very accommodating. He did have LHMS bottle caps available, as well as one that was older, and a bit more rare, than what they are currently using. Of course, I chose that one.
Within a few days, he had it made and shipped to me – a custom, hand-crafted, made-to-order mirror that cost the same as his other mirrors. Also, compared to other standard, retail mirrors or anything that I could have made on my own, it was pretty reasonable.
When I got the mirror, I was really impressed as to how well it was packed. The product, itself, is well-made and much more durable than it’s plastic predecessor. Being mostly all metal – both bottle cap and bicycle spoke attachment – I can already tell this is going to last longer. What really impressed me about the Beer-View Mirror is how well it fit my glasses. ReBcycle offers both long and short attachments, and I opted for short. Not only does the short attachment fit firmly on my glasses frames, it keeps the mirror far enough out to prevent that scanning blind spot. I am really impressed with this new mirror, and it was well worth it.
If you are thinking about getting a mirror for safer riding, I recommend that you take a look at ReBcycle.
This post starts with a little rant and ramble about cycle clothing, so feel free to skip ahead.
For many years, I’ve been wrestling with the idea of looking the part of a cyclist. My general philosophy with cycling is that you shouldn’t have to wear special clothes to ride a bicycle. Looking the part is just another barrier – both in stereotype and cost – that keeps folks from wanting to get back into, or trying out bicycling.
That being said, I’ve also come to some realizations about cycling that have convinced me that bike clothes SHOULD become part of my wardrobe. There are times when clothes designed for cycling, simply, just work harder and feel better. Comfort and visibility have become key factors in my clothing choices. However, for the record, you will never see me wearing a complete race kit – but, that’s a topic for another post.
For now, let’s talk about PANTS.
Riding in the summer is not a problem since I have enough shorts and padded liners to keep me covered. Winter is another story. Until recently, my cold weather riding attire has consisted of jeans, jogging pants, cargo pants and an old pair of stretchy leggings that I picked up during my mountain bike days. Back to my point above, a good pair of fitted cycling pants is expensive – so instead of having it as a barrier for cycling in the winter, I just use what I have.
Why I Think Street Clothes Don’t Work As Well:
I love the idea of just jumping on my bike with whatever I’m wearing, and I do it quite often. You shouldn’t have to get ‘outfitted’ to ride down the street. However, I’ve discovered that when you are commuting or taking long rides, street clothes aren’t always the best solution.
In my case, my jeans and cargo pants are not fitted well. I don’t have the body type to wear skinny jeans, nor am I young enough to pull it off. Sometimes, I wish other people exercised that same restraint. Because my street pants aren’t fitted, I need to roll the leg up or ‘peg’ it so that it’s not getting caught in the chain.
The cut, material and stitching of street pants are another issue. Most of them are cut low and droop in the crotch area, which always catches on my saddle as I mount. When I ride, the back end isn’t high enough to cover the lower back side – which makes it a bit breezy and some might mistake me for a plumber. Jeans and cargo pants don’t seem to flex very well, either, which makes it harder to get my cranks turned. Finally, the stitching at the crotch of street pants isn’t ideal for resting on a saddle for an extended period of time. You start to notice – even through padded liners.
Why I Don’t Like Typical Bike Pants:
Bike pants, although very expensive, are great. They’re cut and fitted for cyclist to optimize the best comfort for long rides. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find the right pair that fits well, but doesn’t look like yoga pants. Again, I’m too old and not fit enough to “pull them off” – literally and figuratively. The biggest problem I have with typical bike pants is that even when you are off the bike, they scream CYCLIST!, LOOK AT ME, I’M A CYCLIST!
Rozik, The Best Of Both Worlds:
Since cycling has become more trendy and less of a sport, there is a new category of non-traditional bicycle clothing that has become more available. Some call it cycle chic, while others call it urban. I call it brilliant. It’s well-design cycling clothes that don’t look like cycling clothes. The styles are more like street clothes, without all of the fit and discomfort issues associated with street clothes. Still a bit pricy, like most bike clothes, but you are no longer just limited to only wear them when you ride.
Rozik Wear is a new brand that makes this kind of urban cycling clothes. Based out of north Texas, Rozik clothes are all made in the U.S.A. and designed to “go in any direction that life take you.” Since I was in need, I got a pair of their black Analyzer pants from Richardson Bike Mart. So far, I’ve been pretty impressed.
Here are some features about the Rozik Analyzer pants:
- Reflective back pocket for safety that hides when not needed
- Gusset crotch for all-day comfort
- Slim fit, Euro-style cut – not ‘Skinny’
- Raised back for increased coverage
- Leg tabs for a secure pant roll-up
- Coin pocket that fits a cell phone
- Fabric that moves “every wear” you go
- Fabric: 97% Cotton 3% Viscose
- Colors: Black | Olive | Khaki
- Inseam: Regular: 32″ Long: 34″
- Shrink: expect the fabric to shrink approximately 1/2″ to 1″ in length; the waistbands are made so that they will not shrink
- Made in the USA
The size of the waste was pretty accurate. I chose the size that I wear in jeans, and they fit nicely – loose where it counts for flexibility and fitted where it was needed for optimized riding. No drooping crotch or low back, here. Since I have a 32″ inseam and they state that the length will shrink, I opted for the long (34″). If they don’t shrink to fit, I can always roll the cuff up once (as seen in the pics below – before their first washing).
Although I haven’t taken them on a really long ride, I can already tell the difference between these and my street pants. The Analyzer seems to fulfill all of my riding pant needs – from comfort to style. With the reflective flap, safety gets a nod, too. They’re well made and I expect them to last a long time.
The only thing I would change is the zipper for the back, right pocket. When closed, the pull-tab for the zipper is towards the middle and rubs on most things that I sit on. It’s even gotten caught in the crack of a bench seat. Flipping it so that the zipper pull is towards the outside when closed, might help this.
Move over Silverado and F-150, there’s a new truck in Texas, and his name is The Clyde!
He’s a work horse with a truck style box to quickly haul heavy cargo anywhere it’s needed. Railings offer a quick and easy way to tightly secure your important items for the journey. Open air conditioning and a comfortable saddle, make any work day seem a breeze! Also, a custom made head badge gives it a great finishing touch.
Furthermore, the bicycle isn’t left hanging without great components under the hood.
It’s rear Sturmey Archer, 8 speed, internal gearing engine can take on any hill, and a classic internal drum break helps to slow you down with ease. This steed provides the durability and ease-of-use you want with any front loader.
Furthermore, alloy rims and spokes, along with a strong, durable frame provide the strength to load up your Clyde for a full days work!
The Clyde offers pure hauling ability with the Dutch front loading experience you’re seeking in a great cargo bicycle! To start your new build, submit an order inquiry today!
No, it wasn’t a race.
Local bike shop, Richardson Bike Mart, known for it’s connection to the local cycling community, had their first ‘Coffee Crawl‘ last month. Having one of the largest inventories of road, race and mountain bikes in the area, their stores appear to cater to more experience riders, athletes and aspiring racers. However, Richardson Bike Mart hasn’t forgotten the fun side of bicycling and makes efforts to encourage other cyclists to get out and ride. The Richardson Bike Mart Coffee Crawl is the perfect example of that.
The idea was to get us cyclists out on our own schedules and pace, to explore the city - something I totally embrace with Suburban Assault - and visit local coffee shops or breakfast destinations. We had the entire month of November to accomplish as many rides as possible, taking photos at each stop.
Since I love coffee and riding, I fully embraced this challenge – riding and drinking coffee as often as I could. It totally paid off, because I was the winner of the very generous $100 gift certificate from Richardson Bike Mart. Believe me, I’m going to put it to some good use.
Thank you, Richardson Bike Mart!
Here are some of my pics from my coffee crawl rides: