Any other cyclists around here?

My favorite ride of the season, the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee (D2R2), was over the weekend, so it’s still pretty fresh in my mind, so figured I’d ask. I spent a lot of time on a mountain biker as a teenager, didn’t really stick with it in college, and got into road riding in my mid-20s once it became apparent that I needed some form of regular exercise to stay fit, and I REALLY hated running. Then I got the long distance cycling bug in a big way in 2012 riding the Pan Mass Challenge, and barring the occasional break for injuries I’ve never really looked back. I ride a Specialized Tarmac on a set of Enves, and barring town line sprints and the occasional friendly wager up the side of a mountain or something don’t really race, just enjoy going hard and getting faster.

Anyone else here ride? I find it compliments guitar well - I tend to focus on music over the winter and then shift to playing enough to maintain and hone chops over the summer while I ride, and spend enough time on the trainer over the winter to maintain fitness, but really switch over to writing and recording music. In both cases, around this time of the year I’m starting to get fired up to start working on new music again, and by March or so I’m itching to get back out there on the road. In both cases, it helps keep it fresh.

1 Like

Oh man that looks awesome! I enjoy cycling though it’s a pretty casual hobby. I commute in Brooklyn (15 min. ride to the office) and have done some longer rides on occasion, maxing out in the ~50 mile range, both in the NYC area and in Seattle where I grew up.

Right now I just have a middle of the road Trek hybrid that I got off Craigslist for a few hundred bucks. Fine for commuting / short weekend rides but I’d definitely like to upgrade at some point. I got a set of panniers for xmas a couple years back…haven’t put them to much use yet but would love to try a bike camping trip and/or just more scenic rides like the D2R2!

1 Like

It’s a BRUTALLY hard ride, even the metric century (~62 miles) is bruising since 1) most of it on dirt, which is slower going, you tend to get jostled around more, and traction is tricky on steep climbs, and 2) there are LOTS of steep climbs. :smile: The 115k is only slightly easier than the full 180k loop, which I did last year, and the 180 may very well be the hardest ride I’ve ever done (the only comparable ride was a 160 miler with 12,000 feet of climbing, and the 180k was about 50 miles shorter, but mostly dirt, and with an extra 2,000 feet of vertical - ouch!)

Bikes are awesome, though - a good road bike on good pavement is about the closest feeling to flying I think we as humans will ever experience, it’s so fast and feels so effortless. I’d I’ve been making a point of trying to use my dirt road bike more often is a way to get around and run errands - I don’t love locking it up outdoors, but it’s a less overtly “expensive” looking bike than my Tarmac, on fancy carbon aero wheels, and it’s really just a super convenient way to get around the city when you’re in a hurry.

NYC is pretty flat, but Seattle is definitely NOT - that must have been a pretty good workout, doing 50 mile rides out there!

Haha okay that does sound brutal, I’ll have to work my way up to that :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

For NYC rides this one’s a lot of fun:

They’ve got a nice variety of route length options. I did the 55 mile one a couple years back, that seemed about the most I can handle without really training for it. But I’d like to try something like a full century at some point.

In Seattle the Burke-Gilman Trail is great, that was a go-to for family rides when I was growing up. Don’t remember it being terribly hilly. I think it’s like 30 miles or so…that’s probably the longest I did in the NW. No epic mountain rides yet!

I’ll be out to the NW next month, visiting family on Whidbey Island, and plan to borrow my dad’s bike a bit, super pleasant to just cruise around back roads on the island.

1 Like

That looks awesome, actually, and a century isn’t THAT bad to train for if you just get out there often enough. Looks like a cool event!

Whidbey Island, huh? I had a good friend who grew up there. Are you from there or just have relatives there now?

I’m no longer a cyclist but I was into it fairly seriously in junior high and 9th grade. I never got into mountain biking. I was into road racing. If I recall the terminology correctly, the types of races I used to enter were called “criterions.” Does that sound right?

When I started I had a Schwinn 10 speed. The first tie I took it to the criterion, everybody laughed at my bike. It didn’t bother me too much but the friend I brought with me who was considering getting into racing as well and was turned off because he thought they were a**holes ( he was right about the ones making fun of my Scwinn) and told me he thought their tiny little tight shorts and shaved legs looked “gay” (his words - not mine). I soon upgraded my bike in a major way - I got a pearl white Peugeot racing nike for my birthday and it was beautiful as well as unbelievably light! I didn’t know a ten speed bike could be made so light. It even had titanium rims.

I bought a helmet because the friend from school who did race and was already very advanced taught me that all road racers wore helmets since we rode so much faster than the ordinary guy riding his 10 speed did. He was right! I never had a fall but still I think the idea of wearing a helmet in races and in training was intelligent. What’s up with ALL the kids today riding bikes wearing helmets though? They’re not racers; they’re just casual riders! I don;t get it, I grew u in the 70s and 80s and NEVER saw a kid on a bicycle wear a helmet until I got into racing. Hell, there wear plenty of motorcycle riders back then who didn’t wear helmets!

Anyway, I’d say racing was a positive experience. I was successful at the beginner level and won my races, but in training I didn’t make the kind of progress that would indicate that I had much of a talent for bike racing as far as anything beyond the races for beginners so I got out of it and just focused on baseball and my weigh training which I really loved. I also loved cross country skiing. I loved it a lot but it doesn’t snow enough where I live to be able to do it much. Too bad, because I had a lot more talent and interest for that then I did for cycling races. I think what I loved most of it was seeing the beautiful forest covered in snow, the occasional animals I’d see in the woods, and the relative solitude one experiences in that compared to downhill skiing which involves a big line at the ski lift more often than not, although I did enjoy the speed of downhill skiing.

I actually raced cross country skiing in high school too, but while I enjoyed it, and was pretty good at it (top 20-25 in the state in skating technique, I forget exactly, and I believe 11th in classical, skiing in a league that sent at least one guy I knew to the Olympics), I didn’t stick with it in college - I might have been able to hang as a walk-on in college, but my school’s program was REALLY strong, and this corresponded in the period of my life where I started to get really serious about guitar and writing music.

I can count the number of times I’ve ridden without a helmet on one hand in the last five years. Two of those were occasions where I just didn’t have access to one - picking my bike up from the shop after work, a day earlier than it was expected to be ready, and going straight from work to get there in time so I couldn’t stop to grab my helmet - and maybe on one occasion I did a quick spin around my block to test out something on my bike I’d been dialing in. I REALLY don’t like riding without one, though - I feel naked without one, I don’t trust drivers, and even a person who trips while walking can hit their head hard enough to give themselves a consussion. Even a slow rider going about 10mph will hit exponentially harder than that, and while I do occasionally just cruise, my not-really-killing-it-but-still-giving-it-some-effort-on-a-straightaway-with-no-headwind pace is low-mid 20s, so I’m not chancing it.

I’ve never done any bike racing (other than racing buddies when we’re out for a ride), but my brother used to (just started back up again, after five years off, and went from barely holding on as a Cat 2 rider after upgrading to being a solid middle of the pack rider while just training for fun for five years, dude’s a monster) and I’ve watched him in a bunch of crits, and I think they look fun - it’s kind of like chess, at 25mph. I’m definitely a proverbial Strava Cat 6 hero, though - picking up KOMs in the Boston area is tough since there are SO many exceptional riders up here, but when I’m going for it I’m usually putting up pretty respectable times on segment leaderboards.

You wouldn’t believe bike technology today. While there’s some overlap, with two rings in the front and 11 cogs in the cassette I have 22 gear combinations, with shifters integraded into the brakes so I can shift just by flicking them sideways without taking my hands off the bars, and carefully indexed so shifting is razor-sharp. I actually havent weighed my Tarmac since swapping the stock wheels for Enves, but it’s probably right around 17lbs for a 58, which if you’re not used to it is almost laughably light - carbon was a game changer.

If what you loved about skiing was being out in the wilderness and snow, have you tried snowshoing? I think that’s a better way to get way off the beaten path, since you have much more control in the backcountry, both going up AND down hills.

When I was a kid my dad got snowshoes for the whole family. From what I remember we only used them a handful of times. I think having to walk with my feet so wide apart felt awkward to me. Don’t get me wrong, it was OK, but I preferred cross country skiing. See, I never went out in the backcountry exactly. We’d go to a ski resort that would have something like 100 miles of cross country trails from beginner to advanced. So while you are definitely out in the woods and much more solitary than on the downhlll slopes, it was always on a marked trail so there was no danger of getting lost - sort of the best of both worlds in my opinion. There was one of these resorts in the White Mountains which was great because once in a while through a clearing in the trees you’d get a beautiful view of the snow covered mountains.

About 6-7 years ago, I got into Randonneuring (basically, long distance, unsupported rides). These rides would range from 200 kms within 13 1/2 hours to 1,200 kms within 90 hours. I liked it because it was a personal test, not a competition against others. Either you complete the ride within the time limit, or you don’t. There is no ‘winner.’ After doing that for a number of years and completing two 1,000 km rides, and two 1,200 km ride, I decided to take break from it. When I started envisioning rides being finished before they’d started, rather than enjoying the journey, that told me it was time to take a break. I may go back to it at some time in the future, but for now, it’s just 30 kms / day commuting to work and the occasional weekend ride.

If any of you make it to Korea, I can definitely show you some beautiful rides. Riding +10,000 kms / year shows you lots of the countryside…just be prepared to do some climbing! (Korea’s 70% mountains!) I’ve probably seen more of the Korean countryside than the average Korean!

I’m from Seattle proper, but have family out there now! Nice place to relax, right across from the Olympic Peninsula too; last summer we spent a couple days at Olympic National Park which is incredible…alpine forests, old growth, amazing beaches, even a temperate rainforest, all within a few hours. Man I need to do some more research on good routes out there :smiley:

Wow sounds like quite an experience. Damn, 1200km in 90 hours…seems kind of like a cross between an ultramarathon and, say, hiking the Appalachian Trail. (Haha not that I’ve done either!)

Haha, awesome - the D2R2 is a randonnee, as it happens. They describe it as an old french riding format where you don’t compete against the other riders, so much as you all go out and compete against the course. It’s awesome - it’s a very fraternal, “everyone is in this together” sort of feel. They don’t have a time limit, though the expectation is everyone is in before dark, hopefully well before.

Ace - if these were the old rawhide and wood frame ones, try a modern set sometime. I spent some time on those as a kid and didn’t like them, but the modern ones are very light weight, actually stay on, and aren’t very cumbersome at all.

1 Like

That’s exactly what they were made of rawhide and wood. Maybe I will try some modern ones one day. Thank you!

1 Like

I hate running…marathons scare the crap out of me, never mind ultra-marathons!

Anything over a few hundred kms is 90% mental. If you can ride 300 km, you can ride 1,200 kms…you just have to convince yourself of that.

To complete these rides, you don’t need to ride fast. In fact, to do 200 km in 13.5 hours, you need average 16 km/h, but that doesn’t include stops. It’s more realistic to shoot for an average moving pace of about 22 km/h, keep the stops short, and you’ll be fine. On the mulit-day rides, you just need to keep the sleeps short, and force yourself to get back on the bike. The first half hour of days 2 and 3 really suck, but once you’re moving, you’re generally okay.

1 Like

Cool. That’s what drew me to Randonneuring, the lack of competition between riders. It’s you against yourself (and the course). In my experience, you start with a small group or riders, but break up and form new groups as the ride progresses. You’re always on the look out for other Randonneurs who may be stopped along the course, and there’s always a wave and some words of encouragement. It’s in individual ride, but you’re all in it together.

Yeah, it’s such an awesome environment. I’ve never done one of these timed multi-day events - I’ll have to look for one, it sounds kind of awesome.

1 Like

Any tips on stopping the tires spinning? I’ve lost so many inner tubes due to that, they are pumped up decently.

…stopping the tires spinning? I’m not sure I understand what you’re talking about. Like, are the tires shifting on the rim?

Yes, braking causes it, over time wheel shifts and cuts up the valve, it’s surly due to poor friction between the rim and tyre, though perhaps there’s products for this specifically?
It’s happened on both my road bike and mountain, perhaps I’m gaining to much weight :rofl:

Have cycled thousands of kms / year, and never heard of that (or had that problem). Flats are almost always caused by specific problems.

Run your fingers around the inside of the tire to check for anything stuck in the rubber. Sometimes a foreign object, like a staple, can go through the tire, but isn’t visible from the outside. Check your rim tape (or have it replaced). Make sure the tubes are seated properly before you inflate them. Any small kinks or fold can cause a pinch flat.

Flats are frustrating, and sometimes difficult to diagnose, but there’s almost always a reason.