This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Being first means nothing without competition.

This just keeps coming up in conversations.  I don't mean the sticker, just the idea that weight is always a detriment.  People think the sticker is a riot.
I found it on, and Cafe Press ships them out pretty cheap, I could not resist.
But people have been programmed to think that absolute lightest is the best.
It may be close to the best for going fast, and absolutely necessary for racing.   How many cyclists actually race?  Really, I  don't know.  I know club riders are really pretend racers who won't admit it.  That's one of the reasons I ride on club rides, it's an exercise to make me ride faster.   I ride by myself or in traffic enough that I tend to get pretty laid back.  I remember the Michigan Mountain Mayhem last year.  I was sipping a glass of wine at the finish, one of the volunteers looked at Sam standing outside on his kickstand (OMG! What DOES a kickstand weigh?).  He said, "I really have to admire you for trying this, what route did you take?"  He looked seriously shocked when I told him I rode the metric in about 5 1/2 hours(including sag stops).  He looked at the bike, pointed and said "on That?"  I said, "sure, why?"   He asked how I could possibly make it with "all that weight."  I simply took the tool wrap and water bottle off, picked it up with one hand and handed it to him.   His eyes grew wide  as he balanced the bike in his hands.  I told him it's about 24-25 lbs, heavier than most of the road bikes you see, but only by 3-6 lbs, and the wider (32mm) tires give me much better control on the descents than my road bike.  He stared as if he had entered the twilight zone.  A heavier bike is supposed to be wrong. 

 I admit that Sam, with the Bosco Bars and fenders, looks like some kind of fancy beach cruiser,
 but  16-18 mph is not unreasonable.  
  A couple I know have gone into semi-retirement and started doing a lot of credit card touring.  Both are racers.  The husband built up a couple of bikes based on cross frames went on a long trip and came home happy but complaining about a 40lb bike (with clothing and personal gear).   That means they were carrying 18-20 lbs of clothing and personal items, more than twice what I carry.   He went to work before the next trip trying to lighten the load.  He removed the fenders to save weight.  What the hell?!  Leave out a pair of socks, they weigh almost as much.  The obsession comes from years of racing and being trained to strip the bike to the bare bones.  I probably would have opted to leave about 10 lbs of clothing at home and stop to do laundry more often.   I doubt that a lighter bike helps on an overnight tour.
    My preferred bike for a metric century is the Hillborne, which is in the mid twenties when geared up.  The extra weight and wider tires (32mm) remove a lot of vibration and control a lot of bad pavement situations without my having to make constant  maneuvers.  A road bike 5-10 lbs lighter with 23mm tires is much more exhausting to ride.  Between the uncomfortable position and constant corrections being made, the upper body is placed under continual stress.  Additional weight and more supple tires have a stabilizing effect similar to speed control on a car.  When driving under speed control on the highway, one is more relaxed and expending less energy than having to make constant adjustments to the terrain.
      When touring I ride 2-3 MPH slower than a devoted roadie, but I can almost guarantee I will have more energy at the end of the day.  It is humorous talking to a roadie later or the next day.   They seem to expect me to be suffering after a ride.  They found themselves substantially ahead throughout the the ride and I suppose they assume I was struggling to catch up.   Fooled them!  Keeping up is the last thing on my mind.  I want to get where I'm going within a comfortable time frame and have enough fuel in the tank to do it again the next day. That is the mentality I've developed from touring rather than racing.  Being first means nothing when you are not competing.  Slow down and smell the road kill.

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