Winter is the worst time of year for me with it's short, cold, windy days. Getting out for extended miles is just too difficult so I have to settle on 20 mile rides. Fortunately, now that I no longer work, I can ride more days. I only missed 6 days in January and 3 in February. I have more than double my mileage since the same time last year. The funny part is most of these miles have been on my non recumbent Fuji. Initially it was my only other ride while waiting on parts for my trike. Now for some unknown reason it's just fun to ride. It's noway near as comfortable as my trike, but with some shifting around it works well on these shorter Winter rides. The front derailuer broke and I've been riding it as a 9 speed, which for around here is fine. This bike has sat on the trunk of my car in the rain for weeks while traveling. It is my beater bike and with some extra lube shifts fine and just keeps on going. I bought the bike in 2009 and am still using the original 32mm Kenda tires. The seat could be better but it works for 20-30 miles in regular clothes. I mean no padded shorts, just my cotton underwear. The bike is 7 years old and only had 1300 miles until the last 2 months where I added over 600 miles. The biggest problem I have is a runny nose. I guess from leaning over compared to the face up posture of recumbents. I was looking over some old posts, one of which talked about how I just couldn't get comfortable on the Fuji and it was a lost cause. Now it's all I want to ride. I am waiting for things to warm up and dry out before I get back on my trike with it's new drivetrain. I'm sure it will be love at first ride again. I'm still the odd ball cyclists as most riders here are the spandex hammerhead types on their 15lb CF bikes. It doesn't much matter to me as long as I get out and pedal. No indoor trainers for me. It will be interesting to see how things turn out.
Until then I'll just,
It has become a tradition since my 50th birthday that I ride my age. I allow myself the month to accomplish the ride. January is a harsh month with not only cold and wind but snow. My trike was laid up for awhile waiting on a part so I started riding my Fuji road bike. It rekindled that childhood excitement and I have been riding it most of the month. It seems to work better in the cold and sloppy roads from melting snow. My rides have been many but on the shorter side as I have to get reacclimated to this type of bike. After all, I have exclusively been riding recumbent bikes and trikes for more than 16 years. I went out on the last day of the month with plans of doing 35 miles which has become a lot for me this time of year. It was unseasonably warm and at the 18 mile mark I decided today would be the day for my epic ride. I texted my wife and let her know I would be late getting back. I was quite concerned as my longest ride on the Fuji was 35 miles and I was very sore. I was also unprepared and only had 1 small bottle of water, no snacks and no money. My meal for the ride was a bowel of cereal. At 40 miles I began getting concerned but decided to put it out of my mind and forge ahead. I took short breaks every 12-14 miles and updated my wife leaving the part out that I was ill prepared. Every year I have to add miles to my birthday route and this year's last 8 miles was a couple of extra climbs on roads with no shoulder and impatient drivers. I paid special attention as I was tired and weak. My mantra at times like this is, "it ain't over till it's over" and don't be a statistic. Well I made it home safe and happy I was able to accomplish another year. My wife prepared a gourmet meal and even a brownie cake to celebrate my accomplishment.
I've been "Jones'n" for a ride. It's bad enough it's Winter and dealing with temps of 20 degrees but 2 feet of snow. The last few days have been agonizing. Fortunately, temps are above freezing and I was able to get 12 miles yesterday and 26 miles today. I had my share of horn honking assholes today and I had to fight for my piece of blacktop but it was so worth it. I do feel better and yes I have been riding my Fuji. There is something to be said for high seating and being able to see over snow mounds. Having single track is a plus when navigating through slush. I also didn't feel like dealing with all that water on my clean new trike drivetrain.
Since riding my Fuji more and my trike less I feel like a man without a country. I can't very well talk about how great it is riding an "upwrong" in a recumbent group so I joined a couple more general cycling groups on FB and to help deal with Winter Woes. One of the groups is specific to NJ and I thought it would be fun to connect locally. There is not much happening and one main contributor likes to tell me how I'm dressed wrong and I should invest in more technical clothing. I don't suspect I'll be hearing from him again. The other group is supposed to be more about the fun part of cycling which I thought was a great find. There are some recumbent riders but it seems most participants are "hammerhead roadies". I don't ride 20 mph for 60 miles, measure my output in watts or power meters, put my bike on my car drive 20 miles to a trail or barrel down a mountain but I respect those that do. I was thinking of starting my own group but I suspect I would be the only one in it. I very much enjoy my FB groups but sometimes social media is just another platform for self righteousness.
That being said I think I'll just ride my bike.
I'm saying this, but I am really enjoying my Fuji. I have become quite complaisant doing the same roads with the same trike. Initially I was just looking for a change but, I have now taken this bike out 4 of the past 7 days. I took the bike on a couple of very cold days because I knew they would be short rides. The one 38 mile ride I did back in December left me quite sore and I know it will take some time to re-acclimate. Today's ride was around town for errands and then for pleasure finishing with an easy 28. In spite of no padded shorts my butt is fine and I only have a minor neck ache. My speed is 1-2 mph faster than the trike. I very much enjoy having only 1 wheel track as apposed to 3. Although it is a bit heavy by today's standards it is much lighter than my trike and a benefit when climbing. I have been looking at Montague's full size folding bikes and was most interested in mixing things up with their Mt bike but after trying one I find I am better suited with a Hybrid. I have no idea where this is going but for now I'm enjoying the ride. Who knows I might even use this bike for my birthday ride.
Today's 28 miler
Christmas Eve Day 38 miler only 66 degrees
Update: The next day I pedaled 36 miles with padded underwear and my butt is sore!!!
I need a new seat or less miles.
Another fantastic riding year, 6,560 miles, WOW! I wasn't sure I was going to break 6k but retiring early helped. More time meansI don't feel the need to get long rides in when I can. I suspect the new year will bring more days to pedal but less daily averages. I've cleaned house and only have 2 bikes of which my ICE T gets 99.9% of my time. It is my forever bike and if something should happen, it will be replaced. There are times when the trike doesn't work and I am looking into getting a non-recumbent Mt or Hybrid bike. The new bike will have to fold for easy storage when we travel. I don't want it hanging off the back or on top of my car. For that reason I am looking at Montague folding bikes. They are full size and ride like real bikes. I am looking forward to changing things up by doing some light trail riding and my new bike should be just the ticket. My passion for cycling is still strong but I sometimes push myself more for health than for fun. As much as I enjoy using my bike for errands those areas are highly congested and as I age, I become more fearful. I understand more now why people only ride trails. I still prefer road riding and the ability to ride loops over out and back on trails. My plan is to still ride my age in the upcoming weeks and my mileage to be more than respectable for the year. I'm not sure what tours lie ahead, might even try a bikepacking trip in the woods. I will probably do GOBA as it's always easy, fun and economical. I'm hoping to spice things up just not sure how exactly. For now I'll just keep pedaling and look forward to what 2016 brings.
Sometimes I just can't leave well enough alone. Such was the case yesterday when I decided to adjust a tic in my rear derailer. Well 4 hours later after changing out my whole drive train a number of times, I finally gave up after making things worse. My trike is now unrideable and I will have to take it to my LBS for his expertise. Being Christmas Holiday it will have to wait a couple of days.
The weather has been unusually warm, yesterday high 72 and today, Christmas 66. Although quite cloudy there was no forecast of rain until late and winds were under 5 mph. Since I don't celebrate Christmas and my wife was working I was not going to let this balmy December day go without a good ride. Shorts and a light long sleeve shirt was all that was needed. I aired up the tires on my Fuji, lubed the chain, attached my Tailrider bag with an extra tube and pump and off I went.
I wasn't sure how many miles I would or could do but 25 was to be my minimum. It was light traffic due to the holiday and I was moving along pretty good. I made a few stops to rest my butt, take pics and post to FB. After all was said and done it was 38 pleasant miles.
Quick stop at atm
18 mile rest stop
Update, After an hour at LBS it was determined the rear cable housing was bad. Closer examination showed it was worn through and cracked, compressing the cable. All is good again.