Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Back On The Horse

I finally got to replace my Microshift bar-end shifters and got out for a 35 mile test ride on my trike. It was a beautiful mid 40's day with lots of sunshine and little wind. A welcome reprieve from the harsh Winter cold, rain, wind and snow. It all started back around Christmas when I decided it was time to change my cassette and chain with an overall good cleaning. It was a simple job I had done many times over the years but when I reassemble everything it would not shift properly. Thinking I had done something to the derailuer when cleaning, I decided to swap it out. After many hours of frustration and still having shifting problems I brought the trike into my LBS. It took a while but my mechanic finally found the culprit which was a bad cable housing. Unfortunately, until that was diagnosed we had played and screwed up too many things. I took the bike home and all was not well. The next day after much frustration I brought the trike back and said keep it as long as you have to until you fix the issue. It was unseasonably warm and the only bike at my disposal was my Fuji beater bike. That was the beginning of my new found relationship. A few days later my mechanic felt all was good. Well it wasn't, and I took matters back in my own hands. It wasn't long before I bent the derailuer hanger beyond repair. The trike sat for a week waiting on a new hanger. Hoping that would solve my problems I took it out for a test ride and still had shifting issues. In the meantime I was quietly enjoying the simplicity of my Fuji and the short 20-25 mile Winter rides. To my surprise I managed my 64 mile birthday ride. Anyway, there was nothing left to change but the shifter which I suspected from the beginning. I was going through cables every 4-5k miles which seemed too often. In addition it seemed to have lost it's snap. So I decided to bite the bullet and ordered new shifters. In the 32k miles on my trike I have gone through 2 Shimano shifters and 1 Microshit. I believe riding a recumbent requires more frequent shifting hence quicker wear. I installed the shifters and was able to get a good test ride the next day. The new shifters are a slight upgrade and have a crisp clean snap and precise shifting.
I am happy to report after 2 long months all is good again.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lost That Lovin' Feeling

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,

Monday, February 1, 2016

Annual Birthday Ride

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.