Tuesday, August 25, 2009

23-Back on the Sequoia, But Missing the Tiagra Shifters! Oh yeah, 32.07 New Personal Best Coming Home!

Success!! Day 22

Weather: 68 deg F. cooler, not as muggy, a little headwind
Time I left my house: 8:06 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:41 am
Distance: 8.15 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.1
Max Speed: 23.0
Time: 34.43 min.

Pre-game: I was going to take the car, but since the Passat is in the shop for a recall notice repair, for a second day, I didn’t mind going out again. I do need another pair of shorts in this case since I had to wash yesterday’s—luckily there’s always laundry readily available to wash when you have kids. I got out on time again and my son didn’t have any issues, although he did get up with me fairly early today.

Ride was good. Back on the Sequoia I felt a little better, and worse… I like the lightness, the pedals, but not the shifters… do you believe it?? I really am ruined having the Schwinn's Tiagra shifters. I did make my usual time, but it seemed slower today, maybe because my legs are still sore. I’m wondering if I should break down and buy that Endurox recovery drink. Back in the day I was all about supplements, but after a while, you would need a personal loan to keep it up. I’ll see when GNC has a sale again.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 85 deg.F warm, not too humid, a bit of headwind
Distance: 8.37 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.6
Max Speed: 25.1
Time: 32.07 (New PB!)

I left work and a coworker cheered me on (on of the friendlier- more health conscious- execs) and said,”There he goes! How many miles? You go man!” So that was nice. It was a nice ride home, there’s a rattling I think is coming from my bottle cage, and I have to remind myself to tighten it when I get home because every bump I here that thing.

It’s apparent to see the differences between the Schwinn and Sequoia; the Sequoia is more nimble, lighter off the line and faster, but not as sturdy and gets skittish when I’m in rough roads. I could feel the bumps more on my Sequoia, especially when I’m really speeding up downhill, or when I hit a storm grate by accident (hit one yesterday, and scared the bejeebus out of me!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

22-Oohh That Smell!

Success!! Day 22

Weather: 69 deg F. cooler, not as muggy, a little headwind
Time I left my house: 8:00 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:41 am
Distance: 8.25 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.7
Max Speed: 23.7
Time: 33.47 min.

Pre-game: I had made it out earlier since I knew we had a 9am meeting, meaning, I had to get to my desk like 10 to 9. It wasn’t too bad. My little guy is still on vacation schedule, so he’s sleeping later than usual as well as getting up later. I had a lot done early but I’m feeling a bit tired for staying up to watch Mad Men.

Ride was good. It wasn’t as warm which was a nice break than the usual hot, humid trek in. I used the Schwinn again since they said (yet again) it would thunderstorm later. I was glad I did bring the fenders, if not for nothing else than to protect me from this rancid garbage truck juice that spilled on the pavement in front of me. I rolled over it and it totally stunk up my continentals; I hope it will wear off. I’m praying for some rain now.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 83 deg.F warm, not too humid, a bit of headwind
Distance: 8.51 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.0
Max Speed: 23.9
Time: 34.17

It’s been nice out so the rides are much more pleasurable without this humidity. My legs are a bit sore, and I could feel it pushing through the wind, but I still kept my avg. up a bit. I’m still wondering if I should take a club ride sometime. Of course, the only factor is how long it would take. I have to think about the family, waiting at home… waiting for their Saturday or Sunday to begin. So maybe in the Fall or I’ll go solo. But I like the fact that it’s there and I would like to see how I fare in a group. I was going to do the Montauk ride, but it could take all day, and losing a Saturday just so I could ride 100 miles isn’t such a great idea. Possibly next year, when we could book some hotel nearby.

The Schwinn is working out nicely. It’s real solid and it’s fast, despite its weight. I am really glad about this purchase. I’m really considering some pedals for this baby, as the platforms are causing more of a hassle.

Friday, August 21, 2009

21-D!@#n You Wind! Dang it Rain!!

Success!! Day 21

Weather: 79 deg F. HOT, muggy, CRAZY headwind
Time I left my house: 8:03 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:45 am
Distance: 8.24 miles
Avg. Speed: 13.7
Max Speed: 20.8
Time: 36.11 min.

Pre-game: It’s a Friday so I didn’t have anything to worry about. My kid woke up late and my wife didn’t have anything planned so I packed and left on time, without incident.

Ride was OK. The headwind was a killer. Hurricane Bill is coming up NE so it brings this wind and huge surf (which I wish I could watch since it’s been flat all summer). It seems I was working harder to get to 13 mph. average speed. Even with the gearing it was tough and it took 36 minutes (as opposed to 33 minutes.) I wonder what the ride home will be like… and it looks like rain.

Since the forecast called for T-storms later on, I took the Schwinn out again, it’s such a solid bike, it’s like a truck. I’m liking the mountain biking gearing. One thing I'm noticing, is my time off the line is a little slower, I guess because of the extra bulk/weight of the actual bike. I'm curious to see how this baby is off the line fully loaded. How do you tourers start? And, again, the pedals are giving me an issue. I’m constantly trying to turn to get it to clip. I look like such a kook trying to clip in after a light. Might have to get another pair of M520’s that’s on the Sequoia.

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 79 deg.F dark, humid, thunderstorm
Distance: 8.52 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.1
Max Speed: 24.1
Time: 33.59

It turned to what looked like the apocalypse at 4pm and the Doppler showed a bright orange and red system coming in- my wife called and asked to pick me up. I declined on the thought that I would try to make it before it was a torrential downpour. I did make home in time, amazed at my speed, it did shower for a bit and I heard some thunder, but nothing too bad. I really need to get some waterproof panniers as I found my clothes wet once I got home. Had I rode in, this would been not too great to wear an oxford with a nice wet stain on it. I also wished my shoe covers would fit so my shoes wouldn't be as soaked. Well, we'll see if Performance could send me the right size. Or maybe I should buy a proper shoe (hmmm)? cha ching!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

20- First Ride with the Schwinn World Tour DLX...this Heat Wave Has To End

Success!! Day 20

Weather: 73 deg F. warm, muggy, a lot of headwind
Time I left my house: 8:03 am (that's right... on time!!)
Time I arrived at work: 8:40 am
Distance: 8.24 miles
Avg. Speed: 13.7
Max Speed: 21.8
Time: 36.11 min.

Pre-game: What better motivator to get out of the house early than a boss who tells the staff to be at their desks ready to work at 9am. Sooo, I got proper time to get ready. The forecasts called for stray thunderstorms in the afternoon so it called for the Schwinn!

Ride was really nice. The chromoly steel, although obviously heavier than my Sequoia, dampened every bump, pothole and rough terrain. That coupled with the Conti-wheels, it made for a very comfy ride. I had no worries carrying all my gear and I’m sure it could haul a lot more stuff. The longer chainstay meant no heel strike which was a nice change. And I was loving the Tiagra shifters- man were they cool… had my hands in the drops and didn’t need to leave it to shift anywhere. The mountain bike gearing (Deore) worked excellent and smooth. My only quirk were the pedals- which I might switch out, although seem perfect if I was going for a long tour and the spd cleats broke/or if I wanted to ride with regular shoes. But I found myself trying to clip in- and possibly cost me some time. I see my avg. and trip time fell, and I wonder if it was any change from the San Jose (?) or me just enjoying an easy ride the day after working out (I was kinda tired, whine… whine… whine).

Yet another racer cyclist blew me away after RTE 107… he was drafting a garbage truck, but was booking (reminded me of that outlandish scene in Breaking Away when he was training on the interstate).

UPDATE: The ride home.

Weather: 89 deg.F hot, humid
Distance: 8.48 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.6
Max Speed: 26.1
Time: 32.43

It was a fast ride home, considering my bike. It certainly beat my best time with St. Joe, which is why I got this bike, and I loaded a book I bought from Borders in my pannier. I have to see if I could upgrade my Sequoia to Tiagra shifters, it really is so natural to shift from the drop position. I could see myself missing it. Anyway, pretty good times overall and I learned to use the granny gears on the way up back home, to keep cadence and maybe keep my avg. speed up. It showered a little bit, but once that ended, I was praying for more since it was like 90 degrees. This heat wave has got to stop.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Schwinn World DLX - my new foul weather bike and low priced tourer

Jes, I sold St. Joe to a deserving rider from Brooklyn who drove all the way to LI in the rain on a Friday night. He had his stolen when he and his girlfriend were riding in Chelsea, and when he saw my ad on Craigslist, he couldn't believe it, it was the exact one that was stolen. I wasn't so sure if he wanted to buy it or check to see if I actually stole it, but once we met, he couldn't be happier. I'm glad he got his bike back and that I had recouped some moolah for the Schwinn.

For those of you who are avid bike tourers, you probably own a LHT, or Trek 520 or Jamis Aurora or Fuji... the list is endless and the price is upwards from $600 to infinity. I haven't the need to tour the world (Yet!) but was excited of maybe getting the chance of putting a tourer in the stable. I was thinking more and more about the Schwinn World Tour DLX.

Schwinn wasn't even an option, but when I saw this exclusive on Performance, it was worth a look. Chromoly frame; Tiagra STI shifters; Continental sport contact tires; PB fenders and racks... I was interested. And then I saw it was on sale and had another 15% off so I could get it for under $600. Guess what happens next.

Some features...

Continental Sport Contact Tires:

Tiagra STI shifters with Tektro bar top levers:

A mounts for 3 water bottle cages!

The bike came before I went on vacation and let me tell you, it was tough to get away. Well not so tough.

I digress... let me continue.

(FPD NWL-326) Pedals with one side clipless and one side TPR insert

Planet Bike Freddy Fenders and rear rack:

Deore RD and Sora FD (RD is not XT... I know, I know, will need to upgrade if ever I do tour the earth!)

Braze-ons/mounts for front rack/lowrider:

And the kicker for you Surly fans... spoke holders. Yeah, they aped the LHT, but would that be so bad??

So, if anything, it's going to be a great foul weather commuter. And if I want to do some touring, I'm prepared to carry some weight. As I mentioned on other posts, the reason I had to let St. Joe go was 1)Old man river needs gears for old man hills 2)Need a long chainstay (the Schwinn has 17.5" chainstay, longer than the Aurora, which isn't too shabby!!) 3) Need a bike that can haul my gear. 4)If I am in trouble with the wifey, I can always haul myself to the nearest campsite without any incident. And 5)If ever I do want to tour the world....

I haven't ridden it yet, but really can't wait for rain now. I didn't want the cage on the pedals, and really couldn't disassemble the pedal, so I might have to cut the plastic cages or get new clipless pedals. Although I like the fact that I could go clipless or platform with this, so I'll have to see.

I'll keep updates on those times I head out on this. Pretty curious to see- it's much heavier than the Sequoia, but it can haul my stuff worry free.

Here are the full specs from the Schwinn website:

Frame: Schwinn N' Gauged Cro-Moly Bio Tuned Touring Geometry.
Fork: N' Gauged Cro-Moly TIG welded Unicrown with Forged dropouts and low-rider mounts
Bottom Bracket: FSA cartridge square taper
Derailleurs: Shimano Deore rear, Sora front
Shifters: Shimano Tiagra STI
Chain: KMC Z9000

Rims: Jalco DT21 double wall alloy with eyelets with 36 holes
Hubs: Shimano MC18 rear, MC12 front
Spokes: 14 gauge stainless steel
Tires: Continental Sport Contact 700x32C

Pedals: FPD NWL-326 with one side clipless and one side TPR insert
Brake Levers: Shimano Tiagra STI with Tektro bar top levers
Handlebar: Road Tuned 6000 series alloy ergonomic drop bar, 26.0mm clamp area
Stem: Alloy road quill
Headset: 1 1/8" Semi cartridge threaded
Grips: Road Tuned Gel tape
Saddle: Bio Tuned with two tone cover

Extras: Planet Bike Freddy Fenders, Planet Bike rear alloy rack, and alloy seat binder

Friday, August 14, 2009

19-A Hello Then Dropped... And then Dropped Again on the Ride Home! But Hey PB of 15.6 avg. and 32.20 trip time!

Success!! Day 19

Weather: 69 deg F. warm, not too humid, a lot headwind
Time I left my house: Yes, LATE!!! 8.15 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:49 am
Distance: 8.19 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.5
Max Speed: 22.9
Time: 33.53 min.

Pre-game: I was up late last night making our Lake George trip video on iMovie which means I was dragging out of bed today. I get like that when I’m on a creative kick. Not to mention this morning H wanted to see the movie “…again and again” so I had to oblige. Anyway, I really hate vacation just for the fact that I know I have to come back to work. Enough whining. I left late, which is why I got in late.

Ride was nice. I didn’t have luck with lights today and nodded to a fellow cyclist who nodded and said morning back when stopped at the RTE 107 light-- he blew me off the line and I tried to keep up, I almost was at pace, but had to keep on my path. I wonder how my speed would be without my extra work baggage. I’m always curious of that—and wonder if I should join a club to ride like a cyclist and not a commuter (or even a light tourer).

I knocked into a hydrant when I had to make a quick emergency detour on the sidewalk (I know) and hit my pannier, checked to see that there was no damage but the ride was funny thereafter. When I got into work I noticed a squeak when I turn my handlebars- don’t know what that is, and am surprised since I just got a tune-up- or maybe that’s normal. Who knows. I’ll have to check with a tech.

UPDATE: The Ride Home
Weather: 82 deg F. warm, not too humid, some lot headwind
Distance: 8.42 miles
Avg. Speed: 15.6
Max Speed: 26.2
Time: 32.20 min.

Left late from work, because it was the week back from hell... anyway, was gaining good time when I hit, guess what intersection, RTE 107 light and another cyclist greeted me. I was feeling stupid and sporty, so I blew HIM off the line. Mind you, this is the uphill killer (at least to me) before I get home. So I'm climbing around 18 mph, and as I hit the down hill, crank it down to 26.2 mph (a record Max speed for moi) and look back and see this guy just coming down, keeping a steady cadence. I'm on the second, much longer climb when I see the shadow of him on my wheel!! So I'm out of the saddle, at this point I've bonked, and go right to let him pass. He says something cordial like:"You were running up that hill!" as he passes me I try to get on his wheel. At this point, we're at the summit now we're down hill and he's still a bike length and then two in front. I'm wondering how this is possible. I stopped and had to turn off, but I realize, I need to join a club to really test myself (see above re: how fast I can really go). I'm so competitive, this haunted me until, well the next day. Yeah, just like a commuter should. Anyway, thank you cyclists for pushing me and making a new PB on my avg and Max times. Damn my legs hurt.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

18-Back From Vacation

Success!! Day 18

Weather: 75 deg F. humid, warm, a bit of headwind
Time I left my house: LATE!!! 8.16 am.
Time I arrived at work: 8:49 am
Distance: 8.17 miles
Avg. Speed: 14.8
Max Speed: 23.5
Time: 33.06 min.

Pre-game: Well, it’s been a week and some since I rode because I had a nice relaxing vacation. I’m sure no one’s reading this blog anyway, so nothing was missed, But, for those interested, within the week I had: my Sequoia tuned; my new rain bike- the Schwinn World DLX (review and pics to follow) delivered; my Spin Doctor repair stand (soon to follow) delivered as well. I also took a nice ride (car ride) to Lake George with the family for a few days. It was beautiful. Since my wife and I were there 13 years ago when we were dating, we found it funny to come back married with children. It’s such a family-oriented place. The kids loved it. Especially the 4-year old. He couldn’t get enough of the hotel pool and the Frankenstein monster in front of the museum. The bonus was fireworks over the lake on our last night. Although a couple days on the road had us thinking of getting (yikes) a mini van or an SUV with a third row seat and DVD player as our 4 year old was terribly bored on the way back. When we got home I also found out that one of my beloved filmmakers had died suddenly- John Hughes. I looked for anything on the web when I got back and I found this beautiful story and documentary in progress. I could go on about this, but this is a bike commuters’ blog. I just want to say RIP John Hughes and my condolences to his family. I wish I had a chance to thank you.

Ride was Great, considering the temps. Such a difference after getting tuned- smooth gear shifting and no noise chain (which could be my doing of not lubing it enough). Thanks Mineola Bike for free tune-ups included with my Sequioa purchase! Now that I have a repair stand, I can hopefully learn to tune on my own.

UPDATE: The Ride Home

Weather: 80 deg.F wet, humid and a lot of headwind after the storm
Distance: 8.40miles
Avg. Speed: 13.7
Max Speed: 20.9
Time: 36.46

I really wished I had my Schwinn DLX set…the bike was needed as I rode through some nasty puddles which accounted for the nice back splatter on my rain jacket and ass. I just need to get the computer on it and maybe take of the cages on the pedals. I’m excited to get on it as it’s such a great tourer for the money. I should have a review on it soon, but need some time to get some pics together and then get it up. Regardless, the ride was poor, the wind—coupled with my weak legs (haven’t been riding for over a week, so I’m feeling shaky) had me put some minutes on my time and lowered my avg. speed. Luckily, it wasn’t a downpour, but the rain jacket, although effective for keeping rain off, is like rubber suit that wrestlers/fighters wear to cut water weight. I was drenched underneath.