Fat Tire Phenomenon

I want one. I really, really do. I pine for one whenever there’s a dusting of snow. I even found one called Jack Frost by Surly. We had more than a dusting of snow today and I took my Kona Roundabout for a quick, uh, round-about. I could have made it to the grocery store, probably, but with the fenders I stalled in a parking lot en route. I had no idea that snow bunched up like that in the fenders.

IMG_4482  IMG_4476

At several points the tires slipped inside the fenders moving from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock position at the downstroke. I was worried I’d have to haul my bike home.

One of my bikes, the Cannonade Synapse I call Luna does not wear fenders. She’s my roadie and she’s my fair weather bike.

IMG_2159

Everything else has fenders. By everything I mean my two other bikes. In late 2011, I traded my Gary Fisher mountain bike. I regret trading it, but in all fairness she had issues. A great bike until the RockShox needed to be replaced. I remember it was going to be expensive and I opted to trade it in toward the 2012 Kona. I miss having a knobby tired bike in my fleet. Today that became evident with the burning desire for a bike I could romp with in the snow.

snow15.JPG
This is Tess. She was a great hardtail mountain bike until the shocks died. 

This article is great if you’re like me and sort of new to the concept of a fat bike. Maybe it’s less about a fat bike and more about a bike I can use on different terrain. Someone suggested a cross bike, but here’s the thing: I want flat handlebars like Tess. I was told I could convert my Trek Portland into a cross bike.

IMG_0134
Could my  2006 Trek Portland become a cross bike?

Drop handlebars on a cross bike are normal but it doesn’t appeal to me. I could change the bars, but then I’m investing more money in a bike I don’t think will do what I want. Back to the drawing board. Might be time for some bike browsing. Looks like the next important question is hardtail versus full suspension. Good thing I have tomorrow off from school (due to snow) so I can start my research.

I love bikes.

N+1, right? When you love riding bikes there is no wrong. Right!

Have a great week!

Getting in Gear

Last year I joined Strava. I like tracking my rides because the data is illuminating. I had been using MapMyRide, but it seemed like most of my friends were on Strava and they loved it. Peer pressure took over. All the cool kids were using Strava and I wanted to be one of them. I tried the free account for a few months and then went Premium at the tail end of 2014.

Why bother? Two reasons: motivation and data. In 2015, I started the year with ride #1 and ended with ride #303. The data says I completed more than 303 rides, but that’s what I named them. There were rides that were not numbered, but that’s fine. You can choose your own system. I decided to start 2016 the same way; ride #1 was today.

Also, when you see how many miles you ride every week, month and year, you see your progress as a rider. Essentially, you compete against yourself. Either app (and I’m sure there are others) provide features that keep you riding. You can determine your weekly mileage goals or annual totals. Plus there’s a community of riders out there who have your back. I love it when another rider gives me kudos on a ride.  Also, I enjoy seeing their routes. I wish I knew more about all its intricacies and I’d love to have a manual to explore some of the features, but most of what I’ve learned in the last year has been by experimenting or looking up stuff online. For example, the graphic above is an annual summary provided by another app or extension I found here, and it uses the Strava data.

My goals for 2016 are to keep riding and recording my rides. I’m not sure about my total mileage yet. I’m setting the bar for 4000 miles. My Kona Roundabout gets the most use use since it’s my commuter bike. I have Luna, a Cannonade Synapse road bike which is a fair weather bike. No fenders, just speed. There’s the Trek Portland and it was my commuter up until 2012. I don’t ride the Trek much and I’m considering selling, but it’s a good backup bike.

I love bikes and I love riding. Your gear can be your kit, clothing, shoes, your bike, bags and tools but one tool in particular that allows you to quantify your riding. I use Strava for everything, even walking my dog Max. It’s a new year and it might be time to explore a tool to help you track your rides.

Strava is not paying me to sell you on the idea although this post does sound like a pitch. I was dubious about making the move from MapMyRide to Strava and now I can’t imagine a simple ride without Strava. When I travel I try to rent a bike or use a city’s bike share and tracking my rides is becoming a sort of keepsake for me. It’s a great way to share your
adventures and remember your routes.

Thanks for reading. Have a great day and get out there and ride!

 

 

Just Living the Ride

Riding a bike is what I do. I was never a fan of working out in a gym and the whole idea of riding a stationary bike indoors over a spin outside seems unappealing. Gym membership is not my thing. My daily prayer for myself is that I can ride my bike. “Please, God, let me ride my bike again today.”

Like many of my brothers and sisters in bikes, I went through the period of being a roadie. I’d dress up in my kit and go out for hours, but now I don’t care about what I wear when I ride, I care that I ride. Usually it’s my commute, but on the weekends I love doing errands by bike or riding to fetch groceries, whatever, wherever, let it be by bike. That’s my mantra.

Winter is the most unpredictable season for riding. Despite the apps and radar and updates, you don’t know what the day will bring. I’ve had exceptional rides on days that the weather app told me it would be raining for hours. In the Pacific Northwest, you can’t let the rain get in your way, or you’d never ride. However, I do think that weather can be managed. The weather gods should be limited to one weather system at a time. You can give me rain and no wind or wind an no rain, but together…well, that’s like weather doping. Not cool Mother Nature! Dress for it and don’t be stupid. If it seems too dangerous, then wait it out. Like the company so aptly named, Showers Pass… they do. Showers do pass and sometimes you can find that opening in a weather system and still get a little time in the saddle.

Happy 2016 and start the year with a ride. You can thank me later.