Archive for July, 2009

Great Videos by Chris Carmichael — Lots and Lots of Cycling Info

Thursday, July 30th, 2009
Not just Lance's coach -- he's now your coach too!

Not just Lance's coach -- he's now your coach too!

Chris Carmichael is a cycling coach. He isn’t just any cycling coach, he’s Lance Armstrong’s cycling coach.

Chris is part of a pretty cool Nissan Web promotion that features free info from all sorts of experts on different sports.

Chris is the cycling expert and he has a series of video “channels” that focus on all sorts of topics including:

  • Skills
  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Gear

They are short and they are useful. Alas, they can’t be embedded. However, you should check them out.

Vagina-shaped Bike Taxi — Taking the “Bike Porn” Category to New Heights

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Bicycle taxi "at your cervix"

Bicycle taxi "at your cervix"

I really like Google. More often than not, you put in a decent search query and it gives you highly-relevant results. But sometimes Google can throw you a real curve ball. And sometimes the curve ball is MUCH better than whatever it was you were looking for in the first place.

In this case, it steered me to a blog post about an artist in Helsinki who thinks the world is to penis-centric. In protest she built a bicycle taxi shaped like her mysterious lady parts. Be sure to read the comments to the original post. People trying to out-clever each other with observations. Talk about low-hanging fruit.

Building this bike was a labia of love

Building this bike was a labia of love

Cole’s After School Special — Tour de ‘Burbs

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

The proud author of the Tour de 'Burbs

The proud author of the Tour de 'Burbs

One of the nice things about the Portland suburbs is that they lie on the edge of rural bliss. This is Cole’s home training route. Depending on which loops and swoops you choose, he can make it a 20, 30 or 40 mile ride.

Many of the sections take advantage of trails through local parks and byways, so be mindful of pedestrians and such. Most of the busy roads have bike lanes and not all the roads are busy.

A few spots even seem rural, tickling the edges of wine country. Of course, all roads lead to Cole’s house on this one, but he has promised free parking and lemonade to all  comers. If you live in the suburbs and don’t feel like hauling your bike somewhere for an after work ride, give Cole’s after school special a try.

 

Two Ferry Ride

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

This is a great ride. It is as flat as a 70+ mile ride in the Portland area can be. Most of the riding is rural and extremely scenic. We started and ended at the Mentor Graphics campus in Wilsonville. From there, it is a quick shot over some impressive rollers to the Canby Ferry. The Wheatland ferry marks the half way point.

The only downside is the stint on highway 99. Just before you reach 99, there is a little “bike path” that consists of a rickety bridge and some gravel road. It does cut off a little bit of 99. Wilsonville Road also has some rollers, which you do feel a little bit after that many hours in the saddle. Overall, this is an excellent way to log some miles without having to kill yourself. 6 thumbs up.

Canby Ferry

Canby Ferry

Make sure you are in your lowest gear. The ride out of this thing is steep. Check twice. BTW, you can't downshift and correct. You will fall off.

Make sure you are in your lowest gear. The ride out of this thing is steep. Check twice. BTW, you can't downshift and correct. You will fall off.

Outside of Hubbard. Some impressive McMansions hidden away -- and I do mean hidden

Outside of Hubbard. Some impressive McMansions hidden away -- and I do mean hidden

Not as cool as the Canby Ferry, but the ride out is a lot easier

Not as cool as the Canby Ferry, but the ride out is a lot easier

Miles and miles of paceline riding. Nothing like encountering a group going the other way and making them think you know what you are doing

Miles and miles of paceline riding. Nothing like encountering a group going the other way and making them think you know what you are doing

Dean makes it safely across this bridge. Unless you are following the directions very carefully, you'll miss it. Quick left after then a quick right will put you back on 99

Dean makes it safely across this bridge. Unless you are following the directions very carefully, you'll miss it. Quick left after then a quick right will put you back on 99

 

Professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates on His Tri-bike

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Victim of Cambridge police prejudice, professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates shows Martha’s Vineyard Magazine how he blows off steam — by riding his tri-bike.

Skip on a tricycle

I'll talk to your momma outside -- then I'll go for a quick spin on my tricycle.

Why Not Televise Women’s Cycling Too?

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Liz Hatch on the bike

Liz Hatch on the bike

July is my favorite month. While I detest riding in the heat, I absolutely love watching the Tour de France. I was super-psyched when Universal Sports started showing daily coverage of the Giro and I’ve got my fingers crossed that the Tour of Spain will also be televised later this month.

I'll take Liz over Fabulous Fabiann any day

I'll take Liz over Fabulous Fabian any day

In an age when more and more cycling events are being covered, I’m beginning to wonder why we aren’t seeing much Women’s cycling. I, for one, would like to for a number of fairly obvious reasons.

First and foremost, it is only right to give female athletes the chance to earn some fame and additional sponsorship money. Beyond that, I’d rather look at a Lycra-clad woman like Liz Hatch in stunning high definition than a 6’1″ 148 pound dude (or, for that matter, any dude — including the oh-so-dreamy Fabian Cancellara).

Who wouldn't want to see her on TV?

Who wouldn't want to see her on TV?

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this regard. I’m certain that the guys that run the Chicks and Bikes blog would agree with me that a beautiful woman is a fantastic compliment to the functional work of art that is bicycle.

And beyond lecherous men, I’m thinking that female cyclists would also get behind this kind of programming too. I realize cycling still isn’t a hugely popular sport in this country, but what better way to help it gain in popularity than to mix the coverage up a bit?

Who’s with me?

The “Natural Break” — How Sweet It Is

Monday, July 20th, 2009
They don't really show this on Versus, but yes, the peloton does sometimes stop for a gang-pee

They don't really show this on Versus, but yes, the peloton does sometimes stop for a gang-pee

I really like to watch bike racing, particularly the Grand Tours. I like to share this passion with others. Since this sort of racing is very complicated, people unfamiliar with the sport have a lot of questions.

Inevitably, one of the questions people ask is what happens if someone has to take a whiz or, as they call it in cycling, a “natural break.”

These photos alone should provide enough information to satisfy most folks. If not, you can check out this video of Trent Lowe in all his glory. It is worth watching just to listen to the commentator. One thing’s for sure — Trent does not suffer from stage fright. I’m sure his sponsors are glad to know this video is all over the Internet.

Of course, sometimes the peloton doesn't stop -- but where there is a will, there is a way

Of course, sometimes the peloton doesn't stop -- but where there is a will, there is a way

For those who thirst for even more knowledge, the Fat Cyclist blog has posted a set of “how to” instructions that address the finer points of letting it fly while riding. Sorry, ladies, I don’t think this technique will work for you.

For the record, decorum would suggest that these techniques are best saved for professional riders who are actively racing. Even then, it might be worthwhile to hold off until T.V. cameras to be pointed elsewhere. Team Fartlek riders prefer to dismount and find a toilet, blue room or bush. We are, after all, a civilized bunch.

Michele and Joel’s Excellent Adventure — Flying L Ranch

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Team Fartlek was splintered this week as several of us went off to do our own things. Of course, training still needs to happen.

Here is the route Michele and Joel took while getting ready for a star watching party near Mt. Adams. Something tells me this kind of star watching party was more meaningful and interesting than the type people have in Hollywood.

Some of the road on this out and back is closed to motor traffic and is in disrepair (the part that isn’t the Gleenwood Highway). They did it on road bikes, but suggest mountain bikes for the closed section.

Joel enjoying natural beauty of Washington

Joel enjoying natural beauty of Washington

Joel enjoying a natural beauty IN Washington

Joel enjoying a natural beauty IN Washington

End of the road (at least for cars)

End of the road (at least for cars)

There are gravel roads and then there are gravel roads.

There are gravel roads and then there are gravel roads.

Oregon isn't the only state with bucolic splendor

Oregon isn't the only state with bucolic splendor

Paceline Riding Tips

Friday, July 17th, 2009
Military cyclists know about staying in line and orderly

Military cyclists know about staying in line and orderly

Paceline riding tips from Bicycling Magazine:

When carried out properly, a paceline is an effective tool for a group ride: It enables cyclists to share the work of pushing through the wind. When performed poorly, the formation becomes counterproductive. “Most people are never taught the proper way to ride a paceline,” says Ray Ignosh, a USA Cycling expert coach based in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. “So they make the same common mistakes that eventually become habits.” Whether you’re riding in a single or double formation, try these tips for taking your pulls and pedaling in line.

KEEP THE PACE The number one mistake riders make is picking up speed when they get to the front, says Ignosh. “Some guys just want to show off; others are well-intentioned—they just aren’t in tune with their effort and feel like they’re supposed to take a pull, so they pull.” As you’re riding through the line, pay attention to the group’s average speed and effort. When you get to the front, do your best to maintain those levels. The goal is to keep the pack together, not blow it apart or shell riders off the back.

MICROADJUST It’s nearly impossible for everyone to put forth equal amounts of effort, especially on undulating terrain. You need to make adjustments along the way to prevent what Ignosh calls the Slinky effect, where the line alternately bunches together and becomes strung out, with big gaps. “It’s better to make two small undercorrections than one big overcorrection,” he says.

“Think of it like driving: You don’t slam on the brakes, then hit the gas; you moderate your speed.” To do that in a paceline, try one of these techniques:

Soft pedal: If you feel like you’re getting sucked into the rider in front of you, take a light pedal stroke or two to adjust your speed accordingly.

Air brake: An easy (and safe) way to trim speed is to sit up and catch some wind. It’ll slow you down a notch without disrupting the rhythm of the line.

Feather brake: Gently squeeze the brakes while continuing to pedal. You can scrub speed while shifting up or down as needed to alter your pace.

DON’T STARE Focusing on the wheel directly in front of you is a natural instinct when riding in a line, but it gives you zero time to react should something go awry. “Keep your head up and check about 10 meters down the road,” says Ignosh. “Look through holes in the leading rider—over his shoulder, under his arm or through his legs—and ride proactively instead of reactively. This will help keep the line moving smoothly.”

EASE OFF THE GAS Rather than accelerating when you pull, try to ride in the line at a steady pace and decelerate as you pull off and drift to the back. “This provides the right work-to-recovery ratio without all the punchy surges that tend to blow the weaker riders off the back,” says Ignosh.

SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE Pacelines are designed to share the workload, so limit your pulls to a few minutes to stay fresh and give other riders a chance.

CONSERVE ENERGY If you feel tired, sit out a few turns until you’re ready to take another pull. Simply open a spot for riders to rejoin the line in front of you, or come to the front and immediately pull off and drift to the back. You’ll do the pack a favor by staying with them rather than working yourself into the red and falling off the back, which makes the group slow down to let you catch up.

Additional nuggets from the River City Website courtesy of Go Go Velo.

“Paceline Basics – A “paceline” is the basic formation used to cut through the wind so that you can rest when riding in a group. Try to remain about ten inches behind your ride partner’s rear wheel. This takes practice, but is well worth the effort to learn because of the energy savings offered. Relax and watch your friend’s shoulders rather than his rear wheel. Be sure to talk so that he knows you’re back there. He should point out or tell you about road hazard coming up, too.

Be careful not to let your front wheel come up and overlap your partner’s rear wheel because if he has to swerve, he’ll knock your wheel and you’ll crash.”

The only thing I’d add to this is beware of standing up. When you do that, your bike can thrust backwards a little into the wheel of the person behind you. If you are going to stand, let the people behind you know.

Below are diagrams of various types of pacelines.

Training_paceline_riding_3

Team Skidmark Becomes Team Fartlek

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

FartlekBig news in the cycling world today. Team Skidmark became Team Fartlek, named for our unstructured changes in pace and intensity.

I suppose it will be easy for some to leave skidmark behind, but I’d be lying if I said I won’t miss it. On the other hand, the new name sounds like a gas.