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Sunday, November 30, 2008

No Ride - 28Nov08

My "next scheduled" ride for Friday, 11/28, never happened...of course, I did say "maybe".

Simply stated, I know better than to try to fit a ride in on the morning we're packing to go away for the weekend, so I never should have scheduled this ride anyway.

The weekend was fun, but feel like I gained weight over the last four days. :)

Unfortunately, I really have no idea when my next ride will be due to work hours and weather forecasts. We'll see.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Fixie Ride

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I'm thankful that I can spend the next four days with my family.

We're looking forward to the Polar Express in North Conway, NH this weekend.

Ride Stats

Bike: Fixie
Distance: 14.2 miles
Time: about 55 minutes*
Average Speed: approx. 15.0 mph
Next scheduled ride: tomorrow before we leave for New Hampshire...maybe
Temperature at start: 44.6 F
Temperature at end: 45.3 F

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Scheduling Fluke" Bonus Ride

Well, it was less a fluke and more a decision to simply leave work early so I could shoe horn another ride in. And a shoe-horned ride it was! Working in Boston means a minimum of 2 hours a day is consumed by commuting. Today I took the 1:50 PM train which got me back to Attleboro at 2:50 and to the house at 3:10. Plenty of time for a ride except because I'm home and my son has a late afternoon appt. that my wife will bring him to, we agree that I need to pick my daughter up at her school by 4:30. At least 4:30 is the target. We just don't want her being the last child picked-up on the day before the holiday. So I'm out on the bike by 3:25 (15 min. prep time not too bad IMO with all the winter gear on) and back home at 4:10...45 minutes of riding on a 12 mile loop. By the time I'm showered and out the door again it's 4:35 and I arrive at the school at 4:45...15 minutes late. The good news is there are at least 15 children still there including a couple of her no sad face when I show up. Sadly, this is a typical scenario for me for getting a short weekday ride in at this time of year. Truthfully, in the past I didn't have the motivation to make in happen...rather, it was all too easy to just decide there was no time for a "decent" ride. So far the fixie and the blog reading/writing has changed that dynamic. But how long will it last? I don't know the answer to that question but whatever it is it will be documented on this blog. Stay tuned.

I have a scheduled ride tomorrow morning, but my track record for following through on rides before family holiday events is best. We'll see how it goes.

Ride Stats

Bike: Fixie
Distance: 11.9 miles
Time: about 45 minutes*
Average Speed: approx. 16.0 mph (that's more like it!)
Next scheduled ride: Thur 11/27 - Thanksgiving morning (got to earn the 2nd helping!) Temperature at start: 42 deg F
Temperature at end: didn't notice, but never got cold on this ride

*Note: a don't intend on tracking time accurately on my fixie (i.e., no cyclometer wanted!!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pearl Izumi Thanksgiving Weekend Sale

Don't believe my blog viewership has reached the level that will make this a particularly useful post. As a matter of fact, I'd say that as far as views of this blog go, it's stuck deep down in the lower left hand corner of the "views" graph. Be that as it may, this is the type of post that some cycling aficionados may find useful, and it's the type I'd like to post from time to time. So here it is!

Pearl Izumi is having a Thanksgiving weekend blowout sale on previously marked-down items at its Factory Stores. Unfortunately, the factory stores are few and far in between, with the only New England location in North Conway, NH. Nice store. It's a must stop whenever we're in town, which will be the case next weekend when we bring the children to the Polar Express event!!
Here's the deal:
  • 40% off from store opening on 11/28 until 7:59 AM (store openings vary...some are midnight...North Conway is 6 AM)
  • 20% off from 8:00 AM to closing on 11/28
  • 10% off all day on 11/29 and 11/30
Whenever I've been in the North Conway store, most of the major clothing items (jerseys, shorts, tights, jackets) have been marked-down. Accessories such as socks, gloves, and warmers typically are not.
Now here's some good news for those of you not near a store. You can call the stores direct to inquire about specific items and order over the phone. They will ship to you for a nominal shipping fee.
The link above will bring you to a list of their factory stores. Here is the address and contact information for the North Conway location:
North Conway Factory Store
Dunkin Donuts Plaza
1946 White Mountain Highway
PO Box 1517
North Conway, NH 03860
Tel. 603-356-5183
Fax 603-356-5682
Happy shopping!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Darn Cold Fixie Ride!! - 23Nov08


Cleaning the yard of leaves and a final mowing took precedence this weekend (the town compost center closes at the end of November and we're going away for the weekend after Thanksgiving, so...), which means that bike riding time was extra limited. Fortunately, the yard was certified clean by 3:00 PM so after a quick truck run to the compost center there was still enough time to shoe horn in a ride. As usual, I stretched the ride to the longest mileage possible without actually having to arrive back home in the pitch black...just the normal darkness that precedes pitch black! And even then the ride wasn't completely over as I had promised my daughter a short bike ride with her "phonics owl" (Echo) down to see the lake at both ends of our street...okay, now that's the portion of the ride that was darn cold. We were out riding for an additional 10 minutes or so.

Ride Stats

Distance: 14.2 miles
Time: about an hour*
Average Speed: approx. 14.2 mph (sadly)
Next scheduled ride: Thur 11/27 - Thanksgiving morning (got to earn the 2nd helping!)
Temperature at start: 31 deg F
Temperature at end: 28 deg F

*Note: a don't intend on tracking time accurately on my fixie (i.e., no cyclometer wanted!!)

The Bike

Most of my rides during the cold off-season are going to be on my Peugeot fixed gear (fixie). Today's ride was no exception. Truth be told, I'm not even sure I had ever heard of a fixed gear bike before a couple of months ago. In late September I found myself Googling some sort of bike or bike part or something, and as usually is the case, one thing led to another and yet another and then I found myself on the Harris Cyclery web site reading articles written by Sheldon Brown. Sheldon is a guru among bicycle mechanics...sadly, he passed away early in 2008. But his web pages and articles, and quite frankly, an ocean of cycling knowledge live on at the Harris Cyclery web site he developed.

Turns out, Sheldon was a strong advocate, a huge fan one could say, of fixed gear single speed bikes...especially fixed gear conversions. Check out these articles by Sheldon if you have some time to kill. Anyway, a fixie is a bike with a single gear ratio and no free wheel. The chain turns the single cog on the back wheel in both directions -- yup, you can pedal the bike forward or backward. What this REALLY means is that you CAN'T coast on a fixie...okay you can if you want but you'll look kind of funny with your legs and feet up in the air and the pedals still moving. Oh, and if you forget what you're riding and try to coast the normal way, the bike will rudely remind you of the primary rule for riding a fixie -- thou shall not stop pedaling the bike.

Okay, so getting back to "the bike", I thought it would be a cool idea to look into riding a fixie over the off-season. I mean, I know all too well the realities of riding beyond least for me. No after work rides...lots of family obligations...the holidays...the cold..the snow. To me, riding a fixie represented the best way to stay on the road and maximize the fitness benefits of riding. Yup, a fixie would allow me to shoe horn in some shorter rides and still get the benefit of longer rides. Sure a trainer might work too, but I'm certainly no fan of trainers even though I own one. So a fixie it would I just needed to get one.

Of course, me being me (impatient and liking new toys), I headed off to a couple of LBS to check out the Surly Steamroller and the Redline 925, both excellent fixed gear bikes according to many online reviews. 925 in stock at East Providence Cycle and the wrong size Surly at Union Cycle in Attleboro. I've lived in North Attleboro for almost 10 years now and I've never stepped foot in Union Cycle until this visit. Turns out, the Service Manager there (Ron) worked for Sheldon Brown a few years back and is himself a fan of the fixie. After tying Ron up in cycling conversation for the better part of an hour, it dawns on him that perhaps one of my old bikes is a candidate for a fixed gear conversion. In order to be a candidate, the frame must have horizontal dropouts. Most modern bikes have vertical dropouts and his guess is my old Trek is most likely one of these. That's when I mention the Peugeot...that's when his eyes light up. My Peugeot is a sports/recreation model circa 1983 that was my first bike for long bike rides and eventually fitness training. For the last 20 years it has been collecting dust, the last ten of those hanging on the wall of my garage. I knew I kept it for a reason. :) The next day I brought it to the shop, signed up for the conversion and three weeks later I was riding my "new" fixie.

The Strange Thing Mentioned Above

We had a guest this weekend -- an acquaintance of my daughters. His name is Echo. He is a stuffed animal -- an owl. A phonics owl to be exact. This will all make sense. My daughter is 6 and in 1st grade, and she is currently Superstar of the week in her class. One of the duties of the Superstar of the week is to take Echo home over the weekend so he can partake in family activities. One of those activities was a bike ride with daddy. I foolishly thought that the ride would be bagged due to the cold and wind...wrong! In any event, the owl ate with us, attended dance class with my daughter, slept near her, watched a movie with the children, etc. I'm sure you get the picture. The "phonics" part came earlier tonight as my daughter had to write a story about Echo's stay with us in her own words and without any spelling help from mom or dad. She did a great job!!

Finally, a promise to readers and myself. I'll try to keep most posts much shorter than this one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Inaugural Post

I'm a recreational cyclist who rides mainly for fitness. Although I love riding, I always need motivation and a little accountability to keep training and to achieve goals. That is why I've always set goals and maintained a log of cycling miles. Recently I discovered cycling blogs. I REALLY like the concept. A journal of my rides...and thoughts...sharing photos...and whatever else may be fun to write about. I might be a little slow getting this blog going but I've got ideas and lofty goals...and it looks like an early winter is setting in here in southern New England, so I might have some extra time too. Stay tuned.

I mentioned above that I recently discovered cycling blogs. Two great ones that I wish to give a shout out to are:

Martinator's Biking Blog (

Sarah's Cycling Blog (

Martin and Sarah maintain the type of blogs that I will be striving to emulate. I might even steal some of their ideas. Hope they don't mind. But I also want my blog to be unique to reflect my ideas for self-motivation and knowledge sharing. So we'll see where I go with this blogging concept.