Monday, 27 October 2014

Project SubZero Update 2

Project Subzero, the Icebike, side view.
All set up and ready to go!
Project: SubZero has made some further progress.  It won't be long before my little blue terror is tearing up some ice.  My road bike had it's last official outdoor day of 2014 so the project has seasonally inherited some goodies.  I will be getting more saddle time in so everything is properly broken in.  I'll just have to use mud as a reasonable substitute for snow until it falls.

Fenders
I had ordered Dave's Mud Shovel front and rear fenders.  They're normally used on fat bikes.  But I was considering wider rims (just not fat-bike wide) and I wanted to make sure to contain the icy carnage being thrown at me.

The front fender on my icebike.
PDW Origami Front Fender
The front was back ordered.  When it finally came in, the plastic fender had a split in it.  More than likely from the way MEC packed the package.  I didn't want to order another only to wait 2 weeks for another cracked fender, so I went to a local store.  Of course, they don't carry the front fender in store.  So I picked up the PDW Origami front fender to see how it would do.  I'm not sure if I will bring in the rear one, you can't get Origami rear fenders in store either.

While the rear one is much larger than the front, I might still keep it. I'm happy to get as much snow/water coverage from my back tire as possible.

Both fenders are ridiculously easy to install.  The fenders install without needing tools, aside from scissors to cut rubber fasteners.  Once set up it's easy to put on or remove the fenders.  You can use the snaps on the fenders themselves or easily remove the entire mount.  The fenders can flatten out and be tossed into a backpack.  Their flexibility would be an asset in surviving crashes.

I heard that using a non-stick cooking spray on fenders will stop snow and slushy accumulation.  When we start seeing some snow I will crack out the PAM and put this theory to the test.


Lights
My light shining on the road and reflective surfaces on a dark night
I had the opportunity to try my existing road bike light in dark conditions.  It is a MEC Zinger 480.  It is a USB rechargable LED headlight.  On the highest setting it produces a light at 480 lumens.  I was pretty happy with the visibility and will stick to using this on Project: SubZero.

I had my light mostly aimed down in the photo to the right.  I found that it was able to light up signs from far away and it gave adequate riding light.  I could have aimed it slightly higher and gotten a much larger patch of light in front of me.  I really didn't want to try my luck though, I already had one person high beam me because of my "overpowering" front light.  No kidding, take a look at the video below.

video


The rear bike light on my icebike, it has a line laser!
Lasers with camera flash.
My bicycle rear red light projects these laser lines.
Lasers without camera flash.
My rear light was an interesting find on AliExpress.  It uses a pair of AAA cells and provides 5 LED red lights and 2 red laser lines.  There are a variety of settings for blinking patterns for both.  It feels pretty flimsy but what else do you want for $5 including shipping?

So far it looks great, the pictures don't do it justice.  But I will have to watch that rear fender as it can block the lasers if moved around.

I also have a LED head lamp.  It's a Black Diamond that is several years old.  Can't find the specs online so I don't know how many lumen's it produces.  But thanks to it being liberated from my camping gear, it has a very low cost of 0 dollars.  Hard to beat!

Rear stay with red reflective material.
Front fork with reflective white surface.Reflective Strips
I added in reflective strips so I would be legal to ride in Ontario at night.  I'm not sure if it applies for off-road cycling but you never know when I might end up on a roadway. They went on fine but I did have to trim some material to fit around cable mounts.  Despite my dislike for uglying up my bicycle, I do notice they're extremely reflective.

I'm also hoping they do give me a different looking profile than a snowmobile or ATV at night.

My various gadgets mounted on Project SubZero, my icebike.
Horn, Light, (on stem) RFLKT+, Action Cam, Bell
(below) Handlebar bag..
Other Changes
Since my road bicycle is moving indoors for the winter, I have a bunch of gadgetry that I will be moving over to Project: SubZero.  I also had a few items that didn't work out.

Additions:
  • Electric Horn. Great for when you need more decibels than a bell can provide.
  • Action Cam. So I can capture whatever winter action I find.
  • Handlebar Bag. I usually put my emergency tools, first aid, phone and other goodies in here.
  • RFLKT+ Mount.  I will be using my RFLKT+ in spin class but I have two mounts.  I put the stem mount one on Project: SubZero.  So I can switch the head unit between either bike.
Removals:
  • Saddle Bag.  Tried replacing it with 2 other saddle bags I have.  Nothing would fit with both the fender and the rear light.  Will just use front bag and backpack in lieu of a saddle bag.
  • Phone Mount.  I don't really need it as I have the RFLKT+ showing me everything I need.  I will either put the phone in the front bag or in my coat.  The latter seems to be a great idea for when its very cold.  I will probably have this on the hybrid as it has no RFLKT+ mount.
  • Snack Pouch.  I was going to put it on here but it would just ensure my food would freeze.  It only has a mesh cover.  Better for me to just put food in a backpack.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Cold Test Ride Conclusions

A cold penguin, chilling.
So after testing out my gear for three rides, I feel like I've learned a lot.  I've compiled my findings below.

I'm sure this won't be the last time I do some testing.  I will probably have to record and make minor revisions every time the mercury drops another 5-10C.

Wind
Whenever I plan a ride, I try to watch the forecast for how strong the wind is and where it is blowing.  It can normally have a big impact on your ride.  I've discovered that in colder weather its even more important.  The wind can make the ambient temperature feel a lot colder.  It can happen abruptly when you change direction.  Based on my experience with wind so far, I will definitely prioritize wind-proof gear in my cold weather planning.

Velocity
Another thing I noticed is how cold it gets when you simply accelerate.  Its like having your own personal "wind chill factor".  It's not simply a linear matter of faster = colder.  Hard pedalling will generate heat.  So you have to balance things.  I have a feeling this will be a bigger deal while road biking in the fall.  In the winter I'll be on a mountain bike, and I simply won't be able to achieve speeds where it'll be a huge problem.

Air
Cold air is denser air and I can really feel it as I move through it.  I feel like there is more of an aerodynamic drag on me when the air is much colder.  I also feel like its harder to breathe the denser air when I'm pushing myself.

Jacket
The rain jacket really saved the day but it has one big problem.  It's not "breathable".  There's no fancy material or vents on it to let the heat release.  I sweat a lot in the arms.  Mind you, much prefer sweaty arms over frozen arms.  Might be better to use when its really cold or when I have thinner base layers on underneath.  I've been shopping around for something that is water resistant and breathable, or something waterproof with zipper vents on the back/underarms.

Cold Feet
Feet get cold fast!  The first set of socks were meshy and breathable so I wasn't surprised to be cold.  My thicker sports socks seem to do well until 15C and below that my smart wool seem to be pretty good up to 10C.  Any lower (including with wind chill) and they seem to have an issue.  I can either get toe covers to put under the shoe covers or I can use my MEC Drencher covers over the top of the shoe covers (the latter is really bulky but I already own some).  Either way, this is strictly an autumn road bike issue as I won't be using the cycling shoes for outdoor winter cycling.

Cold Hands
My gloves have zero thermal properties.  On all three days I found my fingers cold the entire time.  Anything below 15C and they're just useless.  I will have to get some better gloves.

I also discovered that my cycling gloves can be adapted for colder weather simply by wearing  pair of blue nitrile gloves underneath.  It does end up making your hands sweat.  But that sweat is kept close against the hands and it ends up heating up the sweat.  So in other words, you feel warm, but its pretty disgusting when it comes off.  I can't recommend the blue nitrile gloves as a regular or long term solution.  But they are great in an emergency.  I've started keeping a pair on my bike just in case.

Pit Stops
Throughout the summer I did lots of rides and the issue of urinating just never came up.  I liked to joke that it was because I was sweating so much, my body didn't need to.  Maybe it is true; since I've been sweating less due to cold, I've needed to pee a lot more.  Every cold ride I either needed to have a private pit stop moment, or I am charging at the bathroom once my ride ends.  If this continues like this I'll have to avoid bib tights or anything else that makes it difficult to have a pit stop.

Two's Company
I think I need to stop making cycling such a solitary activity.  I do ride with my wife but in the winter she has no intentions of going outdoor cycling.  I've been thinking it could be very hazardous if I take a bump on the head and freeze to death in the woods, because I was too much of a loner to have someone around.

Daylight
Winter means shorter days.  While I had full days to myself for my test rides, my normal weekdays are eaten up by things like work.  The sun rises too late and sets too early for me to avoid night cycling.  I may start riding shorter rides on the road bike in the autumn; I really don't like riding in the dark on rural roads.  In the winter I'll be off-road and I will have to have enough lights to be seen by off-road vehicles.

Head-wear
The headband really didn't work out.  But I have a feeling it will work just fine when I wear it with goggles.  So it's not great autumn wear but it will work out in the winter.

Bicycle helmets aren't great winter design.  They've got great big cooling vents in them.  Throughout the testing, my thick ginger hair kept my head mostly warm but I need a solution for when it gets colder.

My sunglasses worked out fine for the testing.  But I know eventually it will get too cold and I will have to switch to goggles.

Mirror
I have a mirror set up right now that I like.  Unfortunately it mounts to my sunglasses.  When it starts getting very cold and I switch to goggles, I can no longer use my mirror.  I need to find a good alternative.

Measuring Effort
There are a lot of ways we measure our progress.  Some people measure by how far they've gone or how fast they've traveled.  In my case I need to not focus on how fast I'm going.  Quite frankly I'm not going to be setting Strava segment records in the cold weather.  But if my cadence is high (80-100) and my heart rate is going (140bpm or higher) then I'm doing good.  No need to beat myself up about going slowly through cold dense air with a headwind!


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Cold Test Ride 3 / 3

A parkway with a small lake on one side and a river on the other.
Sunny days not requiring sunscreen = priceless.
Conditions
I was doing my third ride on Sunday.  The route was the same as test ride #1, 37.5km.  The forecast was mainly sunny with a bit of temperature variance; it was going to start at 10C (feels like 9C, 6km/h SW) and finish at 12C (feels like 11C, 8km/h SW).

Layers
Base: MEC Ardent jersey, MEC Rapide cycling shortsPearl Izumi Select thermal tights, Smart Wool sports socks,  MEC Vivace gloves.
Extra: DeFeet SlipStream shoe covers.

Road cycling in the fall,
It looks beautiful.  But it is cold!
The Ride
The weather felt pretty good when I left.  It was cold out but the sun made a big difference.  A lot of the clothing I had on was black and I felt like the material was just soaking up the heat.  Which is great as the temperature increase ended up being a bit of a wash; it would get warmer but the wind would blow harder and it would feel the same.

Between the shoe covers and my Smart Wool socks, I thought my feet would be warm for sure.  They did start out warm but eventually my toes got cold. I noticed them getting cold right away, due to the wind.  It got better later in the ride when I wasn't riding directly in the wind.  It has me thinking that this is entirely a wind-related issue.
Cycling on the waterfront trail where the path is completely covered in fallen leaves.
I wish autumn would leaf me alone!

The jersey did a great job again but I did notice I was a bit cold at the end of the ride.  It sounds odd but I would say it was just my skin that was cold.  My torso was pretty warm inside.  I think its because I was at the limit of the jersey keeping me warm.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Cold Test Ride 2 / 3

Conditions
Saturday was my second ride.  I had to run some errands first so my ride ended up being later in the afternoon.  The forecast called for rain later in the day; since I really hate riding in the rain I opted for a shorter route of 25km.  The window I was looking at was mainly sunny with a temperature of 10C, with a "feels like" of 9C.  Wind easterly about 5km/h.  Temperature and wind looked steady for the duration of my ride.

Layers
Base: MEC Ardent jersey, MEC Journey cycling shortsPearl Izumi Select thermal tights, generic sports socks.  MEC Vivace gloves.
Extra: DeFeet SlipStream shoe covers.

The Ride
This ride would be a little shorter than the first ride.    Since it seemed less risky, I didn't bring any backup clothing.  Almost everything I wore was the same as my last ride except I changed my liner for shorts and I had ditched the headband.

A cold overcast day on the parkway.The biggest difference I noticed on this ride was the wind.  The previous day's ride had wind of 25km/h, today only had 5km/h.  It doesn't look like much difference but in my mind it was the difference between "slightly chilly" and "Hoth cold".

My Ardent jersey really did the trick this time.  I felt like it was sufficient for my entire ride.

I noticed my feet getting cold, despite the shoe covers.  It was only in the front part of the toes, but it made me feel uncomfortable.  Almost always when I had a headwind or crosswind, even a slight one.

I found the gloves to be a disappointment.  They don't seem to cut the wind very well and they don't seem to keep my fingers warm at all.  I really feel like a better set of gloves will be required for any autumn or winter runs.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Cold Test Ride 1 / 3

A cold autumn day in Ontario.
7C is just not as fun as 30C
Conditions
The first day was Friday.  I'd be heading out around noon and temperature was 10C with a wind chill making it feel like 7C.  The wind was forecast to be 25km/h easterly.  It was partly cloudy.  I was doing a 37km loop that I normally run.

Layers
Base: MEC Ardent jersey, MEC Ace Cycling Liner, Pearl Izumi Select thermal tights, generic sports socks.  MEC Vivace gloves.
Extra: MEC Calefaction head band, DeFeet SlipStream shoe covers.
Backup (in rack trunk): Windriver red rain jacket, MEC Drencher pants, polyester long sleeve thick shirt.

The Ride
I made sure that when I left, I felt cold.  Just pedalling on a bike is enough to generate some pretty serious heat.  Everything I was wearing on my base layer, I had used before.  This was a first trying out the headband and shoe covers.  I brought along a rack truck with some extras in case things were colder than I thought.

The headband was a bit of a disappointment.  It never did seem to sit well with my helmet and sunglasses.  I'm not about to forgo either at this point so I ended up removing the headband early on the ride.

A causeway with a slight downhill decline.  Very cold in the fall!
Downhill is so much colder!
For the first 15km, everything felt great.  I was warm enough from exertion that I didn't feel cold at all, but not so warm that I was gross and sweaty.  I thought I had found the perfect layer combo.  Then I headed north and started to feel just how strong the wind was!  I had to concentrate on not getting blown over.  And it was cold.  I could immediately tell that my tights were windproof but my jersey was not.  It is a really nice, warm jersey but it was just not up to wind like that.  I ended up braving it out for a while as there was a lot of climbing (which means more heat).

The moment I turned west I got a taste of how cold it was.  I knew I wouldn't hold up long it that.  I pulled over and got out my rain jacket.  It was windproof and waterproof and I thought it would make an excellent "shell" layer.  My tights felt warm enough so I skipped on the Drencher pants.

I was headed west for a long clip so I got a good chance to test things out.  I discovered that 25km/h wind makes you feel really cold.  And the faster you rode into it, it got exponentially colder.  My legs finally did get a bit cold but not unbearably so.  My feet, which had been perfect up until the moment I was riding against the wind, were a bit chilly in the toes.  Sometimes that wind gusted and I felt like I was being pushed backward.

The rain coat worked well in keeping the wind off me.  But I ended up getting so warm with it that my arms were all sweaty.  Could have been a big problem if I had to make an extended stop outside (cold + wet = yuck).


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Cold Test Rides Introduction

A bicycle completely iced over and frozen.
Getting ready for days like this.
When I noticed the forecast getting cold and unpleasant, I thought it would be the best time to do some cold weather testing.  Right now I don't have any practical experience when it comes to layering clothes (or for that matter, any experience cycling in the cold).  By putting some useful data together I might be able to figure out what combination of clothing to wear.

The tests themselves are pretty simple.  I would need to record the weather conditions, what clothing I was wearing and how I felt in it.  After a few days I would try to glean important details and adjust my strategy for cold weather riding.

For me this is a multi-part process.  Currently I'm riding a road bike in the autumn.  At the end of the month I will be using the road bike indoors (spin class).  At that point my outdoor bikes will be my hybrid and mountain bike.  Once the snow hits the hybrid will go into storage and the mountain bike is the full time outdoor rig.  So I'm trying to figure out the things that will help now on my current setup, as well as details that will help when its -30C and I'm riding across frozen rivers.

The next 3 posts will be the tests, then I will post my conclusions.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Project: SubZero Update 1

Project Status
A used Norco Scrambler, blue in colour, to be used as my new ice bike project, Project Subzero.
Project SubZero
Things have been moving along well with Project: SubZero.  I've had a chance to pick out a lot of things I'll need on sale.  I've also had some time to think about all the upgrades the bike needs.  With everything I have so far, I'm just a tire change away from riding on ice.

While most of the items in question are exclusively for Project: SubZero, a few of them are seasonal hand-me-downs from my road bike.

Chain
I made several attempts at cleaning up the original chain.  But it hadn't really been maintained well.  After repeated attempts, wiping the chain would still leave a stain of corrosion.  A quick trip to my LBS got me a shiny new stainless steel chain.  Since I won't be near salt too often (mostly off road) and I'm ridiculously compulsive when it comes to cleaning bicycle chains, I expect this new one to last the winter.

Bell
Ding Ding!
Ding Ding!
Since it is a requirement in Ontario, I added a generic bell.  Ding ding!

I have a loud horn on the Valence that I might move over, once the Valence is on the trainer.  I don't expect a lot of people to hear Ding Ding through closed car windows, snowmobile helmets or pedestrian winter head wear.

Wheels
I wanted to get a wider rim as I had heard it can improve traction in winter conditions by allowing lower pressure.  That being said, I want to keep things on the cheap.  So unless I run into a really good deal, I'll just run the wheels I have.

Fenders
I was looking at several fenders out there and the Dave's Shovel line from Portland Design Works really stand out.  They're made for fat bikes but I think they'd work out well on this bike; they're thin, easily removed and will fit whatever tire/rim combo I want.  That being said, getting said fenders is a pain.  They're pretty cheap at MEC but the front one is back ordered.  We'll see what I end up using


Pogies on the handlebars with a smartphone mount for a large smartphone.
Everything fits nicely.
 Pogies

They're actually scooter pogies, which cost a fraction of the price of bicycle pogies.
Access to brakes and shifters
Pogies are a great idea.  They're like big mitts for your handlebars.  The only problem with cycling pogies are the price.  So I went looking for a bargain, something that would at least keep wind and water off my hands.  I would still need gloves but lighter gloves would do.

Front view of Project SubZero with pogies on.
Where's the ice?  Lets go!
I ended up trying out a pair of Kwik Tech Scooter Mitts.  I don't expect these will keep my hands super warm.  But as long as they keep the wind and moisture off my hands they'll be fine.

Click here to see Kwik Tek Scooter Hand Mitts at Amazon.ca
Click here to see Kwik Tek ScootR Hand Mitts at Amazon.com


Lights
Lights continue to evade me.  I know I want something bright enough that any potential car or snowmobile can clearly see me.  I will be moving all my current lights to Project: SubZero at the end of the road bike season.  I also ordered a neat rear light that's also supposed to mark the ground with red lasers.  It is a slow shipping process from overseas so I'm not sure when it'll arrive.  In the meantime I have my eyes peeled for good deals on lights, either really reduced sale price or used.

They're 361 carbine studs worth of butt kicking.
If you look very closely, you'll notice the pattern in the tires
clearly spells.... BADASS. :D
Tires
I was shopping around for a studded tire.  There are several on the market.  I was able to eliminate a lot of them (winter commuter tires) by focusing on tires with off-road capability.

Originally I wanted to pick up a pair of Schwalbe Ice Spiker tires.  They have 304 studs and have a nice knobby pattern to them.  But then I ran into a deal on some used Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pros (even lighter and have 361 studs).  I won't be putting them on until we're close to freezing rain weather.

Click here to see Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro HS 379 at Amazon.com

Phone
I am picking up a used phone mount for the bike.  I will run this until it dips below -5C, then the phone will just live in my coat.  The pictures so far have my current mount, but the used one I am getting looks similar.

A Wahoo RFLKT+ mounted to my stem.
My head unit.  I cannot say that without smirking.
Computer
I have a head unit /display that connects to my phone wirelessly and displays the stats (distance speed etc).  I had an extra mount for it, which will live on this bike.  It has a quick release mechanism so its easy for me to use the head unit on this bike and on the indoor trainer.

Camera
I've been thinking about a helmet based mount which would resolve the problem.  Alternatively I may just seasonally hand-me-down the handlebar mount from the Valence.



An old bicycle saddlebag that's seen better days.
My saddlebag is looking flabby.

Bags
I tossed on an old saddle bag that wasn't being used.  To be honest I'm not crazy about it but its cheaper than buying a new one.  I may have to ditch it depending on the fender I end up using.

I also have other options.  I have a couple of backpacks that would work out well.  There's also handlebar bag I'm using on my road bike that I will also transfer on (once the Valence gets parked on a trainer).

Blue bottle cages for my winter bicycle.
Rear holds rum, front holds cola.
Bottle Cages
Threw 2 on.  I wasn't sure at first if I would use bottles or my hydration pack.  They don't have to be exclusive though; your pack can carry water and the bottles can carry hot liquids in a thermos, like coffee or soup.

I notice on this frame I can't use big 24oz Polar bottles in both holders so I'll need to steal liberate my wife's smaller 20oz Polar bottle.

Lubricant
I have been asking around for a good winter lubricant.  Someone recommended Fluid Film to me.  It is winter rated, non toxic and not a solvent.  It displaces water very well and it is also a rust inhibitor.  So for the duration of the winter, this will be both my lubricant and my frame protector.

Click here to see Fluid Film at Canadian Tire
These strips are necessary in the province of Ontario to ride when it's dark.
In order to obey
Ontario HTA 62 (17)

Reflective Strips
Again, to keep things legal in Ontario.  In Ontario any night riding (or 30 mins before/after dusk/dawn) requires these sticky strips be adhered to your forks.  I think they will ugly up my bike.  But I'd rather be ugly than squished by a snowmobile or car.  And the strips cost much less than a ticket does.

Click here to see Cycle Stripes at MEC



An Arctic view with lots of ice that has been broken up and pointed upwards.
Great for ice biking and ice for rum and cokes!

Ice, Snow, Winter, Rain?!
So now I just need some weather that is conducive to winter riding.  Until then its road biking on the tolerable days and this bike out on cold muddy days.  But for the first time in many years, I'm looking forward to lots of adverse weather.  Years of clearing snow and driving a car on icy roads has made me hate winter.  I'm really hope this bike changes how I feel about snow and ice!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Dress for Autumn Success

I usually try to plan my rides around the weather.  When I checked the forecast for the next few days, I found that we were in for a fair amount of rain.  The only solid open window when it wasn't raining was this morning.  Since I don't have much outdoor season left for the road bike, I got packed up to go.

The forecast called for 10C (with "feels like" 7C).  I was looking forward to the opportunity to try out some of my cold weather gear.  So I got out my cycling liner, tights and long sleeve jersey.


I had just purchased some Pearl Izumi Select Thermal Tights.  Go ahead and laugh.  No really, go ahead.  I've been laughing at myself too; I don't like tights and these are the first set of tights I've owned in my entire life.  Here are links to Pearl Izumi men's tights and women's tights on Amazon.ca and here are links to men's tights and women's tights on Amazon.com.

The cycling liner I am using is the MEC Ace Cycling Liner Shorts.  They were the very first item of real cycling clothes I purchased.  It was back when I wanted the benefits of a chamois without having to resort to dressing in spandex.  They are very thin so it is great for wearing under other clothes.  Even tight form fitting clothes like tights.  Here is a link to them at MEC.  If you are looking for the ladies' version, click here.

For a jersey I went with the MEC Ardent jersey.  It wasn't the style or the reviews that won me out on this; to be quite honest it was the price.  It was on sale for $29CAD when I purchased it.  Here is a link to it at MEC.

First thing I noticed as I started biking was WOW IT IS COLD!  I knew cycling was going to make me warmer so I resisted the urge to return for more layers.  This turned out to be the correct maneuver as my icy cold ears got hot very fast.   Also will remember to stick to luke warm water as icy cold water on an icy cold day feels like an icy cold dagger to the stomach when you drink it.

I couldn't believe how well the tights worked out.  When I started, my legs weren't cold at all.  They stayed that way for the entire ride.  Even when I made a brief stop and started getting cold, my bottom half was warm the entire time.  As soon as I'm not broke, I am literally running out to buy another pair.  And in conjunction with the cycling liner, my derriere felt well padded and comfortable.

I was equally surprised by the jersey.  I wasn't expecting spectacular results for a $29 jersey but they really impressed me.  I was so warm in the jersey I had to unzip it a bit.  I'm tempted to pick up another one as they would also make excellent base layers.

The ride itself was both excellent and gruelling.  There was very little traffic but there was a pretty strong wind pushing east.  Part of it is covered by Strava segments in both directions.  So I got an awesome performance in the one segment.  The other segment went so slowly you could swear I just walked the bike down the road.  This wind was impervious to both my physical efforts and my curse words.

I think if I would have done anything differently, I would have went with some shoe covers as my toes were chilly.  I'm sure we'll be getting plenty of cold weather for me to experiment in.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Setting the Pace

Meep Meep!
When my wife and I first started biking together, there were no pace issues.  We were newbies and riding on fairly heavy hybrids.  We just naturally kept pace with each other.  But I threw myself into biking to help manage my diabetes.  My wife on the other hand, is hardworking and pretty busy.  Sometimes she would put in 60-70 hour weeks; it doesn't leave as much time for for biking.  So while I was putting in 4-6 days of biking per week, hers were more like 2 or 3.

Eventually you start to reach different levels of performance.  If you want to ride together, you can't do it for performance reasons; one person will either pull far ahead or not get any exercise.  So you stick to leisure.  Which is great as it gives you time to enjoy each others company.  But I can't do 3-5 leisure rides a week, I need to exercise.

The obvious solution would be a tandem bike.  Then our level of fitness wouldn't matter as much.  It's definitely a bike I want to investigate in the future.  But there's no room in the budget for a tandem bike so a cheaper solution was required.

It's tough to hang with a roadrunner on this thing!
We decided to try different bikes to see how it would go.  I took my hybrid out and she took out her road bike.  For the most part it did work well.  I did have to draft to keep up at times, and on a few occasions she did sprint away, but I held my own pretty well.  Most of all, we were able enjoy a fitness ride together.

This winter we'll both be trying out spin class.  I'm hoping it will help narrow our fitness gap and get us back on matching bikes.  In the meantime we'll make do with mismatched bikes or leisure rides.