I’m not part of the zero-body-fat crowd, and so I had problems breaking spokes. So I dropped a couple hundred$ to get a custom-built wheel with a Velocity Dyad rim, which has been fabulous.

but apparently when the LBS installed the new wheel, they removed the plastic “dork disk” that’s there to catch a dropped chain. I am quite sure because “before” pictures of the bike had the disk, and it’s long gone now.

so this morning on my way to work when I dropped a chain, instead of waiting for me nicely on the dork disk it snapped FOUR spokes. you snap four spokes and you’re not going anywhere. luckily my wife had not left to take the kids to school, so she came and got me so I made my early-morning meeting. but my kids were an hour late for school.

I’m sure the LBS will make some lame excuse for why it’s not their fault. they also forget every time to close the brakes. arrrgh.

shaved my calves I did

It’s been seven days since my first crash. The crash itself didn’t hurt all that much, but what is absolutely killing me is ripping off the bandages twice a day so I can keep the dressing fresh. Pulling the hairs hurt so much that I would actually hold each hair still while pulling the bandage off of that one hair, and then move to the next. It took forever.

(Worse that that, actually, is my wife saying “C’MON YOU WEAKLING! JUST RIP OFF THAT BANDAGE ALREADY! YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT REAL PAIN IS UNTIL YOU’VE GIVEN BIRTH!” Once she actually *did* rip the bandage off, and while I lay wailing on the ground told me to practice my breathing exercises. As Dave Barry says, I am not making this up.)

Of course I had been reading about how “real” cyclists shave their legs, not just to look cool but in the case of a crash. Having learned my lesson the hard way, I decided to go under the blade…er, the Norelco. Just couldn’t bring myself to recreating the Gilette Venus commercial.

I had a bit of trouble getting the long hairs until I broke out the beard-trimming accessory, then things moved along a bit faster:

I decided to stop at the knee since my oversized shorts pretty much cover the entire thigh. this is a bit ugly, but here’s the comparison of hairy-knee with smooth-calf. Depending on feedback I may keep going north, but I hear that the knees are particularly tricky.

and, finally, just a clean back of the calf. feels great, actually, though chilly!!

don’t have the guts to post this on Facebook yet 🙂

that’ll teach me to skip the MassBike Summer Century!

I registered for the MassBike Summer Century and was looking forward to it. Then my wife scheduled a trip to Rhode Island for that day, so I had to cancel. But I insisted in riding while she and the kids drove. This was the planned route:

You might notice that just north of Fall River, the route goes through a green patch which is a State Park. Thanks Google Bike Directions for this not-great suggestion 🙁

about 45 miles into the road (without stopping), the pavement ran out in the middle of the state park on Bell Rock Road. I should have turned around or walked through the gravel / stones, but I thought I’d be OK just slowing down to 2mph and taking it easy…as I had on a ride to the New Hampshire border.

It actually seemed to be going OK, but what I didn’t notice was that my front tire had been losing air. When I pulled out the other end of the state park back and took a right, the front wheel slid and I went down. Hard. Luckily there was no other traffic around, but it was still painful.

Abrasions on the thigh (above), elbow, and butt (not shown…you’re welcome), the last of which ripped through my cycling shorts. Although I had worn gloves since departing Westwood at 6pm, I took them off literally 10 minutes before because it was getting hot. The drop bars were stuck on the frame, so I had to yank those apart and realign my shifters. The derailleur got messed up too as I dropped a chain.

I thought the soft front tire was due to the impact, so I tried reinflating it with one of my CO2 cartridges. That seemed to go well, and for a few miles I thought I was OK. But the front tire lost air again, and I felt myself wobble around a turn so I hopped off.

Pulled out one of my two spare tubes and put it on the front wheel. Inflated it with the second CO2 cartridge, which for some reason caused the tube to blow. (I probably did something wrong, but I thought the cartridges were only rated for 100 while the tire says 125…who knows.)

I had another tube, but no more cartridges. And I didn’t have a frame pump. So I went around asking various folks whether they had a bike pump. To my amazement, three different people offered! but they were all Schrader valves, and I didn’t have an adapter, so I was stuck in Westport MA. Lucky for me my wife hadn’t left home yet, so she picked me up on the way south. Here’s the final transcript:

Morals of this story:

  1. Once you’ve registered for the MassBike Summer Century, don’t cancel!
  2. Do not trust Google Bike Directions for long routes. Always follow the Rubel bike map.
  3. Always carry a frame pump, or at the very least a Presta adapter.

Montreal bike share

tried it for the first time today. pretty impressed. pics are here. I found it incredibly easy to use. sure, the bikes are a bit slow but fine for getting around town. nothing you’d win the Giro on of course 🙂

630 miles for july

I’m told it is goofy or “Fred” to talk about mileage (ascent = okay, but not mileage). I’m going to anyway b/c I’m excited about this month’s milestone of 630 miles.

Today’s metric century helped. With friends I rode from Weston to the New Hampshire border, 65 miles round trip with 2000″ of climbing.

here’s the embedded version where you can see just how long it took us…one of my riding buddies showed up on a mountain bike, which really slowed him down.

but we finally made it!

surprise century (my first)

Yesterday’s plan was to do a 75-mile loop from Westwood to Plymouth Rock as training for the MassBike Summer Century a few weeks from now. To my great surprise, I had plenty of energy left at the end, so I decided to push another 25 miles to make it my first century.

The 7:47 time is a bit misleading, as I realized halfway though that I hadn’t set the auto-stop feature on my Garmin. It was actually 7:32 in the saddle, starting a little before 6am finishing a bit after 3pm. Not particularly fast, though it was my first time and my riding buddy struggled a bit on the way back from Plymouth so we had to stop and rest (he did not do the last 25 with me).

Things I learned on this ride:
* get a haircut before a long ride on a hot day. when I took off my helmet, I looked ridiculous!
* carb-loading the night before really works. I had a plate full of macaroni salad for dinner on Friday, and then a protein fest when I woke up (eggs + chicken sausage). felt a bit stuffed, but I didn’t bonk
* bring an extra jersey. after hours in the hot sun, it was refreshing to change shirts. interestingly, I found the cheapo mesh jersey from EMS much more comfortable than the “real” jersey I had
* avoid towns on long rides. stoplights are not your friend; Brockton was miserable
* G2 is an awesome energy drink. much less sugar than the original Gatorade, but doesn’t leave you empty like Powerade Zero does

how to hitchhike without really trying

my parents told me never to hitchhike, or pick up hitchhikers. “they might have a knife! or a gun!” so I’ve never picked up a hitchhiker in my 40 years.

today’s experience might change that. I was about halfway home from a loop to Providence when I had a breakdown (spoke) and couldn’t continue. as you can see on the map below, I stopped about 18 miles short of making it back home. my riding buddy said he would come back for me, but I knew that would be a couple of hours.

So there I was carrying my bike up the hill when a couple in a truck with a massive trailer pulled up to ask if I needed a ride. to my astonishment, they drove me nearly 15 miles from Wrentham to Landry’s in Norwood, whereas they were headed to Brockton. i was overwhelmed by their generosity

and that wasn’t the only nice part of the day. the view of the water from India Point Park in downtown Providence was divine!

rained out

was all excited to do a 75-mile winding loop from Wayland to downtown Boston. first half went great, then the rain started to fall. options were to wait out the rain or take the train home to Westwood.

unfortunately I had forgotten my rain jacket at home. the rain seemed to come and go, but I didn’t want to get caught in a total downpour as the forecast had predicted thundershowers all afternoon and evening.

so we took the train home. of course it was clear skies when we got there. left me pretty upset, b/c I can’t bike commute this week due to camp schedules & so it would’ve been a perfect week to recover from a longer ride…the 40 miles we did do didn’t have much of an effect. maybe I”ll get on the trainer this afternoon while watching TdF reruns…

early bird gets the minutes

took someone’s advice and left home before 6am to try my 13-mile commute without much traffic.

what a revelation – cut nearly 10 minutes off my time and boosted my average speed by 2 mph.

of course maybe it helped that I was on my road bike and wasn’t carrying the laptop … will have to try this again some morning on the commuter bike, fully loaded

thanks for BikeForums member “Jim from Boston” for suggesting the early-morning strategy!


miles is a metric century (100km) unless my conversion table is off.

though I think my days of long drives for scenic rides are drawing to an end. Martha’s Vineyard is lovely, but 5 hours of travel round trip between car and ferry is a bit much – basically doubled the time of the trip.

50m were on the island and 12 on the “mainland” (to and from parking). would rather’ve done the 10m stretch to South Beach but ran short on time with the ferry schedule.

best part was the “bike ferry” across the Memensha Pond: the ferry only covers 100 feet or so but saves you at least a half hour by going around the pond.

next up: a REAL century!

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