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  #176  
Old 08-13-2007, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Cycling

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Unfortunately, I've decided not to send it -- only because I'm going to England. Most letters don't get published for a week or so -- and I'll be leaving a couple of days later. My last name is uncommon enough that Ron Lewis could certainly find my empty house -- if he wanted. Besides, making threats when you're not going to be there to back them up is weak.

Otherwise I would sent it (although I imagine the paper might not publish it).
That letter sounds like Mahatma Gandhi! Threaten to run him over with your tank if he doesn't stay in his lane.
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  #177  
Old 08-13-2007, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Cycling

Because I have now outfitted my bike with a trailer, and can carry what I need back and forth to work, and because I actually rode it today (towing trailer!), I decided to read this entire thread. Awesomeness!

My bike is a Bike Friday Crusoe model, made by Green Gear Cyclery
bikefriday.com | Pocket Crusoe
You can take it apart and put it in its own suitcase which, although slightly large for a suitcase, is still all-airline rated acceptable.

If you don't take it totally apart, it quick-folds to a size to fit in any car or trunk, just about.

Here's the trailer, though mine is kinda different, I got a different box and mounted it sideways. Bike Friday Accessories Store

I first heard about these bikes in an issue of "Bicycling" magazine, back in the days when I subscribed. They were well-rated in an article called "as good as your best bike." I somehow don't believe that, but I wanted a compact bike, something that I could call a friend and say, "come pick me up!" and they could do it.

The company calls their bikes "Bike Friday," sort of after Daniel Defoe's faithful companion idea, so they are cute/clever with the names. The recumbent model is called "Sat-R-day," the tandem model is called "Twos-day," and the pocket model I have is called the "Crusoe."

The most critical issue for me with a bike is "will I actually use it?" For me to use it, it has to be *Comfortable* with a capital "C." This is actually very hard to achieve. The saddle I have is the seventh one I've tried. Gel just doesn't get it; it has to be spring-loaded, and maybe a spring-loaded post, if I could ever get one to fit on this bike (I had one on my mountain bike). Otherwise, every little hole, ridge, railroad track, road unevenness of any kind is like a forceful kick in the crotch. Ouch! I found some saddles that are built on a spiral "spring" instead of a hard rail, but, honestly, there was no more "give" in some of those saddles than the rail variety. What happened to the good old bike seats they used to have on the Schwinns we learned on as kids? I'm still holding out for a better saddle, though I can sort of tolerate the one I'm using now.

I have to ride upright, because otherwise there is too much pressure on my hands -- even with gel gloves, my hands get numb. Also, in the "road bike" drop handlebar position, everything is forward and down ... I can't see a thing. I have no flexibility in my neck, and so can't see anything except the tire right under my head. Not good! I was therefore looking for something I could ride sitting up, so I can see where I'm going.

One downside of the size of the Crusoe, is that it is extremely difficult to climb. Standing is very tricky, if not impossible, on this bike.

But for a commuter bike, esp now that I have my trailer, it just might be ideal. So, for today, I'll get in about 6 miles without spending that much more time than I would driving the car. Yippee!



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Last edited by maddog; 08-13-2007 at 11:19 PM.
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  #178  
Old 08-14-2007, 12:06 AM
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Default Re: Cycling

That's excellent, maddog. Thanks for joining in!

I came back from Michigan determined to start riding at least every other day, but unfortunately I also came back with the flu or something. As a result I've only been on the bike once in the last couple of weeks. I'll be back on it soon.
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  #179  
Old 08-14-2007, 06:55 AM
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Default Re: Cycling

awesome bike, maddog!

i was seriously considering a folding bike. urbane cycle in toronto had a birdy for sale, but it was pretty expensive and my wife kept saying no :)

what do you think of the birdys?

BIRDY - models
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  #180  
Old 08-14-2007, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: Cycling

The Birdy looks interesting, Zeke. The shock-absorbing features would be closer to what I am looking for, though nothing is without its pluses and minuses. I ended up with a Bike Friday b/c I could not decide between a folding bike and a recumbent bike ... recumbent is what everyone told me was "the way to go" for seat comfort, though again I don't know what it would be like to try to climb a hill in a recumbent. Then I saw that Bike Friday had a FOLDING RECUMBENT bike, and that's what I bought. The suspension mesh chair-like seat WAS a big improvement, comfort-wise, on ordinary bike saddles. The downside of the 2-wheel recumbent, though, was feeling secure and safe enough to ride it. The feel is quite different from an ordinary bike. The thing that put it over the edge for me, though, was that turning the handlebar (they have either a regular handlebar or under-seat steering; I chose the handlebar) caused the front wheel to knock my foot off the pedal on whichever side was opposite the turn. THAT was SCARY!! Apparently, I was one of few, or perhaps the only one, that experienced that. The company were quite good, however, and they arranged a trade-in for the Crusoe model. I'm still curious about other recumbents and may investigate this further at some point.

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  #181  
Old 08-14-2007, 05:54 PM
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Oh, and I'll here register a dissent from all the cycling-purist "no kickstand" posters: To me, a kickstand is one of the single most useful conveniences on a bike. vm, you talked about being ready to really take care of your bike this time around ... to me, an essential part of "taking care" of a bike is not letting it get dinged and banged around for no good reason. There is simply no position to "lean" my bike in where it will stay upright. It falls over every freaking time. If I had a kickstand, there would be a lot fewer paint chips, crashes onto the rear derailleur, mirror-out-of-whack-or-broken, broken flag pole, etc. etc. etc. :madrant: I WISH WISH WISH WISH I had a kickstand on my bike; I know I'd be likely to ride it more, if I could feel secure that it won't be banged around every time I stop at the store or the park or the office or wherever. For those few stinking ounces the purist-cyclists complain about, I get a LOT of peace of mind over and over again.

:twocents:

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  #182  
Old 08-14-2007, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Cycling

Put a kickstand on your bike, problem solved. An alloy kickstand weighs about 9 ounces and costs about $10.
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  #183  
Old 08-14-2007, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: Cycling

Yep. Simple enough ... I just have to figure out where to mount it. At the time I bought my Bike Friday, they only had the attach-to-rear-hub variety of kickstand. There are more selections now. I have to choose something that won't interfere with the hitch mount, which I've also got on the rear wheel frame.

Just don't let those people talk you out of a kickstand, though, when you're buying a bike. If you like and are used to using a kickstand, it's a false economy to not buy one.

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  #184  
Old 08-14-2007, 09:21 PM
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Default Re: Cycling

In my youth, I had a Moulton bike. These had small wheels (17-inch) and very rigid frames, but compensated for the otherwise harsh ride by having front and rear suspension - one of the first bikes to do this.

Last year, I was privilidged to be invited to invited to Dr Alex Moulton's country estate where he was hosting a large event to celebrate his many years involvment in British Engineering (he is now 87 years old). I flew some of my radio control helicopters and planes to entertain some of his guests.

I got the chance to talk to Alex and see some of his new range of bikes that are being made at premises within his country estate. Some of the bikes have a space frame that is incredibly light and rigid, and also folds for transport.

I would like one - but they are rather pricey. I'm not convinced that small wheels are really a good idea on bikes, but I can't help admiring the quality of the engineering in these machines - even if they are a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist.
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  #185  
Old 08-14-2007, 09:36 PM
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Default Re: Cycling

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Originally Posted by maddog View Post
Oh, and I'll here register a dissent from all the cycling-purist "no kickstand" posters...
I don't think anyone's said anything negative about them, have they? vm asked to have his taken off his old bike, but since it was already on his bike I guess he must have bought it at some point.

Anyhow, I say use a kickstand if you like a kickstand. I find they don't work terribly well, and tend to be redundant if you lock your bike to stuff anyhow, but if you like 'em, never mind the ounces. But then, I was riding around with a pie bungeed to the rack of my bike today. I'm an impure cyclist by this (and possibly any) standard.
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  #186  
Old 08-26-2007, 05:11 AM
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Default Re: Cycling

Had a long ride yesterday -- 120K down to a friend's lake cabin. I left early to avoid the heat of the day, but the last 30K were freakin hot. I ended up stopping at a gas station (air conditioned) and taking 15 minutes to decide what colour of Powerade I wanted. Mmm, cold air!

The lady at the counter looked pretty unimpressed by the sweating sweaty guy sweating by her cooler...
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  #187  
Old 08-26-2007, 05:16 AM
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Default Re: Cycling

I was just telling squian we oughta get back on the bikes tomorrow. Between the Michigan trip and my being sick we've only ridden like once in the last month.
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  #188  
Old 08-26-2007, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: Cycling

i haven't ridden much either because of the baby...i miss it! i love riding my bike :)
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  #189  
Old 10-19-2007, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: Cycling

So, after a couple of months with mirror and fenders on my bike, I can report that both additions were excellent ideas.

Yes, there's now no mistaking it for anything but a commuter. But I can't imagine going back to not being able to see what's coming behind me (meaning, waaayyy behind me, which is hard to see from a shoulder-check). And not getting soaked/gritty when it's wet is very nice indeed.
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  #190  
Old 11-30-2007, 01:47 PM
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Now that salt season has arrived, I went out and got a "winter beater" this week.

Except it's not entirely a beater; I ended up shelling out $400, because my initial fantasies (paying $50 for a used bike that I could just junk or donate when spring came) failed. The cheap used bikes that I saw simply didn't look very reliable -- unsurprisingly, in retrospect -- and as a commuter I need confidence that I can leave home at 8 am for a 9 am meeting and actually get there. (Plus, a breakdown 4 km into an 8 km commute is plain old shitty when the temperature is -20C.)

So, I breathed deep, reached for my wallet, and bought new. An entry-level Gary Fisher hybrid -- low spec components, but should be reliable. (Best features, for the money: double-wall rims and a rigid fork, suspension being nothing but extra mass when the weather's cold.)

Funny thing: Rode it yesterday for the first time, and even with all the km I ride, I got a burn going in my quadriceps like I wouldn't get in 100 km of riding my road bike. This bike has platform pedals and a slightly different seat-to-pedals angle, and I guess that's all it takes to start working different muscles!
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  #191  
Old 05-19-2008, 03:58 AM
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Default Re: Cycling

Finally got the bike out of mothballs a couple weeks ago and went on a few long rides since then, including a 27 mile ride yesterday. :bike:
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  #192  
Old 05-19-2008, 06:19 AM
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Whoa! 27 miles! That's a heck of a start. Good on you vm.
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  #193  
Old 05-19-2008, 07:47 AM
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2.7 miles would be more to my liking.
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  #194  
Old 06-16-2008, 07:30 PM
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Had my biggest ever 2-day mileage total this weekend. I'd bought an ultralight 1-person tent last month and finally got a chance to cycle away and try it out for one night at one of the near(-ish) Great Lakes.

Tent worked great. Total distance, Saturday+Sunday, 275 km.

I felt surprisingly good getting on the bike this morning to come to work, too!
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  #195  
Old 06-17-2008, 01:05 AM
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Wow, according to Google that's like 170 miles! Good show.

I've been doing about 25 miles every weekend lately - sometimes in one day and other times across two. I could do more, but with 2 days a week at the trainer and 3 scheduled cardio days I don't feel obligated.

Hey, question. What's the best way to handle this scenario?

A sloping hill only long and steep enough to get up to about 25mph before it suddenly veers sharply upward, bringing you to a halt if you're not in the right gear and making your chain fall off if you try to change gears on the incline. I seem to get it wrong every time.

As an aside, I clocked 37.9mph on a steep hill the other day. Fun!
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  #196  
Old 06-17-2008, 01:31 AM
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Well, unless you're leaving the gear change really late -- so that you're almost unable to crank the pedals when you try to change -- your chain shouldn't be falling off, period. So that's probably the problem: too much tension and too little rotation on the chain while you're changing.

The only real solution is just to get in the habit of gearing down earlier. But you know that, so I'll shut up about it.

When you do get caught by surprise, try using up your remaining momentum in the following way: coast for a second and downshift, maybe two or three rear gears at once, or onto the smaller front ring, while pedaling more slowly -- i.e., trying not to tension the chain. You might have to stand up and hammer for a few strokes before trying to let off for a second, and you still won't be able to coast very far, but even one stroke without chain tension will produce a smoother change.

Sounds like you're still getting tons of exercise -- good for you! 25 miles in a weekend is a couple of nice rides, too. Mine are usually about that length.

Quote:
37.9mph
So boring in a car, so exhilarating on a bike, eh? The max speed indicator on my bike computer reads 67kph (from last year). I'm not even sure where it happened; wherever it was, I wasn't looking at the computer at the time!
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  #197  
Old 06-17-2008, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: Cycling

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The only real solution is just to get in the habit of gearing down earlier. But you know that, so I'll shut up about it.
The problem with this particular hill is that it's nearly V shaped - the whole shebang is very short and the change from downhill to uphill is so sudden and sharp that I'd basically have to downshift at the top, coast down and then only start pedaling on the incline. Hm, maybe I'll try that.

Quote:
Sounds like you're still getting tons of exercise -- good for you! 25 miles in a weekend is a couple of nice rides, too. Mine are usually about that length.
Cool, thanks!

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So boring in a car, so exhilarating on a bike, eh?
A bit terrifying, too.
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  #198  
Old 06-20-2008, 09:24 PM
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Default Re: Cycling

Better a saddle than a banana seat.
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  #199  
Old 06-20-2008, 09:41 PM
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As a teen I put many hundreds of miles on a bicycle with a banana seat, a Schwinn Stingray.
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:19 PM
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Me in my clown suit.
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