Lessons learned from a habitual outdoor runner

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The Country Roads to home

Yesterday I came across the familiar John Denver tune “Take Me Home, Country Roads” performed by a young family group called The Petersens. As I was enjoying the scenery on a long ride this morning, I realized I hadn’t shared any photos recently, so I stopped and snapped a few. Here is one.

Looking Southwest

In the photo, the moon is still visible and the corn in this particular spot has to be over 5-feet tall. I will try to capture more photos to share going forward. Have a great day and I hope your roads take you where you want to go today.

Tuesday morning ride

Overall it was a good ride this morning, while the humidity was up, the temperature was comfortable in the low 70’s. The only low point to the ride today was being chased by a dog. I hate it when I have to deal with animals that aggressively threaten people on public roads, also the frustration with pet owners that allow it.

A beautiful Sunday morning ride

Have you seen the early morning sky the last few days? The moon has been awesome to see on these clear mornings, plus there are some other bright objects (like Venus) still in view before the sun breaks the horizon.

This past Sunday (7/5), was one of those nice mornings where traffic was light and the weather was very reasonable. Under these conditions I was able to travel on a few roads I normally wouldn’t in fear of being a traffic casualty. I found myself pedaling to the next town over, then riding the country roads home as the sun was rising in my face.

Many people dislike the flat-land Midwest, however, I have grown to appreciate it, even more since I began my outdoor exercise journey more than eight years ago.

The new helmet with the built-in visor/goggles proved to be of value on a longer ride as well, as it is nice not having to struggle with sunglasses. So many things to be grateful for. Ride on!

Bottom Bracket Education

I like to learn new things all the time and this bicycle bottom bracket issue has more to it than one may expect. I ride cheap bikes for exercise in contrast to the higher-end road and racing competitive bikes. There are many arguments to be found online on this topic, so I just do what works for me. I also like to tinker with things (electrical, technological, programmatic, and mechanical).

I have to say that I’ve put 10x more miles on my pedal-bikes than I put on my motorcycle each year (sort of sad for the motorcycle). If you don’t mind buying some tools and getting your hands dirty, working on these cheaper bikes isn’t too bad and not that expensive.

When I pulled the bottom bracket apart today I was greeted with several little pieces of metal falling out. Below you can see what kind of shape the drive-side bearing was in compared to how it looked when new. It was a mess. Of course, the axle is a little rough now as well, so I’ve placed an order for one of those ($9-12 depending on shipping).

New versus old bearing sets

To add to the complexity statement earlier, there are many variations of bottom brackets out there, and after some research I was able to identify my particular axle (3N). This Sheldon Brown site was super helpful.

Searching Amazon returns more than 20k results for “bottom bracket”, so having some understanding of what you need helps to narrow the results. I learned I have a 68mm shell (British standard), which also means the drive-side is left-hand threaded, and my axle is a Size: 3N, 32.0 x 52 x 36.0 x 120mm. Apparently, getting this too far off can mess with your chain alignment, which makes sense, so if you make alterations on the front, be prepared to adjust other places as well.

Anyway, it was a good day to learn and I’m just waiting on parts now. Reassembly should be fairly easy.

June 2020 review

Overall, June was a pretty nice month weather-wise. There were some cool days and then the warmer/muggier days increased.

While I still cannot run as much as I would like, I continue to work on it and get a run in 3-4 days per week. As a bike update, all the parts and tools came in to fix the broken spoke on Goose. Now that the spoke is fixed and the rear wheel no longer wobbles, it is clear the bottom-bracket bearings are on their way out as there is a lot of crunchy sounds and vibrations originating between the pedals. I do have a new set of bearings on hand so I need to make the time to get them installed. Meanwhile, Kermit is doing well for my bike rides.

Below is the snapshot of stats for June.

June 2020

The new helmet has arrived!

My Bell helmet isn’t bad, however, as much as I wear a helmet, a few extra features are appreciated.

There are many times where some eye protection would be awesome and wearing sunglasses on the bike requires the regular pushing-up of the glasses as they slide down my nose. I finally took the plunge into an option with a magnetic snap-on shield/goggle. The Victgoal was well-reviewed and within a reasonable price range. Here it is:

GOGGLES BIKE HELMET W/ LED LAMP & VISOR

I’m excited to see how it works on a multi-mile trek under different lighting conditions. I did purchase an extra clear shield/goggle for those darker times of the year.

There are two other features that I appreciate with the Victgoal and those are the LED rear light (very bright) with an extra battery included, and the interior mesh netting over the front air passages. I can’t tell you the number of times I had bugs or small rocks land in those holes. This mesh will prevent yet another stop along the route to clear whatever is irritating my head. I suppose a third feature is the nice storage bag included, although I wear it almost year-round so it may not be in the bag often.

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