Lessons learned from a habitual outdoor runner

Tag: cycling Page 1 of 2

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.

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.

Goose has a cavity

My faithful bike Goose has a broken spoke.

Around the 3,000 mile point, I noticed the rear wheel getting a bit of a wobble which eventually began wearing on the brake and rim.

When I finally took the time to investigate and repair it, I discovered a spoke was broken at the hub.

So a new adventure begins… where do you find spokes and how do you replace one. For the spokes, Amazon of course. But even that was work because you have to know several things like the gauge of your spokes and the length in millimeters. Once you have that best guess, you need to find a supplier and like many things today, there are very few in this country.

After I place the order and watch some how-to videos, I go into disassembly mode, only to discover I need another special tool to take the rear wheel sprocket assembly apart. Fortunately, a company named Park Tool has some great videos and of course, had the tool I needed (and in the USA).

The tool is on order, the spokes arrived, now let’s hope I can get it all to work when I get to work on it again.

In the meantime, my backup bike, Kermit is back on the road and doing well.

1st below freezing ride of 2019

It was great to go for a bike ride after several days of rainy and blustery conditions. Walking is alright, but you really can’t get an aerobic workout very easily. Obviously, there are obstacles and challenges to deal with riding a bike in cold weather. Clothing seems to take the longest to get right.

I opted to layer cotton and polyester with one layer being a thicker thermal shirt, then the outer shell being my Work-n-Sport coat then finally my reflective shirt. With a scarf around my neck and a thin hat under the helmet, it actually worked pretty well. I was cold at first, but within a mile or so I had generated enough heat around the torso to expand the ride outside of town and into the fields a few miles.

With two pair of socks on in my leather boots and wind pants, the lower body remained reasonably comfortable. The toes did a little complaining after about 10 miles, but weren’t brutally cold. I’m not exactly a fitness magazine model, but I’m able to keep riding a bit longer outside, for which I am grateful!

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