Lessons learned from a habitual outdoor runner

Tag: cycling Page 1 of 3

Jan-Feb 2021

It’s been low miles on the bike with continued improvements on the running.

Goose has over 4600 miles on it now. I’m still amazed at how well this “cheap” “department store” bike has served my purposes. We (Goose and I) had one wipe-out this winter when we hit a spot of black ice on a turn. The bike fared well but the body suffered a few setbacks with some bruising on the legs, hip, shoulder, and arm. The longest repair was the ankle. Even though I was wearing above the ankle leather boots, the foot must have twisted or extended enough to do some damage. It was at least 4 weeks or slow going on that ankle. This was complicated further by the fact I couldn’t ride due to the slippery conditions, so I went into the slow-jog mode. I didn’t care about time, I just wanted to move!

I consider myself very blessed to be able to run again. I’m still slow and averaging a 9:45 mile. While I was recovering the ankle and there was snow and ice on the roads, I was averaging 11:00/mile. In spite of all that, I have ran over 9 miles two or three times now. I’m pumped about that!

Jan-Feb 2021 Stats

I took the plunge and purchased a multi-sport watch at the end of January. It arrived in early February. I went with the Garmin Venu SQ.

I like it! Previously, I was using three devices to track my activities. I had the Garmin Vivofit 1 for walking/steps, the Garmin Forerunner 10 for running, and the Garmin Forerunner 25 for cycling. Technically, the Forerunners are for “running” so I had to convert the activity manually from running to cycling. Not ideal, but workable. Now I simply select my activity when I start and it records properly all by itself, plus I only have to work with one device for charging, syncing, care, etc.

I have been able to charge the Venu SQ once a week with the settings I’ve enabled. There are many options (very many) that can affect performance and battery life. I like where things are as the Venu SQ is able to find the satellites quickly and has recorded activities without error.

There are many customization features on the Venu SQ as well, I was able to create my own custom watch face and select which elements I wanted to be on my at-a-glance display. Nice! The image below is just a few of what others have created. I’ve gone old-school crossover with an analog timepiece (yes, hands) and data fields of battery, date, temp, and heartrate.

Sample Venu watch face options

There are many more features with Apps and Widgets that I haven’t even explored.

It’s early March as I write this and the morning temperature has been closer to 40 F which allows me to expand back out into the country without fearing freezing to death in the event of an injury or equipment failure.

This morning’s bike route wasn’t anything extreme but nice to get out of town. I was fortunate to run into one of the other outdoor runners on his route and finally slowed down to chat a few seconds. I’m always encouraged when I come across others working on their health regimen.

Until next time, I hope you keep working on you.

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.

Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén