Hard to believe that this month is coming to a close. With the holidays behind us, now the year is about to move on to the next. This has been a great way to round out the year of 2011, hopefully I can continue this momentum into the new year. I really wonder however, how much I would have ridden this month if we would have had a more “typical” Ohio winter? Would I have ridden as much as I did? Not 100% sure on that one, but this has been a great month for cycling. For tomorrow, it will be a quick morning ride before work.
Spent the afternoon riding into and around Indian Hill. As you can see from the picture above, I was dodging rain with every corner. Today, the planet bike fenders earned their keep on the T500, without them I would have been completely soaked from the wet roadways. It is nice to stay dry while riding the bike. A couple quick downpours during the route, but nothing that my Mountain Hardwear jacket couldn’t handle. In the unseasonably warm temperatures, the rain was a little pleasant. I am starting to like riding in the rain, which makes me look forward to this spring. Maybe I will do another month of biking then?
Finally, after days of trying, I was out the door in the morning for a bike ride. I have, at least for today, defeated my warm bed. It is nice to get out before the sun, and home just after the sun rises. Unfortunately due to the overcast sky, it was not a pretty sunrise, but still nice to be out and about. Almost 20 miles for the day, which is a great way to start the morning.
Quick ride this morning for the month of biking. Nice, clear, cold morning with an easy pace to wake up the mind. Zero traffic for the day after Christmas, which made the ride that more enjoyable. Today, I rode around some of the streets here in Milford that I have not been on before. Nice ride, not too much more than that. Another morning ride up for tomorrow morning…
Forgot to mention, I did not skip a bike ride for Christmas day, another morning ride before work, enter the map:
Quick, evening ride today. Basic ride along the Little Miami scenic path. This has been one of the more mellow Decembers that I can remember, weather wise. This evening stayed around the mid to high 30s. At one point in my life I would have thought that this would be too cold to ride, primarily when I lived in Southern California. But for riding in Ohio, I will take the mid 30s any day. The best riding here in Ohio though, is when the temperature is below freezing, and you hit the trails. Riding over frozen ground has the sound of Velcro, and I am really excited for this winter, if it ever comes.
Finally started working on this Gary Fisher Sugar 1. Rode it around the block tonight before I started the cleaning process. I will admit, the frame looks beat. But this bike rides nice. I will be posting this in the “Bicycle for Sale” section here within the week, so keep an eye out for a pretty sweet deal.
Morning ride for Day 22. The official first day of Winter, seems more like the first day of Spring. Thankfully the days are going to slowly but surely start getting longer. I cannot wait for the warmer days of the summer, but I am in no way wishing away time though. It will come soon enough.
Not much for today, cannot believe though that Christmas is only 3 days away. Where did this year go?
Nice, relaxing ride in the rain this evening, which was much needed after a rough day at work. Today I had planned to ride in the morning, but my bed was warm and toasty, and 4:30am came way too quickly for my liking. So, enter the night ride. Tonight’s ride was a cleansing of sorts. A mental cleansing if you will.
This was also my first ride in my new cycling pants from Rivendell, their MUSA knickers. I am not sure if I like the word, but it is definitely better than man capris, which is essentially what they are. But, being a bit skeptical at first, they are amazing! Lightweight, reflective stripes on the legs, built in belt, Velcro on the legs, and also made here in the USA. Pretty awesome. A quality product from a great company. Now if only I could get one of their bikes…
Picture from Rivendell’s site.
After this mental cleanse, it was time for a beer. Tonight’s flavor was North Coast Brewing’s 2011 Old Stock Ale. So far, one of my favorite beers that I have tasted, review coming soon.
While riding with my friend Eric one day, we started talking the concepts of Eastern religions. I cannot remember where this quote came from, but I found it profound, which I will probably butcher in my horrible paraphrasing: The past is not important, the future is irrelevant, the most important moment is right now. Nothing will be better than this moment. Makes complete sense.
So in that light, go do something…
Morning ride for Day 16. Due to the recent temperatures around 60 degrees, I had forgotten what colder temperatures were like. This morning brought brisk mid-thirties to wake me up. Not as cold as it has been this month, but a welcome shock to the system after these past couple days. Great way to start the day, and a few other people were out and about on my route this morning, which I rarely see anyone on the morning rides. That was a welcome sight.
Like one of my last few rides, I had a song stuck in my head that would not go away. I say that like I didn’t like it, but sometimes you want the next song to pop into your mind. That did not happen for me today, as this was the song that stuck with me:
Not sure why this was in my head, but such a great song. Thankfully I have not had a bad song stuck in my head on these rides. That mixed with colder temperatures would be almost unbearable. I am sure that the colder temps will be on their way soon enough…
Along the Little Miami scenic path.
Perfect weather today in SW Ohio, very unusual for this time of year. Normally, this would be the start of clearing away snow from the sidewalks, but today was around 60 degrees. Perfect day for a bike ride.
This afternoon, I started out on the T500 to get in a good ride through nearby Indian Hill to tackle some hills. After about 3 miles, I realized that I had a flat rear tire, and no spare tube, tools or pump. Luckily, I had briefly chatted with a friend at the trailhead parking lot, who graciously picked me up to spare me the torture of walking back to the house. Moral of the story: Be prepared.
After being dropped off at home, I switched out my Magicshine from the T500 to the HaroX and took off once again. Determined to take advantage of this great weather, I once again started off into Indian Hill. Not a long ride by any means, but still a bit of climbing, and one long descent which really makes the ride. After the long cruise out of Indian Hill, it was home for dinner.
Racing the sunset in Indian Hill.
After dinner, I received a call from my brother-in-law who had the urge to test out his new Cannondale for the first time, and asked if I felt like a night ride. For sure. So, once again, on the bike path for another round, this time again on the HaroX. Unfortunately, something was amiss in the rear wheel, which ended up being another flat tire. Luckily, this time, I had a spare, and the proper tools to fix the problem, and ride home without issue. Seriously, two flats in the same day? That has not happened in a while, and I cannot remember the last time that I had a flat. But at least I was prepared.
Almost the half way point for the month, here are the maps of today’s rides, minus the 1st ride:
All in all, such a great time today on the bike. Even thought there were a couple flat tires, I was still out enjoying the weather, and enjoying the spin. That is what it is all about, and now this is starting to become a habit. I am cool with that. Hope you got out and enjoyed this great weather!
Yesterday’s installment of the month of biking brought out some friends for a night ride. Unseasonal warm temperatures made the evening bearable, so lots of miles were thrown down. Lots of time on the Little Miami:
Once off of the trail, we did some beer sampling with some of this season’s staples, 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat, and Moerlein’s Christkindl. Great way to end the evening, beer and stories in the garage.
Today’s installment, riding with the moon again. Clear calm night in SW Ohio once again, perfect weather for riding. Short ride, but still a ride, almost to the halfway point for the month. Enter the map:
I really like the app for Map My Ride. Very handy, and free. Not just for cycling, but for other outdoor pursuits as well. Check it out if you have not already.
I normally do not ride with my iPod, and tonight I did not have it as well. Every now and again I will wear it, but I usually like to hear the random sounds that are going on around me. Tonight however, I had a soundtrack in my head, a song that I could not shake. It flowed with my pace perfectly, and I enjoyed going over and over this song in my mind while riding with the moon. Amazing. The band is Fleet Foxes, and this is the song:
Switching gears for today’s ride, started off this afternoon. Temperature in the mid to high 30s, with a slight drizzle. Not enough to dampen the spirit though, just enough to freshen up the face while riding. I am really starting to enjoy riding in the rain, I cannot wait until this spring/summer to really ride in the wet weather and not be so bundled up. Cycling washes away most of your bad thoughts, and the rain adds another element of the cleansing. Enough of that hippie talk, here is the map:
Nice little ride today through the nearby neighborhood of Indian Hill. This is one of my favorite areas to ride, mostly due to the rural setting of the area. It is one of the most expensive areas in the greater Cincinnati region, so the houses are spaced far apart, giving it a country like quality. A few of the main roads are heavily traveled, but off of those major routes are the quiet country roads that everyone on a bicycle seeks out for their personal enjoyment. Add nice climbing to the gorgeous scenery and you have a great bicycle ride.
This ride brought one of my favorite hills, Kugler Mill, and even a little bit of snow. It was nice to see some snow on the ride, hopefully it will continue on through the night and surprise me tomorrow morning. Can’t wait…
Another day down, and many more to go. This morning’s segment was especially tough due to having to work today. Normally I am up around 5:15am on work days, but today I awoke at 4:50am to get a decent ride in. Not as long of a ride today, but a ride nonetheless. Any time on the bike is what counts here!
One of the many great benefits of this self imposed challenge is that I am slowly figuring out my cold weather clothing situation. Today, with the temperature in the thirties again, I was overdressed, and even sweating on my short four mile ride. Today’s setup:
For my upper body, I started with an older polypropylene base, followed by my old faithful military wool sweater. Over those was a Polartec fleece vest, and topped off with my Mountain Hardwear soft shell jacket. Down below I started with a pair of Lycra riding shorts, followed by Under Armour tights, track pants, and lastly a pair of Columbia snowboarding pants. This arrangement was way too warm! I feel that this setup will work wonders in the colder months ahead, but for the thirty degree mark it is just too much.
Tomorrow I will experiment further, and hopefully I will have my layering system figured out by the end of this month.
Stay warm out there!
Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over, it’s time to get back into a cycling routine. November was an off month for me exercise wise. Which who really stays in a routine during the holidays? I sure didn’t.
Time to get back into a regular cycling routine though. I am not the most motivated person out there, so I need to set a goal, and make it public. That keeps me honest, and opens myself up to ridicule if I fail. That’s a great motivating factor. Anyway, here is the plan:
My plan for the month of December is to bike or run every single day.
Yeah, I said it, every day. This will be tough, with the colder temperatures, less sunlight, and more holiday time coming up, but I think it is doable. Scratch that, it is doable. No thinking about it, just do it. (Enter cheesy Nike commercial)
So to start it off, this morning I was out before the sun on the HaroX. Air temperature was in the mid 20s, and lots of fog out. Just a quick ride to warm up the lungs. I have to say, it was a great way to start my morning. I am looking forward to this.
Keep checking back to see some progress, or check on Twitter @codsow. I will be tagging the posts with #monthofbiking, and posting up the Map My Ride ride/run reports daily.
Only 30 more days to go…
On Wednesday, I set out on my first bike camping trip. My plan was to ride from here in the Milf, up to John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs along the Little Miami bike path. Just a basic bike path overnighter. I finally today mapped it out on the website Map My Ride, Click to see the route. Overall it was a great experience. Lots of miles, thunderstorms, friendly people, beautiful surroundings, etc. Such a great learning experience. Hopefully this is the first of many. Here are a few pictures from the trip, I didn’t take too many, forgot that I had the new camera with me…
So what did I learn from the trip?
1. Putting in this many miles for me was very humbling. My knees are a little tender as I write this.
2. Always practice setting up your gear at home before you leave, that makes setting up camp in a thunderstorm a little easier.
3. Recumbent bicycles are everywhere, and they are a little creepy.
4. People love the Xtracycle. Even if they do not understand what it is. I should get paid for how much talking about my HaroX that I did. Lots of people wanted to stop and chat to try to understand just exactly what was going on with my bike.
Cant wait to head out on trip number 2!