Monday, June 11, 2012

Downtube Folder Upgrade - DEPLOY!

OK, so a set of road bars hanging around beckon... a set of brifters and the SRAM X9 rear DR go up for sale fetching a decent amount to get new levers, etc... a rummage through the parts bin nets some tape and a stem... BOOOOM!

Upgradeitis - a bad disease to be sure for cyclists. This latest bout of upgrade fever netted a conversion to road bars for the Downtube 9FS, and it's pure awesome. With a single bar end for the rear shifting, indexes are crisp and silent friction mode is pure bliss. Multiple grip points are great over the flat bar that came off the bike.

To match with the bar ends a Shimano rear DR was in order, so on went an Alivo M430. Not a very pricey unit, but it does the job exactly as it is supposed to and is a nice build. Not sure there is a reason to go fancier in this department.

For stopping power and hoods for the 'ol hands a set of Tektro RL520's went on the front. These match up great with the Avid disc brakes and have awesome feel. For added stopping in the urban traffic a set of Tektro RL720 cross levers complete the package.

Pop in a Sprintech drop bar mirror - which is "OK" in my opinion but gets the job done relatively well, and the hands are very happy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bike To School? SUSPENDED!

Simply unbelievable. Seems that once again, just as you thought it was safe to ride a bike to school, stupid raises its ugly head again.

Students suspended for biking to school

In this day and age of childhood obesity - are places like this going to continue to be idiotic hypocrites?

Absolutely stunning to me.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Buttery Smooth

Last month I posted about drinking your hot AM coffee after you infuse it with unsalted grass fed butter. Well coming up on a month of doing this I am SOLD on this as a great means to fuel up in the AM and feel great all morning. I thought I would update with a new post just to emphasize how great I think this is.

First steps first - find yourself a local store that sells grass fed unsalted butter. New Seasons is one. If you cannot find grass fed butter at a decent store near you, then its time to relocate.

Once you have butter in hand (I suggest buying several packages as you will find yourself going through a lot of it) then dish up several healthy pats straight into your mug.

Play with the amount. I typically do 4-5 pats for a 10 ounce cup. Perfect. I can already hear some of you - "Ugh" - don't knock it till you try it!

Now, pour your good strong brew over the top and give it a minute to melt. Now it looks a bit odd here, so the next step is critical. If you do not have one of those small handheld latte/milk frothing tools make sure you pick one up in advance. It will be seeing a lot of use I suspect so get a good one.

Give the butter a hit with the frothing tool. Let it spin close to the top as well - to get a nice buttery smooth head going on. By about now the rich smell of this is going to hit you and you are close to what I have deemed coffee nirvana.

Drink up and prepare to feel full, fired up, and GREAT all morning!

As a cyclist and Cross Fitter, I have found this combination to be excellent for long before rides and workouts. The fat is a great burning fuel and once its gone, my body seeks to continue the fat burn, rather than hitting me with the "Hey, insert more carbs in mouth!" signal.

Give it a try!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Protect Your What What!

The good folks at Cruzbike have put together a great advertisement, not just for their own bikes, but for recumbents in general. Hits one of the "why do you ride that thing?" questions squarely on the head - comfort of the 'taint and not to mention - protection for your erection! (ha ha)

Having recently started riding the Downtube 9FS, for short distances, I can say that yes - the upright bike position is just simply NOT comfortable over the long haul. If it were, huge diaper-shorts would not be needed to go long miles.

Get a recumbent and protect your WHAT WHAT!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dreams Of Last September

The last few days it has finally really hit me - no Cycle Oregon this year for me. Sigh...

Sitting here thinking about this sad fact - I decided to relive a few of the old times - knowing that yes I will make it again in the future.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Again the Big Apples Win

Nothing like a nice HOT (70's) day in Portland to wheel out the cycle for several loop rides. Decided to take the Downtube out and give it a spin on identical loops containing sections of flats and some nice rolling hills, with a few steep grades but nothing really that requires me to git the largest or smallest cog. The first loop was performed with the Duranos and then again with the Big Apples.

Of course, first things first - my conclusion is that the bike just looks better with the Big Apples:

Ready to ROLL!

The results are pretty clear here. Loop number one returned an average speed of 15.4 MPH. After a swap to the Big Apples, the same routs returned an average speed of 15.7 MPH. Hmmm. And before you think about it - each time I set the computer after a careful roll out of the tires to account for the different widths.

Just like on my recumbents, it appears that hard and skinny tires are not necessarily faster than their wider counterparts. Not only that, but the comfort level on loop number 2 was improved significantly over the Duranos. In addition, cornering was smoother and the overall ride was just better. The Big Apples are just so buttery smooth the bike just seems to roll forever with less effort.

A final observation that follows from my recumbent experience with these wider tires relates to safety. Inevitably there is that one pothole you are going to hit. Most of us after all ride 99% of the time on the streets and not groomed tracks. On the Duranos I never quite felt completely at ease rolling into unknown territory. With the Big Apples obstacles are less a mental burden and hitting that pothole is not near as frightening of an experience.

Looks like again I will be sticking with the "wider is better" mantra even on two wheels.

So there you have it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chocolate Covered Bacon FTW!

We Paleo eaters seem to have a love of the bacon. Indeed, it is hard to ignore the allure of a plate of just cooked just-right-crisp-yet-chewy bacon.

How to improve upon this wonderful food?


After spending a long time wondering about this strange and oddly alluring combination, and reading online about its ultra-yum goodness, I decided to whip up a small batch of my own. Quick and easy baked up the bacon and melted a bit of semi-sweet chocolate to plop on top.

Sorry there are not very many pieces in the picture - a handful of the bacon slices never made it before the chocolate arrived - they were snatched by other family members and a few may have flew into my own mouth suddenly.

I got chocolate on my bacon... and bacon on my chocolate!

However, once the remaining pieces cooled - it was time for a taste test. Simply put: salty/sweet heaven here folks.

DO try!

Coffee... With Butter Please.

OK I decided I have to share this and spread the word. Want to feel incredible all morning like you have enough fuel to tackle anything? Add some BUTTER to your coffee. Yes you heard it. Simply this has been some of the best tasting coffee and as far as firing up my day - it WORKS.

At first mention the thought of mixing some unsalted butter with your morning Joe sounds a bit awful. That is until you give it a try - which I highly recommend you do. Get some grass fed unsalted butter, a small hand held blender, some strong black coffee and give it a go. I have to wonder how long it is until an enterprising coffee chain catches on to this.

Further details about this powerhouse drink can be found at the awesome BulletProof Executive site!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Folder in the House!

New steed deserves a new post. Particularly since this is not a recumbent. I have gone to the dark old upright side for this ride - something I would not have believed I would do a handful of years ago.

Less than $150 (good old Craigslist) netted me a used Downtube 9FS. After adding a few upgrades and swapping out a few parts from the 'ol bin, this is one sweet upright ride. And as a bonus it folds down to something I can toss in the back of a small trunk.

So far so good - getting used to riding a small wedgie seat has taken a while, and there is no way this ride will be replacing the comfort of a recumbent for any type of distance ride. But this is a nice bike to pop in and out of town, weave around the 'hood, and... well for the price it is hard to resist.

Front and rear suspension = smooth ride (for an upright folder) and disc brakes = STOP NOW!
The drivetrain of this bike needed a full upgrade - and luckily the parts bin had enough stuff in it to make (nearly) the entire swap - SRAM X9 read DR, X9 trigger shifter, BB7 disc brakes, and a new bar/tape, etc. Upped the chainring to an FSA 50T with a Driveline chain bashguard (bling!) and this baby pedals smooth.

Nothing beats some chainring and pedal bling. When they make the ride smoother thats a bonus! :)
One change that I found necessary was removing the flimsy folding pedals. They were just too slippery. I thought of adding some good old eggbeaters, but decided on nice sticky platforms to retain the "hop on and GO" utility. The package is still compact enough when folded even with these pedals so all is good.

SRAM X9 is crisp and Duranos keep the rubber side down.
Going with Duranos was also an out of character choice here, as I really prefer the cush of wider tires like Big Apples. Short time will tell if the Duranos work, and I plan on a handful of same-route rides with these and then with a swap to Big Apples. Given it has the front and rear suspension, maybe that will be enough.

Origin 8 Pro Uno saddle looks cool and rides nice.
Now, being a recumbent rider I am the last person who should be commenting on the ride qualities of an upright bike, but this thing if pretty comfortable for short to medium distances. I am not quite used to the wedgie seat but the Origin 8 I slapped on seems to do the trick while looking pretty cool.

All folded and ready to go!
So my first foray back into an upright goes well so far. Not as svelte and teeny as a folding Brompton, but for the price of something like that I could have had 7 of these bikes. Not bad at all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fat, Fat, Fat!!!!!!

No... that is not what I have become since January when I last posted. Rather, it has been a main part of my diet and I have emerged now in the spring - stronger than ever both on the bike and off and feeling better than ever!

This is it folks - the results, as anecdotal as they are in my case, can not be refuted. For months now I have been getting just about half of my daily calories from fat. All metrics are improved: CrossFit performance UP, cycling performance UP, libido UP, sleep BETTER, metal acuity UP, weight DOWN.

Heck, even my last DENTAL cleaning appointment was the best and shortest I have ever had. The dentist commented "You must really have upped your brushing!" Negative. I have not changed my brush/floss habits. I have only changed my type of caloric intake - going Paleo nearly 85%-90% of the time and otherwise avoiding refined sugars, breads, "heathy whole grains" of any sorts and partaking in the fats, nuts, seeds, and veggies. Bam.

I have to offer up a real kudos to Tom Naughton over at FatHead for the real inspiration, as well as a bunch of books shedding the light on the USDA/ConAgra/FDA/Government/HeartHealthy baloney out there.

Before you tune out completely on this "Eat Fat" thing my last measure tells the real tale - Blood-work. Best I have ever had. Cholesterol RATIO (the important part) is the best I have ever had. Triglycerides (the real enemy) are my lowest EVER.

So, the mantra is indeed true - eat fat, get fit!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Diet and The Ride

Here is a two word sentence/saying that as a cyclist I never want to hear again: Carb Loading. As in, "hey with that big ride coming up you should be carb loading." Nor do I want to hear its similarly used, "make sure you load up on carbs before that ride." Ugh.

After my personal experiment on the 2011 Cycle Oregon and nearly six months I can and will say it: carbs (especially loading on them) is a joke and having gone (mostly) paleo, I feel better than ever, weigh less than ever, am stronger than ever, and just do not drink the "whole grains are good" kool aid any longer.

In fact, my last major episode of "carb loading" (in helping with a science experiment) made me feel so shitty the next day it was absolutely telling: Is THAT how I want to feel? NO!

If you need the proof, do it for a month or two, watch the documentary Fat Head, read the book Wheat Belly, and get informed. Pretty amazing stuff out there to be learned that will likely have the folks at CONagra crapping their grain-y pants.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

30 days remain...

Sigh... why oh why does the time need to go by SO rapidly?? Maybe it is an aging thing, but whatever it is I don't like it. Either way, we are again just over 30 days away from the Cycle Oregon 2012 route announcement party. I am still trying to determine if I will be eligible to go - there may be... complications for me to pull it off this year schedule wise. I guess the announcement will be the real thing to determine how hard I push for it. I am hopeful...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Time to dust it off...

Well, after a long break of holiday madness, it is time for a new year. New resolutions. New goals. Time to dust off the rides and start getting ready to hit the road again...

Given that two months have passed since I last sat on a bike of any kind, I am feeling a bit out of touch. Through CrossFit though, my fitness has remained higher than ever so I do not fear to sit in the recumbent pilot seat... its just the same old "I need to find the time" excuse. Over the next few weeks I have some work to do on the rides, a the last season and epic Cycle Oregon week ride were not too kind to the trike. Loose spokes abound, chain just about at the wear limit, seat pad worn badly... the rehab for the trike itself needs to be done.

Is this a year to sell off the QNT and try for a new upgraded trike? Perhaps. Parting would be hard but there are some enticing trikes out there now for 2012. Sigh... we will have to see how that pans out. I know that I dare not test ride a new trike and risk getting bitten by "the bug" of the new.

For 2012 though some goals needed to be set. I decided to sit down and outline a simple riding goal that will keep me on the road more consistently.

1. At least one decent ride per week. This does not have to be century status or a specific mileage. Just get out and RIDE.

... and...

Well thats it, for now. K.I.S.S. is my thinking on this. Riding should be fun, just more consistent. Since I am not training for anything specific (other than to have fun more) then this should do it!

Ride on!