Thursday, October 28, 2010

Off the Bike

After the last club ride (you remember, the one where I couldn't keep up and was left with 25 miles to ride on my own with sore legs and a headwind?) I got to thinking about what I needed to do to be able to ride faster. Or at least less slow.

Maybe a new, lighter bike? New tires? More speed work? These dang shorts are sure uncomfortable. And this jersey is too tight. Why did I buy biking clothes that are too small?

So, for the past two weeks, I've been dieting, using the Spark People diet and fitness plan. Mainly because it was cheap (free, actually). But it seems to be working. I've lost 9 lbs without trying too hard. But I have been exercising at least 5 times a week, mostly walking, weights, and elliptical trainer at the gym. But not too much biking.

I plan to do more biking, but plan to limit my biking to no more than 50 - 75 miles per week until I lose another 30 lbs, which should be sometime in January. Then I plan to do as much outside riding as weather will permit, and ride the trainer a few times a week inside.

I'll post periodic updates. Wish me luck!

Happy riding!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Colors, Smackdown, and Looks Like I Picked a Bad Week

You'd think that having been a forester for 26 years would make me a shoe-in for RANTWICK's Autumn Tree Smackdown. I haven't been able to find any Smackdown-worthy trees since the contest began. I decided today I'd better get out and try to find some colorful trees before the leaves are all gone.

These trees aren't too bad, but look at the big tree to the left. We're losing our leaves, man, and they're going fast.

A green tree and one with color. We've had many frosts, but only one mild freeze so far. Most of the trees with green leaves (mainly oaks) are turning brown. In some years oaks can show beautiful color, particularly white oak, which can turn a magnificent deep purple color. Not this year.

A very nice sugar maple, but not much red.

Here are our sugar maples. Not too much color this year. The tree closest to the road usually turns yellow, whereas the big maple to the left turns a beautiful reddish orange, but apparently not this year.

Me and the tricross. It is a beautiful day today. I should have taken a photo of myself yesterday - I was a lovely red color.

Yesterday's club ride was a blazing fast 50 miler, but I rode 5 miles to the start, and 5 miles home, so my ride was 60. After riding 35 miles in the pack, I couldn't keep up anymore with the group. As we headed southwest and directly into the wind, I was looking at the prospect of 2 hours of misery. As I plodded along, I pondered the reason for my lack of energy. This past week, I decided to:

- limit myself to no more than 3 cups of coffee per day

- started working out at the gym again (my eye lids are the only body parts that aren't sore right now)

- started a new diet plan at SparkPeople

Looks like I picked a bad week to do all of these things, and then go balls-out for 60 miles.

Seems like I've heard that somewhere before...

Well, I hope you have lactic acid-free rides!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Trip to Bike Heaven

The forecast for a cold, rainy day made up my mind - I didn't do the club ride this morning. Instead, I headed down toward New Bremen and my new discovery, the Bicycle Museum of America.

On the way to New Bremen, I stopped by nearby St. Marys, Ohio, to look at remnants of the Miami & Erie Canal. Side note - there is no apostrophe in St. Marys, but I can't tell you why that is. St. Marys is a small town on the edge of Grand Lake St. Marys, a reservoir created in the early 1800's to supply water for the canal. Present-day downtown St. Marys is a quaint place.

The City of St. Marys has restored a portion of the canal, and has built a two-block stretch of brick-paved trail along side it. Here's a replica canal packet, a boat specially designed for canal travel, hauling people, livestock, grain, and other supplies north and south (and a little bit farther north, both east and west).

An interesting side note is Grand Lake was built by damming the St. Marys River, which flows northwest into Fort Wayne, emptying into the Maumee River and heading to Lake Erie at Toledo. On the very edge of the sub-continental divide, water from the lake flows by gravity into the canal, then heads both north to Lake Erie, and south to the Ohio River (then down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico). This lock allows canal packets to be raised or lowered, depending on the direction of travel.

The canal system in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana allowed the fledgling United States transport people west across the Appalachian Mountains, and to transport grain and other commodities from the west to the east. George Washington was convinced that without opening up a travel corridor from east to west, the new territories west of the mountains would become separate countries.

Of dubious distinction, thousands of native Americans were relocated from the Indiana Territory, traveling through this very lock on their way from their home in Indiana south to the Ohio River, west to St. Louis, then on wagons and on foot west to Oklahoma. While some of the Miami people stayed in Indiana, only those who left Indiana and survived the journey to Oklahoma (and their descendants) were granted tribal status by the US Government. Those descendants in Indiana today still do not have federal tribal recognition.

The next town south on the canal is New Bremen. Home to the Bicycle Museum of America. The museum was created to house the vast bike collection of Jim Dicke, owner of the Crown Equipment Corporation.

According to museum staff, Mr. Dicke purchased a sizable collection of Schwinn bikes from the Schwinn Corporation in Chicago. Much of this room is dedicated to Schwinn bikes.

This bike caught my eye immediately. It's one of 70 Schwinn bikes made by Waterford Precision Cycles for Schwinn's 70th anniversary. Oh, those are Campy Record components. Nice bike. Chromed lugs. How do they do that?

A perfect place to be on a rainy day!

Check out the crank on this bike! Alfred Letourner set the speed record on this bike in 1941 - 108.92 mph! He drafted behind a modified race car. Still, quite a feat. For every 1 revolution of the crank, the wheel revolves 9.5 times.

The second floor was a deluge of bikes. Many notable bike styles from the 1940's to the present are up here.

Another view upstairs. One small side room caught my eye, and I apologize for not getting a photo there. In the small room were a couple touring bikes with stories attached of their rider's journeys across the US. All local people.

After spending several hours looking at all of the bikes, I said goodbye to two of the curators standing near the front door. They asked if I had seen the basement yet. "Basement? Why no. You have a basement?" said I.

One of the fellows led me to the basement where he explained about the collection. The bikes in the basement are there because there is not enough room upstairs to display them.

This Raleigh Twenty is a fairly new acquisition and is being carefully cleaned. I got a kick out of the license stickers.

This cool bike was made by the Commercial Bicycle Company.

Several of these old bikes have the same model Brooks saddle I received for Christmas last year. While my Brooks is new, it is made exactly like these saddles 70 to 80 years ago.

So many bikes.

There are many older bikes in this room that are city bikes before there were city bikes. Made in England, France, and Germany, the city bikes are really well-built. With a quick clean up, most of these bikes are ready to ride. I tried to take a couple photos, but the bikes are so closely packed together I couldn't get any good closeup shots that were easy to see what I was trying to photograph. There were a lot of American bikes down here also, a few brought back some memories from when I was younger.

I will definitely return. This place is cool.

Today there was to be a high wheeler demonstration, but the rider was no where to be found. It was a crummy day.

Hope all of you are able to get out and ride.

Happy riding!

Friday, October 1, 2010

You Never Know What's in Your Back Yard...

I had no idea this place was practically in my own back yard. The Bicycle Museum of America is about 100 miles away, and I happened to find it completely by accident.

Being interested in canals, I was looking at google maps today trying to follow the route of the Miami & Erie canal, which traveled between Toledo and Cincinnati. In tiny New Bremen, Ohio, I happened to see "Bicycle Museum of America" on the map. No, that can't be right, can it? A few clicks later and I found the web page I've linked above. How cool is that?

View Larger Map

I can't figure out how to get the map to show you "Bicycle Museum of America" on the map as I saw it, but the location is there, right next to Lock One Park.

Not only is there a bike museum, but there is an intact lock on the canal right next to the museum. But that is just the beginning, my friends. There is a hiking trail that travels for 40 miles along the towpath. Some of it is paved with crushed lime, and in other places it looks like the path is just grass. So I'll have to plan a trip over there. I assume I can ride my bike on it.

Yes, there is more. I know you can't wait.

There is a bike shop in nearby Celina, called the Country Bike Shop. They specialize in selling Rivendell bikes and other stuff associated with riding bikes on all sorts of roads. I found the link to that bike shop at the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association's website.

Gotta stop by that shop on my trip over to the canal and bike museum. Man, life is good!

Happy riding!