Things I have learned …

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I started this blog for two reasons.

First, I enjoy writing.  I like the process.  The agony finding the right word.  Crafting the most effective way to express a thought.  It can be frustrating but it can also be very rewarding.  I wanted to write regularly to find a voice and develop my thoughts.

Second,  I am a cycling aficionado.  For 40 years, I have commuted, trained and toured in one form or another.  I wanted to meet other cyclists and learn from them.  In particular, I wanted to connect with people that are pushing the limits in some fashion.

Here are few things I have learned from PedalWORKS.

  1. There is no need to use the lock nut and cap on a Presta valve.  I always did.  They came with the tube.  Why not?  What I didn’t realize is that the cap is used to protect the value during shipment and the lock nuts can scratch rims.  Newbies use them.  FitRecovery taught me that.
  2. You need 3 bikes.  I ride 3 bikes regularly.  This saves on wear and tear, encourages riding in all weather conditions and provides variety.  I save my carbon bike for dry days, group rides and long climbs.  I ride the steel frame Roberts on century and training rides.  And, I use the Kuwahara for commuting and errands.
  3. Kool-Stop brake pads are positive, smooth and quiet.  They have been recommended to me for some time.  I finally broke down and bought some when I got a new wheel set.  They are made in Oregon and expensive.  But they have been a pleasant surprise, better than the Shimano pads I have been using for years.
  4. Hills and wind strengthen the heart, legs and resolve.  You need progressive resistance to get stronger.  Longer rides.  Faster rides.  More climbs.  And, the gym.  I live atop a mountain, a big hill really, and get a lot of practice climbing.  It has made me a better cyclist.
  5. Steel frames are more comfortable than carbon.  There is a noticeable difference.  Steel is forgiving and, the longer wheel base on the Roberts smoothes out the ride.  I may be slower on the bike (but only marginally) but I am considerably more comfortable on long rides.
  6. The 15% drop tire pressure method works best.  This method takes into account the weight of the bike + rider and, the distribution of the rider’s weight on the bike.  A 15% drop is optimal for comfort and control.
  7. People ride incredibly long distances on a bike.  I am fascinated by people that tour long distances by bike.  It is the best way to travel.  No question.  I hope to do more.  Inner Workings of My Mind and 2lovecycling and Serendipities of Life have shown me how.
  8. Speed is relative.  I am a better cyclist than I was 30 years ago.  I am faster, fitter and better equipped.  I am faster than most my age.  I am not the last one to summit a long climb.  But there is always someone faster.  And, they are not necessarily younger.  I focus on improving, not getting faster.
  9. Riding on the drops is the most athletic and aerodynamic position.  I have always known this but get lazy sometimes.  Riding in the wind for a month in Bolsover taught me to get down and stay down the entire ride.  I returned stronger and faster.
  10. A well equipped bike workshop makes minor repairs and adjustments a pleasure.  I like to keep my bikes in good working order.  It is good for them and makes the rides more enjoyable.  A small, well organized workshop makes it convenient to keep the bikes tuned.
  11. Commuting is fun, inexpensive and healthy.  I don’t know why more people don’t cycle to work at least in the good weather.  There are a lot of excuses for not cycling but that is all they are.  Excuses.
  12. Travelling with a bike is worth the effort and expense.  It is the best way to explore new locales and meet new people.
  13. Personal writing is more compelling.  Anyone can write about equipment and training techniques.  What makes writing interesting and compelling is when it is personal.  When you learn something about the writer.  Something that you can relate to.  Something that makes you laugh.  Inner Working of My Life taught me that.
  14. Writing is easier when there is focus.  The blog gives me focus.  It is easy to find content.  The more I cycle, the more there is to write.  And, the more I post, the more I enjoy cycling.  There is a symbiotic relationship.

I have learned a lot during the past year.  More than I can recount.  I have included an image of my WordPress “Trophies”.  It is interesting to watch the number of Followers and Likes grow as my voice strengthens.

I thank all of you for making me a better cyclist.


5 thoughts on “Things I have learned …

  1. The 15% drop theory is really something. While I can’t bring myself to run my front tire under 100 psi (I’m at 116/76 according to the calculator), I did try a 10 psi drop (120/110) and was amazed at how much more comfortable the ride was. Thank you for that tip!

    Here’s my hang up… I ride tires with a harder rubber center strip with softer sides for cornering. If I’m down at 80 up front, is that enough to get me into the softer edges when I’m not turning (thus I’d jeopardize the longevity of the tires)?

    Great post, and thank you for the hat tip.

  2. Here is a tip I picked up somewhere… I put one wrap of electrical tape at the bottom of my valve stems. This prevents them from making the occasional rattle against the rim.

  3. Very interesting thoughts, and well expressed. Like you, I am a much better cyclist than I was 35 years ago…….stronger, tougher, and much more able to endure long-term suffering……which actually means the “pleasure of the challenge”. I now find, 6 years into retirement, I will (all things being equal) hit my highest annual mileage. Which, of course, is also partly a function of having more time to do it.

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