Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Bicycle: 11/29/12 Update

I bought a new bicycle a few weeks back. How's it working out?

In its first long ride, I rode 33 miles in 2:47, compared to 3:15 along the same route with my old bike the weekend before, and was far less fatigued at the end. The following next weekend, I rode in a 50-mile charity ride (my third ever 50+ mile ride) that was quite challenging due to the conditions (hills and wind), but hey, I finished it! And, in my fictional Bicycling Trip in Australia, I'm now within shouting distance of the Western Australia border, finally. (As in, I'm planning a 35-mile ride this weekend that will get me across the state line.)

So, I'd say it's working out great. Long distance bicycling is fun again! Now I can actually do that 100K that I've said I would do every year since I bought the bike. ... Well, we'll revisit that next year. I think it'll be best to do my first 100K as part of a fully supported charity ride, so that I don't have to carry a bunch of extra water with me, among other reasons.

About that 50 mile charity ride, which benefited the Multiple Sclerosis something or other. The charity ride offered 25 and 50 mile options, and most people of my ilk - casual bicyclists who ride regularly, but don't have all of the fancy fixins - opt for the shorter distance in these things. Not me!

Did my fancy new bike allow me to keep up with the serious riders? ... No. By mile three, most everyone was long gone, except for Laura (who rode with me for the first 12 miles or so), plus about a half dozen other riders behind me that I didn't see too much of. So for all of the last 38 miles, I was riding solo, just like any other weekend. But hey, at least I wasn't in last! If I had tried this with my old bike, I most likely would have been part of that half dozen bringing up the rear. The back of a charity ride is not a fun place to be, by the way, because there's a guy on a motorcycle behind you the whole time. I guess that's good from a safety standpoint, but I would hate having the "last place indicator" riding my butt all day long.

Now, I talk about coming in "last", but these charity rides are not races, and they tell you that up front. Contrast that to pretty much every run anywhere, even the silly ones, where it is a race, and they officially time you with chips and everything. Why is that? Why don't they officially time bike rides like they do runs? My theory is that it's safety related. If you're riding a bicycle "on the clock", that might make you more likely to run a red light and get hit by a car or something, or crash into another bicycle Tour de France style. But in most runs, the roads are closed to traffic (I think), and the risk of injury or death is already lower on foot to begin with. And, I think being "on the clock" is just part of the culture of running. Gotta go for your PR, right?

So, in conclusion: with my new bike, the serious riders are still going to pass me every single weekend, just like always. Just like most people will never be able to run a 5K in 15 minutes no matter how hard they train (or how many PEDs they take), I'll never be able to complete a 50 mile bike ride in 2½ hours. (That's about how fast I think the "leaders" finished the ride, based on when I saw them on the return trip. I finished the ride in 4:15 to 4:30.) But the most important thing with the new bike is that I don't feel like killing myself once I reach mile 30 anymore. Yay! The 1-2 mph bump in speed is nice, but it's the increased longevity that is the biggest thing.

Meanwhile, I still have my old bike, and I'm still going to use it for work commutes and other short rides as long as it lasts. It's slower, but it gets me to work just fine. And, it still has the Marla trailer hook up, too.

1 comment:

Francesca said...

This is what I'm talking about! New bike, great goal and new inspiration! Love to read good stories from fellow bicycle lovers!Keep them coming! Really nice blog!