cycling · fitness

One bike?

If you could only have one bike, what would it be? Around here the cyclists tend to have multiple bikes each serving its own purpose. I have a gravel/adventure road bike, a road bike, an aero road bike, a track bike, and a fat bike.

See  Folding bike for fun and convenience: An addition to my dream fleet? and My dream fleet

and How many bikes is too many?

See also Catherine’s My optimal number of bikes right now is (N+1)-N


But it’s not cheap owning multiple bikes and they take up space. I often wonder if I could get by with one bike and if so, which bike would it be?

Of my current fleet, hands down it would be my adventure road bike. What’s that mean? “Adventure Road Bicycles are one of the newest categories of bicycle. They are sometimes called all-road bikesany-road bikes, or gravel bikes, and are the most versatile sub-category of road bike. Similar to cyclocross bikes, they have drop handlebars and the ability to use wider tires. The frame geometry is longer and more upright compared to a cyclocross bike, however, making these bikes more suitable for long days in the saddle, light touring, and commuting. “

Here’s Century Cycles’ list of bike types.

Mine is a Giant AnyRoad which was bought at ToWheels  in London, Ontario for my birthday a few years ago.

It can have fenders unlike my racy road bike. I’ve installed a rack for panniers. For winter, it’s got snow tires and if I was planning a road trip just on pavement I’d get slicks. It’s solid and comfortable and on its all purpose tires can ride just about anywhere.

Well, it’s not good for technical mountain bike routes and it’s not the fastest thing on two wheels on the pavement but if you can rule out those two things, it’s pretty amazing. It rides well on grass, gravel, unpaved bike paths of various surfaces, and on pavement, too, just not as fast as my other road bikes.

Here’s my bike:

Well lit bike
cycling · fitness · snow · walking · winter

Best laid plans… but Sam gets some movement in anyway

So Saturday of our winter weekend getaway I thought I’d try a beginner’s ski lesson. But that wasn’t to be. It was cold, really cold, -25 and windy cold. It was also icy. Instead of light puffy snow there was hard, cold ice.

See this sign? Marginal conditions, skiing not recommended. Great. Even the ski instructors weren’t that enthusiastic. Try another time, they suggested.

Image description: A red sign on a white ski hill. In both languages it says marginal conditions, skiing not recommended.

Instead, I went for a long walk up the hill and wandered around the shops at the base of the mountain. I stopped for lunch solo while braver, much more experienced, souls were off skiing. I’m better about eating alone at restaurants these days. I positively enjoyed it. And don’t panic. There was rice underneath. I haven’t abandoned carbs.

When I got back to the hotel I changed and wandered down to the fitness centre. It was small but with a lovely view. They had treadmills and nice spin bikes (guess which I chose?) a bench and dumbbells. That’s enough to keep me busy. So I watched an episode of Sex Education and pedaled away. It wasn’t my first choice of activities but it felt good. Sunday we all abandoned skiing and went to the spa.

cycling · equality · gender policing

Heavy weight racing and gender


This bike jersey keeps popping up in my social media newsfeeds. I don’t mind the “heavy weight” label. It’s me. But it’s striking that the jersey only comes in men’s sizes.

There’s this phenomena I’ve noticed about gender and size and athleticism. I know men don’t always have it easy when it comes to size and body image. I’ve blogged lots about that. See here and here.

But sometimes big men get to own their size in a way that big women just don’t.

See Fat Lass at the Front? for one company’s efforts to extend that way of thinking to women cyclists.

commute · cycling · snow · winter

Happy belated winter bike to work day! #WBTWD

Friday was Winter Bike to Work Day but I missed it. I was in Toronto for a concert Thursday night and took the Greyhound back to Guelph Friday morning. No bike for me!

I said on Friday, I’d ride today. And then the forecast. More “special weather.” Snow, blowing snow, winds. All this on top of ice from last week’s “special weather.” On the upside, only -7. Whee!

I was still on the fence when the Finnish embassy shared this photo.

Image may contain: bicycle and outdoor

“1000 out of 1200 kids in this school in Oulu, Finland, arrive by bicycle, even in winter. 100-150 walk, rest by ski, kicksleds and car. This day it was -17°C. “

My Finnish friends all shared it approvingly in light of Ontario school and university closures last week.

So in the end, I rode my bike to work. I figured the worse that would happen is that I’d walk my bike and walking was my back up choice anyway. The side streets were too slippy, snow over ice. The bike path on the main road hadn’t been plowed. So I took the lane and rose with traffic. It was fine. No one was going anywhere fast anyway.

And here I am at work.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eyeglasses, outdoor and nature
cycling · fitness · holiday fitness · holidays · trackers · training

Her digital assistants are tracking and watching over Sam

So last week I was in Clermont, Florida riding my bike. Instead of my super short commutes and running errands by bike, I was logging 50+ km a day in some pretty hilly territory.

I use my Garmin bike computer to track rides. It uploads rides to my phone where both Garmin Connect and Strava provide analysis. See above.

I’m also letting Google Fit track my activity. It counts steps and active minutes, sets goals, and provides commentary. See below.

What’s amusing is the different tones they take. Strava is all about bike training. In serious tones I’m told that my mileage has taken a substantial jump and I should be cautious about overtraining. That was even after our rest day!

GoogleFit is all positive thinking. “What workout! You deserve a break.” But that sounds like it would also be okay if I didn’t take one. It’s just cheering me on.

My own ‘rest day’ motivation was something else entirely.  I wanted to enjoy all 5 days of riding. For me that means taking a break. I wasn’t really worried about overtraining. But I also didn’t take a break because I’d earned it. I’d rather ride more.  If I were a stronger rider in January I’d rather ride all 5 days.  But I’m not and so I didn’t and I’m okay with that.

cycling · triathalon · winter

Clermont riding in January Sunshine

This past week Sarah and I took our bikes apart, packed them in boxes with our helmets, shoes, and cycling clothes and hopped on a plane to a place where it was warm enough to ride them.

I’ve done a few different kinds of winter riding somewhere warm. I loved my luxury Arizona cycling tour. I also loved South Carolina training camp. Both were beautiful. Both had their charms.

This year was a new thing though. No group. Just Sarah and me, meeting up with Jeff in Florida who is there with his boat. (Follow his boating adventures here.)

Originally we’d thought about the Florida Keys but that didn’t fit with Jeff’s schedule. Instead, we decided to meet up in the middle of Florida in an area Chris Helwig, my former London cycling coach, visits for riding every January.


Where’s Clermont? Smack dab in the middle of the state. It’s a great area for cycling. Lots of rolling hills and even a serious climb or two, some great rail trails, and quiet country roads flanked by beautiful trees covered in Spanish moss and miles and miles of orange orchards.


It’s also home to the National Training Centre. There’s a big pool, group rides, and regular timed runs. Triathletes everywhere!

What makes a place good for cyclists? Varied terrain, for sure. Warm weather. Now Florida had its own version of the polar vortex so it was cold for locals. But 13 degrees is just fine for bike riding and by the time we left it was in the 20s again.

There were lots of cyclists. Just having the numbers makes a difference. I loved a sign that read “You are entering a high activity cycling area. Watch for bikes.”

The roads mostly had bikes lanes. There were also paved paths not besides the road. And in the rare case that there wasn’t a seperate bike lane there were signs alerting drivers that cyclists had the right to use the full lane.

We stayed in the Clermont Cabanas on Lake Minneola so we’d have our own kitchen and space to relax after riding. That turned out to be a great choice

We had four solid days of riding, about 270 km all told, including a day of big hills. It was nice to have route maps all planned. Thanks Chris!


Here we are at the top of Sugarloaf


We did a long ride into the countryside.


And we really enjoyed the 20 mile West Orange Trail.

Oh, and after the hill day I even persuaded Sarah to give Yoga with Adrienne a try. She has a special workout just for cyclists.

We’ll back back, maybe next time with more fit feminist friends. I like you Clermont. What a great way to close out January.
cycling · monthly check in · motivation

Sam is Checking In for January (brrr….)

January is a long month. Long, and this year, especially cold and icy. Brrrr.

I’ve had three different things going on bike wise: winter riding (see here and here), trying Zwift, and riding bikes in Florida with Sarah and Jeff. (I’ll blog about that later when I’m back. Here now basking in +12. Not warm by Florida standards but warm enough to ride a bike.)

There’s also the new year enthusiasm of the 219 workouts in 2019 group. This year there’s even two versions, the old standby that’s been going for years that Cate and I have been part of and the feminist version started by women from the Tracy/Cate/Christine fit feminist challenge group.

My knee trundles along with some aches and pains but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was a year ago. I’m still getting synvisc shots under my knee cap. I’m still trying to lose weight. I’m still considering my options in the surgery department. The unstable knee has made walking on the ice an extra big challenge. Mostly I try to avoid it. Sorry Cheddar!

 

Image of Cheddar sitting my our bike boxes, packed for flying.