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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-06-08, 11:09 PM   #1
neilfein
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Neil and Neil ride their birthdays, ride report (long)

The Historian and I ride out birthdays yesterday (mine is today and his is on Tuesday). We headedout from Edison, and were aiming to follow a meandering 42-mile route to Montclair. (We're 39 and 42 this year.) 3078 feet of climbing, and I routed away from the nastier areas, thanks to some advice from the Northeast forum. We've been approaching our rides as learning experiences, to iron out problems before going on a tour longer than a few days. Don't get the wrong idea from this, despite leaving the maps at home, with only a Bikely cue sheet to guide us, and quite a few equipment issues, this was a great ride through some very scenic, hilly areas.

We ended up taking a lot longer to get there due to a combination of leaving the house an hour late and riding around in a huge circle in Green Brook and wasting almost an hour there and riding 10 miles out of our way.

We reassessed; we'd fall short of our destination by 10 miles, but having made up the difference by circling around in Green Brook. The goal was to ride exactly 42 miles; Montclair was a destination of convenience. I called Martha (my wife), who who was planning to meet up with us in Montclair for dinner with the car and the bike rack, and set up a meeting place 10 miles short of the original goal.

After it was dark, The Historian's headlights started to fade; he hadn't charged the battery, not expecting to ride at night. Fortunately, he had the foresight to have not only a helmet light, but a spare headlight for the handlebar light. We pulled over into a well-lit driveway in, I think, Short Hills or Livingston, and swapped them out.

A few miles later, my headlights were starting to fade. This is a brand new Trail Rat, fully charged. It's a great light, but it looks like I may have a defective one. Arrgh! At this point, we were only a handful of miles away from finishing. Hmm.

We were a couple of miles short of South Mountain Reservation, our meeting place with Martha. It was getting pretty dark. I pulled over and grabbed my spare maglite and attached it to the handlebars with zip ties and rubber bands. (No, really. I took a picture but it didn't come out.) Then the light refused to turn on for more than a few seconds at a time. Neil looks at his computer and realizes we just hit 42 miles.

Cool! We decide we're done. I call Martha and describe to her where we are. After some frustrating, yet now somehow funny, shenanigans involving many cell phone calls, arguing about roads, and riding back a mile in light sleet towards an easier-to-find intersection, we load the bikes on the rack and drive to Montclair for dinner. After about an hour's driving what should be a 10 minute car ride, we're eating fake spare ribs and chinese food with fake chicken and fake beef in Veggie Heaven.

So, lessons learned:

The night before a ride, always charge your light. Always. Always. No, really, always.

Always make sure your spare light is working, and that you have batteries.

Seatpost bags are great for storing tools. They're easier to get to, when you don't have to fish through a pannier or trunk bag to find something.

Zip ties and rubber bands are something I will always carry.

The Historian's helmet light saved us, and I'll be getting one myself. Not only is it a secondary headlight, it also helps you when you need to work on your bike in the dark.

Always have a few rubber grommet pads of various thicknesses in the bag of devilishly clever "tools" alongside the duct tape and chewing gum.

Pack the night before the ride, and leave on time in the morning.

Cue sheets, no matter how carefully you check them over, are only as good as the data you're working from. Printed maps are a necessity, and can save you from wasting time. Pull over and check; you'll waste five minutes, but it's better than wasting an hour riding in circles.
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Artistic Differences - 8-track EP Dreams of Bile and Blood now available for download.
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Old 01-06-08, 11:15 PM   #2
East Hill
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Zip ties and rubber bands have saved many a day whilst out cycling .

Don't ask me how I know..

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Old 01-07-08, 12:59 AM   #3
Neil_B
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Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
The Historian and I ride out birthdays yesterday (mine is today and his is on Tuesday). We headedout from Edison, and were aiming to follow a meandering 42-mile route to Montclair. (We're 39 and 42 this year.) 3078 feet of climbing, and I routed away from the nastier areas, thanks to some advice from the Northeast forum. We've been approaching our rides as learning experiences, to iron out problems before going on a tour longer than a few days. Don't get the wrong idea from this, despite leaving the maps at home, with only a Bikely cue sheet to guide us, and quite a few equipment issues, this was a great ride through some very scenic, hilly areas.

We ended up taking a lot longer to get there due to a combination of leaving the house an hour late and riding around in a huge circle in Green Brook and wasting almost an hour there and riding 10 miles out of our way.

We reassessed; we'd fall short of our destination by 10 miles, but having made up the difference by circling around in Green Brook. The goal was to ride exactly 42 miles; Montclair was a destination of convenience. I called Martha (my wife), who who was planning to meet up with us in Montclair for dinner with the car and the bike rack, and set up a meeting place 10 miles short of the original goal.

After it was dark, The Historian's headlights started to fade; he hadn't charged the battery, not expecting to ride at night. Fortunately, he had the foresight to have not only a helmet light, but a spare headlight for the handlebar light. We pulled over into a well-lit driveway in, I think, Short Hills or Livingston, and swapped them out.

A few miles later, my headlights were starting to fade. This is a brand new Trail Rat, fully charged. It's a great light, but it looks like I may have a defective one. Arrgh! At this point, we were only a handful of miles away from finishing. Hmm.

We were a couple of miles short of South Mountain Reservation, our meeting place with Martha. It was getting pretty dark. I pulled over and grabbed my spare maglite and attached it to the handlebars with zip ties and rubber bands. (No, really. I took a picture but it didn't come out.) Then the light refused to turn on for more than a few seconds at a time. Neil looks at his computer and realizes we just hit 42 miles.

Cool! We decide we're done. I call Martha and describe to her where we are. After some frustrating, yet now somehow funny, shenanigans involving many cell phone calls, arguing about roads, and riding back a mile in light sleet towards an easier-to-find intersection, we load the bikes on the rack and drive to Montclair for dinner. After about an hour's driving what should be a 10 minute car ride, we're eating fake spare ribs and chinese food with fake chicken and fake beef in Veggie Heaven.

So, lessons learned:

The night before a ride, always charge your light. Always. Always. No, really, always.

Always make sure your spare light is working, and that you have batteries.

Seatpost bags are great for storing tools. They're easier to get to, when you don't have to fish through a pannier or trunk bag to find something.

Zip ties and rubber bands are something I will always carry.

The Historian's helmet light saved us, and I'll be getting one myself. Not only is it a secondary headlight, it also helps you when you need to work on your bike in the dark.

Always have a few rubber grommet pads of various thicknesses in the bag of devilishly clever "tools" alongside the duct tape and chewing gum.

Pack the night before the ride, and leave on time in the morning.

Cue sheets, no matter how carefully you check them over, are only as good as the data you're working from. Printed maps are a necessity, and can save you from wasting time. Pull over and check; you'll waste five minutes, but it's better than wasting an hour riding in circles.
I just got in an hour ago. Neil's summary is pretty good. I'll only add a few points:

- We actually left an hour and a half later than we planned, not an hour. And it was an entirely preventable delay - conversation could have been postponed. The important lesson is leave on time. Also, it's almost never too early to ride. A 10 AM start is good. 9 AM is better.

- I was at fault for not reviewing the cue sheet and route beforehand. I wasn't expecting the sort of climbing Neil had planned. While I live amid hills, I don't love them, and I don't expect them in New Jersey.

_ I wasn't assertive enough when we made the wrong turn. The cue sheet said "Rock Road." We took Rock Avenue. I had misgivings about it, but Neil F. was ahead of me and he turned down Rock Avenue. I could have stopped. But I followed Neil, assuming he knew what he was doing. Since I carried the cue sheet, I should have spoken up sooner. Instead my silence led to us riding through a horrible neighborhood, climbing a steep grade to Washington Rock State Park, and riding on State RT 22.

- I offered to end the ride early once we reached 39 miles, Neil F's birthday. Despite the problems we had and Neil's problem with his lights, he refused. "We are a team" he said. "We're finishing this together."

- Always charge your lights. And carry a backup.

- Carry more food and water than you think you need. While I was OK through the end of the ride, by the time Neil's wife picked us up and we got to dinner, I was so cold, dehydrated, and hungry that my hands were shaking, even after being inside for several minutes. It took about 20 minutes after the start of the meal for me to recover.

- Neil F. is a great guy to ride with.
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Old 01-07-08, 12:29 PM   #4
Neil_B
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Zip ties and rubber bands have saved many a day whilst out cycling .

Don't ask me how I know..

East Hill
My full report on the ride, as posted to my blog:

As odd as it is to find two Neils who ride together, it's odder still to find two Neils who ride together and have birthdays two days apart. So in honor of our joint anniversaries we decided to celebrate by riding our ages. Or more accurately, my age, since I am the elder Neil by three years. So Neil F. plotted a 42 mile route in New Jersey and we planned our ride for Saturday, January 5th.

Our troubles began before we left. Our scheduled 10:00 AM start became an 11:30 AM start due to our laziness. For the first twelve miles or so we made good time, until we turned onto Rock Avenue instead of Rock Road, and took a nearly 8 mile detour through a bad part of Dunellon. At one point someone followed me on a bike shouting "Is that a thousand dollar bicycle?!" Neil F. ran interference for me, I dropped the hammer, and soon enough we were a block away from the guy, who stopped following us.

Some rerouting and my "guydar" got us back to the general area we needed to be in, but that required us to ride on Rt. 22 for a mile, and climb a steep grade to Washington Rock State Park. Once we spent a few minutes enjoying the view, we resumed the ride. Fortunately we had some downhills, on one of which Neil F. set a personal downhill speed record of 32 MPH.

After some more downhills, and more climbing, we noticed it had grown dark. I switched on my main headlight and helmet light. Neil turned on his new Trailrat headlamp. We called Neil's wife to pick us up at a location about ten miles away. And we headed uphill again. And again.

By now I was a little annoyed at the hills on the route. Based on my past experiences with riding in New Jersey I had expected a flatter trip. "Why did you have to route through all these hills?" I asked Neil, half exasperated, half amused.

"You're never satisfied. I don't give you hills, you complain. I give you hills, you complain."

"You sound wonderfully stereotypically Jewish when you say things like that, Neil."

"I do all this for you, and you kvetch. What you want to do, drive me meshu'geh?"

Shortly after this, my main headlight died. We tried to ride with just my helmet lamp, but I found I couldn't see road obstacles well enough, so we pulled over and attached my spare light. And onward we rolled. By now it was 5:30 PM, and very dark.

At about the 40 mile mark Neil F.'s Trailrat light went out. He got it working again, but it kept going out. Since we had completed Neil's 39 miles of birthday, I offered to end the ride now. That would mean I'd need to ride a 42 mile ride on another day to get my birthday logged. Neil F. refused to end today's ride, telling me that "We are a team. We're finishing together." So we slogged on through the night with Neil's flickering Trailrat.

Eventually the Trailrat gave out. We pulled over while Fixit Fein began to attach his backup light, a Maglite flashlight strapped, rubber-banded, and velcroed to his handlebar. After ten minutes attaching it, he tried it only to have the light fail after a few seconds. As I glanced around in a "What now?" pose, I noticed my bike computer was showing 42 miles. About now it began to sleet. We declared the ride over and called Neil's wife to pick us up. We rode back about a mile to a major intersection so she would have a landmark to pick us up, I leading and calling out obstacles to the lightless Neil behind me. In another 15 minutes we were picked up, and driven out to a celebratory dinner.

There was one unexpected consequence of the ride, however. I hadn't planned on being out so late or so long. I had long ago exhausted my ride food and water. I was still OK to ride, if not strong, by mile 42 and 43, but I was seriously bonked by the time I had dinner about 7:30 PM. Despite sitting in a warm eatery, dressed warmly, I was cold and my hands were shaking even 25 minutes into the meal. Fortunately a full dinner in good company cured the problem.

Total miles for the day, 43. Over 3000 feet of climbing.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:19 PM   #5
neilfein
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I never said "meshu'geh"! I think.
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Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

Artistic Differences - 8-track EP Dreams of Bile and Blood now available for download.
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Old 01-07-08, 02:56 PM   #6
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I never said "meshu'geh"! I think.
My apologies for any mistake. Please forgive my goyish error.
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Old 02-11-08, 11:05 PM   #7
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My full report on the ride, as posted to my blog:

As odd as it is to find two Neils who ride together, it's odder still to find two Neils who ride together and have birthdays two days apart. So in honor of our joint anniversaries we decided to celebrate by riding our ages. Or more accurately, my age, since I am the elder Neil by three years. So Neil F. plotted a 42 mile route in New Jersey and we planned our ride for Saturday, January 5th.

Our troubles began before we left. Our scheduled 10:00 AM start became an 11:30 AM start due to our laziness. For the first twelve miles or so we made good time, until we turned onto Rock Avenue instead of Rock Road, and took a nearly 8 mile detour through a bad part of Dunellon. At one point someone followed me on a bike shouting "Is that a thousand dollar bicycle?!" Neil F. ran interference for me, I dropped the hammer, and soon enough we were a block away from the guy, who stopped following us.

Some rerouting and my "guydar" got us back to the general area we needed to be in, but that required us to ride on Rt. 22 for a mile, and climb a steep grade to Washington Rock State Park. Once we spent a few minutes enjoying the view, we resumed the ride. Fortunately we had some downhills, on one of which Neil F. set a personal downhill speed record of 32 MPH.

After some more downhills, and more climbing, we noticed it had grown dark. I switched on my main headlight and helmet light. Neil turned on his new Trailrat headlamp. We called Neil's wife to pick us up at a location about ten miles away. And we headed uphill again. And again.

By now I was a little annoyed at the hills on the route. Based on my past experiences with riding in New Jersey I had expected a flatter trip. "Why did you have to route through all these hills?" I asked Neil, half exasperated, half amused.

"You're never satisfied. I don't give you hills, you complain. I give you hills, you complain."

"You sound wonderfully stereotypically Jewish when you say things like that, Neil."

"I do all this for you, and you kvetch. What you want to do, drive me meshu'geh?"

Shortly after this, my main headlight died. We tried to ride with just my helmet lamp, but I found I couldn't see road obstacles well enough, so we pulled over and attached my spare light. And onward we rolled. By now it was 5:30 PM, and very dark.

At about the 40 mile mark Neil F.'s Trailrat light went out. He got it working again, but it kept going out. Since we had completed Neil's 39 miles of birthday, I offered to end the ride now. That would mean I'd need to ride a 42 mile ride on another day to get my birthday logged. Neil F. refused to end today's ride, telling me that "We are a team. We're finishing together." So we slogged on through the night with Neil's flickering Trailrat.

Eventually the Trailrat gave out. We pulled over while Fixit Fein began to attach his backup light, a Maglite flashlight strapped, rubber-banded, and velcroed to his handlebar. After ten minutes attaching it, he tried it only to have the light fail after a few seconds. As I glanced around in a "What now?" pose, I noticed my bike computer was showing 42 miles. About now it began to sleet. We declared the ride over and called Neil's wife to pick us up. We rode back about a mile to a major intersection so she would have a landmark to pick us up, I leading and calling out obstacles to the lightless Neil behind me. In another 15 minutes we were picked up, and driven out to a celebratory dinner.

There was one unexpected consequence of the ride, however. I hadn't planned on being out so late or so long. I had long ago exhausted my ride food and water. I was still OK to ride, if not strong, by mile 42 and 43, but I was seriously bonked by the time I had dinner about 7:30 PM. Despite sitting in a warm eatery, dressed warmly, I was cold and my hands were shaking even 25 minutes into the meal. Fortunately a full dinner in good company cured the problem.

Total miles for the day, 43. Over 3000 feet of climbing.
It was so dark at the end of the ride that only my headlight and helmet lamp are visible in the photo. Neil F.'s bike is in the foreground.

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Old 02-11-08, 11:08 PM   #8
Neil_B
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Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
The Historian and I ride out birthdays yesterday (mine is today and his is on Tuesday). We headedout from Edison, and were aiming to follow a meandering 42-mile route to Montclair. (We're 39 and 42 this year.) 3078 feet of climbing, and I routed away from the nastier areas, thanks to some advice from the Northeast forum. We've been approaching our rides as learning experiences, to iron out problems before going on a tour longer than a few days. Don't get the wrong idea from this, despite leaving the maps at home, with only a Bikely cue sheet to guide us, and quite a few equipment issues, this was a great ride through some very scenic, hilly areas.

We ended up taking a lot longer to get there due to a combination of leaving the house an hour late and riding around in a huge circle in Green Brook and wasting almost an hour there and riding 10 miles out of our way.

We reassessed; we'd fall short of our destination by 10 miles, but having made up the difference by circling around in Green Brook. The goal was to ride exactly 42 miles; Montclair was a destination of convenience. I called Martha (my wife), who who was planning to meet up with us in Montclair for dinner with the car and the bike rack, and set up a meeting place 10 miles short of the original goal.

After it was dark, The Historian's headlights started to fade; he hadn't charged the battery, not expecting to ride at night. Fortunately, he had the foresight to have not only a helmet light, but a spare headlight for the handlebar light. We pulled over into a well-lit driveway in, I think, Short Hills or Livingston, and swapped them out.

A few miles later, my headlights were starting to fade. This is a brand new Trail Rat, fully charged. It's a great light, but it looks like I may have a defective one. Arrgh! At this point, we were only a handful of miles away from finishing. Hmm.

We were a couple of miles short of South Mountain Reservation, our meeting place with Martha. It was getting pretty dark. I pulled over and grabbed my spare maglite and attached it to the handlebars with zip ties and rubber bands. (No, really. I took a picture but it didn't come out.) Then the light refused to turn on for more than a few seconds at a time. Neil looks at his computer and realizes we just hit 42 miles.

Cool! We decide we're done. I call Martha and describe to her where we are. After some frustrating, yet now somehow funny, shenanigans involving many cell phone calls, arguing about roads, and riding back a mile in light sleet towards an easier-to-find intersection, we load the bikes on the rack and drive to Montclair for dinner. After about an hour's driving what should be a 10 minute car ride, we're eating fake spare ribs and chinese food with fake chicken and fake beef in Veggie Heaven.

So, lessons learned:

The night before a ride, always charge your light. Always. Always. No, really, always.

Always make sure your spare light is working, and that you have batteries.

Seatpost bags are great for storing tools. They're easier to get to, when you don't have to fish through a pannier or trunk bag to find something.

Zip ties and rubber bands are something I will always carry.

The Historian's helmet light saved us, and I'll be getting one myself. Not only is it a secondary headlight, it also helps you when you need to work on your bike in the dark.

Always have a few rubber grommet pads of various thicknesses in the bag of devilishly clever "tools" alongside the duct tape and chewing gum.

Pack the night before the ride, and leave on time in the morning.

Cue sheets, no matter how carefully you check them over, are only as good as the data you're working from. Printed maps are a necessity, and can save you from wasting time. Pull over and check; you'll waste five minutes, but it's better than wasting an hour riding in circles.
Neil F.'s ingenious emergency-rigged headlight:

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