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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 05-01-07, 08:57 PM   #1
Terrierman
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Spinning in the rain, or how I used all my gears and had to wash my bike tonight

Today was a seriously crap day. But I got home in time to take a bike ride to help make it all better. Changed clothes and went out the door to have it start raining. It slowed to a sprinkle by the time I was actually ready to leave so out the drive I went. It was nice to have the major decisions consisting of left or right? and how far do we want to go tonite? I decided to try to see some new territory and rode down to the Finley River then headed down Riverdale Road.

Rode to the end of Riverdale road and turned left to cross the river again and head in the general direction of home. There was a car parked by the bridge and as I rode across, overheard a group of teenage boys goofing under the bridge, making monkey noises as I presume they were swinging from bridge support to bridge support. I stopped for a minute to look at the river and gave my best macaw call. Instant silence, eventually followed by more monkey sounds. We exchanged a few more calls and then I rode on, leaving with a thank you for letting me know this bridge was infested with monkeys instead of trolls.

The first bit of the climb(s) out of the Finley River valley was deceptively easy, nice asphalt road and really just a good grade to head on up. The road wound around for another mile or so and then I came to a fork. Being unduly inspired by SaiKaiTai, I chose the right fork, the one with the biggest looking hill. I chugged on up and the further up I got the steeper the hill got. And the longer it got too. It was hard not to quit but I just kept telling myself that once I got to the top, then it would be a ridge road and just think of the view. Well, I didn't quit (but I did get to use the rest of all of my gears) and when I got to the top, the view WAS spectacular. Of another drop and another hill that was at least the equal of the one that I just barely made my way up. Sweet William of Orange, by the time I made it to the top of that one, I had to stop and rest. I don't know what my maximum heart rate is, but I know I exceeded it there. No joke, when I stopped my heart was pounding so hard that my vision was going blurry in time with the heart beats. Reminded me a lot of the summer of '69 with some of the visuals I was getting.

And the good part was still yet to come. The hill I stopped at the top of was followed by still another drop and another steep climb, but oh joy, the road surface has turned to gravel. I can tell you for a fact that I cannot stand up on the bike on that hill, the rear tire only spins. Made it to the top of that one, only to see ANOTHER fricking drop and straight back up again with the gravel. FINALLY at the top of that one was the ridge road I'd been hoping for all along. The interesting part about the ridge road was the pack of dogs that gave me a good chase. I tried to mace one, but fumble fingered the spray and missed. I found out later when I took my contacts out I hadn't missed my fingers though.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful except for getting to try out the new rain jacket son Chris and Lovey bought me last week. It's a superlight packable jacket of ripstop nylon with some gore tex knockoff breathable laminate on the inside. Totally unlined, very light weight. I admit I had my doubts about just how breathable it would be, as it was a bass pro inexpensive piece of clothing. I was very pleasantly surprised, it has a vented back and the breathable claim seems to be true, it was not a sweat catcher at all.

All in all, tonight's after work ride will be one I remember for a while. I really needed it, I climbed four of the hardest hills I've ever done, one right after the other, I got to use my new rain coat, and it worked even better than I had hoped. I more or less set out to do 30, when I got back home the trip odo showed a shade under 27, so close enough. Bicycles do help keep one sane, don't they?

P.S. I really did wash off the gravel grit and grime with the hose. Coda is still new you know.
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Last edited by Terrierman; 05-01-07 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 05-01-07, 09:08 PM   #2
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Good ride! Thanks for telling us about it.
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Old 05-01-07, 09:39 PM   #3
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Wow. I never thought I'd be an insipration... I don't whether to feel honored or sorry that the way you took ended up being such a test. BUT you did what you had to do and must feel pretty darned good.
I took a short ride tonight, myself, and it was fun but your story made me wish I had taken *your* ride.
Great write up.
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Old 05-01-07, 09:57 PM   #4
Tom Bombadil
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You sure are taking on the hills! More power to you. My performance, or the lack thereof, on hills is downright humiliating.

The 12 mile ride I took on Sunday was on a nearly level rail trail. I used only 3 of my 24 gears - middle cog front and 3rd, 4th, & 5th on the rear. Today on my lunch ride, I used 7 gears, as there was a bit more of an incline - I actually built up a bit of speed down a long incline. Rare for me.
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Old 05-02-07, 12:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
The 12 mile ride I took on Sunday was on a nearly level rail trail. I used only 3 of my 24 gears - middle cog front and 3rd, 4th, & 5th on the rear.
I really strive to use a minimum of gears, even on rides over 60 miles. I select a gear for an upcoming section of the ride, and try to treat my bike like a freewheel singlespeed...just stick with that one gear as long as possible. My goal is a single gear century!
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Old 05-02-07, 05:16 AM   #6
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A tip (probably seen before) for everyone. It is acceptable to wash the mud off of your bike with a hose but you should probably sheild the wheel, bottom bracket and headset bearings from the direct stream of the water. Good water seals usually exist in the higher price equipment but are not common in many of the bicycles we ride.
Another choice for cleaning is if a rest day is coming up, let the dirt dry and brush it off with a paint brush. A variety of "bicycle cleaning" brushes can be obtained in the utensil isle of the local supermarket.

If you wash your bike often, you will have to oil the chain often!!
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Old 05-02-07, 06:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddmaxx
A tip (probably seen before) for everyone. It is acceptable to wash the mud off of your bike with a hose but you should probably sheild the wheel, bottom bracket and headset bearings from the direct stream of the water. Good water seals usually exist in the higher price equipment but are not common in many of the bicycles we ride.
Another choice for cleaning is if a rest day is coming up, let the dirt dry and brush it off with a paint brush. A variety of "bicycle cleaning" brushes can be obtained in the utensil isle of the local supermarket.

If you wash your bike often, you will have to oil the chain often!!
I'm sure I need to lube the chain before the next ride no matter what, everything was seriously wet and gritty by the time I got home. I sure didn't want to leave the drive train to dry with that stuff in and on it. It was raining along pretty good by then and the roads I ride are mostly chip and seal. And of course the last bit, (my driveway) is gravel again to load everything up right before I stop. I used the hose turned way down to just rinse things off. Really not much more pressure than what a good man like you can pee. My bottom bracket has external bearings. Do you think there is anything special I should do to protect them when I rinse the bike off? I do have a good set of cleaning brushes, another bike related Christmas present from son Kevin. They work great.
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Old 05-02-07, 06:59 AM   #8
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Nice!! I like reading about these types of rides.

I imagine I would have turned around when I hit the gravel. I just don't trust myself on skinny tires and gravel.
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Old 05-02-07, 08:18 AM   #9
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Folks,

Thanks for a great thread and the inspiration here. I need to find those rides and just go for it.

Chris
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Old 05-02-07, 09:49 AM   #10
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I would not spray the water directly at the bottom bracket bearing. Instead I would use a brush to clean the grit off. The only external bearing bottom bracket that I own appears to have shielded bearings (hard shield disk, not a rubber one). I probably don't have a bottom bracket anywhere that is more that 2 seasons old (I usually have a new piece of equipment that I want to test) so perhaps this is all moot.

I have however lost 1 inexpensive bottom bracket and one headset after a single trip of 150 miles at highway speeds in the rain on a hitch rack at the rear of the car. Now I use headsets with o ring seals and high grade bottom brackets.

One other tip for hose cleaning, There is (probably) a hole in the bottom bracket shell. Those of you with down tube cables probably have a screw in it to hold the cable guide on. If its open good, if its plugged then drilling a second hole will allow the water that gets into your tubes to drain out. Water can get in through a hollow seat tube or through mounting holes for racks or even bottle bracket fittings. Those with steel frames should spray or swab some fish oil or other rust inhibitor into the frame tubes.

boy is this guy parinoid or what?
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