Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Tsunami Rides

The Irish Tsunami and I have spent a lot of time on bikes lately.  Please do not confuse a lot of time on bikes with getting somewhere.  The important thing is that they are not in front of a screen.  Simon has been the most willing participant.  Simon loves to ride and he will go the distance.  I suppose with short legs, tiny tires, and training wheels it is the equivalent of a long distance; the dog year of cycling.  The problem with him is that when he is done…..he is DONE!  If we turn around to soon and get back to the car, he gets mad.  If we go too far and don’t turn around soon enough, he gets mad and protests by moving at snail speed. 

This bike is clearly too small.  Kids and bikes are tough since they grow like weeds.

Vance has been complaining that his tires are not fast enough.  A few years ago I bought Olivia a nice Giant kid’s mountain bike.  It came with ridiculous tires, huge lugs (like a kid is goint to ride through a swamp).   It is more expensive than a kid’s bike should be, but is easily on its second kid.  It has been worth it.  Two kids have learned how to ride bikes on it.  I had to replace the front brakes because they got damaged in an accident and I just replaced the tires with “faster” tires.  Appearently they work because he takes off and leaves us in his dust (which angers me because I don’t need him a half mile ahead). 

I am going for Father of the Year:  No helmet and standing on his bike frame.

Olivia is getting tall; she outgrew her bike (now Vance’s) last summer.  I bought her a new one for her birthday.   I may have crossed the line into excess but it was a great deal.  Again, I like to buy nice bikes for the kids, they take care of them and they last much longer than department store bikes.  It is crazy to think that I am buying my daughter a small adult 26” mountain bike.  


Monday, June 25, 2012

The Long Way Home

When I signed up for the RAGBRAI at the beginning of the year I initiated my tried and true training plan.

My preparation strategy was the same as before.

1. Ride as much as possible
2. Get a good set of tires
3. Drink a bunch of water
4. Shove my jersey pockets as full of Jelly Belly Caffeine Sports Beans and Pearson's Salted Nut Rolls

This is a tried and true recipe for success.  RAGBRAI is not for another month so really all I need to do right now is #1 the rest can wait, besides, diet Pepsi has water in it.  It is liquid..... The hard part about #1 is finding the time to put in the hours necessary to avoid pain on a 6 day bike ride across the state of Iowa.  I work long hours and the Irish Tsunami must be kept at bay, both of which compete for my time.  Not to mention I like to sleep sometimes.

The best solution is biking to work.  There is a reason that so many people drive.  Bicycle commuting requires planning, organization, and discipline.  The good thing is that I posses all of the qualities necessary to plan, organize, and demonstrate the required discipline; just not all three at the same time.  I have been riding the Ogre to work nearly every day and I can say that it takes everything I have to plan, organize my stuff, and the muster the necessary discipline to get up at 0400 in the morning shave and hit the road.  

Though it is painful to get up at that hour of the morning I do occasionally get nice views as I cross the Mississippi on the Government Bridge.
Old Man River is calm and happy.

The only problem with that plan is that it is only 16 miles round trip, hardly enough to get conditioned for 600 miles.  My solution is to take a couple of days and take the long way home.  Davenport provides ample opportunities with several great bike paths.  Most days, I am exhausted when it is time to go home and changing into commuting clothes is often a challenge.  But the long way home provides a great end to a long and stressful day.  It may not be enough but it fulfills strategy #1.