Monthly Archives: September 2012

Grant Petersen’s Just Ride, the Rivendell Reader & an E-Less Stanza of “The Raven”

Grant Petersen, of Rivendell Bicycle Works, appeared at College Park Bicycles last night to talk about his book, Just Ride. I had a great time seeing familiar faces of the #BikeDC community AND meeting the man behind Rivendell Bicycles. Woo!

I won’t rehash the evening too much, as I think he covers much of the material he talked about with us in his book. 

Surprisingly, I found Grant to be quite gracious, friendly, and relaxed. I had worried that the opionated nature I saw in some of his writing might translate into a formidable bike guy. Not true. Thank you, Grant, for visiting our area AND for talking to me despite the fact that I was wearing Sidis!

After discussing the evolution of his book, themes Grant touched on included:

  • you don’t need special clothes for cycling,
  • ride a practical bike that’s comfortable,
  • you don’t need to use cycling as your primary form of exercise because you can get your heart rate up higher by doing other more vigorous activities for shorter periods of time than a bike ride takes,
  • bike advocacy is tough stuff (though he is not an expert in this area), and
  • cycling shouldn’t be approached as work. Rather, it’s something to enjoy. With friends, even.

At least, that is my abbreviated version of the evening’s topics.

Rivendells at Swings Coffee

Grant’s appearance reminded me of several Rivendell Readers back when he discussed the prevalence of the letter “e” in our vocabulary and invited people to submit e-less stanzas of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “The Raven.”

It sounded like a fun exercise and I sent in an e-less stanza I wrote. Mine did not make the cut of those that were published in the Rivendell Reader, but I did receive a nice Rivendell gift certificate that helped to offset the purchase of a Nitto Campee rack I bought from them.

Below is the original stanza (which is the third of “The Raven”) followed by my e-less version.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me– filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.
This it is, and nothing more.

E-Less Version

Tragic silky sighs from rustling curtains of dark orchid stain
Disturbing sounds do thrill my body with ’til now unknown fantastic horrors;
So that now, to halt such soul-dizzying strain, I stand continuously saying,
‘Tis a visitor wishing to pay a visit rap tap tapping at that room’s door
A nocturnal individual who prompts admission at that door;
This is all, and not a myriad of crazy thoughts that in my brain do war.

That was a fun activity. Not a bikey post, really, but certainly inspired by a bikey person.

Tangobiker: A Tale of a Super Coffeeneur

Last year around this time, I launched the 1st Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge. The goal? Ride your bike to seven different coffee shops over six consecutive weekends, and adhere to 15 rules in the process. Several riders began the challenge, and 12 people officially earned the title of coffeeneur.

After the challenge ended, one person decided to continue and mapped out his quest to visit at least one different coffee shop each weekend for a full year.

It will never happen, I thought skeptically. First of all, what kind of coffeeneur has that kind of determination and love for the bean? Second, what town has that many coffee shops?

I now have my answer. Tangobiker is the coffeeneur with that kind of determination, and Portland, Oregon, is the town with more coffee shops than I can fathom.

Until I saw the information Tangobiker sent me about coffee shops in Portland, I did not realize just how many places there are to get coffee in that city. It’s quite remarkable!

Throughout the year, Tangobiker pedaled and sipped diligently toward his coffeeneur goals. I followed his progress through Instagram, and frequently caught sight of coffee drinks and bike rides in his photostream.

When week 52 of Tangobiker’s Coffeeneuring Challenge ended, he had ridden to a total of 63 different coffee establishments.

I thought it was an impossible achievement, but oh how wrong I was. Tangobiker sent me the control card to prove it.

Tangobiker’s Coffeeneuring Control Card – Page 1

Tangobiker’s Control Card – Page 2

This control card/spreadsheet shows all the locales Tangobiker patronized over the last year and when he went there.

All trips occurred on Saturdays and Sundays, wIth the exceptIon of one trip made on Labor Day. The only place Tangobiker visited more than once was the espresso bar at River City Bicycles, which he visited early on in the coffeeneuring challenge and again in May.

Over the course of the last 52 weeks, Tangobiker not only perfected the coffee with bike shot, he also visited 63 coffee locations.

The spreadsheet below shows the 63 distinct places where Tangobiker coffeeneured.

Coffee Shops Visited – Page 1

Coffee Shops Visited – Page 2

As you can see, the majority of Tangobiker’s coffeeneuring took place around Portland. However, he did extend his radius a couple of times to coffeeneur at Zoka Coffee Roasters in Seattle, Washington, and at Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver, British Columbia… in Canada! International Coffeeneuring!

A cup of joe by bike at 63 places in 52 weeks. Now that’s Super Coffeeneuring.

Needless to say, I’m quite impressed and I wanted to give Tangobiker a little something in recognition of his coffeeneuring achievement. To that end, I am sending Tangobiker a customized espresso spoon that has been hand-stamped with the title “Coffeeneur.”

An espresso spoon for the Super Coffeeneur

You deserve it, Tangobiker! It’s a small thIng, but this way you have more than your spectacular spreadsheet to remind you of the good times spent coffeeneuring this past year. You are truly a Super Coffeeneur.

By the way, there will be a 2nd Annual Coffeeneuring Challenge, so stay tuned for details!

Rando Q&A with Dan D., Great Lakes and Minnesota Randonneurs

Today it’s all about what’s happening on The Daily Randonneur, where Dan D. of Wisconsin has written a Rando Q&A I think you’ll enjoy.

Dan, living the randonneur lifestyle on the Last Chance 1200K

Click to make the jump and read the post here.

Have a great day, everybody!

WABA 50 States Ride 2012: All About the People

This past Saturday Felkerino and I participated in another edition of the Washington Area Bicycling Association (WABA) 50 States Ride. Yeah, that ride with 500 participants that crosses over all 50 of the state streets within the District of Columbia and covers about 65 miles in the process.

Felkerino and me at the first 50 States Ride pit stop

True to our plan, we shortcut as our coffee requirements dictated and skipped a few state streets along the way. At the end of the day, Felkerino and I crossed off 34 of the 50 state streets. I don’t know if this means we have to do some Sharpie editing to our 50 States Ride t-shirts or what so if you know the protocol, please let us know.

50 States Ride, #fridaycoffeeclub peeps

Fortunately, we did manage to ride through all four D.C. quadrants so we are not completely hopeless.

The highlights of this year’s event included all the people we saw and chatted with throughout the ride. There were a few moments where we pedaled quietly along, but generally we rode in the company of other friendly riders.

Felkerino, John, and Dave

John, Felkerino, and Tony on Massachusetts SE

After doing this ride three times now, I’ve concluded that the descent on Massachusetts Avenue Southeast is one of my favorite parts. The road surface is good, it has hardly any car traffic, and it offers a beautiful view of the city.

Well-placed pit stops along the route allowed Felkerino and me to restock on water, talk with #BikeDC tweeps, and meet a few new people, too.

Mary Lauran and friends on the 50 States Ride

The post-lunch pit stop in Takoma Park was hosted by our friends Mike and Lisa, making it an extra fun pause in the ride.

Hanging out with Mike at the pit stop

We left Mike and Lisa’s to go up to Alaska Avenue Northwest, where someone took some great pictures of LOTS of riders and posted them on flickr. If you rode and made it to Alaska Avenue, check them out here.

After a day chock full of stops, twists, and turns, Felkerino and I called it a day after Alaska Avenue. When the route descended into Rock Creek Park, we remained on Beach Drive until exiting at Adams Mill Road and high-tailing it to the finish.

Despite our various shortcuts, our odometers showed 60 miles for the day. It also indicated a 10.1 mph rolling average; no speed records were set during this cue- and stop-filled excursion.

The finish locale, the Mellow Mushroom, teemed with bikes and people. We ate pizza, talked with friends, and picked up our aforementioned partially earned t-shirts.

Surly LHT at the 50 States Ride finish

I initially planned to take my Velo Orange mixte, but ultimately wound up riding my regular commuter, the Surly Long Haul Trucker. Not surprisingly, the Surly rode smoothly and had no mechanicals (though WABA offered mechanical support at all pit stops in the event it was needed).

Working on a bike at the 50 States Ride.

Oh, and I also managed to hit my home state street of Iowa. Phew! I missed it last year and was determined not to let that happen again.

Iowa Street and the Surly LHT on the 50 States Ride

This edition of the 50 States was the best yet. Through the #BikeDC hashtag on Twitter, Friday Coffee Club, and more participation in WABA’s events I’ve been able to get to know some of the BikeDC crowd. When I show up at a WABA event now, I almost always see a familiar face. That’s a great feeling.

Thanks, WABA!!

Thanks, WABA, for another successful 50 States Ride.

For another writeup of the event, please check out Port-a-John’s excellent summary. Oh, and BicycleBug has a good one, too, as does Rambling Rider.

And for more photos from the ride, take a look at our flickr sets. Mine are here, and Felkerino’s here.

See you out there next year? I hope so!

Getting Comfortable in the Saddle

One of my blog readers, Trish, recently asked the following question about comfort in the saddle:

I searched your blog to see if I could find your thoughts on comfort in the saddle, which is my biggest obstacle to long rides. I’ve been doing metric centuries every weekend, but beyond that I think my rear end would be in too much discomfort.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I know the saddle itself is highly personal, but do you have a favorite chamois? I like the Castelli Kiss chamois, not crazy about my Pearl Izumi, but haven’t tried all that many as experimentation is an expensive undertaking! Do you use Butt Butter or the like?

Obviously the position each rider finds comfortable varies by person, but the methods we use to achieve it are generally the same. Here’s what goes into making my saddle setup the best it can be.

Surly and the Capitol

The “Right” Saddle

Felkerino says that one of the ways you can tell you’ve become a cyclist is if you have a box full of various saddles at home. It takes some experimenting to find the right one. Reading the saddle description, perusing customer reviews, and getting input from other riders will give you an idea if a particular saddle is made to suit your type of riding, but beyond that it’s pretty much experimentation. Enter the box of saddles.

I started out riding a Terry Butterfly, which worked fine until it didn’t. Over time I switched to riding Brooks saddles. For the tandem, I like to ride the Brooks Flyer S, which is a leather saddle with springs and a wider base and a shorter nose than the regular Brooks saddles.

Taking note of the saddle tilts on the Co-Motion

Taking note of the saddle tilts on the Co-Motion

Saddle Adjustment

Once you select a saddle that you think might go the distance, put it on your bike and start tinkering with it. Here are a couple of things I keep in mind when adjusting my saddle.

1. Tilt

The angle with which a saddle tilts up or down can make all the difference to your ride. As you can see in the photo of my bike, I like to have my saddle tilted up. While one of my friends said it physically pains her to look at my saddle, I find it quite comfy. My sit bones are squarely on the base of the saddle, and the tilt is not so much that it creates any friction in front. Believe me, friction in front is something to avoid.

If for some reason the bolts loosen and my saddle starts to tilt such that it compromises my position, I stop to adjust it. As Felkerino says, never be afraid to turn a bolt. Whenever he has any saddle discomfort he will immediately stop to address it. I’m not as vigilant as Felkerino in that department, but it is a good philosophy. If a saddle becomes uncomfortable due to maladjustment, it will not become comfortable again until you stop, get out your wrenches, and change the setup.

2. Setback

The amount that you move the saddle the saddle forward or backward on its rails also contributes to a positive saddle position. For example, if I move my saddle too far forward, I can feel myself sitting on the saddle’s rivets, or close to its edge. Ouch. When that happens, I know I need to move my saddle further back on the seat post.

Different seat posts allow varying degrees of setback. (Enter box of seat posts!) I like to have a lot of setback on my saddle. For use on our tandem, I purchased (ok, Felkerino purchased) a Nitto Wayback seatpost. I have also used a Velo Orange Grand Cru Seatpost with a long setback. Otherwise, I found myself constantly pushing back on the saddle, which caused discomfort on longer rides. Because the wayback seatpost gives me the perfect amount of setback, I don’t end up fighting the saddle.

Felkerino and me (wearing the Sugoi RS shorts) on the 2012 DCR 600K (c) Bill Beck

The “Right” Bike Shorts

Just as I have a box for saddles and another for seatposts, I also have a drawer of bike shorts that did not make the “long ride” cut. Ultimately, the Sugoi RS (recommended to me by another randonneuse) are my go-to shorts for long rides.

The aspects I take into consideration when I purchase bike shorts include the following: chamois thickness and texture, chamois size, position of the short seams, the shorts fabric, shorts length and general aesthetic.

For me, the Sugoi RS work well because the chamois is not thick and it is smooth to the touch. The chamois also does not dry out easily or chafe my skin. The shorts fit me in such a ways that the seams don’t abrade me anywhere.

I like the fabric Sugoi uses, the shorts fit my body well, the length is perfect, and they are fairly understated.

I also have a couple of pairs of Voler Elite FS shorts that I’ve used on rides of 200+ miles. While the shorts fabric, fit, and chamois type work well for me, I do not like the contrasting stitching on these shorts. If I only had time to take a black Sharpie to all those seams.

For a short time I used wool shorts, but found that they ended up stretching and sagging in the butt area. That’s not a look I’m really going for so I’ve stuck to using shorts made of synthetic fabrics.

Stocking up on Chamois Butt’r

Chamois Cream

Chamois cream helps ward off any chafing during a ride. I always use it for rides that are, say, over 40 miles. At our house, we use Chamois Butt’r. It’s pretty affordable, I don’t usually need to reapply until after the century mark, and it makes my ride that much more comfortable. I know there are many others out there, but since Chamois Butt’r has always done the job, I have not done any experimenting with other creams. If you’ve got one that you really like, please put it in the comments.

Handlebar Height and Reach

One of my tweeps suggested that I mention something about handlebars, as their position on the bike also affects a rider’s comfort in the saddle. If a rider is too stretched out over the bike, that means his or her hips will be tilting forward at an angle that invites trouble, i.e., pain.

If the rider is squinched up on the bike (my technical term meaning that the reach is not long enough), another uncomfortable angle is likely to cause the rider to fight the bike in an effort to make the ride more comfortable, also leading to saddle problems.

Because I am not that flexible of a rider and the bulk of my riding is touring, I also set up my handlebars slightly higher than the saddle in order to have a more upright position. This works well for me on long rides.

I don’t know how to technically explain this, but when on the bike, the rider does not want to feel like a lot of weight is going into his or her hands. Certainly some weight will be distributed into the hands, but the bulk of a rider’s weight should be distributed toward the back end of the bike, which is why having a saddle that feels good and supports the sit bones well is so critical.

By finding the right saddle for me, adjusting it properly to my body, finding some shorts that will go the distance, making sure to put on Chamois Butt’r before rides, and tweaking the handlebars just so I’ve found that I can ride for miles and miles in comfort. I also had a lot of help from Felkerino, who was always at the ready with the wrenches. It took time experimenting and fiddling, but I ultimately got there.

Did I miss anything? Please feel free to add any other comments or thoughts you have about finding comfort in the saddle.

Lost in the Landscape. One Perspective of a Female Touring Cyclist

Over the summer Swift Industries, a bicycle-loving and beautiful bag-making company out of the Pacific Northwest, sponsored a writing project called Tough & Tender, “a literary and photographic project that celebrates women’s relationships with bicycles, touring, and the bike industry.”

The project received several contributions and I’ve found them all inspiring. Many thanks to Swift Industries for creating this forum for women to share our stories. Click here to see the Swift blog and check them out.

I submitted a reflection titled “Lost in the Landscape” that Swift recently posted and I’m also posting it here. I’ve edited it slightly since my original submission. While not a full-on celebration of bicycling and my relationship with the bike industry, it was my best effort to capture my feelings about them both from my lens as a female touring cyclist. As always, thanks for reading.

When I first began riding my bicycle again as an adult, I did as the mainstream cycling magazines directed. I emulated the well-marketed roadie image, bought a red and silver aluminum and carbon racing-style bike and sported garish printed jerseys and lycra. The guy in the bike shop convinced me it was just what I needed.

Over time, my fitness increased and I found myself pedaling further and further from home. After riding a few centuries, I discovered that touring cycling appealed to me, but doing it on a racing bike did not. Aero positioning and narrow tires were unsuited for longer rides. I also decided I wanted more versatile, understated cycling clothing for all-day rides.

Disregarding mainstream cycling publications and bike shop advice, I turned to friends and other forums to guide my purchase of a reliable touring bike. I began wearing simpler tops and regular shorts over my lycra in an effort to wear clothing that allowed me to look somewhat like a regular person rather than a “real cyclist.” I preferred to dress in a way that worked not just on the bike, but made me less conspicuous when walking around.

Thanks to touring, a whole new world of bicycling opened to me, a world that embraced the independence and thrill of bike travel. However, the more I rode, the more I realized that most people haven’t discovered the divine pleasures of bike touring. The vast majority of people still use cars or other forms of transport to see new places. Touring cyclists are an anomaly in the U.S. And a female touring cyclist? Even more so.

In a way, I feel special because I’m doing something that lots of other people don’t. I travel thousands of miles each year under my own steam, unfettered by the trappings of a car. At the same time, I do not ride because I’m trying to stand out or do something unusual. I ride because it’s the best transportation method I know and I revel in exploration by bicycle.

While female touring cyclists are uncommon, we do exist. We also buy things. However, most people seem unaware of our presence, even those in the bike industry. When I open a cycling magazine or enter a bike shop, the female images I see (if any) are those of the racer sporting splashy kit or a woman in a tailored skirt on a mixte with upright handlebars.

Where are the regular touring cyclists? We are invisible, lost somewhere in the landscape between the racers and cycle chic. Lost amid the people driving to see the world and the next mountain view. Annoyed yet undeterred, I ride on, confident in my chosen path.

My bike is my lifeline to recreation, travel, and discovery. Without it, I’d be lost and unhappy. Some day, I hope the bike industry realizes that women like me merit attention, too. Maybe then, we’ll truly be part of the cycling landscape.

WABA 50 States Ride: Pre-Ride Prep for the Ultimate Urban Excursion

This coming Saturday marks the arrival of another edition of the 50 States Ride. While this ride sort of freaked me out the first time I did it, it’s since grown on me and now it’s a much-anticipated fall event.

Felkerino and me at the end of the 2011 50 States Ride

Washington Area Bicycling Association (WABA), our local cycling advocacy group, organizes the ride. My entry fee supports WABA’s good work and in exchange I get a tour through all four quadrants and 50 state streets in the District with 500 other people.

The total 50 States route is around 65 miles. My plan is to not ride the full route. How about that for ambition? Rather, I’ll be doing the “More than 25, but fewer than 50 States Ride,” depending on where and how far I feel like riding. Last year, I pedaled over 40 of the 50 state streets and completed slightly more than 50 miles.

It feels good to accomplish the full route and all 50 state streets, but I found myself pulling out my hair at some of the more congested downtown areas. Since I ride those fairly frequently anyway, it doesn’t break my heart to skip them during the 50 States Ride.

Goals for this year’s 50 States Ride are:

  • See #BikeDC friends.
  • Stop for coffee along the way. Peregrine. Chinatown Coffee. Hmm, where else should I go?
  • Meet some new people.
  • Get some exercise.
  • Take pictures.
  • Enjoy enjoy enjoy.

Last year I chose my Rivendell Quickbeam for the ride. A single speed was ideal for me then, as there was no hill too tough for the Quickbeam, and the 32 mm tires set up well for the sometimes bumpy city streets. This year I’ve been nagged by some knee pain so I will be riding a geared bike, as a single speed seems unwise.

Velo Orange Mixte

Most likely I’ll ride my Velo Orange this time around. The Velo Orange is a mixte that, like the Quickbeam, is also set up with 32 mm tires and well-suited to urban riding. My posture on the mixte is more upright, but I have found both bikes to be comfortable. I’ll let you know for sure after the ride is over.

Over the weekend, I went to BicycleSPACE and picked out a new Crane bell for the bike. My mixte is set up with a bell, but it’s the worst bell ever. The bell ding is the equivalent of a loud whisper. Useless. Why did I buy the bell in the first place? Because it was in the shape of a coffee cup and I thought it was cute. So much for that approach.

Coffee bell on the Velo Orange. Possibly the worst bell ever.

In contrast, the brass Crane bell I purchased makes a beautiful yet stark sound that clearly announces a bicycle. It’s beautiful, but functional, too.

Shiny new (and functional!) Crane bike bell from BicycleSPACE

With that addition, the Velo Orange is ready to take on the 50 States Ride. Are you riding, too? If so, I’ll see you there!

Riding the C&O Canal on the Rawlands

This weekend, Felkerino and I took advantage of the spectacular mild weather and busted out our Rawland dSogns for a day ride along the C&O Canal.

Rawland dSogns on the C&O Canal

Our destination? Homestead Farm, a pick-your-own produce place just outside of Poolesville, Maryland.

Homestead Farm makes for a perfect fall ride from home. The one-way trip is about 29 miles, the route along the C&O is quite pretty (particularly the spots near Great Falls), and the reward for our efforts is tasty fresh fruit (or maybe even a piece of pie or a caramel apple if we want to get something extra special).

Picking out a gourd at Homestead Farm

The Rawlands are great for terrain like the C&O. 650B wheels make for a comfy ride with no toe overlap. Fatty Rumpkin tires tolerate the bumps and dips well. My Brooks Flyer S saddle smooths out any uneven ground. The grippy disc brakes offer ready assistance to deal with weaving pedestrians or any other untimely obstacles thrown in my path. Oh, and my Carradice Nelson longflap is perfect for hauling home any fresh produce or treats we pick up along the way.

I love my Rawland dSogn and the C&O (and my NC Randonneurs jersey)!

We departed around 8:30 in the morning with hopes of avoiding any big crowds, but our plan resulted in us crossing paths with a half-marathon going on in D.C. and a 20-mile run going off on the C&O. How about that for our plan totally backfiring? Oh well, we were in no hurry, our disc brakes came in extra handy, and it was fun to cheer on the runners. We even got a “Go bikers!” from somebody. Yeah!

Felkerino and the Rawland

My Rawland is a bit stodgy on paved surfaces, but it thrives off-road. Every time I ride it I’m glad Felkerino picked one up for me, and I thank Rawland for the reasonably priced yet sturdy and responsive bikes that set up well for away-from-the-pavement adventures.

Despite the fact that Felkerino and I rode the whole way together, my computer showed 57 miles door-to-door compared to his 56. What does it mean? I’d say it means I win the mileage challenge.

Want to see more from our Sunday ride? Felkerino’s pics are here and the few I snapped are here.

The Bicycle Cycle

Felkerino and the SimpleOne on a fall morning commute

Given this week’s temperate weather, I’ve heaved a big sigh of relief and welcomed the idea that fall will soon be (if it is not already) here.

Fall is my favorite time of year for bike riding. Ironically, fall is often when my monthly mileage slacks off, at least for a couple of months. As I looked over the way that Felkerino and I plan our riding, I realized that the fall months really represent cycling for fun and relaxation.

That got me thinking about what I see as our “bicycle cycle,” and I realized that our bicycle cycle follows the four seasons.

Winter: The Build-Up.

Felkerino likes to mark the the beginning of our cycling year with the Winter Solstice. (This year the solstice is December 21, 2012.) That’s the time when we work earnestly to get our base mileage back up, kick ourselves out the door for some winter centuries, and make sure we have the miles in our legs so that we can ride our first 200K brevet of the season in comfort. Or at least, as much comfort as can be had at a March brevet. As you year-round riders know, you never can tell what type of weather March is going to serve up.

Felkerino and me on a cold January ride out to White’s Ferry

Spring: Brevets!

From March through June, Felkerino and I turn our focus to the completion of the Super Randonneur series and, if possible, a fleche. That means at least one 200K, 300K, 400K and 600K brevet plus a 24-hour ride of at least 360K.

It’s a time when the bike riding becomes more disciplined. We get up extra early, spend more days following a prescribed route, and we pedal purposefully to ensure we finish our ride within the brevet time limits.

Warrenton 300K Brevet with Christian, Rick, and Felkerino

Summer: Long Days, Long Rides

Over the past three years, we’ve taken the remainder of June and the months of July and August to prepare for and ride a “longer” brevet, such as a 1200K or 1000K. That usually means a few overnights and long-weekend tours to build our endurance.

The preparation for a 1200K is challenging, but really fun. Summer riding may be hot, but I love that we don’t have to take a ton of stuff to go on a ride. Just the basics, no layering systems required.

We also like to work in a week of summer touring if our schedules allow it. We’ve really enjoyed our “credit card,” i.e., no-camping touring. We still have the fitness from the brevets, but can ride without the same constraints of time and mandatory stops of brevets.

Summer tuneup/overnight ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Fall: Relax and Rejuvenate

Suddenly, when I think I can’t take one more day of summer heat, fall arrives. The sun lazily pushes up over the horizon just that much later. The air feels dryer, a morning chill makes a subtle demand for a cap, arm- or maybe even knee-warmers, and the sun gradually warms the body but never punishes you with its heat.

Fall cycling is the best part of my bicycle cycle, but it’s not only because of the weather. Fall means our major cycling goals are behind us or ahead of us, and for the moment we can truly let loose and pedal wherever and however we feel. It’s a time to recover from the big rides of the spring and summer, rejuvenate, and get excited about the winter season, when the bicycle cycle begins again.

A fall ride to Homestead Farm

I’m not the kind of person who could live somewhere it was summer all the time. I need the crisp cool of fall, the blustery winds of spring, and even the treeless winter days. Like the four seasons, the bicycle cycle is all about achieving an optimal balance. It helps me ward off burnout and revel in each facet of the bicycle cycle.

Rando Q&A with Andrea M., D.C. Randonneurs

Today the bloggy action takes place over on that other blog I know, The Daily Randonneur, with another Rando Q&A.

Andrea M., of the D.C. Randonneurs, graciously agreed to be a guest contributor for this week’s Rando Q&A. Check the full post out here.

Andrea on the 2012 D.C. Randonneurs 600K

The Rando Q&A features many thoughtful insights about riding brevets from randonneurs in various clubs in the U.S.

If you’ve ever wondered what randonneuring is like or you’re already randonneuring and want to read about other people’s perspectives, a scroll through The Daily Randonneur’s Rando Q&As is well worth your time.