Reintroductions

TL;DR: I rode 15 miles on my commuter bike b/c it has the best seat.  Everything hurt when I was done, but I enjoyed it.

This post will have plenty of prose, interspersed with pictures from my favorite local loop. 
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My favorite pastime, cycling, has been difficult to access for the last three months eternity.  The reality of my existence is that having a fulltime job, a family to take care of and be pursuing a master’s degree preclude taking time to ride for content creation.  But, as many have told me, and I believe myself, “You will make time for the things that are important to you.”  If, as I’ve written before, I must take care of myself in order to take care of others, then being on my bicycle is not just fun, but a requirement for my quality of life.

So, for the re-introductions.

Feet to pedals

This bike has the stock pedals. Flat pedals. My feet are not as tough as they once were and I wasn’t wearing my rigid cycling shoes, I was wearing my converse. So from time to time,  I got some numbness in my toes because I didn’t have firm enough footwear on.  Something about pinching nerves. If anyone knows why this happens, tell me in the comments.

Seat to posterior

In the past, riding has been fun, until numbness, in an area that shouldn’t be, set in. While my favorite blogger has a story about this area, I’ll let you theorize. Late last year, I purchased a seat with cutouts to attempt to prevent this. It worked.

My soft tissues (contact points) that weren’t in the afore-mentioned area were still bruised and angry at the end. But that’s no different than any other ride after a long time off the bike, a temporary sign of being in the saddle more than is comfortable (right now).

Hands to handlebar

I have lost my relaxed control of my bike. I haven’t ridden enough to have my upper body do the work and my hands simply be the points where arms connect to bike. Instead I was white-knuckling, squeezing way too hard, on the handlebars. How do I know? Numbness in my hands. Yay. *sad trombone sound*

Also, like a noob, I left my gloves at home so I had to squeeze harder as my hands got sweaty.

Mind to riding.

So is the easiest part to get used to. I’ve never gotten over the relaxed feeling of rolling along on two wheels almost silently. For me, riding a bicycle is the metaphysical equivalent of a previous generation sitting in a chair and smoking a cigar. With friends or without, it is one of my favorite things to do. When I ride, I find solace in activity, I meditate and ruminate while moving. Fast or slow, with others or not, cycling is something I’m always mentally prepared for.

Are you?

Eat Better

Move More

Get Out and Ride

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You’re Not The Only Game In Town Anymore, Stop Acting Like It

This post is not about bikes, it is about life and human interaction. Bike content in the future, to be sure.

Rural America, small business and large business in general, wake up! Every interaction with customers is important now.

You’re not the only game in town anymore. Your business will be buried if you don’t work on your customer interactions and if you don’t get flexible.  Large businesses, there are A LOT more of you out there now that are easily acessible.  Small businesses, every single interaction counts. Every.  Single. One.

The new economy, powered by the internet, is here and has been for almost 15 years, trying to ignore it is worse than short-sighted, it’s idiotic. Transportation is still cheap enough that if you can’t/won’t help someone or you give them a bad experience, they’ll go to the next town to (large retailer) or order it on the internet  from (large e-retailer). Every customer interaction should be a personal mission for point people to show they care and they want your business/interaction.  It’s easier than ever to get what you need from a multitude of sources cheaply and quickly. Every interaction is important now.

Here are some examples.

Weeks ago, I spent the day in a small Midwestern town that I don’t live in.  I had (4) interactions with people who, ostensibly, are expected to serve the public.  Out of the (4), only ONE was successful and pleasant.  This is bad.

I went to (large retailer) first because I needed a male-to-male HDMI plug.  I checked their website before I went and thought that I saw that it was available.  I searched the area of (large retailer) that should stock said item, I couldn’t find it.  I found a staff member working the area and asked if they knew where it was.  Their response: “We don’t sell that, you should shop somewhere else.”  That was it.  Annoyed, I asked, “Are you sure?  Your website says it’s here.  Can you look or show me where to look?”, after an angry sigh and an annoyed look, they took me to the proper spot in the miles of aisles and we looked together.  Sure enough, they didn’t have it.  I apologized for being sharp and left the building.  However, due to the interaction I had I’m now going to shop at (large electronics retailer) for that plug now, (large electronics retailer) has a reputation for helpfulness and efficiency. Good work (large retailer) you lost my business.  This may seem like a tiny drop in the bucket, but I’m going to tell my friends about it too.  We may not hurt your bottom line, but we can change your local reputation for customer service.  In the internet age, reputation can be MORE important than dollars.

Then I went to (local public library).  I needed to study and I wanted to listen to some music while I did so.  I’d never been to (local public library) before, and I’d heard middling to poor reports about their patron interactions, but I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt.  Unfortunately, reports turned out to be true.

I found some cd cases in the stacks and took them to the front desk to get the actual cds.  What followed was a back and forth with a librarian, where due to non-residence and disinterest in spending money on a free public service (library card) the cds were ultimately restricted from use.  STUPID!  I wanted knowledge (music) which at a  library should be freely given, and I was denied.  There are so many other ways to get what (local public library) has I may never go back in.  I would have, however, come back again and again, and referred others to go in there.  But alas, it was not to be, I suppose.  Every interaction is important now.

Next I went the local coffee shop/bookstore for a pick-me-up. When I went in I looked at the board, and didn’t see the coffee that I wanted. I asked the barista for a straight black coffee, which wasn’t on the menu, and she was happy to make one for me. Her response, “Sure, we can do that!” She was quick, cheerful, and she made it clear that you value to our interaction. This is the way business should be done in the modern economy. She will get repeat business from me, and I will refer as many people as I can to go get coffee there.

Finally I went to (large fast food chain), to get a fountain drink for my wife. I know that they have a super-modern machine with multiple flavors and styles of soda. I pulled up in the drive-through, and made the crazy order that my wife wanted.  It sounded good so I ordered one for myself too. However, the fast food worker told me that the only way for me to purchase that was for me to come inside. The super-fancy soda machine is in the dining room, which is three steps away from the counter. I wanted to spend about seven dollars on soda and this person couldn’t take three steps. I went in and ordered the stupid soda, but I won’t be eating there again.

I was infuriated but not totally surprised by what I experienced.  The reason e-retailers and the internet have become so incredibly dominant is because of exchanges like this.  Brick and Mortar stores have been struggling because they’re not chasing every sale by focusing on every interaction.  Every. Single. Interaction. Matters.

That is all, thanks for listening.

Bike content to come next week.  Look for “Reintroductions”

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Inspired

This weekend is the YMCA Tree City Rolling Tour.  If it’s anything like last year, it’ll stand to be one of the best organized rides I’ll do this year.  July’s post will probably be a narrative about the experience.  Check back in a couple of weeks, but on to current business.

I took a great ride today (Fathers day).  The first ride of my summer season.  This was also the first time I got to test my new fitness watch on a long ride.  It worked flawlessly.

10.2 miles, 55 minutes, 11.2 mph avg

Not all that auspicious, but I found myself fired up about my bicycle for the first time in months. I also discovered a great resting point exactly 5 miles from my house.

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Previously, I had a glowing post where I laid out my fitness goals for the year. I failed to make any progress on them.  I then wrote another post where I doubled-down in my inspiration and frustration.  I’ve since failed to make any progress like this.

I’m Bugs Bunny, and Yosemite Sam is my lack of riding, or my laziness or something.

I’ve written before about making good health decisions and the philosophical ramifications of need vs. want.  Maybe I should take my own advice and remember what’s important to me.  What does it say about a writer who isn’t taking his own advice? hmm

For now, I’ll describe the other side of my own personal bike experiences that is important to me:  creating and riding new routes.

I have a deep love of maps.  The information that is outlined, the different ways that cartographers code the same information, I love discovering the information that someone outlined about the world.  It’s armchair exploring of a sort.  I have piles and piles of roadmaps, campsite maps, county maps, and an Indiana gazeteer.  I even have an 8-year-old copy of this, that is outdated enough to be less than useful sometimes.

This appreciation means that one of my favorite ways to ride is to create a new route, by using my maps, and then ride it.  A form of exploration that I really enjoy deeply.  That’s just what I did on Father’s Day this year, and when I got back I realized that one of the exciting things about the ride was “discovering” the new route.  Again, hmmmmm….

So, how about a route that I haven’t ridden, I want to ride, and could be a lot of fun.  There are a number of covered bridges in my home county.  Historic and still being used, we have five.  So I worked out a route on google maps to hit all five, and one modern bridge (near Flatrock Christian Church), at increasingly shorter intervals over a 40 ish-mile ride.  It could be a brutal ride, without training, or it could be just strenuous and pleasant with nice stops.

Let’s ride it!

100 Miles Of Nowhere of Uncertainty 2015 (final report)

Months and months ago, I did a thing that I always do, that’s kinda crazy, the 100 Miles Of Nowhere.  In the business of life, I failed to quickly churn out the multi-part narrative that I had mentally constructed.  I did, however, take some freeform notes while I rode.  This post is my notes, plus pictures, all in roughly the order that they happened.  The first, orphaned post is here.

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Ham and cheese Kraft #5 a relief to not get a weird one.
Chicken and mozzarella Monday lunch part 1
Honey turkey and Mexican(monterrey jack, cheddar, queso quesadilla, asadero) first one eaten
Beef, sharp cheddar – second eaten
All cheese-Sunday dinner
Spaghetti and mozzarella #4
Spicy link and sharp cheddar #3
Spicy link and Mexican -eaten be wife, she did NOT enjoy more than a bite, the it away in disgust
Peanut butter and banana-Sunday dinner part II
Nutella and banana Monday lunch part 2-the bananas had turned to goo, for some reason.

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Started at 527
Bone maxes at 15mph

Wanted to get off my bike 4 times, took a break one hour in,

I found that the garage is actually heated up my mind body warms when I open the garage door an hour and a half into this ride and God coolant blast all over me that was quite refreshing refraction

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Got soaked with sweat had to put sweater back on at two hours in
my feet have been cold the entire ride so far. Took it off again fifteen minutes later.

Sherlock Holmes 1 1/2
Iron man
Skyfall
Special features of star trek reboot
Plus YouTube motortrend videos

? How much if this is actually an eating contest?

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913 – 44.6 miles 3 hours and change moving time

Drenched in sweat, but doing less suffering than last time

Keeping a steady pace while on the bike is paramount, staying ON the bike almost as important

The routine made this work.

I did a victory cheer for myself,

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I kept yelling when I visited my family indoors, for some reason

How To Bike-Commute for Fun and Profit

Make it easy.

Make it easy to choose your bike over your car. The car is obvious as a choice for commuting because it’s easy.
A climate-controlled rolling living room? Who wouldn’t want that? Yes, please.
It carries all my stuff with the greatest of ease? Oh man.
I can spend lots of money that I don’t have, and waste huge amounts of time at a job I hate paying for it? Wait a sec.

If the bike were as easy, as useful, and cheaper than a car, I think more people would choose it. I don’t think anyone will ever be able to make a bike as comfortable, but that’s a different issue.

Make it easy to choose your bike instead. I have and I’ll share my (3) strategies that work 100% most of the time.

1. simplify Take only what you need to work. I have an all-weather coat that I take everyday. And
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That’s it. My mostly waterproof briefcase, a lunch box, and a coffee cup. If you’re constantly shuttling giant loads of gear from work to home and back, you’ll never choose a bike.

2. plan ahead. I pack my lunch and my briefcase the night before most commutes, so they won’t hold me up. I also incessantly check the weather, so I can stay dry/warm/cool with the right gear from day to day. I also plan my errands and activities based on my bike, I factor in the travel time and pick my routes efficiently.

3. make it inconvenient to take the car. Like this:

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I park in front of my car, to force myself to take the bike, most of the time it works.

That’s it; simplify, plan ahead, make the bike convenient.

Take care of yourselves and look after each other

Move More
Eat Better
Get Out And Ride

in order to keep track of what I eat and how much I move, I’ve started another blog. Eat and move will be mostly a list but if you want the most up-to-date info, visit it. Nope, way too much extra work, i’ll try something else, probably with my Garmin tracker, stay tuned for a different solution.

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How to Fail at Your Goals

Give up.

It’s that simple.

I stopped trying for a month and erased 60 days of progress.

I broke every rule that I’d set for myself on eating and physical activity.  Every single one.  I didn’t ride any of my bikes, I ate late and often. I ate lots of bad food (simple carbs) and didn’t hydrate. I ate when I wasn’t hungry, I overate, I sat all the time, and I ate before bed a lot. I stayed up very late and then got up early.  I wasted my discretionary time and thus had to work even later.

I’ve gained almost ten pounds in a little more than three weeks.  “Disappointed” doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about this. 

So, the month of April is a turn-around month. Short version: lose 5 pounds by the end of the month.  222 to 217.

Got ideas about sticking to your goals? Share in the comments.

Move More
Eat Better
Get Out And Ride

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Back To The Bike

It’s April, I do hereby affirm, barring emergencies and situations beyond my control, that I will ride my bike or spin on my trainer every day from now until the end of the month.

My resolve in March, wavered. I am personally humiliated to admit that all-told, I rode less than a couple of days a week.  My reasons would be understandable to most, but not if you’ve read some past posts of mine. I have written some fairly passionate, if not rabid, posts about being dedicated to this form of transport.

Worst of all, in March, I totally erased all of the physical fitness progress I’d made since December.  All of it.  To my body, the first quarter of the year didn’t happen. So, I need your help dear readers.

If you know me personally, encourage and talk to me about my goals, whenever. If you don’t know me personally, send your good wishes my direction.  Now I have 9 months to do what I had planned to do in 12.

As always,

Move More
Eat Better
Get Out And Ride

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2015 in review

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This is how I look after every post.  

This post is a bit of a cheap, dirty, trick. It is also just a small side-post outside the monthly pattern I’ll be doing this year.

Don’t worry, I didn’t work that hard at this one. I just added a graphic and a tag at each end.  If you are an avid reader of mine, you may be interested.  If not check last week’s post about next week’s post.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 540 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 9 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

now please, please,

 

Move more,

Eat Better,

Get Out and Ride.

*spoiler alert* Resolutions for 2016

Happy New Year!
Seriously, I truly hope that this year is a good one for you.

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My cats have resolved to stay in the bag until I force them out.

My resolutions start February 1.  You read that correctly, I didn’t mistype it.  It’s been a busy winter, and I plan to rededicate myself to some productive goals. Soon.

2015 was an incredible year for me.  I became a father on 12/30 of 2014. Those of you readers with children understand: I never realized how ignorant I was until I held a screaming baby.  Those of you without children: enjoy your sleep.

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On top of being a new father, I decided to start a master’s degree in 2016; class started yesterday last  week.  Additionally, I’m presenting at a professional conference this month, so EVERY minute of my time is spoken for till the end of the month. Whew!

In order to survive and thrive throughout the year, I’m changing my blog format and setting new resolutions. Starting with this post, I’m moving to a monthly schedule. However, there will be repeating segments that will help you through the “long winter”of waiting for posts.  Starting February 1, you’ll see: Twitter reports, Gear reports, Ride reports and some posts about health or philosophy all wrapped in one long post a month. I hope you enjoy the new format and the recurring themes.

Ok the hard stuff, the resolutions. Here we go.

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*cheesy inspirational graphic*

1.  Pass all of my Master’s classes
2.  Lose 22 pounds by December 31, 2016 at 8am (intermediate goal till 20160201 : hold the line on current weight)
3.  Ride 3 century-length events without giving up by December 31.
4. Improve my core and upper body strength – be able to do 10 pull-ups and 30 pushups without stopping by December 31
5. Raise my weekly mileage from approx 40 miles a week to approx 100 miles a week.

In my next post, I’ll outline how I plan to do this.  Enjoy the rest of January,

Move More
Eat Better
Get Out And Ride

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