Tuesday, December 29, 2009


OK, Body Weight Workout day two!

I'm sure some of you with a basic knowledge of how calculators operate are mentally calling me out right now. Well, call out, because you've got me. Right after my first workout, I took a trip down to my parents' house for Christmas. Also, the mysterious back pain previously mentioned made a return. I actually don't think that it was caused by the exercise, but I would be really unsurprised if the exercise didn't make it worse. So I passed on the exercise. I am a losing loser who loses.

But! I came back. Since my slightly-less-than-half-full kitty litter container didn't give me quite the arm workout I had wanted, I filled it the rest of the way up with water, giving a total weight of 28.8 pounds. Initially. It dsidn't take lonog into the actual dumbbell rows to learn that while the containers look watertight, and may be good at keeping water out, they don't actually keep water in with 100% effectiveness. I don't think I lost all that much though, but the carpet is now wet. Awww.

Tomorrow was going to be a combination bike-to-work and save-my-transmission day, but there is an awful lot of slipperiness on the bike path, and I just don't feel up to putting the studded tires back on right now. I might be able to wake up extra early in the morning and do it. Time will tell. Ideally I think I would also change my pedals so I can wear boots. It's a little cold out there for my cycling shoes now. Eventually maybe I'll work out some intervals that I can do on my commute. Probably could get some decent hill training in on the mile and a half slope I have to ride up. Somehow actaully training on the bike takes all the fun out of riding. And I like fun.

Anyway, I should probably work on sleeping soon.

Thanks for the support everyone! I'll post my weight in the morning. Spoiler alert: I bet it went up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I did the Beginner Body Weight Workout this morning. Only managed two sets, but that's two more than I did yesterday, so there's hope for me yet. They are even harder to do than I thought they would be--which is good. Trying to emulate the milk jug full of water they use, I filled an empty liter box bucket halfway up with water, which ended up being 12.2lbs or so--I think next time I will fill it all the way up, because the dumbbell rows were what I had the least trouble with.

The back didn't bother me the whole time, which is good. Hopefully it will stay quiet.

After I finish my breakfast Slim-Fast, it will be time to hit the shower and get ready to head to work.

Today's weight: 282.6 (ugh).

What happened?

OK, so I slipped. Rather a lot. I lost my motivation and I made excuses, and I stopped biking. Haven't ridden to work in weeks, and last year I would go two weeks without driving my car at all.

I seem to have gained some weight. OK, a lot of weight. I think am currently around 285, which is the heaviest I have been in my life. I was at 225 two years ago, which was still overweight, but I wasn't too unhappy about it--I could be pretty speedy on the road when I put my mind to it. Right now I am very....not.

I did go for a ride on Friday, though. I think I did around 15 miles (bike computer was dead) and it was more work than it used to be, but atl east I still enjoyed it.

My plan now is to treat this blog something like the Fat Cyclist started out doing. Report on weight, exercises done, maybe even food consumption, and see if throwing it all out for the internet to see will help motivate me to improve.

In the morning I plan to weigh myself to get a starting baseline, then I may do a short workout--it depends on my shoulder, I did something to it last week and it's been giving painful spasms for the past 6 days. For exercise, I will either go with EA Sports Active for the Wii (which, unlike Wii Fit, actually gives you a good workout), or the Beginner Body Weight Workout from Nerd Fitness. I have a feeling they would both be of fairly similar impact, but the EA would be more cardio oriented and the Nerd Fitness would be more muscular, which makes it tempting. Having a virtual coach yell at me to do things is good for the motivation, though.

Soon I will have to try a ride to work to see how long it takes me--the last thing I need is to be late to work due to being too out of shape. Another fun thing: Reintegrating riding into my life when the high temperature for the day doesn't exceed freezing. I have ridden when it's in the mid teens and it's quite doable, but if I succeed at riding I may need some new gloves. My fingers get chilly around 20 degrees.

So, if anyone happens to read this, do me a favor and call me fat every now and then to keep me going. We'll see where this ends up.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Not too much to report recently. Still being encouraged to bike to work every day since my truck is in need of new tires and begins to vibrate madly at 40mph. Those will come Saturday, with any luck. Interesting event to report from this morning though...

They have been repaving along part of my commute. For those in the know, I am speking of Indian Ripple Rd, specifically near the North Alpha Bellbrook intersection. I come up N Alpha every day and then turn left to get to work. It is both lower in traffic and a less steep grade (though higher elevation change) than taking Factory to Indian Ripple and turning left.

Anyway, Wednesday's commute had me waiting for a little while at a four way stop while they worked on a bit of paving. The far side of the road where I would be riding had been done for a while, and thankfully I got through before they put the tar down on the near lane....I think riding through that would be challenging at best. I made my left turn and then hammered as hard as I could up the hill because I wanted to get through as quickly as possible and not delay other people too much--not only could no one pass me on the single lane, but traffic was stopped the other way as well becase only one lane could go at a time. So I arrived at work quite tired and sore. I need to work on exerting myself more on rides, right nw I just kinda cruise at a comfortable speed. Pushing myself is the only way I'll improve. But I digrress.

Fast forward to Thursday's ride. I get to the same point at the top of the hill, wait way longer, and then when traffic goes through....I sink. Apparently a big guy on a bike has higher pressure on asphalt than a big car with 4 wide tires on the ground. It was like riding into a patch of mud. When I turned the handlebars left, the front wheel washed out and left a big divot in the asphalt, like a big black sticky snowdrift. It was like sudedenly itting 3 inches of mud. I didn't go down since I got my foot down (I was probably only going 5mph or so at the time), but I ended up getting asphalt stuck to the end of my shoe as well. Thankfully it didn't stick in the cleat area so I was able to clip in with no problems. I ended up riding the .7 miles or so to the office with asphalt-encrusted tires, listening to the crunch of them on the pavement, hoping that there wasn't sticky tar and rocks all over my braking surface.

I wore my cycling shoes all day at the office, and whenever my right hand was free it was feeling asphalt off my left shoe. So there is a little pile of it next to my desk. It looks like the bike didn't come out of it too bad, just the tires got asphalted and the center tread is clear now after running on pavement for a few miles. There's still some on the sidewalls, but I am just going to leave it. It looks like there was just a little bit that got on the braking surface as well, but it scraped off pretty much immediately when I stopped the bike next, so that's not a worry either. Guess I came out of it all pretty well, considering. Maybe now I will finally treat myself to some new bike shoes. And brake pads, since mine are pretty much worn out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Funny. I had nothing to post for a long time, but now I have stuff to post but I keep missing chances to post it!

Saturday waqs the day to take my truck to the mechanic to investigate the mysterious squeaking noise. This means throwing the bike in the truck, driving to the mechanic, and biking home, since it's about a 1.3 mile ride and I really don't relish the idea of spending a few hours sitting in the lobby there.

A bit after arriving back home, I got the call that they had discovered the source of the mysterious squeaking noise: $375. Carrier shaft bearing. I like my driveshaft to spin.

I am never going to get to invest in more bikes if I keep pouring money into the truck. And now I'm at the point where I can't afford a new truck but I also can't afford to keep fixing this one. It will remain parked for all purposes except visiting the girlfriend, I think. This is the perfect time to go car free.

Sunday was a much happier occasion. Went to look at accessories for the girlfriend's bike (I already got her a water bottle, bottle cage, and computer, but she needs lights and fenders), then we went to the park for a picnic.

We actually got pics, something that this blog is sorely lacking most of the time!

Here's me cruising down the trail. Note the fat. Note lack of helmet. Almost always wear a helmet when I ride, but this particular path is completely free of cars. Plus Erin doesn't have one yet.

Here are the bikes at our picnic spot. Erin's brand new Cypress in the foreground, my travel-weary Long Haul Trucker in the background. Pannier contains blanket and KFC. Trunk bag contains an extra water bottle, a cable lock, some rain pants, pump, spare tube, tire levers, multitool, kitchen sink...

Another view of the bikes, this time with me holding one up.

We rode about a mile down the Mad River trail. There's downtown Dayton.

And there's the river. Grrr, mad.

All told, we did just shy of 11 miles Sunday, which is great for someone who just got a good bike and has barely ridden this year. I predict a happy summer full of more rides for us.

Yesterday was an extra long commute that took me to my brother's house for cat-feeding in the morning...that extended my full commute to 26 miles. It was nice in the afternoon though, a nice retiree rode up next to me and we talked for a while. I ride much faster when I'm with someone else, even if we're side by side. I think my speed went from about 14 to 18, and I wasn't straining much. It's just hard to convince myself to work very much harder when I'm riding alone.

And that's it for this update, hopefully I'll have more to write about soon, and not just end up doing a batch entry. Keep the rubber side down!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Who's a failure? I'm a failure!

So today is National Bike to Work Day!  And here I sit in Panera, after a refreshing....drive.

I tried hard though!  I did!  I got up later than I had originally intended, but I was on the road by 8--over an hour before my normal  departure time.  Why so early?  Free pancakes for cyclists at the 2nd Street Market downtown.

Upside:  Aweseom, free food!
Downside:  Where the heck is this place?

I knew the general location, so I headed off, opposite the location of my workplace.  After about 8 miles, 2 wrong turns, and questioning two people, I found it.  It was actually not hard to find for someone with rudimentary navigational skills.

The setup they had was pretty sweet.  Tons of (giant) free pancakes, lots of information booths, and a surprising number of people there at that time (around 8:45 I suppose).  I ate my pancake as quickly as I could, and was back on mybike at 9:00.  I was iffy as to whether I could make the 8 mile ride to work on time considering I also had to ride 8 miles to my apartment first.  Hmmm.  If I averaged 16mph and changed in under 5 minutes, I'd just manage it.  I was pushing into the wind on the wayback though, and my pancake-filled stomach and out-of-shape legs didn't like pushing me any more than 14 or 15.  Sadder yet, when I turned south on Creekside my left knee starting giving some pretty serious pain--I'm not sure what it was, but it was not good, and I cut my speed down to about 10mph, resigning myself to driving.

Oddly enough, Bike to Work Day was one of the only days I didn't ride last Spring as well.  I may have a problem.

Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures as my camera died before I could even take one shot.  Hopefully it just wants new batteries.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

...I've been away

Been away from posting for far too long. After my deep snow commute I burned out on cycling for a while, and it's hard to start it up again after stopping for very long.

I think I've finally gotten back into the groove though, since I have been seriously enjoying the wonderful weather we've been having, and my girlfriend also just bought a Giant Cypress so we can go on rides together. That means more biking and more biking with someone else, which are both good things. Unfortunately she lives about 45 miles away so we can't see each other and ride every day, but we should be doing lots of riding on the weekends. I just have to make sure I find the right balance between taking it too easy on her and wearing her out so much she decides that she hates bikes and hates me.

I'll follow the advice I saw in Mountain Bike Action about taking new riders to the trail....I'll just ride behind her so she will set the pace she is comfortable with.

Today's commute was extra long. After work I jumped off the bike path and rode to the Performance store, which I reached at about 7:50. It turns out they close at 7:00. And open at 10:00. Coincidentally, I work from 10 to 7, so I guess I won't be going there on weekdays. I rode across the street to an outdoor mall called The Greene though, and visited a shop called roll: (the silly puctuation is all them). It's a pretty sweet shop, and I grabbed the GF (let's call her "Erin") a few accessories for her new steed. These will be picturd in a later post.

I think it's definitely time to update my mileage log, it looks like I haven't ridden at all this year.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Once again a long delay.

Quick update: I followed through on my plan to ride the Heckler for my commute the next day. It wasn't really as great of an idea as I had hoped. The tires did get plenty of grip everywhere....but it was really slow. And actually rather painful. My legs kept hurting in the way that they do when my saddle is too low, but the seat height seemed right. I guess I don't have the fit dialed in as well as I thought. Mountain biking offers many fewer opportunities to stay in the saddle, so I guess seat height issues are less noticeable.

As of now it's been a week since I've biked in. Last Tuesday we had snow falling in the morning, and I threw the bike in the back of the truck, drove the truck to the mechanic that didn't fix it right, declined a loaner vehicle, and rode in to work. (I'm not going to drive a loaner van in the snow when I only have liability coverage)

The ride in wasn't too bad. There was maybe an inch of snow on the ground, and I got the pleasure of putting down first tracks. Eventually I saw some other tracks, but they were from feet. I caught up to and passed the guy who was walking and continued to work.

They let us out of work early due to snow concerns, and there were about 4 inches of snow on the ground when I left for home. The roads were clear, which was a plus, so I didn't have anything to worry about there.

The bike path was....not clear. I didn't know exactly how it would feel to ride 6 miles through that much powdery snow, but I can now conclude that I don't like it. Even my knobby tires had trouble finding a good path through the snow since it was full of footprints and van tracks from where they are doing work in a park alongside the trail. I thought riding in the van's tire tracks would simplify things--it very much did not. Getting caught in the rut was very bumpy and slippery, and I would ride fresh snow any chance I got.

I passed a jogger going the other way, we greeted each other. I kept chugging along (slowly), and a couple of miles later, he passed me. I got passed by a jogger. That was definitely the low point of the ride.

Continuing on, I saw another set of tire tracks in the snow. Someone else had actually biked in that day, which surprised me. I even saw the rider a mile or two later, getting on to the trail. We exchanged greetings in passing (Him: How's it going? Me: I want summer!), and continued on. For the rest of the ride, there was nothing to see on the path except my own faded tire tracks rom that morning.

Oh, did I mention that it was sleeting/freezing rain the whole ride? I think that's worth mentioning. All told, we got: 4" of snow, sleet and freezing rain all night (maybe 1/2" of ice), then another 4" of snow on top the next day. I wasn't about to try to bike through that mess, and even if I could have driven my car was still in the shop, so I just worked from home on Wednesday. Computer people can do that. Actually, no one in my department went in to the office.

The snow never melted off much until the weekend and while I have wanted to ride the past couple of days, it's been 9 degrees in the morning (for our European visitors, that's approximately -1,000C).

I believe tomorrow should be up at least into the mid teens in the morning, so hopefully I'll get one day of biking in, at least.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A reason to ride

OK, so it's really cold outside, but I will be commuting more often in the coming days.

Why? The clutch went out in my truck. Drat.

I would have definitely driven today if they truck had been functional, but I could either spend a day not at work, or bike in--and when there are expensive truck repairs coming, I would much rather have money coming in.

Anyway, on to the ride! It was about 14 degrees when I left home today, and the pace was slow. The primary factor slowing me down was the fact that the bike path was covered in snow. The snow was full of footprints. The footprints were frozen fairly solid. Lovely.

This experience was much like riding across very rough gravel--slow and bumpy, though unlike most gravel the bike would sometimes start to wander (I guess this can sometimes happen with skinny tires and narrow gravel). Here is what I rode through for six miles this morning:

Surprisingly, I got a bit warm on the ride in, so I pulled my balaclava down so it didn't cover my mouth after the first 2-3 miles. By the time I got to work my mustache had ice in it from my condensed breath. That's definitely different.

It takes forever to change clothes at work when you are wearing 3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of wool thermal underwear, 1 pair of wool semi tights, 1 pair of fleece sweatpants, 1 wool base layer, one fleece jersey, one lightweight wool jersey, one medium wool jersey, and a wind shell. On the other hand, my hands didn't get very cold, and I think it was due to keeping my core temperature up. I can't keep my hands any warmer than they are without a big investment in very nice gloves, but the ones I have are probably good for another 5 degrees if I am careful. Not sure I want to test that, though.

The ride home looked a little different than the ride in. It's pretty difficult to take good snow trail pictures at night, so I decided to not take good ones and see where that got me:

You can tell that a few other dedicated (or des[perate?) souls have ridden recently as well, though the most definted set of tracks in the left side of the pictures is probably mine.

Tomorrow I am planning to ride my full suspension mountain bike in and see how it does. I think that it will handle the snow better than the Long Haul Trucker, since I put the 2.35" Nevegal/Blue Groove combo back on. Wide tires should be good for snow. Not as good on ice as the studded tires, but there was very little ice on the trail today.

Here's a little tire comparison for what I like for different conditions:

On the left is the front wheel for my road bike, sporting a 700x23 Vredestein Fortezza. Good only for smooth paved surfaces, and I only use that bike when it isn't raining--not due to the tires though, but due to a lack of fenders on that bike.

In the middle we have a 700x35 Nokian Hakkapellita. Performs well on ice, but is very heavy and very slow on clean dry pavement--about 30% slower than usual when running this tire.

On the right is a 2.35" Kenda Nevegal (26"). Grips dirt like nothing else, not too horrible on the rolling resistance, and hopefully does a better job of floating over snow than the Nokians. We shall see tomorrow. Later today, technically.

Get out and ride!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


OK, so I kinda fell off the radar there for a while.

I just ran out of things to talk about. Commuting was beginning to seem like more of a chore than an enjoyable activity, and I didn't much feel like discussing it.

Winter riding is all exciting at first, but after the first month or so biking home in the dark really starts to get old for me. No people, no sunlight, just pedaling ever onward into the blackness.

I've still been riding some, but not as much. A couple days were just too cold...when the morning temp is zero, I just can't make myself go out the door.

I finally got around to swapping my pedals for platforms, at least. My feet were definitely warmer yesterday in boots, but we'll see hwat happens when there's a really cold day. It's above freezing this morning, that's like a miniature heat wave.

I meant to get pictures of my commute in snow yesterday morning, but...I forgot my camera. There was about an inch on the bike path, and I discovered that there are a few other people who bike to work in such conditions. Four or five of them, along my route. Even someone in my apartment complex, but they seem to go the other way, so I don't ever encounter them.

Well, this was an exciting first post. I'll see what I can do about posting more and better.