Sunday, October 31, 2010

Indian Summer

According to Webster, Indian Summer is any day after the first frost, but before the first snow, where the temperature comes above 70 degrees.
I like to think that any day after the first frost that is warm enough to enjoy being outside and not cold, is Indian Summer.
People come from all over the world to New England at this time of year to experience the beauty. New England at its finest, Cool and crisp days are perfect to enjoy a sit outdoors and just to be.
The "Heads Up" style of riding is especially enjoyable at this time of year. Recumbents offer just that and if you have never experienced an Indian Summer Day on our favorite style of bike, The today is a perfect day to try.
November is only a day away. Days like today wont last for long. Get out and enjoy the air. Even for a moment. You will be happy you did!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bicycle Fairings

Bicycle Fairings are those clear plastic windshields you use to see on Recumbents years ago to reduce aerodynamic drag.
Made from polycarbonate film, the fairing is heated and then blown into shape forming into a bubble. As hard as the polycarbonate is, they scratch almost immediately and are not good as a windshield to look through.
The Fairing will keep you dry in the rain, but properly set up, You need to be looking over the top so your face gets wet. Water builds up in beads on the surface of the fairing and when you go over a bump. it comes free and you get it all in the face. Like a glass of water
Cold days seem warmer with a fairing. You don't have the wind on you so you stay warmer. The bicycle becomes more cumbersome because of its increased size.
Fairings give the Recumbent a totally different look. The clear bubble make the bike look more like a flying machine then a bicycle.
The bicycle becomes noisy because of the fairings parabolic reflector effect. Noise from the road and from the gears are amplified and sent at the rider. Noise from cars coming from the rear are amplified also on some setups.
Fairings are best attached to the frame of the bicycle and not the handlebars. Having a large sail like device attached to your steering in gusting winds can take the bars out of your hands and cause a crash.
Fairings are expensive. The failure rate while making them is considered in the price. Sometimes the bubble will be too thin to sell so the builder has to start over. Expect to spend around $300 on average. Mounting brackets are different on different bike and some can raise the cost.
I was talking to Mike at Bacchetta the other day and asked if they had noticed any improvements with dealing with the wind and less drag with their bikes with fairings. He said that the short wheel based bikes were not as effected as the long wheel based bikes except for keeping you warmer and out of the wind. Reason enough to have one for the winter months alone.
I use to use a fairing. I have had two different styles that I used on 3 different bikes. Fun to use and cool looking, I tend to want to ride a lighter, smaller sized bike and go without now a days.
I love riding different style bicycles and a fairing is different. It gives the bike a whole new feel.
No test rides, You need to commit to owning one to ride one. Once they are set up, they can be removed easily and return your recumbent to its original shape. Something more to buy!

Check these out:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


posted by Danni

And you thought I was kidding about Belgium being scarier than Honduras!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear.

It just can't be done. Like a Snow Suit from a Sun Dress. There are times that when the real thing is needed there is just no substitute, period.
At this time of year we have customers come to the store getting suited up for Winter and colder riding. Hands and Feet come to mind first and there is a large selection at the store I work at to choose from.
When it comes to gloves, there are all types. I like to think that we have them all but I'm sure even the thickest biggest glove may not be warm enough for some riders.
When it comes to cold feet, Things get confusing. We have a good selection of Winter cycling boots, but many customers think that a Boote will serve the purpose. Not wanting to spend the money on another pair of shoes, they choose to put a cover on there Summer shoe to do the job. First place the shoe usually is too small to put on a heaver sock needed for extra warmth.
I love the customer's look on their face when I answer the question, "Are these waterproof" by looking through the hole for the cleat from the inside and ask, "Would you use these as a boat?"
Bootes for the most part are good for moderate temperatures. Great to reduce wind resistance,they wear out quickly unless you don't walk on them. Simply put, trying to turn a shoe that's good for Summer riding into a shoe for winter use is a bad idea.
The cost of warm feet is cheap as long as you understand a few things. Winters here are not very long, so new boots will last for years with normal use. Cleaning road salt and dirt of of your boots once a week and letting them dry in a good place without high heat will prolong there life. Shoe polish works well too, It has worked for years on all types of foot wear and is no different with cycling boots.
Check out what is out there and try on a few. They all look heaver then they are and when properly sized, feel great.
With the proper foot wear and a nice day Recumbent Cycling with warm feet can be enjoyed long into the colder months.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


posted by Danni

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of seeing Scott for the first time since his return from Spain. We discussed his trip at great length, including talking about the 'rocky' start. (You read the blog - bad trails, bad weather, too many flies, etc.) I commented that after the 3rd or 4th day of such bad conditions, I would have decided to ship the bike back, do the route via public transportation, and take more time to see the sights in each of the villages. His response to me was, "We're not quitters!" OUCH!! Since then, this comment has been weighing heavily on my mind. I mean, I normally don't think of myself as a quitter.

However, the very next day I dropped out of the weekly upright group ride. I wasn't feeling 100% that morning and I had a lot of studying to do for a class on Saturday, so I called to say I wasn't going to join the ride. Afterwards, while driving my daughter to school in Concord, I was so completely struck by the beauty of the vibrant fall colors against the cloudy, gray sky that I changed my mind. I called the ride leader to say I would be joining the ride after all.

The ride was extremely hilly with a lot of very intense uphill climbs. I found that I was working so hard that I wasn't really looking at the beauty around me, which was my primary objective for doing the ride. I started to get more and more grumpy as I realized that, for the first time ever, I wasn't having fun on my bike. So, 10 miles into the 24 mile ride when I got to a major street that I knew, I made the decision to find my own way back to the start of the ride. I informed the ride leader and set off on my own.

I turned the corner, reprogrammed my GPS, turned on my music (I'm not allowed to listen with headphones on the group rides) and started off in my new direction. Immediately my experience changed. The road was only moderately hilly, the scenery was gorgeous, the music was energizing, and I was able to ride as fast or as slow as I pleased. I was having a WONDERFUL ride.

Later that day I had the chance to download the data from my GPS to my computer. I compared the original route to the route I ended up taking. It turns out my ride took me through much more conservation land than the original ride plan. I believe I had the prettier ride!

After this experience I reconsidered the question of quitting. Should deviating from the original plan always be considered quitting? I think I've decided that it has everything to do with the original goal of the endeavor. In the case of my aborted upright ride, my goal was to see beautiful scenery. My deviation from the original plan was not quitting but, instead, changing the plan to fulfill my personal goal for the endeavor. As for Scott and Barb in Spain, they set off with the goal of doing the pilgrimage. If they had given up it would, indeed, have been quitting.

So I've decided that I am not a quitter - it’s just that my typical vacation goals vary quite a bit from Scott's vacation goals. I, like Scott, tend to take outdoor adventure vacations. I travel to atypical, non-touristy places like Honduras and, even scarier, Belgium! However, for me, vacations are sacred. My goal for vacations is always the same; enjoy myself as much as is humanly possible, pretty much 100% of the time. To that end, although I love my friend Scott dearly, I don't think we will be taking vacations together any time soon ;-)

Happy Travels,


Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting Ready for Winter

Two of my favorite sayings about dealing with the winter and the cold days ahead are, "To ride through the winter, you need to ride into the winter."
My other is I think a Russian saying that "There is no such thing as bad weather, There is just bad clothing.
Of course pedaling bundled up is hard, but it has never been easier to stay warm and move freely.
The first saying states that to be comfortable during the winter months, you need to ride every day into the Winter and become acclimated over time. As with heat and hotter days, you can become use to the cold and learn what works best to keep you right and nether under dressed or whats worse, over dressed.
Remembering that the body warms up over the first 15 minutes or so is important. I have always gone with the simple rule that if when you first go out and your comfortably warm, then your over dressed.
Years ago, I use to warm up on Rollers and when I was just starting to break a sweat, head out. The first 15 minutes were refreshing and I was then ready to ride.
I now carry a Space Blanket for emergencies. Simple and light, it could save your life.
The Winter months are about to begin. With a little planing and proper gear, You can enjoy the bicycle sport we all love to do here in New England, Recumbent Cycling.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pizza Ride Report

Nice ride, Beautiful day. 3 Riders, Great roads.
The ride started around 10:00 with a mechanical issue right off the start. I couldn't clip into my left pedal, so we went back and switched to another.

We did a back road ride though Medfield Center and over to Norfolk to "Jane and Paul's" Farm and farm stand for Eggs.
Back roads again through Millis, and onto Holliston to "Casey's" for our lunch stop.

The Pizza was good, not the best, We will do another taste test ride next month to another spot.

Short but Sweet, we were back at the start at exactly 2:00.

We all hoped for more riders to show, but the 3 of us had a blast and are looking forward to next weeks ride focusing on "Stuffy's" More on that later,

Reporter: Scott

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pizza Ride, Wednesday, 10-20-10

Come on now, who doesn't like pizza? Even bad pizza is good for at least one slice, just to take the taste test.

Tomorrow we will be doing a Pizza Ride to a place that you can do the taste test and judge for yourself if that this isnt the very best in its area. That's says nothing of course because if there isn't anything in the exact same spot then it wins! Yea!

The ride will be starting at 9:30 in Dover, Ma at 5 Main Street. Bosrug rides stay together so don't be afraid. The ride will be around 20 miles to lunch and another 9 miles back to the start. Of course the last 9 miles will really prove how good the Pizza was and how good an idea a Pizza Ride is!

We plan to be back around 2:00 so long distance travelers can make it back home before rush hours.

This is going to be a great ride. We are are almost at peak color and the temp should be perfect.
Any questions. email me at the address to the right.
Hope to see you all there.


p.s. Since Scott will be leading the ride, chances are highly likely that we will actually find the pizza place. It's so good to have him home!!! Hope to see you tomorrow. -Danni

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Everyone is Different and . . .

Different is Good!

If you hang around my house often enough you will eventually hear that being said. When my now 9-year-old daughter was born, I decided that I didn't want her growing up with any type of prejudice. I wanted her to grow up knowing that we are all different in some way or another and it's best to make the decision whether to like/respect somebody based on how a person behaves and not on what they look like, where they come from, or what they believe in, etc. (Right about now Scott is out there reading this and singing Kumbaya ;-)

I'm guessing you are asking yourself what the f#@k does this have to do with a bike blog. Well, I know it's going to shock you to hear this but, I ride a recumbent. I LOVE my recumbent. My recumbent is fast, my recumbent is comfy, and my recumbent is different. However, the recumbent world is a small one. So when one friend leaves the country and another gets busy making wine or doing some other equally interesting thing, there aren't many other people with whom to ride. So, when I saw in the local community education booklet that there was a series of 24-mile rides being offered to those who had road bikes or hybrids, I was faced with a dilemma. I wanted to meet some local cyclists to ride with, but I am different - I ride a recumbent!

Well, I'm guessing you've figured out by now that I don't let little things like that get in my way. So, I wrote an email to the ride leader asking what the average pace of the rides would be and why it was only being offered to road bikes or hybrids. (I kinda forgot to mention that I had a recumbent ;-) She wrote back that the rides typically break into groups to accommodate different speeds and that the only reason they requested road bikes or hybrids is because the bikes need to be comfortable for the ‘long distances,’ but I could ride whatever bike I had. So, I signed up!

On the day of the first ride I did, indeed, show up with the bike I had! I am extremely happy to report that, at least from what I could outwardly see, nobody had an issue with the fact that I had a recumbent. On the contrary, I found people to be extremely intrigued by my bike. This reaction was in extreme contrast to what I was given to expect from recumbent riders who had previous experience riding with upright cyclists. As a matter of fact, when I told one recumbent-riding friend that I had signed up for this series of rides without disclosing that I had a recumbent, he said, "They are going to love that . . . NOT!" But it turns out, it's been great!

My guess is that this open-minded attitude has everything to do with the type of riding these people do. They are people like me. They aren't competitive. They just want to get outside and get some exercise while enjoying the world around them. So they aren't even a little bit intimidated by the fact that, with very little effort, I speed out in front with my friend Bob and we don't see them for the rest of the ride (more on that later.) Or maybe, they've met my daughter who has told them that, "Everyone is different and different is good," so they are judging me by how I treat them and not by the fact that I am one of those evil recumbent riders.

To that end, I have done my best to just be friendly and not say too much about what I see as the benefits of a recumbent over an upright bike. (After all I am trying to make friends here.) However, after the first ride when one of the women was complaining that her butt was killing her and that she needed to buy a new seat, I couldn't resist recommending that she try one like mine!

And now, I'm going out to ride on this beautiful day. I hope you are out enjoying it, too!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Columbus Day Weekend

It looks like it is going to be a gorgeous fall weekend. My plan is to get out and ride as much as possible. I'll probably do some local rides and maybe head out to a coastal town for a ride by the sea at some point. If you would like to join me for a ride, send me an email. We can plan something that works for your schedule.

If we get some formal plans together, I'll post them to the blog and see if we can get others to join us.

Enjoy the weekend,


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No Concord Ride on Wednesday

Given the weather forecast and the fact that I have some other plans that have come up, I will not be doing the ride in Concord on Wednesday (10/6). However, if you are inclined to do the ride on your own, you can find the link to the directions in the original post below. If you do get a chance to do the ride, let me know how it goes. I would love to know how the ride turns out for somebody who can actually follow the directions ;-)

I just love rainy fall days. I hope you do, too! Enjoy them!


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Am I a cyclist?

So, several weeks ago a dear friend who knew I had recently gotten into cycling bought me a book entitled, "Bike Snob - Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling." It's an irreverent, laugh-out-loud funny book. At first I was offended by the author's view of recumbent riders until I realized that he was pretty rough on every type of cyclist just for the fun of it. At that point, I just relaxed and went along for the ride, so to speak.

At one point in the book he attempts to define a cyclist. His initial definition is, "One who rides a bicycle, even when he or she doesn't have to do so." I would beg to differ with this definition. My definition would be more like, "One who rides a bicycle because they really, REALLY need to do so!!" I mean if I don't ride a certain number of miles during the week, things get ugly!!! So I guess by my modified definition I certainly qualify as a cyclist. He then amends the definition to include the caveat that the person "must value the act of riding the bicycle over the tools one needs in order to do so." In other words, if you are so worried about your bike that you won't ride it because you might scratch the paint - you really aren't a cyclist. Well, by this definition I am DEFINITELY a cyclist. A good friend likes to tease me that my bike should have come with the gallon-sized jug of touch-up paint as opposed to the small vial provided.

However, yesterday morning I was scheduled to go for a ride with a local group of upright riders (more on that group later.) As I was driving my daughter to school with the rain pelting down on the car, I kept hoping that the ride would be cancelled because I just didn't want to ride in the wet weather. This attitude doesn't strike me as the attitude of a true cyclist. On the flipside, I was walking with a friend this week and talking about how I really needed to figure out how to ride my bike through the winter. I voiced my concern about the cold but decided I'd be able to figure out how to dress appropriately to make it work. Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with a solution for how to ride in the snow and ice. When she recommended that I try cross-country skiing when I couldn't get out on my bike, I answered so despondently, "I guess I could do that," that she laughed uproariously.

So on this first day of October I find myself looking forward to riding during this beautiful time of the year, but at the same time I find that I am apprehensive about the fast approaching winter. I will be looking to you, my bike riding friends, to help me get through my first winter of riding. And I can tell you one thing for certain, whether you consider me a cyclist or not, NOBODY is going to want to spend much time with me this winter if we end up getting a lot of snow!!

Happy October,

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