Category Archives: Miscellany

LiveCentred Half Marathon

The Centre is running a half-marathon on Saturday, September 15, starting at 8a. They are in need of cyclists to lead and pace the runners.

If you’re interested, please contact Tom Durbin via email, or by phone at 517-403-7687. If you’d like to know more about the event and/or to register as a participant, click here.

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making the grade

The Fat Cyclist posted a great piece on grades and climbing yesterday that’s well worth the read. The article does a very nice job of not only explaining what grade percentages mean, but also how they actually feel, which I’m sure is a much more accurate gauge for most of us to go by.

After reading his piece, I spent some time on Map My Ride, which provides an elevation chart for each map created, to get a sense of what sorts of climbs we have around here.

More often than not, most of us ride the stretch of Wilmoth between Sutton and Laberdee from north to south. Going that direction, you have a quarter-mile section at 3%. The climb is actually more difficult if you go in the reverse direction, where you’ll hit a 4% grade.

Hawkins Highway, between Slee and Laird, has quarter-mile sections that hit 3% and 6%.

Meanwhile, the beast hill I climbed on Sugar Island while on the MUP tour has a quarter-mile section that hits 7%.

All things considered, I really don’t know how accurate this information is. What are your thoughts? I’m also interested in hearing what you have to say generally about climbs in our area. Are there others you’ve done that would provide good points of comparison (or that you think we should try on the next club ride)?

Speaking of club rides, we had a great turn out last night. Thanks to everyone who came. There is talk of a Labor Day outing to Original Gravity Brewing Company in Milan, 30 miles each way with lunch in between. Chime in if your interested, and help spread the word.

writing bikes

I’m leaving town for a few days later this week. Therefore, it’s time to clean out my browser tabs so I can shut down my computer and start with a clean slate upon my return.

Here, then, is a pile of random stuff I thought might be of interest. Discuss amongst yourselves.

2012 Tecumseh Memorial Day Parade

PALM registrations available: if there’s anyone out there who would like to ride PALM this year but wasn’t able to register for some reason or another, LuAnn has two spots for sale, including meals. Email her for more information.

VeloNews invites various pro cyclists to chronicle their races and other experiences pertaining to life in and around the peloton. I tend to find that getting a first-person perspective generally, and especially from any sort of pro anything, is rather hit and miss. But I have to say, this opening paragraph from Lee Rodgers, reflecting on the Tour of Langkawi, is good — really good — writing, hands down:

The people hollered and cheered as we careened through the capital’s streets, an invited army in trade colors, various colored helmets and shoes of brilliant hues — some bodies black and some gone blue, yet still we shocked those looking on, so mighty was the sheer speed of our roaring phalanx, rising to over 60km per hour on the weary, battered road. Vibrant. Alive. Hurting. The sound of voices, freewheels and shifters reverberated from the walls of the valley of shops and office blocks, homes and empty lots. Adrenalin exploded into the collective cortex, the scent of the kill flared nostrils already forced wide by the demand for oxygen. Blood pumped, hearts thumped and we, exhausted after 1023km in 6 days, commanded our bodies to rage one last time.

We were obeyed. For one last kilometer.

When I first begin writing this post a week ago (I am such a pathetic blogger), I wanted to talk a little about women’s professional cycling and the Exergy Tour. Since the race concluded this past Sunday, all I have now to say is this: women’s cycling rocks, and Evelyn Stevens is a god. Evie won the 2012 Fleche Wallonne Femmes last month, the first American woman to do so, and only the second American ever to do so. (The first was Lance Armstrong.) And this past Sunday, she won the inaugural Exergy Tour.

Until yesterday, I thought this was the stupidest thing I had ever seen. Then I watched a couple sit in their car, in the Family Frosty parking lot in Tecumseh, with the windows up, engine running, and air conditioner going, while they ate their ice cream. Now I’m not sure which is the winner (or loser, as the case may be).

Salt Lake City, Utah, recently launched a website dedicated to cycling in the area. (Here’s a direct link if you care to have a look.) My goal for this blog has always, in various ways, been centered on bringing together and supporting all aspects of the cycling community in Lenawee County. Unfortunately, we still an awfully long way to go, and, more often than not, for reasons I cannot fully grasp, the route seems like we’re pedaling uphill with a headwind. That said, I still think it would be a fantastic thing if Adrian or Lenawee County were to offer a resource akin to what Salt Lake City has launched, whether it be Hadrian on a Bicycle or a page hosted on the city website. Do you agree? If so, what would it look like? And how might we work together on making this happen?

Along those lines, are you looking for some new routes? The League of Michigan Bicyclists publishes route maps on their website. Under the “Local Maps” tab, there is a listing of route maps produced by individual riders and clubs all over the state, organized by cities, as well as a link to a statewide LMB Map My Ride Group you can join. They are inviting riders from all over the state to submit maps. Why don’t we get some of our rides linked to the LMB Map My Ride Group and some local loop maps posted on the LMB wesbite? Any takers?

Do you all know about Adventure Cycling’s Underground Railroad Bicycle Route? Did you know that they’ve just added a Detroit Alternate segment that passes right through our fair city? You can read a wonderfully detailed four-part overview of the entire segment on the Adventure Cycling Association website. (Adrian is mentioned in Part 1. Here are links to Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.) I encourage you look into the variety of ways you can offer support to long-distance trekkers pedaling through our region.

I’ve recently been commuting to campus in a manner I’ve been calling “The Grant Petersen” way, which means at a slower pace (a slightly slower pace), in plain clothes, and even occasionally without a helmet (gasp!). I will admit, certain aspects of this approach have proved enjoyable. But I’ve also spent more hours than I would care to in soggy boxer shorts. Perhaps it’s time to grab a fresh pack of Action Wipes from my local bike shop. That’s all I have to say about that … for now.

Many of you have likely read already this piece in the Huffington Post on Detroit bike shops. Every time I see stuff like this, I think about how far Re-Bicycle Lenawee has come and about how brilliant its future looks. Here’s a nice series along similar (and not-so-similar) lines from Copenhagenize.com on subversive bicycle photos from various cities around the world.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this must-read stellar column by Robin Wilkinson from Wales Online on cyclists of every ilk, whether they be “poor and strange,” rational, or “bounding across the countryside wrapped-up like a giant sweet, hunched over a carbon frame in a strange act of supplication, strained calves bulging like glazed Christmas hams … clad head-to-toe in fluorescent lycra like a Flashdance-obsessed road-sweeper, slowly touring Wales and its surroundings by bike.”

music to pedal by

Here, today, for your listening and viewing pleasure, three music videos featuring bicycles.

Lily Allen ponders how everything looks better from the saddle.

Meaghan Smith demonstrates why cycling is better than jogging.

And the Flobots remind us that ruling the universe all begins with learning how to ride with no hands.

Of course, entertainment like this (to say nothing of the opportunity I’m offering you to dodge work), comes with a price. And here it is:

I’m looking for legit songs that are about bicycles and/or that, more importantly, feature bicycles in their videos. I’m not looking for things like Le Velo or for Tour de France clips set to music. So, do you know of any others that fit the bill? Please post links in the comments area. Come on, let’s hear ’em. (And if you know of any but are too shy to post, may your next ride be plagued by skipping gears, pinch flats, and rain. Ouch!)

velo velocity philosophies

Not long into last Thursday night’s Maple Wheelers club ride, Sherm and I decided to break away off the front. After swapping pulls and pacing at an average of around 25 mph for roughly three miles, Sherm apologetically said, “That’s all I’ve got,” and all I could think was, “Thank the good Lord, because a little part of me died 500 yards into this madness!”

I read today that Tom Boonen averaged 27.01 mph over the course of his recent Paris-Roubaix victory, time-worn pavé be damned. Can you imagine? Think about the next time you’re bouncing along that pockmarked section of the Kiwanis Trail just south of Occidental.

Speaking of, yesterday, while cycling with Mayor Greg Dumars, Dane Nelson (City Administrator), Chris Miller (Adrian Downtown Development Coordinator), and others, to celebrate National Bike to Work Day, I learned that the aforementioned section of trail is going to be completely rebuilt over the course of three years beginning this summer. And that wasn’t all I learned concerning efforts to promote cycling and walking in Adrian. Suffice it to say for now that there are some really exciting things on the horizon for cyclists in our community.

Back to the topic of spirited rides, another local rider asked me today about getting together to ride. Said gentleman is of the triathlete persuasion, and I’m afraid he’s soon to learn that riding with me will be like pedaling a sixty-pound bike with under-inflated tires uphill and into the wind. Apologies in advance, brother.

Yesterday, NPR had an interview with Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works, in which Petersen makes a delightfully natural, perfectly persuasive, “how-much-more-obvious-can-this-be” case for steel and wool, for the average cyclist, for “riding a bicycle [being] just a natural part of your life,” and, what I found most inviting of all, for “sub-24-hour overnights,” which is something I absolutely must try this summer.

All of this has got me thinking how I ride, about how much I sincerely enjoy riding all sorts of bikes, in all sorts of ways, at all sorts of speeds, to do all sorts of things, and about how many different things factor into how any particular ride goes. It seems to me that this is one of many things that make riding a bicycle so great, and precisely what keeps it something I genuinely and deeply love rather than becoming one more thing I have to do.

What about you? How do you like to ride, and why?

*****

On an altogether different note, a couple of miscellaneous items.

I’ve vehemently and unwaveringly resisted the urgings of so many family, friends, and colleagues to join Facebook. The more they plead with me to do so (to say nothing of mocking and ridiculing me for not doing so), the more I resist. It’s become a matter of principle, really. I do, however, have a Twitter account, and I’m trying to make a bit more use of it. On the whole, it’s a much better way than this blog to keep abreast of more time-sensitive issues, like canceled club rides, last-minute meet-ups, route detouring road conditions, fresh road kill, unexpected bike swag, stage wins, podium finishes, toppled hot dog carts, pictures of me trying on new bib shorts…you get the idea. (OK, granted, some announcements are more important than others.) I’d therefore like to gentle encourage you (i.e., neither urge and plead, nor mock and ridicule) to consider following me (and this blog) on Twitter @velofolk, even if you’re not inclined ever to “tweet” yourself (which, frankly, sounds a bit uncomfortable, when I put it that way).

Oh! There are even murmurings among a very small handful of local cyclists about dabbing in the dark arts of frame-building. Man, there are so many cool things going on around here!

What do I do? What do I do?

If you’re in the market for a new bike (aren’t we all always in the market for a new bike?), here’s a fairly helpful guide on what sorts of questions you should ask and things you should consider in the process: Buyer Be Wise.

And if you find yourself pondering whether it would be appropriate to ride naked, here’s a ridiculous tool to help you figure out clothes to wear.

Final preparations are underway for the 4th Annual ACDC Ride. This is going to be a great ride, with door prizes, music, and a free lunch. As of last Friday, we had only ten registrants. Pray God more than that show up. If the event draws fewer riders than last year, I fear this may be the last we see of it, which would be terribly unfortunate, in my humble opinion.

Don’t forget about the Hancock Horizontal Hundred on September 11, and the Adrian College Bulldog Ride on September 24. Also, be on the lookout next Thursday morning for a handful of Adrian College students who will be taking a bike tour of Adrian for the course I’m co-teaching this semester called “The Non-Motorized Path of Virtue,” wherein we’re discussing the ethics of transportation. Zack Furness, the author of One Less Car: Bicycling and the Politics of Automobility, will be on campus in October to meet with the class, and there will be a lecture that evening that will be open to the public. Just so you know, there is plenty of free bicycle parking available on campus, close to where he’ll be speaking.

Hope to see a bunch of you shortly for the Monday night ride.

Brilliant!

This is one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever seen: a bicycle self-repair vending machine with an integrated work stand and community tools.

And in keeping with the themes of brilliance and creativity, Danny Macaskill is back, and sicker than ever. (Thanks, Kirk, for sharing the clip.)