“Commuterizing” the Single-Speed

Commuting Single-Speed
Commuting Single-Speed
I originally bought the single-speed to be a light and simple bike.  My other bikes are heavy and utilitarian.  I didn’t think I’d be commuting on the single-speed.

Once I had the bike, I found that I did commute on it, with a backpack.  I dislike backpacks, so I’ve now added a rear rack to the bike.  I bought a Mountain FeedBag from Tim.  He had an extra due to a snafu with the seller.  I mounted it to the bars.

I had some smaller panniers that I put on the bike.  I wanted to find some red ones that would fit, to keep with the theme of the bike, but I don’t want to spend the money now.  The laptop barely fits, but it does indeed fit.

I pulled an extra headlight off of the folding bike which I never seem to ride anymore.  I put the light on the single-speed, so that I have two headlights.  I don’t know if I leave it like that.  We’ll see.

I don’t have fenders on this bike, so it will likely remain a fair-weather commuter.  There is the possibility I’ll add fenders at some point, but it wouldn’t make a good “snow bike” as the studded tires I already own wouldn’t fit well.  My LHT will serve as “snow bike”.

Dual Headlights - Goofy?
Dual Headlights - Goofy?

Back To The Food Diary and Better Eating

I lost weight from late 2007 to early 2009.  It’s now late 2010 and I haven’t lost weight.

The things that were successful during that time?

  • Tracking everything I ate and adding calories
  • Exercise
  • Ate most of my carbs early in the day
  • Limited snacking
  • Very little consumption of beer
  • Weighing myself daily

From early 2009 to now this has turned into:

  • Not keeping track of anything I eat
  • A lot of exercise, but nearly all of it cycling
  • Food binging
  • Higher consumption of beer
  • Weighing myself sporadically

I will be accountable again.  I will track what I eat (although I’m going to forgo the calorie counting).  I will weigh everyday.  I will post what I eat here (sometimes).

As I said in my last post, there are several changes I’m making.  They started this morning.

I was actually off to a bad start.  I didn’t want to cook, and due to laziness I still needed to wash dishes.  I hadn’t been to the grocery store so I had nothing quick, easy, and healthy around the house.  So, I just didn’t eat.

Around 3:00pm, I was too hungry, and went looking through cupboards again.  I spotted the oatmeal.  I had given up on oatmeal a while back when I started following the paleo-diet.  Now that I’m back to my original weight-loss plan, paleo is out the window.

I put 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1 cup water, and a dash of salt in a large cup, and microwaved it for 2 minutes.  I stirred it, added a small pat of butter and some cinnamon.  I did not add sugar.  It was a late lunch after skipping breakfast, but it’ll do.

The dishes are nearly done.  I’ll cook a proper dinner tonight.  I’ll go grocery shopping tomorrow (after the RCCS ride).

I have some other changes I need to make.  I need to start doing some more exercises to strengthen my core and upper body.  I need to drink more water. I need to limit my coffee consumption to one pot per day.

Simple Thanksgiving Dinner

Back in October I ranted a little about my lack of control on my eating habits.  I made a brief effort at the time, and now, a month later, I’m back in the same rut.

I haven’t been cooking.  I go out to eat almost every day.  I’ve been drinking beer several times a week.  I’ve been snacking.  The only exercise I’ve been doing is bicycling.  I haven’t stepped on a scale in a while.

That’s changing now.  I will drink NO beer until further notice.  I will cook and prepare lunches to take to work.  I will not go to the coffee shop, unless it’s to buy more whole bean coffee or to buy a cup of coffee on a bike ride.

I realized earlier today that I would have ordered pizza today for Thanksgiving had I found a place open.  As I got hungrier, I cooked what I had here at the house.  I hadn’t went grocery shopping in a while, but I had pork chops, frozen vegetables, and a couple of potatoes that I made into mashed potatoes.

The meal was satisfying, even if it meant I had to skip turkey, stuffing, and cranberries.  🙂

I had hoped to be under 200lbs by the end of the year.  I now know that’s not going to happen.  My revised goal is to be under 210lbs by the end of the year.  It’s going to mean a difficult push to even do that.

I’ll get back on the scale tomorrow morning, then update my daily weigh-in page.

Happy Thanksgiving

I’m thankful for still being healthy, even with the way I treated my body for years.

I’m thankful for being married to a wonderful woman.

I’m thankful for having friends who will ride with me in the rain.

I’m thankful for having a job that pays the bills, and sometimes makes me feel useful.

I rode with Tim last night.  It was 35 degrees and raining.  We rode together again this morning, it was still raining, but had warmed up near 60.  Other than riding a bike, my Thanksgiving plans are simple.  I’ll cook myself a small meal and talk to a few loved ones on the phone.

I have my dogs and cat for company around the house.  I have housework to do.  It’s not a bad way to spend the day.

Let It Go, Man

I took my own advice on yesterday’s ride with Tim.  A passenger in a maroon Subaru (with those hard-to-read temporary plates) passed us on Eastern Parkway yelling something with the word “sidewalk” in it.  We ignored him.

To be clear, Eastern Parkway is a four-lane divided road.  Tim and I were taking the right lane, leaving the left lane free to those that needed to pass.

We passed the same car as he was held up in traffic.  He passed us again shortly throwing something at me.  I think it was magazines, or junk mail.  It was heavier than loose paper, but lighter than a book.  It fluttered toward me until bouncing harmlessly off of my back wheel.

Tim and I both attempted to read the license place, but were unable to.

My advice to others has always been “just let it go”, “don’t worry about it”, or “don’t escalate it”.  I managed to completely ignore it, and not even get the adrenalin response that normally comes with such conflicts.  Being able to control myself made for a much more pleasant ride.

This is only the second time since I started riding in 2008 that I’ve had things thrown at me.  It is the first time it’s happened in Kentucky.

I’m Not Fast Anyway!

I guess I can’t have a “fast” bike. My single-speed was supposed to be simple and light. No fenders, no rack, just a small seat bag and minimal lights. Even though it’s a single-speed I’m faster on that bike than my others.

Every time I ride it I’m annoyed at the lack of carrying capacity. I love the bike. It’s comfortable, the single-speed drivetrain is simple and perfect. I’ve rode it to work a few times, but I have to carry, at a minimum, my laptop, so I use a backpack. I hate backpacks.

I made the decision yesterday to add a rear rack to the bike. It’s ordered, and I should be commuting on the bike regularly by the week after Thanksgiving.

I’m not putting fenders on the bike at this time. I’m not ruling that out for the future. Road spray in the face is not fun. I’m going to run the inexpensive basic lights that I already have on the bike.

Lighting brings up another issue. A potentially expensive issue. I want to start switching my bikes over to dynamo lighting. I’m tired of charging batteries. My Dinotte lights are over two years old now, and the battery capacity has diminished some.

My LHT should get a dynohub, as should my ‘bent. The question is what to do about the single-speed. Should I put a dynobub on it? Should I keep using cheap battery lights? Should I move the Dinotte set onto it?

This lighting project will be expensive. It’ll take time. I’d like to get either the LHT or the ‘bent done before spring though.

The end result of this all will that I won’t have a simple, lightweight, “fast” bike. I beginning to think I’m okay with that.

Dark Clouds

I’ve suffered with depression most of my life.  It comes and goes.  I learned some coping strategies years ago.  The coping strategies aren’t something I can explain.  There are no words for what I do.  I’m able to change the way I think.

That worked until this year.  I don’t know if the depression is deeper, or if I’ve forgotten how to cope, but I’ve had some bleak times.  The most recent has been this week.  Tuesday was bad.  Wednesday was incredibly bad, helped only by the fact I was sick and slept most of the day.  Thursday morning was bad.  I had trouble pushing myself out the door.

Once I got on the bike, rode to work, and had a fairly productive day things started to look up.  After work was the car-free happy hour.  After that fun little gathering I went home and quickly went to bed.

I woke up a 2:00am this morning, and have been up ever since.  I’m in a good mood, but I know the lack of sleep will get me later.

Depression causes a nasty downward spiral in me that leads to massive overeating at times.  I give up on goals.  It’s the last thing I need while trying to lose weight.  Success in weight loss can help keep my mood in check, but I had a long stretch of weight gain, and it’s just now tapered off.  I could still gain more.

I have a lot to do this weekend.  Laziness and depression will make it difficult.  I won’t be riding the bike this weekend so that I’ll have more time to get things done.  A sense of accomplishment is always helpful.

I’m probably genetically pre-disposed to depression.  I’m also looking into additional dietary supplements in case I have a deficiency.  I also have a painful medical condition right now that isn’t helping.  I’m still working with my doctor to diagnose and treat it.

I Need a Cargo Bike

Heavy Load
Heavy Load

Back in April I posted “I Have a Cargo Bike” because Tim had been goading me into buying one.  I felt I could load whatever I needed on the bikes that I have.

Earlier this month I brought home a 15lb bag of dog food on my ‘bent.  I could barely tell it was there.  I assumed a 30lb bag on the LHT would be fine.

Today after work I went to Feeders Supply and bought the 30lb bag of dog food, and a 20lb bag of cat litter.  I put the food on the rear rack along with my other commuting gear.  I put the litter on the front rack.  I made it about 2 blocks.  The bike shimmied and wobbled so bad I didn’t think it was prudent to continue.

I moved the cat litter to the rear rack.  So the rear rack was holding 70lbs of pet supplies, plus another 15lbs of other random crap.  I don’t know what the capacity of the rack is, but nothing broke.

The bike still shimmied, but it was controllable.  I took it slow and easy and made it home.  The picture to the right was taken outdoors, because I couldn’t get the bike up the stairs fully loaded like that.

So, I’ve been wanting a Surly Big Dummy, but can’t afford another bike right now.  At least now I can justify it: a $2000 dog-food hauler.  🙂

Lacing The Brooks

The Brooks B-17 that has been on a few bikes now, but is currently on my single-speed has been sagging.  It got wet too many times.  Tightening the saddle a little (with the special Brooks wrench) helped, but it still wasn’t right.

I’d read about lacing the saddle, which basically involved punching (or drilling) holes in the sides of the saddle, and tightening it up with leather lacing.

A few weeks ago I was walking to lunch from work, and happened to walk past a shoe repair shop, and I noticed leather lacing hanging on the wall.  So I went in and bought a piece.  Today, I finally got busy with the project.

I decided to drill the holes.  Using a punch can produce nicer looking holes, but I don’t have a punch, and I’m not terribly worried about how it looks.  I drilled four holes on each side.  Some use two holes, some say six.  I was really just guessing.

It only took a few minutes to finish the job.  I used some of the left-over lacing to replace the bungie cord that keeps my saddlebag from flopping around too much.

I haven’t ridden the bike since doing this, but hopefully it makes the saddle more comfortable.

Just Pedaling Around

Dog food on the 'bent
Dog food on the 'bent

It looks like this week will be transportation cycling only.  That’s okay, that’s why I live in town now.

I woke up feeling horrible on Monday and almost drove to work.  I hopped on the single-speed and pedaled my way in anyway.  It made me feel better.

I adjusted the brakes on the recumbent, so I rode it into work today.  I had to stop for dog food on the way home.  I was leery of trying to haul a 40 lb bag, so I grabbed a smaller one.  It worked fine.  I’ll get the 40lb next time.

I thought about the fact that my commute and errands over the last two days haven’t been many miles.  Then I realized that although 15.5 miles over two days may not be much, it’s a lot more exercise than I used to get.

I also didn’t burn any gas to get to work or get dog food.

Yes, I am happier this way.