Bike Sizing

I’m far from an expert on anything bike-related.  I have figured out how frame size works for me though.

Excuse my crude drawing below.

This is a representation of my Raleigh Record single-speed bike.  I feel that it fits me the best.  I measured three tubes (top tube, seat tube, down tube).  Each measurement is given in centimeters.  That bike was advertised as a 59cm.

My Surly LHT is almost the same size.  I bought the Surly thinking it was a 56cm, but I had test ridden it, and it seemed to fit.  Based upon geometry numbers from Surly’s Site, I’m now convinced it’s a 58cm frame.  It does have a longer top tube, which explains why I have a shorter stem on the bike.

There’s a lot more to bike geometry than these three measurements, but these three (plus standover, which varies on tire size) are the most important for proper fit.

I figure having the information here will be handy later when doing research for another bike… a bike that will be built from the frame up, so I won’t be able to test ride it.

How Did I Manage a Record Month?

August 2011 was  a record bike-mile month for me.  How did I do that?

  • I did a 130-mile camping trip on the last weekend of the month
  • I spent a lot of time running errands out to the east end
  • I rode my recumbent for 70 miles by riding to the Crestwood ride 25-miler, then back home
  • I rode a 70-mile RCCS ride
  • I rode my bike to work every day
  • I had several 20-40 mile rides
  • I rode a few extra miles on the last day of the month – just to push myself to a new record

On 8/31, I rode to work the normal way, a whole 3.6 miles or so.  I left work early for a doctor’s appointment (which got me okay’d for a third epidural).

I rode the following route from work to the doctor and then home:

Download file: 2011-08-31(1).gpx

Instead of taking the normal way, I took River Rd all the way to Lime Kiln.  This was flat as a pancake and I managed a 15mph average on this stretch… on the single speed.

After turning unto Lime Kiln there’s a small climb, but it’s mostly flat after that.  I stayed on that same road, although it changes names to Herr Ln then to Lyndon Ln, all the way past Shelbyville Rd and nearly to my doctor’s office.

On the way back, I took the more normal New Lagrange, Washburn, Westport route.  After meandering through the parks, I wen’t to Za’s for pizza then headed home.

After getting home, I realized I was still short of a new monthly record, so I headed back out.

I basically just wandered around.  I didn’t have a destination in mind.  I had mentioned to Tim that I might go through Indian Hills, but I never made it out quite that far.  I was still on the single-speed (actually haven’t ridden the LHT since the camping trip).  Here’s my route:

Download file: 2011-08-31(2).gpx

Once I got back home, I had 671 miles, a new personal best month.  I’m going to shoot for 700 in September.

Another 100K Populaire

Today was the third LBC Populaire.  Timothy has pitched the idea for these rides, and I attended the first one in July.  I skipped the August one due to other commitments, but I was back today.

Today’s ride was advertised as flat enough to be fixie-friendly.  So I prepared my single-speed.

The ride started and ended at Charlestown Pizza Company.  I drove to Charlestown and parked at my old house to ease the parking situation.  I then rode my bike to the ride start.

The weather forecast was calling for thunderstorms, but at this point we just had overcast skies.

I think there were nine of us, all LBC members.  Two of the nine had recently returned from Paris-Brest-Paris.  What was I getting myself into?

We headed out of town with probably a 17mph average.  I was spinning like a hamster, but staying near the front.  Many of the other riders weren’t breaking a sweat.

We had been heading north on Hwy 3.  As we turned unto Hwy 203, it got a bit hillier and my speed began to vary with the terrain.  I began to wish for more gears.  I started getting passed by the other riders.

We continue through Lexington IN, unto Hwy 356, and eventually turn north again on CR 900/Pine Hill Rd.  Somewhere near there I got left behind.  I don’t remember where.

I followed the cue sheet (I wasn’t provided a GPS track ahead of time) along Horner Rd, Getty Rd, CR 1233, Polk Rd, CR 1250, Blake Rd, and eventually back to Hwy 3, but still heading north.

I hoped to catch back up to the group on the relatively flat highway, but I didn’t see them.

Eventually there was a turn on CR 850 that took us to our first control – Spring Hill Farm Twigs & Sprigs Tea Room.  It’s actually a farm, and a winery, and a restaurant, and, of course,  a tea room.

The rest of the group was there enjoying lunch.  They had arrived about 30 minutes before I did.  Wow, I’m slow.

I ordered a sandwich (very good) some iced tea (quite good) and had the waitress sign my card and refill my water bottle.  I headed out with the group again.

It had started to rain while we were eating.  It wasn’t a downpour, just rain.  There were no storms either.

Someone complained how cold the rain was.  I just thought about the sweat that had been running into my eyes an hour before.  This was much better.

It turns out this ride was an out-and-back.  It would require me looking at the cue sheet less.

As we turned unto Hwy 3 heading south, and got right up behind someone else’s wheel, and intended to stay there.  I did, until the first hill.  I fell back badly.  My legs were in need of rest, and without a lower gear to shift to, I just couldn’t put any more power into it.

Before long I was riding alone again.  The wet roads and foliage did make for some nice scenery.

I retraced my steps back toward Charlestown.  The rain varied between a light drizzle and a steady rain.  I was happy that I had installed the new fenders on the single-speed, but a bit discouraged for riding alone on a group ride.

Then it hit me.  I wasn’t going to make the time limit anyway, so it didn’t matter.  I took my time.  I walked the hills that I had to.  I enjoyed myself.

I did stick to the course.  As I entered Charlestown, I considered not even going to the ride end, but just to my truck to drive home.  Charlestown Pizza was closed.  I figured it would be best to finish the ride just to say I did.

So I rolled up and Timothy was still there.  Everyone else had gone.  I had made the time limit with 14 minutes to spare!

Timothy informed me that we were meeting up at Patrick O’Sheas for food and drink.  So I rode back to my truck, and drove back to Louisville for food and beer.

While sitting around an outdoor table, I got to listen in on conversation of uphill time trials, Octoberfest, Paris-Brest-Paris, Mad Dog rides, and where the steepest hills are.  I had a good time.

I guess I need to get faster to spend more time with these people.  🙂

This is the out-and-back route:

Download file: 2011-09-04.gpx

Camping Ride – Day 2

This is part 2 of my camping trip from last weekend.  Part 1 is here.

My sleep at the campground wasn’t bad.  I normally sleep poorly in a tent, but I was tired from the ride.  My bladder woke me at about 8:00am.  I was also quite cold, which was quite a change from when I first tried to sleep the night before.

I changed into fresh shorts and jersey and headed for the pit toilet.  I’m not squeamish about gross bathrooms when camping, but the bugs in this one were quite bad.

I went back to my campsite and struggled to get everything packed up.  I’m lousy at getting a tent rolled up to the proper size, which is quite important when bicycle camping.

When I was married to my first wife, she insisted that she would pack the tent so that I wouldn’t make a mess out of it.  🙂

Once I had the bike packed, I rolled on out, at about 8:30.  I had an immediate need for coffee and a slightly less pressing need for food.  I’m going to have a fire and be able to cook and make coffee for any future camping trips.

I began the ride by backtracking my way down Hwy 62 and 462.  I deviated from my route by taking Feller Rd to Old Forest Rd.  Feller Rd was very scenic and that’s where I stopped to take my first pictures of the day.

The weather forecast didn’t call for rain, but with the cooler temperatures and darkening skies, I wondered if that was going to change.

Also along Feller Rd was this old, yet well taken care of cemetery.

I was really enjoying Feller Rd.  I think I only saw one car the whole time I was on this road.  I had been doing very well both days on enjoying the trip instead of focusing on making the next destination.

The mounting headache and hunger reminded me not to dawdle.  Beginning right before my turn on to Old Forest Rd, the road pitched upward.  I had quite the climb to handle, with grades exceeding 15% in spots.  This was on a loaded touring bike, before I had my morning coffee.  This was the first time I considered heading home on a more direct course.

After making the climb, things were just rolling hills.  It was an enjoyable ride with a little traffic into Corydon.

I found the local hotspot for breakfast, Frederick’s Cafe.  It was busy, loud, and cheap.  The coffee was harsh, but had caffeine.  I ate a huge pancake and some eggs.  The food was much better than the coffee.  I did have a picture of the pancake, but due to a technical mishap (I’m an idiot) it’s been lost.

The square in downtown Corydon is quite nice.

After heading out of Corydon on Corydon Ridge Rd again, I continued until Pfrimmer Chapel Rd.  I took this north and crossed over I-64.

I continued north until Crandall-Lanesville Rd, where I turned east.  The skies had cleared up by now.  It never did rain.

Eventually I ended up on Angel Run Rd.  More rolling hills, and some really cool red dirt made this a neat area.  Is this what a terra-formed Mars would look like?

While taking pictures of red dirt, I heard a train approaching.  So I backtracked to the railroad tracks to get a picture.

I rode through Georgetown.  I didn’t even see a store worth stopping at.  IN-64 was a mess to ride on, even for a few blocks through town.

I eventually found my way north on Kepley Rd.  Although I saw this sign, I never saw the cattle.

Kepley Rd became Carter Rd.  There were no serious climbs, but just rolling hills in a peaceful area.

Carter Rd ended at a T on John Pectol Rd.  The road was closed to the left, which was my intended route.

I’m not one to let a simple barricade stop me, so I went around the pile-o-rocks and continued.  Apparently the road has been closed for some time.  Nature was attempting to reclaim the land.  It was peaceful in an eerie kind of way.

I eventually came to a bridge over Big Indiana Creek.  The bridge is closed with barriers.  I wasn’t going to lift my loaded bike over the barriers, but I was able to lay it down and slide it under.  I got across to the other side, where a car was parked – someone fishing I assume – and grabbed another picture.  The road becomes Buttontown Rd at this point.  There’s a bit more traffic here also.

There’s a cemetery at the intersection of Buttontown Rd and Old Vincennes Rd.  There was a large shade tree near the road, so I stopped for a rest.  I simply laid down in the grass for about 15 minutes before continuing north to Greenville.

Greenville has a small city park.  They had restrooms with running water.  I was thankful for that, but things were dirty enough that I wasn’t going to fill my water bottles.

I headed north out of Greenville on Pekin Rd.  It’s a small climb out of town.  A kid on a BMX bike told me to be careful going up the hill.  I found that hilarious at the time.

I realized I was running low on water and hadn’t really had a good place to get any.  While riding through a rather suburban part of Pekin Rd, a woman was outside in her driveway washing rocks in a wheelbarrow.  I asked to refill my water bottles, and she cheerfully handed over the hose.  I thanked her and moved on.

I don’t think her neighbor is quite as friendly.

I eventually headed toward Voyles Rd.  I’m entering an area I know, a friend of mine lives nearby outside of Borden.  I think that some of my friend’s wife’s ancestors are buried here.

The town of Borden sits down in a valley, but I was still riding the ridge tops.

Louisville has the big bat.  I found the big paper towel tube.  (Yes, I know it’s a water tower).

I rode past my friend’s house, but he wasn’t home.  I had a nice downhill into the town of Borden.  While there I bought some more snacks at a gas station and refilled my water bottles again.  I took my time and enjoyed the break.  I spoke with several people who were coming and going.

Then came the next big climb.  I was leaving to the north-east on Jackson Rd.  I am familiar with this climb, but had never done it with a touring load.  It shoots up to about a 19% grade before falling back a little to about 13%.  I was prepared and already in my little chain ring.

Here’s a view looking back the way I came.  You can’t really see down in the valley where Borden is, but you can see the hills (knobs as they call them here) on the other side.

Shortly after finishing the climb my chain came apart and spooled unto the ground.  This was the second time I wished I’d headed straight home.

I was carrying a chain tool and spare master link, but they weren’t even necessary, as the chain came apart at the existing master link.  I don’t know why, it’s a new chain.  I spent about ten minutes getting it back together and continued on my way.  Riding along the ridge was rather pleasant.

After a couple of twists and turns, Jackson Rd becomes Bartle Knob Rd.  There was an older house to my left, and the view they must have – that was to my right – from their front door is breathtaking.

Before long, I’ve crossed over “the knobs” and it’s a fast downhill on Bartle Knob Rd.  Toward the end, I slowed enough to get a picture of this neat church.

I continued to Blue Lick Rd which took me past the truck stop, under the freeway, and into Memphis.  There was another old church there.

I was getting close to Charlestown now.  I’m familiar with most of these roads.  I had never seen this end of Fox Rd before.  They apparently are saving sign material for roads with short names.  Waste not, want not.

I rolled into Charlestown.  I stopped at my old house to check on it.  I talked to a former neighbor.  Then I headed toward Charlestown Pizza where I enjoyed a small pizza and some beer.

I headed out of town on High Jackson Rd.  The sun was getting lower in the sky.  I’m glad I had the dyno-powered lights on the bike.

That meant I was casting a long shadow.

I rode to Bethany Rd then crossed Hwy 62 – into the grass as Bethany Rd doesn’t continue.  I rode a few dozen feet to Patrol Rd, then down to Waterline Rd, which is all part of the old ammunition plant, but that section has recently been opened to the public as another way to get to Utica.

There are still many signs of what this land once was.  It may be a lightly-traveled road with forest, but it’s got trains, signs, and fences.

I eventually got to Upper River Rd.  This runs right between the Ohio River and some cliffs that used to be a quarry, and have since been turned into a housing development.

I continued through Utica.  My normal route from here would involve Utica Pike all the way through Jeffersonville, but I turned off through some neighborhoods and made my way to Middle Rd.  This was fortunate as there was a Dairy Queen on Middle Rd.

By the time I left Dairy Queen, it was completely dark.  My last stretch of the ride was flat, urban, and dark.  I got across the river and into Louisville late enough to miss most of the Ironman stuff going on.  I did notice that 3rd street appeared to be blocked from downtown to Old Louisville.  I went down 1st instead.  I arrived home about 10:30pm.

Saturday ended up at 43.9 miles.  I had a much more interesting 87.7 miles on Sunday that brought me up to 131.6 miles for the two-day trip.

I did get tired, but I stopped for rest when that happened.  Some of the steep climbs caused knee pain, even in my lowest gear.  I was able to go as slow as necessary because I had no real deadline.  I never imagined I’d be out until 10:30 on a Sunday night after leaving for the ride on a Saturday morning, but I had allowed the entire day, both days.  That allowed a lot of flexibility.  I hate riding fast to make a deadline.

I packed light for a camping trip, but I have lousy camping equipment.  I’d like to be able to carry cooking supplies and not carry any more weight.  I can probably do that if I replace my tent and sleeping bag.  Those are at least 10 years old.

I’ve learned that putting most of the weight on the rear of the bike, and the big, fluffy, light things on the front works best.  I also need a good way to carry more water.  I wasn’t even in the middle of nowhere like on the Big South Fork trip last year, and I still ran out of water.

I totally enjoyed my weekend.  I wish I could do it every weekend, but weekends are when I usually mow the lawn and take care of other household duties.

This was my route for Sunday:

Download file: 2011-08-28.gpx

Record High? No

I hadn’t bothered to follow the weather forecast this week.  I rode to work this morning in my work clothes, and it was quite comfortable.

I didn’t know that it would hit 100 degrees this afternoon.

The ride home was quite warm.  Luckily a short commute and a cool shower helped.

I assumed that 100 on September 1st would be a record.  I assumed wrong.  The record for this date is 103 in 1953.

Last week I took the metal VO fenders off of my single-speed.  They were a tad too wide and interfered with the brakes.  They also rattled and I found it annoying.

I’ve been commuting to work almost exclusively on that bike recently and I’ve been lucky that it hasn’t rained.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t own a bike without fenders.  Well, that hasn’t been true for the last week or so.

I ordered some SKS Longboard fenders (in sliver) from Rivendell, and they arrived today.  I didn’t get around to putting them on, but I will tomorrow.

I also need to replace the bar tape on that bike, and I even bought some bar tape recently.  I haven’t had time to do so, and I’ve recently realized that I’m out of electrical tape for finishing up the ends.

I’ll be sure to post some pictures once I’ve made the changes.

Camping Ride – Day 1

Last Friday I decided I needed to get away for a couple of days.  My wife had just moved out, and the empty house was bothering me.

I talked to my wife and daughter to make sure the dogs would be taken care of, and I headed out about 10:30 Saturday morning.

The weather was gorgeous.  Clear blue skies, mild temperatures, and a light breeze.  I rode through town, over the Second Street Bridge, and said goodbye to Louisville.

The old Colgate clock in Clarksville is neat, even if it’s now abandoned and doesn’t keep proper time.

Some people have compared my Surly LHT to a tank.  I beg to differ.

I headed northwest out of New Albany towards Edwardsville.  I knew the infamous Edwardsville Hill was coming up, but first I waited for a train to pass.  Notice the graffiti.  I’d be gasping later.

Then I began climbing Edwardsville hill in earnest.  It didn’t seem too bad even with my camping load on the bike, but I was still fresh.  I do have to say the the switchbacks are much more fun going downhill though.

The view from the top was definitely worth the climb.

I eventually made my way to Corydon Ridge Rd.  I’d never ridden this road, and I imagined it being very rural and beautiful.  In reality much of it was very suburban.  Some of the road names do evoke the old rural feel it must have had once.

While I took pictures of odd signs, my bike took a nap.

As I continued on Corydon Ridge Rd, it did get more rural.  There were gently rolling hills.

There were neat old barns.

I continued on and eventually made it to Corydon.  I stopped for a late lunch, early dinner at Magdalena’s.  It was good, but with dessert, I spent more than I intended, and they didn’t even have beer.  I did see Butt Drugs nearby though.

There was a guy with a fish net walking through Indian Creek.

I then headed out of town on Old Forest Rd.  The hills to the west became more prominent.

I’m not sure why hay (straw?) needs a “garage”.  You can tell I’m not a farm boy.

After a bunch of climbing, where I was too busy breathing to take pictures, I was running along the top of a ridge.  There were nice views for quite a distance… and yet I had good cell phone reception.

I saw an ass.

While still on Old Forest Rd, I eventually entered Harrison-Crawford State Forest.  It’s fairly obvious when you enter it, as the open fields and farms end, and you truly are in a forest.  It was cooler, shadier, and beautiful.

I stopped to un-hydrate in the woods a bit, and while I was away, my bike fell asleep again.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  It was a peaceful spot.

Old Forest Rd then becomes IN-462 and enters O’Bannon Woods State Park.  The primitive camping isn’t actually in the park, so I turned north on IN-462, and had a wicked-fast downhill to IN-62, where I soon reached the campground.

There was another downhill (on gravel) in the campground taking me down to the Blue River.  I paid just over $8 for a shady, grassy spot and set up the tent.

The ride there was just under 44 miles.  I still had hours until sundown.  I didn’t bring cooking supplies, just snacks that could be eaten as-is.  I brought my Kindle to have something to do.

The campground was far from quiet.  There were rowdy campers not far from me.  Once it got late and they settled down, I could here the distant traffic on I-64.  Overall it was a much better night than doing the same old thing at home.

My route there is shown below.

Download file: 2011-08-27.gpx

I had a longer day planned for Sunday.  You’ll have to wait until my next post to see how that went.