Saturday, January 30, 2010

Becoming One With the Bike

Smarty pedalImage by JeffKamp via Flickr
By: Jeff

I have read many blog postings and magazine articles touting the use of clipless pedals. I have decided try them out.  So I bought my first clipless pedals and my first biking shoes.

In deciding what type of pedals and what type of shoes that I would be purchasing I decided to come up with some sort of criteria.  First, they had to be practical.  Seconded they had to be easy to use.  Third they had to look good!!!   Fourth they obviously had to be in my price range.

Biking shoesImage by JeffKamp via Flickr
The first decision, and this goes with the practical, is whether I would go with a mountian setup or a road setup.  Since my current bike is a mountian bike I defaulted towards a mountain setup.  This, however, was not my only reasoning for this setup.  A mountain biking shoe uses an SPD cleat setup, which is reassed into the sole of the shoe.  This makes for easier walking and is more practical for cross country trips.  As for the second decision I wanted something the would be easy to use, something with a low learning curve.  Minimally I was looking for something with dual sided entry.  As I got farther along in the decision making process I was also liking the Idea of getting something with a small platform.  This would be just in case I was in a situation where couldn't clip into the pedals.  The third decesion was primarily just based on the astecitics of the setup.  I just wanted something that I liked looking at.  The fourth decision, that of price, made me look to alternative models, ebay, and numerous online bike shops.

Biking pedalsImage by JeffKamp via Flickr
With that being said. I ended up with Crank Brothers Smarty Pedals and Shimano M076 shoes.  It is winter here and very cold, (I know, I know,  man up right?!?).  Anyways, I did install the pedals and have had several sessions on the bike stand.  I don't think it is fair for me to review how easy or hard it is to get into the pedals until I am actually out on the road.  I will review these in full when I get them out on the road.  Until then I will keep practicing clipping in and out on my bike stand.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Keeping Track

A parking lot for bicycles in Niigata%2C_Niiga...Image via Wikipedia
By: Jeff

When I began riding my bike into work last year I decided that I would log all of my miles.  I wanted to do this for a couple of reasons.  First to provide a sense of history.  Looking back on what I have achieved provides me motivation for the future.  The second reason is to see progress.  I want to see if I am improving in my times, distance, overall fitness.  So as began to keep track of this I stumbled upon 's training log.  This was very useful in accomplishing the tracking that I wanted.  It even has a place for runs and other cross training activities.

So that brings me to this year.  I have decided that I would keep logging on, but that I would also try a couple other sites.

  • - Provides a nice log for cycling activities.  Secondary logging  for cross training activities.  Provides day, week, month, year, and total summaries.  Also includes tools to share information on a blog or website.
  • - This is managed by the same company as  For the most part this is the same as's log in reverse.  More emphasis on running, with cycling include in the cross training logs.  Again it includes tools to share information on a blog or a website.
  • - This website has a general log that includes several different activities.  This site seems to be more social in nature, as in you can become friends with other members of the website.  I have not found any tools in here to share information outside of the site.  The nice part about this site is that several events, such as marathons and cycling events, use this site for registration and for posting times.  When they post times you can than link them directly to your training log.
I have also looked at and  Livestrong is good if you also want to track what you are eating.  For now though I am going to stick with the three above sites.  At what point does all this tracking become to tedious?  Are there any other sites out there that you use or would suggest?
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Oh what a difference the bike makes.....

Triathlon photographs from the Chinook-Half-Ir...Image via Wikipedia
By: Brent

In week 2 of marathon training I have been struck with a problem. I can't get biking out of my head. It's ridiculous. 2 wheels and pedal pedal pedal. But, alas, I can't shake it. I blame only one person. Jeff. No one else. Just Jeff. This week I had that hankering that I needed to go for a ride. I was calling it "cross training" but it was really a case of wanting to ride more than run. If I drove home at lunch I could grab a sandwich and ride my bike from home to work and then after work ride back home. It's a 7 3/4 mile trip that is mostly country roads and the bit of 4 lane that I am on has a great shoulder to ride on so its not an issue. There was going to be only one (1) problem. NO BIKE!

Sooooo, with that issue now being addressed I drove over to Jeff's and borrowed one of the bike's we still have in our possession from the "Epic Ride of 2009". (ed.- story coming soon on the Epic Ride '09) The bike grabbed was a Raleigh Sport. It is a nice bike. Not a mind blowing bike, but a great entry level starter bike. Aluminum frame. Very adjustable. Attractive look. Between Jeff and I we have now logged some decent miles on this bike. I got it prepped Tuesday night and ready to ride for Wednesday.

The day arrived. As dumb as it sounds, it may have been the thing I was most excited about all day. Getting the Wind in my hair, well, goatee, and to just be outside in the sunshine. I won't lie, it was brisk 18 degrees and the snow was still spotty on the country roads, but I was going out no matter what. Then I got pedaling. "Why is this so stinkin' hard!?!?!" Jeff and I rode in 30 degree weather with winds steady at 20+ mph and I felt great. Whats the difference!?!!

The Bike. But not what bike, rather what style of bike. Beneath me was a road bike. Not a race bike but a bike that would generally be referred to as a "Comfort Road" bike. This meaning that you will sit on it in a way to make riding more comfortable. It will reduce some of the discomforts that you would experience on a true race style road bike, Tour de Whatever style. The bike that I rode for the "Epic 09" was a 2006 FELT S32. This is a true Triathlon bike. So whats the difference (I hope) you ask? I'm glad you asked. As a triathlete is mid race and his legs just got done swimming, now they are on the bike and the legs are going in circles, now the athlete is thinking "I have to start thinking about running". Let me tell you, if you hop off a normal "Road Bike" and start running you are going to look and feel like you just got off a mechanical bull. A Tri Bike is designed so your legs are in a position that they use your running muscles. The bike practically warms you up so when you hop off the bike and start your run, you are ready to go. After a solid 20 mile ride on the Tribike, i ran a 3 miler with no adjustment or warming up needed. After the 15 (combined) mile ride Wednesday, i was ready for a nap.

So that's it!!! You're buying a bike and now because some numb skull said that I will feel better on a Tribike, that is what I, the bike buyer will buy!!!! NOPE! Buy what you are comfortable on. I am a runner. Not a casual one but a regular runner. To me, I find myself comfortable in the saddle of a lot of bikes, but for ME the Tribike was the best thing I have ridden. YOU may have been as uncomfortable and unimpressed as you have ever felt in your life.

So what does this tell you? You can't buy a bike from your computer desk chair. You must stand up and go try them on. Get out there people. Do something. Join the parade! Get fit.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Schwinn Magnetic Bike Trainer

Schwinn Magnetic Bike TrainerImage by JeffKamp via Flickr
By: Jeff

This summer I was doing well.  I was regularly riding my bike back and forth to work.  Going on weekend rides.  Brent and I even tried to do a two day ride that was well over 100 miles.  But in all disclosure we failed due to hurricane like conditions in the middle of Indiana corn field country.  Seriously.   40 MPH wind gust and rain the whole way!  Then late fall I decidided I wanted to start running.  So for about three weeks I was doing well on that.  With the weather turning cold my running eventually stopped and with the snow my biking ended too.

Well thank goodness for Christmas!!!  One of the gifts I recieved was a Schwinn Magnetic bike trainer.  There are many types of these on the market.  This one in particular is an entry level model.  It has three settings for different resistances.  Basically you mount your rear tire on the frame.  Very easy screw like setting to hold your bike in place.  Then you turn the resistance wheel until it makes solid contact with your rear tire.  Finally pick how much resistance you want and start pedaling.  It is a lot like being on a treadmill, only with your bike instead of running.  A helpful hint would be to get a fan in front of you, your body temp will rise much faster than being on the open road.

So with that being said, I am at least back to getting some excercise in this cold weather.  Today it is a warm 12 degrees farenheight by the way!!!

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Marathon training day #1...with new toys!!!

By: Brent

And hello faithful followers. This Xmas season the family decided to go a new route and instead of buying for everyone, we chose to draw names. my name was chosen by my mother-in-law. I liked my chances to score good stuff because she has always been very good to me and also loves me being a "runner". I say "runner" because I still feel like a rookie. I still get nervous at the starting line. I still feel like I look like a dork in my race gear. being 6'-3" I will always worry that my shorts are to short. with that said I have run in 10 official timed races. 5k's, 10k's and 3 half marathon's. most of this has happened in the last 2 years with all 3 half marathons happening in the last 6 months of 2009. so, when my name was drawn I put together a Xmas list for her. drum parts and a handful of running gear. Just before I emailed it to her I thought, I should put down a race entry. I had done some research and had already found a race in Toledo that I liked the sound of. The Glass Bowl Marathon. 26.2 miles of pain and suffering, so I made it the last item on the list. A couple weeks later I got a call from the old woman saying check your e-mail. There it was..... Race Confirmation. Oh crap! That brings me to yesterday. Race day is April 25th. I have used the Runners World Smart Coach for most of my races. It's a good FREE program that is FREE. you can customize it by weeks training, using other race times and you can really customize it to work for your schedule. Well with the input that I gave it this week starts the training. 16 weeks of runs. shorty's, speed runs, runs that I will be gone long enough for my children to forget what I look like. It includes cross training days and what type of run you should be doing, like speed, tempo or what not.

Last night was day one and it was quite cold. I REALLY didn't want to go out but a big part of me did because I had new toys to try out. i have always liked running in the dark, only problem is....the dark. I never had a good lighting system. I have had Nathan vests with glow sticks in the them so people could see me, but nothing to help me see. For Xmas, my wife bought me a Energizer head lamp. Not the $90 Petzl, but the one you get at Target. $20.79. I expected nothing. First off, once you install the provided Energizer batteries and click the button, you get an aircraft landing beam of sunshine. not like the old plastic flashlight your dad gave you 14 years ago. a serious "this thing is going to blind you in 3.7 seconds" ray of light. then you click it again, and 2 red LED's shine for a dull reading light like in a small Cessna for a night flight. a third click provides you with the beam I used. 2 smaller LED's than the first one, but a better life length to the batteries and plenty of light to find your way. It had a solid fit, even for my misshapen head and I never felt like I had to change my stride to keep it on. Another nice feature was the tilt option. you can set it to shine lower than straight out from your eyes. I tilted it down to display the majority of the beam about 5 feet in front of me. I must say for a economy headlight, I was very impressed. To any runners that are looking for a unit that won't break the bank and let them go out into the night, I would have no concerns recommending this one.

All in all the run went well. Snow was packed good and slippage was minimal but in a review coming soon....Yaktrak's Pro ice slip on. Very Exciting!

Miles logged...3.9.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Genesis

Standard Issue BikesImage by ldandersen via Flickr

by: Brent

In the first half of 1977 two boys were born. By age 7 both boys had become best friends spending way too many hours together. Most of their time was spent riding bikes in never ending circles on driveways, parking lots, wooded areas and even into cemeteries. Listen, cemeteries are curvy and that makes for good race tracks. That and our parents told us not to so…yeah, we were DEFINITELY going there!

So what happens? We get drivers licenses. We meet girls. We have families. We get desk jobs. We get fat. FAT. So now we work to do something about it.

We are making a blog to do a couple things. 1) Remind us as we get older what we have done. 2) Share our experiences, good or bad with what we are working on. 3) Review product whether it be a $3 light or a $5000 bike and also races and trails. 4) Make friends that share our interests.

We look forward to the coming months and please feel free to comment and share your reviews with us. Thanks.

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