Mixed Bag of Cycling Stuff

I’ve not neglected biking, just blogging. I’m not saying that I’ve been out doing a super lot of biking, just saying that I have my priorities in order; biking before blogging.  So here’s a wrap up.

Tour de Whatcom 2021 – Well the reality of it is that this spring/summer I am in a dental overhaul mode (not fun) and honestly didn’t think I’d have a fun time doing the 100 mile route a week after oral surgery, nor did I think it would be too much fun keeping a training schedule amidst other procedures. So, I signed up for the 44 mile out to Birch Bay and back, thinking that I’d ride the ’74 Raleigh International like I did last year. I’d finally gotten the original 5 speed freewheel installed and was interested to see what it was like to do a 10-speed ride. I rode the ride, it was fun, it was tough on the one steep climb, nothing went wrong, and I’d do it again.

Scientific Bike Stuff –  While I was riding the afore mentioned 44 mile ride on the 10-speed, I got to wondering how it stacks up against my newer 24-speed(?) Raleigh R600 on the same route. So I rode the ride again the next weekend on R600 just to see. What I found was that the vintage steel frame is still pretty darn nice to ride, especially on the recently chipsealed and very rough roads. The R600, stiff aluminum, very buzzy. More indexed gears vs. less non-indexed gears; more wins out easily. Was it faster; yes it was, but only by a couple of minutes, but that was due to a nasty headwind on the return to Bellingham. Headwinds don’t care. Then, just because, I did it again the next weekend on the R600; this time without wind issues and this time a little bit faster.

  • 3:02 on steel vintage Raleigh International
  • 2:59 on aluminum Raleigh R600 w/wind
  • 2:56 on aluminum RaleighR600 no wind

So, faster on the newer aluminum bike, more comfortable on the older steel bike. Therefore I need a retro-vintage steel bike; that’s all there is to that.

Also in the mixed bag of cycling stuff – I’ve put in a lot more road miles lately and even though it has been a good season for numpties, I still don’t like being surprised by a car passing me because I can’t hear it, what with wind and the amount of other traffic on the roads, or I can’t see it because either the mirror is buzzy due to rough road, or the the road is narrow and I am not willing to take my eyes off of it. Enter the Garmin Varia car tracking radar tail light. Up goes my safety; down goes the bank account. I watched and read several online reviews and I was seeing that anyone who has used one of these setups (Varia & Edge computer) has said they will never go back to riding with just a mirror.   So here I am with 2 rides totaling about 65 miles and I am saying the same thing; I won’t do a road ride without it. Knowing how many cars and how fast they are coming approaching without taking your eyes off the road is indispensable. That’s it end of story.

Burley gets new wheels – yes indeed, Burley is sporting a set of 29″/700c wheels shod with a used set of Clement Crusade PDX 33 x 700c tires that I had purchased for my now departed Kona Dew. Why did I get new wheels you may ask; because the wheels were a good deal, I already had tubes & tires, the Burley could originally be ordered 26″ or 700c, and because why not. Do I like it? Well it still rides like the Burley on the 10-20 miles of road and gravel paths that I’ve ridden so far. I expected to feel a big difference because of the weight loss, but I didn’t. Not sure what was accomplished here.

Training for the Mt Baker Hill Climb – It is on in slightly under a month, Sept. 12th to be exact.

Bike? My Raleigh R600 because it has worked so far and I won’t have to think much. Training? Yes, I am. Mid-week – riding a 20 mile afternoon road loop that I do from my house. Weekends – I was doing that 44 mile Birch Bay ride and switched a couple of weekends ago to doing gravel road laps up and down the Tower Rd. on Galbraith. I’m still no speed demon, but I figure that doing 3 laps back to back isn’t going to hurt no matter what my ride time is. And I say ride time now because last weekend was the first time I pedaled all 3 laps. At about 1000 feet of elevation gain, that Tower Rd. has been a good metric for me over the years. I can remember 4-5 years ago mentally targeting to push, pull or drag my bike to the top just once, then that moved to push, pull, drag 3 times, then just last year to pedal the first lap and push, pull, drag the rest.

Also on a bit of a vintage Schwinn binge after getting the S30; I saw what looks like a completely stock 1987 Schwinn Sierra ATB on FB marketplace.  hmmmm?

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Poor as my writing might be, I still like to write. I’ve written a blog or two in the past, but at one point or another they each became a chore rather than a joyful pastime. C.S. Lewis said, regarding writing, “Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.” I will be following Lewis’ advice so this blog, which bears my name, will remain a joyful pastime. Hope you like bikes.