5/13/2017

30 Things I Learned During 30 Days of Biking-Part 2


In previous years I have passed up on making the pledge for 30 Days of Biking because I didn't think I could commit with my busy schedule.  This year was different and even though my schedule was still hectic, I decided to make the pledge anyway and commit to ride my bike every day in April.  I would learn a lot of things about myself, my bike and where I rode over those thirty days.  I would like to share these revelations and maybe they will inspire others to make the pledge next year.



Choose ride apparel right before a ride.  The weather forecast from the night before may have changed since, so I would always find out what the live temperature and conditions were before selecting what I was going to wear.  This saved me from wearing something too warm or not warm enough.


Google Maps with Biking Directions helps when planning a ride.  When there was an area I wanted to ride but was unfamiliar with the bike infrastructure there I would visit Google Maps and on the menu tab I would select "Bicycling" and it would highlight trails, bicycle-friendly roads, dedicated lanes and dirt/unpaved trails.  This made planning a route much easier.


Wet lube lasts longer and works great in rainy weather.  As you may know, April can be a very wet month here in Minnesota so I always use a wet chain lube as opposed to a dry one.  With wet lube I don't have to reapply as often even if riding in the pouring rain for several rides.


I relied on my Garmin Edge 1000 in map mode when traveling unfamiliar areas.  To avoid dead ends or stay on an impromptu route this came in very handy.  I could glance down at my Garmin and determine quickly if I should continue forward or take that turn ahead.


I learned the real battery life of my electronic devices.  When using my Garmin and lights everyday I could gauge whether I had enough battery for another ride or two or I should recharge before heading out.  It didn't take long to figure this out.


If everything is ready the night before it makes it much easier to go for a ride and have more time to do it.  I would set out my electronics, helmet, shoes/boots and have my bike ready to go the night before so all I had to do is get dressed for the weather.  I then had no excuse to not ride.


I could arrive to work early and ride the bike infrastructure nearby to save time.  With plenty of trails, roads and even singletrack within a 5 mile radius of my work I would budget my time, leave the parking lot and ride.  This allowed me to get back to work, get in a shower and change before I had to start my shift.  Having a shower at work was nice for those rides I got a bit sweaty on.


I had to clean and maintain my bike more frequently when riding every day.  Mostly it was just a matter of keeping the drivetrain clean since I was riding a little bit of everything (gravel, singletrack, wet pavement, etc.).  Using wet lube attracts dirt and grime which required wiping down the chain and cleaning up the cassette/chainring.  Since I had the bike in the stand I might as well clean the wheels and the frame too.


Wearing glasses makes it easier to see when riding in the rain.  I did ride quite a bit in the rain during April and my glasses helped out a lot.  I wasn't getting pelted in the eyes with raindrops while I was moving at a pretty good pace allowing me to see the road, other traffic and avoid hazards.


Riding everyday made it easier to climb hills and ride longer distances.  I found this especially to be true on the last day of 30 Days of Biking when I rode 56 miles of gravel and hills at the Miesville 56.  I even beat my time from last year and I was was rolling with 4.5" fat tires as opposed to 2.8" tires a year ago with the same bike.


My cyclocross boots got much more use than previously.  I rode a lot in the morning and that was the coldest time of the day so instead of wearing my shoes with shoe covers, I opted for my waterproof cyclocross boots.  They were made with neoprene and really held in the warmth.  With all the rain we had in April they were my go-to footwear for keeping my feet dry also.


I paid more attention to my friend's activities on Strava.  Not only did they gave me ideas for future rides to keep things fresh but it was fun to follow their progress and improvements during 30 Days of Biking.


Riding in the morning is my favorite time of day to ride.  I rode in the afternoon and evening also, but riding in the morning for me was a great way to start the day.  Afterward I would shower and feel great going into the rest of the day.  The angle of the sun, the birds chirping and being out in nature made it a pretty great experience.


Commuting to work is a great way to get in two rides during a day.  Taking different routes each time made the ride more interesting also.  I could get in a ride during my favorite period of the day, the morning and roll with the sunset on the way home in the evening.


I watched the weather forecasts much more closely than normal, especially the hourly forecasts which seem to be the most accurate.  With temperatures and possibilities of precipitation all over the place during April it helped me plan accordingly for the apparel and gear I would need for the ride.

Image Credit: 30 Days of Biking

If you've never made the pledge for 30 Days of Biking before, I highly recommend it.  I'm positive that it will teach you 30 things about yourself, your bike(s) and gear that will make you a better cyclist.

Penn Cycle & Fitness
http://penncycle.com/product-list/trek-pg380/
Now is the time to buy that new Trek bike.
Shop the deals now.

5/04/2017

30 Things I Learned During 30 Days of Biking-Part 1


In previous years I have passed up on making the pledge for 30 Days of Biking because I didn't think I could commit with my busy schedule.  This year was different and even though my schedule was still hectic, I decided to make the pledge anyway and commit to ride my bike every day in April.  I would learn a lot of things about myself, my bike and where I rode over those thirty days.  I would like to share these revelations and maybe they will inspire others to make the pledge next year.

I always felt great after a ride, even if I didn't feel like going out for one.  There were many mornings that I had no desire to get on my bike and would rather sleep a little longer, but I made the pledge so I had to ride.  I never had a day where I regretted hopping on my bike and logging some miles.


Every ride is a good ride no matter how long or short it is.  Depending on the day of the week in regards to my work schedule, I found that I had enough time to get in at least 4 or more miles and still fulfill my obligations.  A short ride is still a good ride and on many of these days where my time was limited I wished I had more of it to get in extra miles.

There is a lot more bike infrastructure near my home than I realized.  On the days I had limited time to get in a ride I would bike from home and explore my neighborhood and beyond.  I didn't know there were so many bike trails with great scenery within a 5 mile radius of where I live.


The weather dictated where I could ride.  I love mountain biking but on rainy days I had to stick to the pavement or gravel instead of hitting the local singletrack.  This just gave me many options to choose from on where to ride.


I rode places I hadn't been before.  I tried to keep each ride a fresh one by not repeating a ride from earlier in the month which helped me get creative and go to the areas I had always wanted to bike but never seemed to get around to it.


I learned my favorite biking discipline by trying them all during 30 Days of Biking.  I rode singletrack, paved trails, gravel and roads depending on the weather and my mood.  I found mountain biking is still my favorite with gravel as a close second.


Don't put away the winter cycling gear just because it's Spring.  The weather in April can be all over the board from warm and sunny to cold and windy with either rain or snow.  During the 30 days I used clothing and gear to cover all four seasons.


It's ok for my bike to get a little dirty for a few days, I'll get around to cleaning it soon or the next time it rains while I ride, it will get a quick rinse off.


Fenders work pretty good in the pouring rain, especially on a fatbike.  I'm going to get wet, but at least I won't get a continuous spray thrown at me from my tires.


Discovering new places to ride and revisit is thrilling.  In search of some singletrack I hadn't ridden before I decided to give Sechler Park in Northfield a try.  It was awesome, CROCT really did a nice job and there is even a skills park to practice my technique.  I'll definitely be heading back here frequently.


When you ride everyday you run into your bike friends more often.  I found this to be especially true at the local singletrack, however I did end up rolling with some friends for a bit on one of the local gravel routes I do.


Check tire pressure before every ride, especially with a fatbike.  With the variety of surfaces that I rode during those thirty days, I had to adjust my pressure to accommodate.  Singletrack required less pressure than pavement or gravel.


Riding with front and rear lights gets you seen by motorists during the daytime, especially on cloudy days.  Sometimes motorists don't expect to see cyclists on the road during inclement weather and lights will get me seen more often than without them.


I really got to see the change of seasons.  Slowly over the month of April I watched as everything began to turn from a drab gray to a bright green as the buds on the trees began to pop and vegetation started to sprout up.


Wool socks aren't just for Winter.  A ride can start out cold in the morning and warm up quickly, but at least with wool socks my feet stayed warm and they wicked moisture when things heated up.  Even if my feet got a little wet on one of the rainy day rides my wool socks continued to insulate.

Penn Cycle & Fitness
http://penncycle.com/product-list/trek-pg380/
Now is the time to buy that new Trek bike.
Shop the deals now.

4/17/2017

Open Streets MPLS Returns with Seven Events for 2017


Open Streets MPLS returns for its seventh year with seven events that cover all quadrants of the city including downtown.  What started as one event in 2011 has grown into something big that gives cyclists, pedestrians, skaters and skateboarders a new way to see the city without automobile traffic.  These events are a great way to explore these neighborhoods, their local businesses and meet new people in a fun, family-friendly way.  And best of all, they are all free.  So grab your bike, walking shoes, skateboard or skates and enjoy these neighborhood streets that are free from traffic for one day.


Thanks to the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) and the City of Minneapolis for making these events possible.  These events have brought out thousands of people to see these neighborhoods in a way that is not possible during the rest of the year.


Local community members plan out these events and around 100 volunteers are needed for each one.  If you would like to volunteer for any of the Open Streets MPLS events, visit the Open Streets Volunteer page and fill out the sign up form.

 Open Streets MPLS Dates

Sunday, June 4th
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
22nd St. W. to 42nd St. W. 

Sunday, June 11th, 2017
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Washington Ave. N. from 8th Ave. N to 1st Ave. N.
& 1st Ave. N. from Washington Ave. to 8th Ave. N.

Sunday, July 23rd
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
From Elliot Avenue to Minnehaha Ave.; 
along Minnehaha Ave until 46th St.

Sunday, August 6th
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
13th from 2nd to 5th/5th from Hennepin to 22nd/
22nd from 5th to Central/Central from 26th Ave. NE to 18 1/2th Ave. NE
Facebook Event Page
Sunday, August 27th
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Portland Ave. to 28th Ave. S. 

Saturday, September 9th
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Lyndayle to Penn Ave. N.
Sunday, September 24th
11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Lake St. W. to 46th St. W. 
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