Archive for General

My First Triathlon

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Well, it has been a long time since I have written anything about cycling but I do have something to report:  I have officially entered my first triathlon!  Yes, I know that I am overweight, have not run significantly for about 30 years, am not a strong swimmer, and have been off the bike for a few years but I figured I needed something to get me motivated!  So, Thursday I officially signed up for the Naperville Sprint Triathlon.

Providing my training goes well, on August 6th I will hopefully be finishing a 400 meter swim, 22km ride and 5k run.  That only gives me about four months to get in shape so I should probably get off the computer and on the bike!

I will be writing about my training experiences leading up to the triathlon and impressions of the event itself, providing I live, once completed.

Check back often and wish me luck!

P.S.  I am VERY open to any constructive opinions regarding training or the event itself.  If you recently completed your first triathlon I would love to know to hear from you about what worked, what didn’t, and if you are planning a second or will never compete again…

Love, live, and ride (and swim and run)!

God Bless!

Shirts and Mugs!

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For any of you who follow my blog and want to help support it please feel free to get a shirt or coffee mug for your favorite Cyclist Dad!

Get some Cyclist Dad stuff here

Group Riding 101

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Bike Race Finish

Just some miscellaneous group riding tips shared by one of my fellow group riders:

Riding through tunnels — Ever wonder how the pros handle riding into a tunnel in the Giro or Tour of Swiss.  The transition from light to dark creates sight problems as you may guess.  Close one eye for some moments prior to entering the tunnel.  The eye will dilate and you will be able to see in the lower light conditions of the tunnel.  Ok this is useless for us,  but I’ll bet you never heard it before.  

Half wheeling — When riding “two up” each rider is responsible to stay even with the other.  The slower rider sets the pace.  If the bike next to you slows, then you slow to stay even.  It’s not cool to ride faster and faster to keep your wheel just ahead of the bike next to you.  If you are pulling away it’s your responsibility to slow.  It’s not the other rider’s responsibility to speed up.  Going faster and faster and faster will break the peloton.

Riding on the “tops” of the bars — I often see riders ride with their palms on the tops.  It is comfortable but if you hit a pot hole that you did not see, you might loose control, crash and take us all out.  Keep one thumb (or both) hooked below the top of the bar.

Intersections — The first rider (s) have responsibility for the safety of the bunch.  If you see traffic, make a judgment on whether or not the entire group and make it.  If the group can’t make it (with plenty of clearance) then stop.  Use hand signals.

Flat Tires —  If the group is resolved to stop for flats it can mean several stops when we are a large group.  To me stopping for flats should be reserved to small group rides, say less than 11.  When a flat occurs raise your hand so bikes can ride around you as you slow.  Stay on your line.  Don’t pull off until the group has passed you and it’s clear behind.  Right hand up means rear flat, left hand up means front flat (follows brake controls).  Only the rider with the flat should raise their hand so others know who flatted and can make their way safely around them.  Do not sit up and point at the guy with the flat tire.  Let him or her identify themselves.

Inflate the night before — If you inflate your tires the night before you ride, you will know if you have a slow leak.  Just a quick hardness check by pressing the thumb straight into the tread is enough prior to your ride.  Riding at pressures from 90 ~ 110 psi are negligible in terms of rolling resistance and if your pressure is falling from say 110 to 90 within 24 hours you should be investigating a slow leak.  When you find a slow leak it’s typically a shard that has penetrated the tire casing and wears a small puncture into the tube.  When you take apart the tire, feel the inside of the casing all the way around with your thumb for shards that have penetrated the case.  Be careful because if the shard is glass they can worsen your day.  If you are changing tires at home, use talc between the tube and tire.  This lowers friction between the tire and tube and helps the tire roll better.  It also makes it easier to change the tube because it does not stick to the inside of the tire.

Live, love, and ride.

Dean

Fix That Squeak!!

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Your bike, like your car, will give you thousands and thousands of quality miles but it needs some TLC too.

If you have ever had a squeak while riding, like I have, I know it drives you crazy!!

A friend of mine forwarded me a great article he found on Bicycling.com devoted to silencing those little noises.  I give all of the credit to the original writer.

Here you go:  Silence a Noisy Bike

Love, ride, and live.

New Year’s Resolution? NOT ME!

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I’m going to join a health club, go on a diet, take yoga, stretch daily, go on a diet and ride inside every day for the next three to four months until the snow melts and I can get out on the road. Did I mention go on a diet? Really? I think not!

How many people actually do ANYTHING they set out to do in the New Year? Very few if you ask me. I am taking a different approach this new year. I was talking to one of my cycling friends and he told me about a book he had just picked up called “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Timothy Ferriss. I was familiar with this author but had never read this particular book but once I began reading I was hooked. In all fairness I actually listened to the book, a huge time saver, that I purchased from www.audible.com. I think it is a must read, or listen, if you really want to get your life back to open some time for cycling.

Happy New Year! Have fun and be safe.

Love, live, and ride.

Learning How to Fish

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I believe it was Confucius that said “Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.”

I have never been as concerned about my children’s futures as I am today.

The Obama Administration is attempting to brainwash US citizens into thinking that it NEEDS the government in order to survive instead of teaching them to take some initiative and believe in themselves and what they can accomplish.

I am not usually one to speak publicly about my political stance but enough is enough!  The United States of America was founded as a democracy and the Obama Administration is driving us toward Socialism day by day.

Greece is paying the price for relying on the government for everything and there are others on their way to ruin as well.

Ask yourself one question before you vote on November 6th:  Do you want the US to be the next Greece?

President Obama must be a one-term president for the sake of our children.

Love, live, ride, and don’t be afraid to learn how to fish!

Dean

 

Regain Your Balance Before You Fall

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Everyone has heard the saying: “Everything in Moderation”.

This saying applies to most everything in life: good foods, exercise, and work to name a few.

As men, we have been brought up to be the provider for the family and we take that job very seriously, but everyone needs some down time.

Don’t forget to take some time and smell the coffee.  Life is precious and very short.  Don’t let it pass you by!

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

Come on West Virginia!!!

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So I have been blogging for about eight months now and have gotten visitors from almost all 50 states and over 70 countries.

The lone holdout at this point is West Virginia!

Are there really no cyclist dads in West Virginia?!

If you know anyone in, or around, West Virginia shoot them a call, email, text, letter, or even a smoke signal, and have them visit…

Thanks in advance!

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

Taking off the Training Wheels

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Well, today I took my oldest son to school.  This time, though, it was not with his Buzz Lightyear lunchbox and backpack; it was with his futon, TV, computer, and a bunch of other “grown up” stuff.  This time it was off to college and instead of two miles from home it was 200 and he won’t be coming home after school for a while.

In an earlier blog I wrote about taking the training wheels off of my younger son’s bicycle in “Who Stole My Training Wheels”?!  This time taking the training wheels off is a little harder.

I understood the feeling, somewhat, when my wife and I took my stepdaughter to a Christian Discipleship program last year but today was a little different.  Today I had to face the fact that my son is actually turning into man.  It is so hard to believe that eighteen years ago I was changing him and in eighteen years from now he may be changing me.  That, by the way, was hopefully a joke.

I am very proud of my son and the man he has started to become.  I look forward to stories that he will share over the coming months.  I also plan to go see him during the school year.  Do you think next weekend is too soon?

Dads, spend time with your kids and don’t be afraid to tell them you love them, often.  Before you know it you’ll be packing away the Buzz Lightyear and packing up the futon..

I love you Bryce!  Study hard, have fun, and never forget where you came from.  Also, let me know if you need any more Ramen noodles!

See you next weekend!  JK LOL!

Love, live, and ride.

Dean (Dad)

Lose Weight With Green Coffee Extract?

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So I have been trying to get my exercise / nutrition life back in balance and have been unable to do so for various reasons.  I am not normally one to jump on all of the latest fad diets but I have been reading about the latest miracle in weight loss: Green Coffee Extract.

According to Dr. Oz this little bean is making quite the noise all over the web.  It is able to help one lose weight without the need for additional exercise, etc.

I know, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.  Be that as it may, my wife and I are going to give it a whirl.  She doesn’t really need it; she is just being supportive.

I’ll report back with our results in about a month….

Wish us luck!

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

 

Riding a 29er – My First Mountain Bike Experience

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So there I am flying through the air on my very first ride on a mountain bike!

Pretty impressive huh?!

I wish that was the case but, in all honesty, I was happy to just not run into a tree, at least not head on….

I have been riding a road bike for the past eight or nine years and have really enjoyed it.  Last year a good friend of mine, Jim, took a walk on the wild side of cycling and began mountain biking. Ever since he started, and became absolutely hooked,  we have talked about me getting off the road and into the woods.  Well, today was the day!

One word comes to mind when I think about my ride.  WOW!

Read more

Wanna Blog?

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If you have ever dreamed about putting together a blog about cycling, fatherhood, exercise, nutrition or bike wrenching, without all of the hassle, I would like to enlist your help on articles from time to time as a guest blogger.

The original intent of this blog was to publish practical information for Cyclist Dads that could be digested in small pieces and applied.  I think I have done a decent job thus far but know it can be better.

If you are interested please email me at dean@cyclistdad.com

Love, live, and ride.

The Bikes of New York City

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Last week myself and my family took a trip to New York City for our annual summer vacation.  Being an avid cyclist I was amazed by the numbers and types of bicycles that were scattered about the city.  As we walked from lower Manhattan back to our hotel in Time Square I decided to take some pictures.  I wish I had started a day or two earlier but I still did find a number of gems.

I am no professional photographer as I took all of these pictures with my trusty iPhone.

I am sure each bike has a story and by the looks of some of them they have lived a very rough life but seem to still have life left in them.

Enjoy.

 

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

Take the Cyclist Dad With You!!

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If you are as busy as I am it seems like there is never enough time in the day to accomplish what I need to, let alone what I want to.

Hopefully checking out my blog is on your list somewhere but I am guessing it’s not at the top.

Well, in case you were not aware, it is possible to follow my blog from your smartphone while you are on the run.

Actually, to be clear, I would prefer you view it while you are sitting or standing still.  I am definitely not one to encourage this activity while you are driving, or riding for that matter.

Above you will find a screen snapshot of what the blog looks like on an iPhone.

Let me know if you find it useful or if you have any recommendations.

Thanks!

Love, live,, and ride.

Dean

Too Old or Young to Ride?

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Like I mentioned in an earlier post I turned 49 this week.  As I thought about that it got me wondering about the age range of my followers.

Please take a few seconds and fill out the survey below.

[poll id=’13’]

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

Tip of the Day – Yoga for Cyclists

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A friend of mine ran across a great article in Bicycling Magazine about the benefits of yoga as cross training for cyclists.

Find it here

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

 

 

 

 

Almost Half A Century!

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Over the last few weeks I have received several junk e-mail messages regarding AARP, Medicare, and yes, even Senior Dating Services.

What are they trying to say?!

I did, unfortunately, turn 49 years old on Monday but please, this is a little ridiculous.   I don’t feel  like 49, let alone 65.  I feel more like 29!

This has really gotten me thinking about how I handle the fact that next year I will be 50 years, 5 decades, 1/2 century old?  Do I just sit here and take it?!

I think not!!

My goal is to face this head on.  Since I am, by nature, a positive person, I thought I would put a positive spin on the situation:  I am going to live to be 100 years old so I am, therefore, less than half way through my life.

When I think of it like that, it actually does make me feel a little better.  It also gets me thinking about how much riding I will be able to get in.  I figure over the next 50 years I should be able to ride somewhere between 50, 000 and 100,000 miles.  That sure sounds like a LOT of work doesn’t it?  I am getting  tired just thinking about  it…

It’s getting late so I should probably get some sleep.  Time for a glass of warm milk…  just kidding.

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

It’s Not About The Bunny!!

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I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter!!

Easter is not about finding a basket full of candy or going on an Easter egg hunt; it is about celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Through Him all things are possible!

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK!!!

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So, I have been blogging now for a little over 90 days and have written about 60 articles as well as about 61 Tip of the Day posts.  I never thought it would happen but I think I have writers block!!

This brings up an interesting dilemma; what do I do?

  1. Do I change the “Tip of the Day” to the “Two Tips Every Three Days?”
  2. Do I find others far more creative than I to help me out?
  3. Do I try to focus and come up with longer articles once or twice a week?
  4. Do I give up?  (NOT REALLY AN OPTION!)
  5. Do I reach out to the people who frequent my blog and ask for ideas?

I think number 5 is probably the best suggestion so here goes: Does anyone have any constructive ideas for new articles, featured columns, obscure topics, or anything they would like to hear about?

I am open to any legitimate idea and I will even give credit where credit is due by dedicating the article to you if you so desire.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Love, live, and ride (and hopefully write more…)

Dean

 

Any Duathletes Out There?

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When I was much younger, like 33 years ago, I ran cross country in high school and actually really enjoyed it.  I was never the fastest on the team but ran a pretty respectable, by my standards,  6:15  per mile pace.  Just to be clear that is 6 minute 15 seconds per mile.

Over the last 10 years or so I have only run a few times with one of those times being in a local duathlon.  It was the first time I had ever competed, if you could call it that, but I really did have fun.  I am thinking about taking up running again and am looking to compete in 2-3 duathlons this year.  In case you’re wondering, triathlons are out since I am not a great swimmer and don’t believe the dog paddle or breast stroke are considered to be the strokes of choice from a speed perspective.

What I am looking for is some practical training tips from people with real-life experience in training and competing in duathlons.  If you like writing and want to put together  a blog post I am open to that as well.  If you do choose to blog I will throw in a Cyclist Dad t-shirt for your trouble.

I look forward to your comments.

Love, live, and ride (and maybe even run too!).

Dean

 

Tip of the Day – Use Nimbulist

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One of my missions in beginning  this blog was to provide Cyclist Dads with brief and valuable exercise, nutritional, and practical advice that would allow them to spend more time with their families and on the bike.

Yesterday’s Tip of the Day was centered on productivity and using the application Evernote to help you get some time back during your day.

Evernote, as I mentioned yesterday, allows you to take notes on just about any device and sync it seamlessly with all of your other devices.  One feature that unfortunately does not exist in Evernote is the ability to collect all of the tasks from your various meetings into a single consolidated task list.

Here is where Nimbulist comes in.  Nimbulist is an iPhone/iPad application that will collect all of the tasks from your various notes and compile them into a master task list.

Best of all, there is very little in the way of configuration that needs to be done to enable this functionality:
1. Download and install Nimbulist from the App Store..
2. Within your note use the check box tool to list your tasks.
3. Put the keyword “Nimbulist” in the tag field of your note.
4. Nimbulist does the rest.

Hopefully you will find this application as useful as I did.

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

Tip of the Day – Take a Note!

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In my day job, I meet with customers several times a week.  I used to jot my notes into a notebook and over the years had amassed quite a collection of them.  The problem is, I could never find what I was looking for when I needed it.

Enter, from stage left, Evernote and my iPad.  Everyone knows what an iPad is but how many know what Evernote is?

Evernote is a note-taking application that can be used on Windows, Mac, Apple IOS, Android, Blackberry, and Web OS devices. It supports audio recording as well as using images from your camera roll or capturing them with the camera on your smart device.  Evernote will even sync all of your devices, through the magic of the cloud, so that you always have access to your information no matter where you are.

I actually burned all of my notebooks this winter and cut down on my heating bill substantially.  Well, maybe not.

You can find more information about Evernote at www.evernote.com.

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

 

Check Your Tires

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Thanks to my friend John W. for this post:

When is the last time you had a flat tire?  During the early part of the cycling season, at least in the North, people are much more prone to flat tires due to road debris and pot holes.  You can help avoid a flat by doing a few basic things before you ride:

  • Check your tires for embedded objects such as glass.  If you find glass you can use a small pointed device, such as a needle, to dig it out.
  • Check for deep cuts or excessive wear and change the tire if necessary.
  • Be sure to check for proper inflation to avoid the dreaded “pinch flat”.

For the inexperienced riders changing a tire, or tube, is really quite easy.  See the following link for a great video:  Changing a Flat Tire

If you need a good lesson on how NOT to change a flat see an entertaining blog post here by The Fat Cyclist.

Remember, the more time you spend fixing your bike, the less time you are actually riding it!

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

 

The Ideal Ride

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Today was sunny and almost 80 degrees in southeastern Wisconsin.  The perfect day to get out for a ride.

Most cyclists I know tend to be very focused on training and riding hard, all the time.  I am very competitive as well but today I decided to mix training with a ride with my wife and my 8 year-old son.

We decided to ride on a bike trail that was about 13 miles from my house and I came up with a perfect way to get my riding in and spend some time with the family.  I loaded up the SUV with my wife’s and son’s bikes and asked my wife to give me a 30 minute head start.  This allowed me to get in a hard 13 miles, unfortunately against the wind, and then meet them for a family ride.

When we met we took off and rode a pretty leisurely 5.22 miles to be exact.  This was the longest ride my son has ever been on and he did very well.  It was a great chance to teach him stuff about riding like: how to ride safely, how to shift when going up hills, where to ride, and how to be courteous to other people on the trail.  Both my son and wife really enjoyed the time together.  I am pretty sure, though, that as we were passed by hard-core cyclists they were probably wondering what I was doing dressed in a full kit to ride with my family at 10 mph.  I guess I really didn’t care and it probably gave them a good laugh.

After we finished riding I loaded the SUV back up and sent them on their way back home.  I then took off for home for the second leg of my training ride.

All in all it was an excellent way to spend time with the family and get some training in.  My plan is to do a lot more of this over the summer.  On our next ride we are going to shoot for 10 miles!  If the weather holds up that could very well be next weekend.  It could not have been a better day.

The quote a local bike shop:  “Life Is Short, Enjoy Your Ride”  I really did today!

Don’t be afraid to share a little bit about your perfect ride.

Love, live, and ride.

Dean

Show Me Your Kits!

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Almost every time I get out on a ride I run across a kit or three that I have never seen before.

Do you have a favorite?  If so, email a picture of it to me at:  dean@cyclistdad.com

I will display the pictures I get in a followup post and maybe put together a vote for the best kit.

Love, live, and ride.

Dean