Category Archives: Bike

Things I Don’t Understand About Biking

Things I Don't Understand About my Bike

This could be a long laundry list of things I don’t understand about  bikes and biking. Where to begin?

How to install water bottle and bike kit? Where do I carry the tire inflator and spare stuff? I don’t see how this fits on the bike.

What is the best way to fix a flat? I’ve only changed the tires twice. Both at home, not on the road.

How often do I need to clean my bike and oil the chain?

When do I need to replace the brake pads? Am I breaking too much going downhills?

What is a power meter and do I need one? Is a power meter the same thing as a bike computer? Do I need a bike computer? How will it help me?

How do I know what kind of brakes I  have? When do I need to replace the brake lines?

Why do my brakes squeak? Should they squeak?

How often should you replace your helmet? I do know to replace after a crash. I haven’t crashed. I think my helmet is about five years old.

Got any answers for me?





Embrace The Bike: My BHAG 2017


Embrace the Bike

BHAG is Big Hairy Audacious Goal. I need to have something BIG to do, something new, something fun, something outside. Since I’m not supposed to run with my arthritic knee, I’m turning to biking. Since I’ve never been fast but have endurance, I’ve become interested in long distance biking.  I first set the goal of a century ride (100 miles) in 2017, but as that idea percolated, more ideas came to mind.

Great Allegheny Passage

The Great Allegheny Passage is 150 mile trail from Pittsburgh PA to Cumberland Maryland. I thought this would be a good goal. There are no motorized vehicles on it, and this would fulfill my goal of a century ride-plus some!

Great Allegheny Passage  AND the C&O Trail

Where the GAP Trail ends in Cumberland, Maryland, the C&O Towpath Trail takes over. The C&O Trail goes from Cumberland to Washington DC. You can ride your bike from Pittsburgh PA to Washington DC.  This is 335 miles.  As I thought about this, it seemed like riding just “half” the trail would only be half complete.  I’m sure I would want to complete the whole trail-so why not do that from the start?

Amtrak is the key

Getting to one end of the trail could be tricky except there is Amtrak! It is a single train ride from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. They now have a new service where you just wheel your bike onboard for a small fee of twenty bucks-easy peasy!

Training Trails

I have a close bike trail to train on. It is the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Full length is 73 miles, which would give me great opportunities for long mileage off roads.

So here’s to my BHAG for 2017, embrace the bike!

Biking 101: Going Clipless

Going Clipless

My biking education and training evolves. Today I went clipless.  What does that mean?  “Clips” refers to the older style of making sure your foot stayed on the pedal, this was straps making a little cage for your shoe on the pedal-there’s a picture below of this. “Clipless” is the newer invention of affixing your shoe securely to the pedal via a little locking cleat mechanism


I upgraded my wind trainer to a CycleOps fluid trainer. Why? The wind trainer was noisy as hell. I literally couldn’t last more than fifteen minutes without going insane. AND I couldn’t hear the TV-a most important component on inside riding.Cyclops Fluid TrainerI bought a trainer tire. I successfully changed the tire on my bike-it involved me kind of laying on the tire in about fifteen or twenty minutes. Getting the cassette back on the bike moved me to tears and needed an assist from the hubs. But it was on!


I bought the clips-or the toe cages-for my bike back in the summer time.  Shoe in Clips One of the little screws fell out, and the cage has been dangling like this for weeks, but it still works to slip my foot into the cage.

Going Clipless

Yes, the cycling world is weird. The shoes that you clip into the pedal are referred to as “clipless”. There is a million variables of clipless pedals and shoes to choose from, which cost from thirty dollars to several thousand.  Being a total clipless newby, I don’t need 0.5 gram carbon fiber pedals-I just need something to try.

A friend via Twitter recommended these pedals to me, and it was good advice as any, so I bought them and shoes off Amazon. (Affiliate link for these!)

Since both pedals and shoes showed up, it was time to become a bike mechanic. This is why I haven’t become a Fred before this; I am not interested in fixing things. I’m not very good with mechanical things. But I am learning. I am embracing bike mechanics 101.

I did it! I’m Clipless!

Shimano SPD Pedals

I did have to get the hubs to come downstairs and loosen up the old “clip” pedals off the bike, but I installed the cleats on the shoes, the pedals on the bike.  I was able to clip in, and (after Googling) was able to clip OUT of the pedals.

Clipped in!

I didn’t stay on the trainer long, only wanted to feel these new shoes and pedals. I could already tell a difference, being attached to the bike on the upstroke as well as the down stroke. I hope to get comfortable clipping in and out on the trainer before the first spring ride outside.

Have you embraced new technology in your sport? How soon will I fall over on this bike this spring?

My 2017 Goals

2017 Goals

This usually, if I write one, starts out as “what races I am running” for the year.

This is going to be a different year, maybe the start of new me, or Kimba 2.0 as I call her.

I may not be running much. I have Grade 4 Arthritis on my right knee. I’ve seen the XRays (went to the doctor in December) where there is not a gap between my bones.  Knee Arthritis
Hence the pain on my knee. Running is the worst thing you can do for this.  Walking is good. Swimming, biking, hiking is good. Virtually every other sport under the sun is good-except for running.

It’s going to be a very flexible year that I will embrace.  (Embrace is my word of the year!)

Hiking: I’ve become interested in the Buckeye Trail. I received several map sections of the BT for Christmas and I would like to cover these in 2017.  I would also like to do some overnight camping.

Biking: I’m going to ride my bike this year. I need to find trails or roads without lots of traffic. One of my goals will be to ride a century, or 100  miles.

Swimming: I am learning to swim with my face in the water. I think it will be fun and out of my comfort zone to “try a tri” which is a swim, followed by a bike, followed by a run.

Volunteer: this is definitely on the calendar. I will be working at the following races Forget the PR 50K in April and Massanutten 100 in May.  I will be recruiting volunteers for a new adventure race here in southern Ohio, at Camp Tuscazoar in August.

What’s on your adventure/recreation/racing calendar for 2017?

I Want to Ride my Bicycle I want to ride my Bike!

How can anyone turn down a Queen inspired post title?


Today’s workout was a bike ride.

Since it was my day off from work, there was no time constraints to get out there on the bike. I was biking by 830am, as the day was already hot and sweaty!

abandonedhouseThis is the abandoned house on the corner. Over the years, all the windows have been broken out. The windows were then covered with plastic, which has tattered and torn.

bike scene

It is quite the bucolic scenery that I ride through.

I had a good bike ride. I don’t know whether it was because I had pre-planned my workouts for the week, or knew the route I was going to ride, but all went well. Even the “big” hill seemed just a tiny bit easier. Maybe I am getting a bit used to being in the bike saddle these days.


The best part about riding on these back country roads in the creek bottom is there is no traffic.  Like one truck passed me.  I’m still quite leery riding a bike with traffic.  Does anyone else mutter “please don’t hit me please don’t hit me” when a car needs to pass you?
green tunnelI did not get to my knee exercises (yet) today but substituted weeding and staking some pepper plants that needed the immediate loving care.

Did you get in a bike ride today?

Introducing Kimba 2.0: We can build her Better

Kimba 2.0

Introducing Kimba 2.0

I have graduated from Physical therapy!

In order to return to my active lifestyle, I said all along I would train SMART. I listened to my PT, did my exercises, walked on my treadmill, attempted to start eating healthy.

I’ve been told by two doctors that running will progress the arthritis in my knees. (I also can tell I have arthritis in my elbows.) Well, I can either not run and have arthritis, or I can run (therefore keeping my sanity) and have arthritis.

Does anyone remember the opening of the “Six Million Dollar Man”? “Steve Austin, astronaut, a man barely alive. Gentlemen, we can rebuild him, we have the technology. We have the capability to make the worlds first Bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better. Stronger. Faster.”

I have taken that opening to heart. I am going to rebuild Kimba 2.0 into a better athlete than before.  Better. Stronger. Faster. (Not sure about the faster part.) SMARTER.

I am going to incorporate other exercises that are not weight bearing. I am learning how to ride my bike!

Biker Kim

Today I am going to work on a training schedule. I return to work next week, so I need to get back into a training routine. Perhaps I will even go for a small jog at some point!

Have you made any changes to training due to injury?

Longest Bike Ride

So I got out of work, and decided to go on my 10K around the block..except on my bike this time.

On my first ‘real’ hill, I managed to shift into a harder gear, and then accidentally squeeze the brake lever, halting me totally.

On the second hill, the one I challenged myself to run up this summer, I dropped my chain.  My first bike fix! I managed to get the chain back on, AND bike up the hill.

Then it’s past the 4 dog corner. They were not out, although as I started down the big hill, I heard them barking.
This is a very steep hill I usually run down-I am running 8’ish minute miles down this hill. 
I am cautiously descending on the bike, braking. Almost at the bottom, I let up…and glance at the Garmin, I am hitting 19 MPH on this dirt gravel road!

The next hill is my hilll repeat hill. I’ve never run up it; and I do not bike up it. I walk the bike up the hill. Okay, I have already resolved to run up this hill this summer! And maybe I will get the quad strength to bike it too!

I finish the 10K about only 15 minutes in front of the time that it takes me to run this..but I did stop to fix my dropped chain too. I felt this workout in my legs, and my core. I would find myself hunching over to climb the hills, and I would keep reminding myself to sit up and work the core and the quads, to get up the hill.

I’m looking forward to more time on the bike, and improving on time around the block!