See the post just before this for background. Bike mirrors, even the best of them, take getting used to. It took me several months to get used to this one. I did not wear it religiously, but I did continue to use it from time to time. So… I got used to it. I also learned a few tricks. So this is a followup after it was thoroughly tested.
Glare. Given the angle of the mirror on your wrist glare is an issue, and a few reviewers mentioned that on Amazon. I learned you can simply close the mirror, placing the mirror face down, and the problem goes away. It is designed so that there is velcro to keep it from flapping around. If I am not in traffic I fold it down hiding the mirror. I use it mostly for high traffic areas, but don’t need it on the extensive trail system here in Columbia, MO., where there is no motor vehicle traffic.
Angle. The effective angle is a bit odd, and probably changes depending on the geometry of your body (length of arms, etc.), and that of the bike. For me I have to hold my hand out to the left angled up, and cock my wrist to the side. If I do that I have a great view of what is behind me.
Blind Spots. Learned where to place the mirror. Problem solved.
Magnification. Still an issue. Would a bigger mirror with different optical properties help? Probably.
Practice. Practice helps you learn how to judge the distance and look into the mirror. I have found that most things with a bike take practice. How many of you have feel over in the process of learning to use toe clips, or step in pedals. Over the years I have abandoned both, and after a long while taken them up again and I either fell over once or had a real close moment. When I purchased my new touring bike I had two keel overs due to learning the geometry and fit of the bike.
Perfection. Ain’t gonna happen. I have tried many of them over the years and all have flaws.
I bike commute and tour. I want every reasonable, and practical, safety feature I can get. I know many still go with the turn the head and look approach. Which is fine. I just want to augment it.
Bent but not broken I ventured back out onto the Katy Trail this past June, and lived to tell the tail. Here is some photographic proof:
On this solo trip I spent the night in Hartsburg Missouri and then came back the next day.
I do not think I am sticking with the trailer, but I need to try it on my new touring bike to make sure.
Well, running ugly got ugly. At least for my left knee I could probably count on my fingers, maybe without having to use the toes, how many times I ran last year. I tried it again the week before last and I made two miles with no problems. I could have ran a lot faster. I laid off for a day or so and thought I would try it again. My left knee kept bothering me a bit but I decided to give it a try. Maybe it was the weather (that would be the denial kicking in). I did not make it fifty yards. My knee is now much better. Biking, walking, and stairs don’t seem to bother me. I did some boxing bag work last night and that was fine. Weight lifting is fine. For being 60 I think that is good enough but I sure miss running.
Did running cause that knee problem? No. I think not. I did martial arts for years and my kicking leg was my left leg, and it has “nagged” me for years. Little tweaks hear and there. Hyperextending it with kicking, and maybe aggressive stretching, did it. That I am sure of.
If, and until, I have to get a knee replacement I am most likely done with running and maybe a new knee wouldn’t even help. The pain is very tolerable. I just want to retain mobility.
The Katy Trail is 200 plus miles and expanding. A converted rail line turned into a trail for biking, running, and walking. It is a great resource. Over spring break my son-in-law and I decided to go camping. I mentioned that in my last post. As it turned out the weather was horrible. It rained, and stormed with lightning, for days, without much of a break, and the weather was cold. We scaled down our effort from 50 miles out to camp, and then riding back the same way, to just 25. The weather report kept showing a break in the weather, but it never came. Even the much less ambitious distance wasn’t possible for us. We had a tight schedule and we would not have been able to make it to our campsite before dark under the trail conditions, and get back on time. We had to turn back without completing our trek. What went wrong?
The surface of the trail, which I failed to get pictures of, was boggy and our speed was down to 7 mph or less. And that with hard peddling. I was in shape for the ride, having practiced with a fully loaded trailer, but it was a no go. The combination of wet, despite pretty decent rain gear, the chill, and facing having to set up camp in the dark under those conditions was too much for us. So, here are some pictures of a the expedition that failed. But, I am training to do it again. The next obstacle? Ticks. I found my first this last Sunday. Not from this jaunt, but from doing yard work.
This is another Jeff Galloway classic. I have written about one other book of his – he is a prolific writer. It’s been around for a while but I finally decided to buy it a couple of weeks ago after about 6 or 8 months, maybe even longer, of nagging injuries. Also, it was after I had turned sixty. After reading the book I decided to finally give his method a try.
Jeff Galloway is a big proponent of the run walk strategy. It sounds kind of counterintuitive and I resisted it for about 2 years now although I’ve recommended it to other people. I just didn’t think it was for me. But after turning 60, and after those nagging injuries I referred to earlier left me sidelined, unable to run, I decided I needed to give it a serious try. I committed myself to one week of running and walking. The results were surprising and dramatic.
Not only was I able to run without injury or nagging aches and pains, I ran faster. I trained with a Polar heart monitor, and I discovered something pretty amazing things from the data. For one thing I ran dramatically faster. I’ll be posting some of the screenshots this week from my app but it was pretty amazing. What was also amazing is how my heart rate responded with this run-walk method as compared to when I usually run. It’s my belief, and I’ll discuss it in another post, that the run-walk method not only reduces injuries and lets you run faster, it mimics high intensity interval training (HIIT)!
When I got back into running several years ago I entered several 5k races and some 10k events. I’ll tell you a secret that I haven’t written. There were these guys that would run past me, and them I would pass them latter on while they were walking. However, after that, when I was tiring, they seemed to get stronger and they would pass me again. Often I wouldn’t be able to get in front of them that one last time before they crossed the finish line ahead of me. My guess is they were using the Galloway method. Well, God willing, I’m going to be using that method this summer for some upcoming races. I’m especially looking forward to the Show Me State games.
I am a believer. I think I will be using the Galloway method for the rest of my running career. The injuries really are down, my times are better than they would be otherwise, and I think it will keep me running longer. This method may not be for younger runners, but for this sixty year old it is the way to go. Better than sitting on the porch.
As we age we lose strength. When strength goes so does mobility and balance as well as an increase of other unpleasantness. Through the typical bad diet and inactivity we also approach what is called the sick aging phenotype. Although we’re unable to reverse the aging process we are able to mitigate it to a great deal. We’re able to do some things which help us to live longer and better with much more quality of life. If that sounds like something you’re interested in, and you’re over 40, this is the book for you.
This is a howto book on how to get stronger using just five or so basic exercises. Barbell exercises such as the squat, deadlift, press, and bench press. It’s based on research, and experience. It is an outgrowth of the Starting Strength approach by Mark Rippetoe.
Order the book. Spend a week or so reading it cover to cover, and then think about how you might implement the program. I have found it to be effective. One serious consideration though. You must know how to perform the exercises precisely or you will get injured. I suggest a personal trainer. I am calling one today.
Closing thoughts. At 60 years of age I want to remain as healthy and active as I can. I also want to do it in an intelligent, empirically driven, fashion. I really think this book offers that. But, the barbell prescription is powerful medicine. Use it with care.
I took an hour ride after work today. Beautiful night, great workout weather, and wonderful fall trees. I rode the Surly! Starting to love it, but the stock brakes are HORRIBLE. Is it just the pads? Worse than a tandom I had, which vastly improved with just a brake pad upgrade. My bike shop is moving 100 yards from my house so that problem will get solved soon.
As you can see Fall is beautiful here in the Midwest.
I arrived him as it was getting dark. Commuter traffic is so dangerous here. One car turned tight toward me as I was making a left, and they were making a right, off of a residential side street. That stretch is treacherous, and especially so during rush hour when when it corresponds with dusk.
I love the new battery powered LED lights. Finally bike lights worth the money.
Across America by Bicycle: Alice and Bobbi’s Summer on Wheels, was published by Terrace Books in 2010. Two friends decided after they retired to ride together across America, from the West to the East coast. The women were experienced cyclist who had bicycled rather longish trips before, but this was, by far, their longest effort. They had a web site but it is now down, and the domain is up for sale. But, the book is still available. Why should you read it?
First of all this is an inspiring story of two women who took on an awesome challenge and completed it. It is an inspiring and hopeful book. The book talks about how their already close friendship became more solid, and the many helpful people they met along the way. As a matter of fact, the people they met along the way who helped them or just had some kind of impact no matter how fleeting, are a major theme in this book. Also, this is my third book in this genre (books about people who bike across the United States), and that is a surprisingly common theme in all of them so far. In the upcoming weeks you will hear more about the other two books.
If you are contemplating a long ride, solo or with somebody else, this is a book for you to read. The antidotes, and stories they tell provide wise insight. They were smart, well prepared, but also flexible. They camped some, stayed sometimes with people they met along the way, but also used hotels or other lodging. The book has a lot of explicit, and implicit, advice to give anyone thinking of undertaking such a ride including a whole appendix about what each of them carried on their trek. There is even an appendix that provides a detailed packing list, down to what went where, which provides an example of two good templates for anyone to start with. One packed more weight than the other, but they were both rather frugal about the ounces they carried.