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Friday, September 20, 2013

Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger

This morning, I went for my first bike ride since my dog-induced accident two months ago. I'd recovered from my concussion a long time ago, but wasn't sure I'd recovered my confidence on two wheels. My broken ribs felt OK, but my dislocated/relocated thumb was still sore. I'd missed riding for most of a hot, dry summer. With autumn coming on strong, it was time to see how my body felt back in the saddle. It was also a good opportunity to try out a new set of tires - one had blown out in the accident.

I picked the Centennial Trail - the same general route where I'd had my July 19 accident. But, with the wind blowing hard from the east, I decided to ride in the direction of Coeur d'Alene, and away from my crash site near Mirabeau Park, Washington.

It was a hard go outbound. Long walks with Pepper hadn't given me the leg strength and endurance I'd had early in the summer. By the end of the ride, my shoulders and triceps were tired, but not especially sore. My right thumb was a different story - brief, sharp pains when downshifting with Campagnolo thumb-shifters, but those didn't last more than a few seconds. Surprisingly, the sharpest pains were removing a water bottle from its cage and squeezing out the Gatorade. Still, it was OK. The wind blew me back home after only 20 miles round-trip. Short ride, but an enjoyable re-start to the season.

Now, in homage to Stephen Colbert, here's my Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger.

Tip of the Hat::

  1. Whoever invented the bicycle. Just a great way to get exercise and have fun.
  2. Courteous cyclists, joggers, and dog-walkers. Thank you.
  3. Davidson bicycles, Seattle. After I got hit by a car in 1996, I replaced my fatally-wounded bike with a Davidson titanium frame and Campagnolo components. They came through the July crash without any damage.
  4. Campagnolo components. See above.
  5. Neuvation wheels. When my Mavic Heliums started snapping spokes, I asked a friend who worked for VeloNews what he'd recommend. He suggested Nevations. They're made in Asia to John Nugent's specs, and they're virtually bomb-proof. Haven't had them go out-of-round or out-of-true in nearly 10 years. Not the lightest wheels around, but they're the same weight those climbing-specific Heliums weighed when new in 1997.
  6. Giro helmets. The Ionos I was wearing when I crashed in July saved me from more serious injury than a concussion. My replacement Atmos is even more adjustable and comfortable. Chapeau!
  7. Specialized Toupe saddles. If not adjusted properly, it's a virtual butt-hatchet. When it's dialed in, it's a hammock. When I swung into the saddle today, it felt as if I'd been riding it every day for the past two months.
  8. Tacx bottle cages. When I got blown out of the saddle in July, the bottles stayed in their cages, a far cry from a Specialized cage that broke when I hit a bump on its first ride years ago, spilling the bottle into the road and me over it.
  9. 25 mm tires. I'd read that studies showed 25s rolled faster, cornered better, and softened bad roads better than 23s. They're right, at least on the latter two.
  10. Clif bars. Tasty, nutritious, all 40 carbs, just right for an hour ride for this diabetic. Two-hour ride, two bars.
  11. Wheelsport East and other great local bike shops who know their bikes, how to repair them, and how to outfit them.
Wag of the Finger:
  1. People who don't control their dogs. Nervous when I saw two women walking toward me today, each with her dog off the lead, I slowed to a crawl. Eventually, they called back their dogs and leashed them up. Please, keep your dog on a lead when walking on a trail shared by joggers and cyclists.
  2. Campagnolo thumb shifters. Yes, I know that those of us with sore thumbs are a small sub-set of cyclists. And, yes, their electronic shifters take very little pressure - but I don't have a couple of thousand dollars to throw around.
  3. Centennial Trail Commission. Please finish the trail through Post Falls. And, please post "leash your dog" signs.
  4. Orthopedic specialists who can't seem to fix a dislocated thumb.
  5. Clif bar packaging. If aspirin manufacturers can come up with arthritis-friendly packaging, why can't nutrition bar manufacturers? 
  6. Bears. There you go, Stephen.


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