About this time of year, I get really burned out on my current stock of energy bars. Taste change and so I don’t have a “best bar,” but try to rotate them in and out and mix it up with pastries, bagels, and a good old PB&J. I travel with the PRO Bar and Bear Valley Pemmican Bar. Those are considered meal replacements. A jersey-pocket standby is Clif and their shot chewy things are good for a nervous stomach right before a big race.
Rotating into the choices are bars from Zing. They’re developed by nutritionalists, taste like food, and are all-natural. They’re good and a nice change. For the bike, they’d need more substance for more calories. And, I wish that Natures Path would form their toaster pastries into bar shapes for my jersey.
It’s that time of year when more bikes start coming out. Cyclists are riding to work and lots of them are prepping for a tour with some big miles. Even if you’ll never kit up, pin a race number on, or turn a pedal in anger, some racer skills will help protect you and other cyclists. Flying around a blind corner, turning abruptly and other sketchy moves that’d take down a pack in a race can have the same effect at Seattle to Portland, on your commute, or an event in your area.
Last week, a woman was roaring down the Swing Bridge nearly right into me as I was coming up onto it (possibly setting a personal best on her commute). Later a commuter swung wide into a blind corner nearly clipping me and another came just whizzing out across the yellow line. I don’t know if it’s rusty skills, maybe they have no skills, or don’t care, but staying the course and holding your line is a good thing to do even if all you ever ride is a tourist bike path.
The yellow-line violator reminded me of a group we rode up onto once and the women went into a near panic because I was behind her. First it was nervous glances, then a “hey don’t ride so close” mixed with the insistence that she had a 3-ft quiet zone around her. “Cool with me,” I said and rolled on by. I also thought, maybe she should reconsider her sport of choice or not ride on roads where other cyclists ride.
Sure, sure, people can ride how they ride, but I think cyclists sometimes we forget how dangerous our sport is and at the very least, situational awareness applies. Example: we’ve got draw bridges in Seattle with metal grate decking that’s slick, hard to ride on, and has led to very serious bike crashes.
I cringe every time I see a cyclist riding that deck. Saw one just last week.
What’s the sketchiest thing you’ve seen on a ride?
Noticed this Ibex softshell jacket at a cafe in Seattle. With that well-worn patina and mud spray it’s obviously used for more than just looking nice. The owner said he loved it. I’ve got a blue one (on clearance) and it’s perfect for chilly spring days – in a week or so it’ll get too warm for it, but it’s currently my fav. I also took it on my trip to Chicago.
This is the third known instance of a bird flying into a drivetrain. The first was when I saw a crow fly right into a fellow cyclists wheel and out the other side. The crow kept flying. Then one time I rode right over a seagull; don’t think that one made it. Now, this third one happened to another cyclist during a descent down Madrona hill and if you look close at the front derailleur you can see the feathery evidence.
Bob Downs, president of Planet Bike, was in town a little while ago, and he and his group stopped into the bike shop. One of the things on their mind was an item with which I’ve recently become enamored: generator lights. It seems that Planet Bike will be bringing their expertise with LEDs to the generator light market.
As much as battery technology has improved, I just have never trusted any battery system more complex than a set of rechargeable AAs. Honestly, I think this goes back to my humiliation in university courses in circuits. All those diagrams just seemed like Sanskrit to me. Give me Physics 1 or Statics…stuff I can see. I intuitively feel better about relying on a small powerplant built into my hub than the alchemy of li-ion or metal-hydroxide battery packs.
Give me a power supply that is always ready when I ride. Something like the Shimano Alfine dyno-hub, or if you are flush with money you can get the Benz of generator hubs, the Schmidt. Planet Bike is adapting their excellent 1W Blaze LED headlight to the generator application, bringing the high performance and dead-on dependability of modern LED technology to a market that largely still relies on halogen-type systems.
It seems like the light itself is almost ready to go, but Downs’ group was mulling over mounting options. Visually, it’s a 1W Blaze with a wire exiting the rear, and so far the graphics on the casing are the same as the regular version. Look for the generator-powered Blaze next season.