Saturday, July 31, 2010

Whiting Progress

I rode at the Whiting Rd trails this morning. It wasn't super hot and there was low humidity. Finally! I felt strong, despite not being very active lately.

I was able to ride some hills I've never done before. Going counter-clockwise on the Orange trail, I can ride it all. But my biggest accomplishment was riding the final hill of the Yellow trail riding from west to east. I did it on my second run, and it actually seemed pretty easy. On my third run, I didn't make it. I think that's proof that technique is the key. Still, I've never ridden the orange or yellow without dismounting. I've made it through every hill and obstacle, just never in a single ride.

I talked to a mountain biker, Michael, who I've seen at Whiting before. We talked about possibly riding at Dryer together.

I also met a mountain biker at the parking lot, Louis. He sounded somewhat interested in learning to ride muni.

I rode 10 miles:

Muni at Whiting - 2010-07-31

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pilot Program: Tryon

This evening I attended a public workshop at Tryon Park held by the Monroe County Parks Department. Tryon Park is one of two parks in Monroe County that is part of a program to offer shared-use trails on Monroe County Parks. The other is the West Bay Park.
Currently, mountain biking (and muni?) are not legal in county parks.

It looked like about 30 people attended. Some mountain bikers and some hikers. Leaders and members of GROC and Tryon Bike demonstrated how many existing trails weren't designed to avoid erosion. By choosing smarter trail lines and by using better trail construction methods, erosion problems can be avoided. Switch-backs and grading will make more sustainable trails. And instead of straight, steep hills, we'll end up with more gradual and interesting trails.
In several locations at Tryon, new trails will be developed to bypass undesirable trails. Once in place, the old trails will be blocked and people will hopefully no longer use them.

I think many mountain bikers, and in some cases myself, actually like the steep, rocky, rooty, eroded downhills. But that's the compromise for having shared, sustainable, shared-use trails that are open to mountain biking.

Tryon Workshop - 2010-07-27

Monday, July 26, 2010

And Then There Were Two

I just sold and shipped my 26" Nimbus muni away to Indiana. Enjoy it Noel!
I only road it a handful of times, and only in the neighborhood. It really looks brand new. I wanted to see what a 26" uni was like. While it was faster, I ended up liking the control of the 24", and figured a geared hub would give me my speed.

Like my Onza, it's better off being ridden by someone than living on a hook in my garage.

Now I'm down to two unis: my 24" "learner" and my KH 24 geared muni.
I'll keep the learner in case someone nearby wants to try learned. Come on Frank... I know it's calling to you! ;-)
And of course the KH is now my one and only muni. It stays!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Big Neighborhood Ride

Yesterday and Friday it rained a lot. Today was dry, but I figured the trails were muddy so I didn't ride any muni. Realizing I hadn't ridden all weekend, I decided to get out this evening.

I rode in high gear the "big way" around the neighborhood. It's 1.4 miles, and I rode continuously for four loops. That's 5.6 miles.

Now that I think of it, that's gotta be the farthest I've ever ridden without dismounting.

I'm looking forward to a much needed muni ride.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sydney's Mile+

This evening Sydney and I went for a leisurely ride around the neighborhood. We went around twice and she didn't dismount a single time! That's 1.2 miles!
Not bad for a 6 year old.

Even I UPD'ed a bunch of times. Of course I was practicing my shifting. I'm not looking down so much and I had a much higher success rate. I'm definitely improving, but I've got a long way to go.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Goodbye Onza

Tonight I packed up my Onza muni and sent it to its new owner.
I no longer use it, so I sold it online.
It was my first muni and while it's sad to see it go, it would be more sad to see it collect dust in the garage.

One last picture before I boxed her up:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Minor Hiatus

I haven't been riding as much as I'd like. Over the past few weeks I haven't been feeling too great. Maybe I haven't totally recovered from a cold I had about three weeks ago, or maybe I have some allergies, or maybe it's just been too hot.

I didn't ride at all this weekend, and so, I didn't race at the Fat Tire festival on Saturday. I'm glad I didn't register, it would have been a waste. Saturday I felt pretty crappy. And it was pretty hot and humid outside.

I've been riding on some evenings in the neighborhood. I ride in high gear and Sydney has ridden her bike along side me. Sometimes she even says "slow down!"

I'm still practicing shifting on the fly. I moved my pedals from the 150mm crank holes to the 125mm holes. This moves my heels so they're inline with the shift buttons. This makes shifting 10 times easier. Hopefully I can learn to shift smoothly this way, and then move my pedals to their normal arrangement later.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dryer Race Course

This morning I went to Dryer again. What I didn't mention last Sunday was that I more or less rode the course planned for the the Fat Tire Festival mountain bike race.
Many mountain bike races welcome muni riders. Obviously the idea isn't to compete to win, but just to participate and have a good time.
In this race the riders do a number of laps based on their skill level. Beginner - 1 lap, Sport - 2 laps, Expert - 3 laps. Experts start at 9:00am, Sports at 9:05, and Beginners at 9:10.
Being a slow rider, I don't like this setup. It means that I'll get lapped by a bunch of riders. Dryer is all single-track, and it will be a pain to dismount, step aside, and allow riders to pass. On downhills, they'll come barreling down, coasting, skipping over the roots and rocks with their full suspension bikes while I'm braking, picking a path, and flailing my free arm around.

Last year's Fat Tire race had the same riding classes but had a different course. I haven't ridden that course, but I know the trails and it's pretty comparable to this year's course. Looking at last year's results, figuring average speeds, and using the ~50 minute time I get on this year's course, I figured I'd get passed by about 30 expert/sport riders. I'd still finish with the slowest two or three beginner riders. My numbers are just estimates, but I think they're realistic enough.

Bikers are going to be passing other bikers a lot, so it should be an expectation. While I don't want to get in anyone's way, the bigger problem is that passing bikers will be getting in my way. Obviously I don't care much about my time, but if I'm dismounting 30 extra times it will cut out a lot of fun. Especially when those dismounts are in places like the downhills.

I have a several days to decide if I want to race. I'm still thinking about it, but I might just wait for a race without such tight laps. Dryer's a pretty tough place to ride too. If I'm going to join in a race, I might want it to be on some less hilly trails.

Muni at Dryer - 2010-07-11

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fun at Tryon

Almost a month and a half ago I did some riding at Tryon and captured some video. I finally got around to editing it:

First Guni Ride at Whiting

I rode this morning at Whiting Road Nature Preserve and across the street at the Midnight Trail on my geared uni (guni). There were only a few puddles even after yesterday's torrential downpours; a testament to the hard work the Friends of Webster Trails has done.
I tried shifting into high gear when I knew there was a fairly flat trail. But it was easier said than done. And when I succeeded, it usually made me UPD. It's like I'm riding along and then something just grabs the wheel, because riding suddenly gets 50% harder. I probably need to be riding much faster. It doesn't help that it takes me a dozen attempts, and I never know which one is going to be successful. Once I do get going, I feel like I'm learning to ride all over again. My arms flail and I keep falling out of balance. When I do find my balance, the speed can get scary, especially as I'm falling out of balance. I look forward when I can just shift and ride in high gear without so much effort.
Downshifting is much easier. Pedaling just gets easier and I keep riding.

I've been trying to build up my stamina/endurance by using my elliptical machine. I think it's working because today's ride went very well. I went about 9 miles on trails and I felt like I could have done more. Even after hill climbs (successful or not) I wasn't too out of breathe to keep riding.

Muni at Whiting Road Nature Preserve and Midnight Trail - 2010-07-10

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Schlumpf Shifting

Tonight I concentrated on riding and shifting on the fly. It's tricky, trying to knock a shift button with my heel at just the right moment in my crank rotation. Again, I'll have to make a video to demonstrate how it works when I get a chance.
Getting the shifting to actually work is tough, but then you have to suddenly adjust for the way the uni rides. It takes me anywhere from 1 to 10 tries to shift. But I am definitely making progress.
I found my muni riding shoes worked better than my sneakers. But if they covered my ankles, that would be even better.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Schlumpf Wheel

Today I picked up my new geared wheel from Freewheelers bike shop! Roger, the owner, runs the shop alone and has been in the bike business forever. I used to shop at his store over 20 years ago when it was on Culver Rd! He did a fantastic job building my wheel. I gave him 229mm double butted spokes to use, but he found that 227mm would have been ideal. I couldn't find that length in butted spokes. Hopefully the wheel will hold up fine though.
I put the wheel in my uni tonight and rode a bit in the neighborhood. At first I couldn't even get it going in high gear. It just felt crazy weird. But after about three tries I started to get the hang of it.
I'll have to post a video of how it works. But basically I can now ride as normal, or shift to higher speed. It's 1.5 faster. So for every 1 crank rotation the wheel rotates 1.5 times. I haven't tried to shift on the fly yet.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Like any typical American, I celebrated Independence Day with a muni ride. I beat the heat and was riding before 9AM at Dryer. Despite my congestion still lingering from a week long cold, I was able to ride just fine. Still, I cut my ride a bit shorter than usual.

Muni at Dryer - 2010-07-04