I have committed to racing an olympic distance triathlon in about three months, and I am taking to any and all online information I can find. Most recently, I am looking at information about bikes. I posted on this blog previously about my bike, which is an old Schwinn Le Tour with a steel frame and it’s overall pretty heavy if you consider what other people use to train/race. I’ve been considering all my options, however, and racing on my bike, Yellow Pegasus (formerly called The Tequila Sunrise), is definitely one viable option. It is the cheapest option to race it as it is, and from some of the research I’ve been doing, it seems I might not look like a complete idiot getting out there on my old steel framed bike. At least it’s not my old Wal*Mart mountain bike I guess.
What has piqued my interest the most was this article I came across earlier. This guy rode the Ironman Hawaii on a fixie bike of all things, which he outfitted to look like a tri bike. The frame looks just like Yellow Pegasus! So after seeing that, I think the second best option would be to put a little money into my bike to make it as comfortable and fast as I can make it over the distance of 40k. I’m thinking I would like to look into the handlebar setup, new pedals with clipless shoes, a new saddle, and possibly the wheels, but I’m not sure if that will be necessary or not.
With this being my first triathlon, I realize that all of the nitpickiness of speed and bike specs probably won’t matter, and any advice I receive will probably be along the lines of “just have fun”, I will leave it at that. I would like to avoid screaming “total novice” when I am doing this though, and I’m sure I’ll make up for that in other capacities like the swim for example. But any information is welcome, and I am hoping for suggestions on how to turn my Schwinn Le Tour into a racing machine. Of course if I come across a nice bike for cheap or something that I can loan, I will take the best option. Leave a comment tough if you come across this!
It’s a great day for a first blog post in six months! Today is one of few firsts for the year. I took my little yellow bike out to play after doctoring it up with some fresh air in the tires and a newly attached water bottle cage. (I was quite proud of how I rigged up my water bottle cage to my bike using an old dismantled lock holder, a few spare screws, and a zip-tie. So I added the photos onto this post.)
Here are some of the reasons I love bike commuting. For the longest time I didn’t have a car, so it was my only option, but out of necessity, I conjured up a small list of the pros of bike commuting. I wouldn’t trade my old wheels in for the world.
Everything’s A Drive-Through: I went to the post office to drop off a letter in the mail, and all I had to do was ride my bike up the sidewalk next to the drop box and send my letter away to Nebraska. Easy as pie. Didn’t even have to get off my seat. Then I put my feet to the pedals and I was gone before you could even find a parking spot.
I Can Indulge in Practicality: I bought a Camelbak just so I could use it when I was on my bike! (And for music festivals), but it’s great for biking, especially when you don’t have screws on your frame for a water bottle cage. Speaking of which, I rode my bike to the hardware store to buy zip ties an hour ago for that very reason. Practical!
And not only that, but biking forces me to be sparse and smart in my attire and what I am bringing with me. Is what I’m wearing practical for my commute and my destination? Am I carrying too much? Will all the useless shit in my backpack slow me down and cause back sweat to ruin this nice clean shirt? Yes? Okay, I won’t bring it.
Exercise: Duh, biking expends calories! Which means you can eat more and enjoy full fat lattes!
Parking: I can park where ever the hell I want! Unless there is a “No Bikes” sign, in which case I’ll walk across the street or down the block, and then park where ever the hell I want!
Know Your Neighborhood: I have become familiar with so many more local businesses because when I’m biking, I see more. In a car, I’m far more complacent with my surroundings and I don’t notice the local hardware store down the street as I whiz by in my fuel-burning, co2 producing car. Good thing I do on my bike, because now I have those zip ties.
Fresh Air: There is literally nothing better than the fresh, cool air whipping at your face when you cruise down a hill. Except today it was bitter and windy as fuck, but hey! Not bad for a February excursion.
Traffic: Biking down a busy street during rush hour is a rush. I love, love, love, soaring by cars that are at a standstill in traffic. What’s best is when they are moving but I can still cut in and out of the semi-mobile parking lot that you might call Bardstown Road, for example. It’s the biggest stress reliever I know. In my mind I like to imagine what the car-drivers are thinking watching a biker pass by on a 40mph road. I may not get to my destination faster after you get out of this little debacle, Car, but I sure as hell feel more productive.
Drunken Biking: It is illegal. Don’t be fooled. You can apparently get pulled over for this. I don’t condone it. But I actually do condone it, because it is a lot less dangerous than operating a motor vehicle under the influence (this I actually don’t condone), and it’s cheaper than a cab. I will say this, however, it is obviously more dangerous to you the biker, especially if there are other drunk drivers around. Also I tend to feel less fearless and take more reckless chances. This is why I take back roads with little to no traffic between the hours of 2am and 4am.
But for the sake of researching the other side, I found this article that seems to be the first of it’s kind. While sober, this biker was convicted of a felony for recklessly striking a pedestrian when he ran a red light on his bike. It was considered vehicular manslaughter, because the 71-year-old man died four days later from his injuries.
“Witness accounts described Bucchere as having run a red light before striking Hui, and Gascon said that was the ‘tie breaker’ between prosecuting the case as a felony or a misdemeanor.”
On a happier note, I would like to conclude this short jaunt by encouraging you to go buy a bike and ride it! In the coming months it’s sure to be warming up, and you might even be able to catch some discounts at your local bike shops.
P.S. I’m looking for a bike trunk rack and some panniers of sorts. Let a sister know if you can help her out. Happy biking!