Archive for the ‘ Cycling ’ Category

Spin Bike Gear

All spin bikes use SPD compatible cleats.
I prefer MTB or Touring shoes so you can easily walk around the gym.

Towel to drape over handle bars and wipe sweat.

Water bottle.  I plan on one bottle per class or hour of work.

Something to clean the bike.  I use the disposable disinfecting towels.  Most gyms will have paper towels and a cleaner dispenser of some kind.  Whatever you are comfortable with, but expect that the person who previously used the bike may not have cleaned it well.

Bike Gloves are a good idea too, some bars are hard metal, also gloves also help to control sweat.

Head sweat band, skull cap or hat.

Plastic or grocery bag to transport wet clothes home.  I hang my stuff to dry at home.

I like a long sleeve shirt to help control sweat and not leave a puddle under the bike.  You can also lay some paper towels on the floor.  Some guys like to have a big puddle under the bike, I guess to gauge performance?

Also, don’t forget, ask at the front desk, if there is a sign-up sheet for the spin classes.  Note: some clubs have an additional fee for spin classes.

TrainerRoad Virtual Power Trainer

Just got the TrainerRoad Virtual Power Trainer working yesterday (Sunday 11/16).

I used their suggested products list and everything worked without a glitch.   I purchased the specified items from Amazon.  Garmin cadence/speed sensor, heart rate monitor strap and the Suunto ANT+ Movestick. Mini.   [click images for larger view]


The Suunto Movestick worked perfectly and lower cost than the comparable Garmin device.  The driver install for the Suunto also worked perfectly.  The Movestick is the tiny object in the white square, which plugs into a standard USB port. 

I registered with the TrainerRoad site, downloaded their software, which also requires Adobe Air.  Their install software walks you through all the steps.

Setup was very straight forward.  I selected the Kurt Kinetic trainer.  Then paired the heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor from the ANT+ devices.   Everything worked as advertised on the first try, I was impressed.


I probably should have found an easier session to start with, but I picked Cathedral, it was tough with a full duration  2hr 40min.  Getting started you can see some drops where I was fiddling with things and trying to get screen shots.  Power output is 0, target was 160 watts.  Heart rate 80, cadence zero.


I took a break at 51 minutes to get a water bottle.  The two big blocks were called Sweet Spot which are 80% of FTP and 20 minutes in duration.  After my break I ramped my effort up gradually to that level to see how it felt.  You can see that in the data.


I ended the session after the first “Sweet Spot”.  I was able to grab the screen data which pops up.  I finished the block at 257 watts, HR 150, Cad 92 with an average of 207 watts, HR 134, Cad 84 over that section.  


The system retains all the tabular data tor the session.  You can see I did about another 10 minutes of cool down.  Total session was 1 hr 30 min, 875 KJ of work, which converts to 209 calories.


I was very impressed with the TrainerRoad approach, ease of installation and absolutely no problems with the install. 

test blog from Live Writer

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Waves of color at Sunset, across the entire sky. Very unusual.

This is some text for testing formatting.

How now brown cow, guess this is a block quote

This should be plain text. How about some highlight?

‘katatsya’ and ‘yezdit’

From the Guardian article The Russian cyclists bringing bike culture to Moscow

Russian Cyclists

Russian Cyclists

The decision underscores an attitude prevalent in Russia, which sees cycling as a fun activity rather than a mode of transport. According to Kumov, there are two words in Russian for cycling:‘katatsya’ and ‘yezdit’.While the first describes cycling for enjoyment, the second refers to it as a form of transportation.

The Russian story resonated with some of my own thoughts about local Cobb County (SPLOST funded?) projects.
I think that some of Cobb County’s “bike paths” might be useful. But, I fear, that most is money squandered on glorified stroller paths, that the majority of serious cyclists find undesirable. I think BFRs (Bike Friendly Roads) would be far more effective and a fraction of the cost of these pricey sidewalks like the projects on Powder Springs Rd and Dallas Hwy. But what the heck, if they really wanted our opinion, they’d beat it out of us. Right?

sqlite import fails — FIXED

Started using sqlite less that a week ago. I already had the code working in mySQL, but wanted to give sqlite a try.
I published this silly error because I fumbled around way too long and not understanding why the import was failing. So simple, but it gave the following error:
SQLite version 2.8.17
Enter ".help" for instructions
sqlite> .separator ";"
sqlite> .import /vol1/fileData.csv fileData
unknown command or invalid arguments: "import". Enter ".help" for help

Running this from an openSuse 11.4 system, I had simply typed in sqlite, entered a simple schema for the file and directory data I wanted to process. Went to run the import but it failed, it looked simple enough. I mucked around chasing things like working directory etc, but no joy. Then I came across a comment while googling, import was not supported under sqlite2. DOH!
Sure nuf, openSuse ships with two versions of sqlite. Next try I entered sqlite3 at the prompt and it worked perfectly. Very fast.
Just one of the challenges of mucking with a new tool.

Landfill Hill, the wind, Tibetan Prayer Flags??? No…

Friday was a blustery, cloudy day.  Not the best of days to be running the trail blower and cleaning the Silver Comet Trail.   It’s difficult to work against the wind.  Like riding a bike in windy weather, you learn to take what the road will give you.  It’s all good if your head is right.  Just part of the challenge.  Like learning to love the rope.

Early in the day I planned a turn around on Landfill Hill.  Why? It’s one of two, steep, winding sections on the Comet, with a couple of sharp downhill turns.  It’s a bad spot for less-experienced riders where they have, in the past, let the speed get away from them. Debris on this section of trail can be a serious hazard.

Land fill Hill isn’t a pleasant place with winds out of the South like they were Friday, not the usual north-westerly winds.   The sun had peeked out in the last hour and warming the ground, and with recent rains, the humid stench of landfill was over whelming.  Fighting the wind I increased speed and edged to the left to avoid lifting and blowing debris adjacent to the trail.  Rounding the second, outside corner I spotted the turn around.   The second hump and top of Landfill Hill.  Still working against the wind I edged over 2 ft from the left and increased speed, leaving me just enough room to use the wind on the return pass.

I cruised to a stop at the top, jerking the ATV to the left for the turnaround.   It was then that flashes of color caught my eye.  What the he**??  My first impression was colorful tattered Tibetan prayer flags, fluttering in the wind,  like I had seen in movies.  Puzzled, I stopped the ATV and walked up the ridge.

Landfill Hill flags.

A multi-colored array of plastic shopping bags,  lofted from the landfill and into the air had snagged on the brush in a make-shift pattern, as if strung together when viewed at distance.  Yes, it was just trash, snagged by the brush and trapped by the wind, but I can’t shake that lingering first impression of prayer flags fluttering in the wind.  I still find the incident a bit haunting.  The other side of the trail, I looked, there were no flags.

Tibetan prayer flags.

Tibetan prayer flags.

sunrise, sunset times: not what you might think.

Many people are aware of the winter solstice which is the shortest day of the year, which last occurred on December 22nd. However this date is not the latest sunrise nor earliest sunset for the year. Keeping this discussion practical, rather than technical, let’s ask the question, “So what does this mean to me as a cyclist?”

A good web based tool to look at for data like this.

Wikipedia has an excellent semi-technical description.



Using the data from the time-and-date site I found that the earliest sunsets actually occur in early December and the latest sunrises occur in early January. So, here we are in mid-January, how does this effect our cycling or other outdoor activities?

Data for Atlanta, Ga:
Jan 16, 2011
Sunrise: 7:42 AM Sunset: 5:53 PM
Daylight hours: 10h 10m 37s
Daylight hour change: + 1m 10s

Since the Winter Solstice occurred, our daylight hours have increased 16 minutes, but sunset times are actually 24 minutes later from early December. On the other hand, sunrise times are only 3 minutes earlier since the solstice.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the rate of change for these processes is highest near the equinoxes (equal day/night hours). During mid-March the days are getting longer at a rate of 126sec/day. During early October the days are getting shorter at a rate of 124sec/day.

So if it seemed to you, that the celestial events like sunrise and sunset weren’t in sync with the solstices, it wasn’t your imagination.

LA loses to the Kardashians

This is about LA, Lance Armstrong and it’s definitely not about the bike.

One of the people that I follow on the web is Dan Zarrella.  Dan compiles data about social web sites like Facebook and Twitter.  What I like about Mr. Zarrella’s work is that he generates data from linguistic/cultural structures and social networks, something he refers to as Memetics

Dan recently published a list of rankings for Twitter Celebrity Clickthrough  Rates of various well know Twitterati; one of those ranked was Lance Armstrong, a well-know cyclist, cancer survivor and a leader in the battle against cancer.  Dan often talks about “influencers”, the personalities that other people follow and listen to.   Unfortunately (in my view) most of the people that were ranked were people without a message; just reality-actors, musicians, etc. Only a few of the ranked celebrities fell outside this circle.

Twitter Celebrity Clickthoughs

Twitter Celebrity Clickthoughs

Visit Dan’s website:

It was good to see that Lance ranked fairly high on his ability to influence Twitter followers.   What surprised me most was the overall low response all these people had, <2%.    I would have expected better results for the likes of Mashable which has more informative content links rather than the reflective tweets of most twitters.

Why is it so cold?

Why is it so cold?

Check out this 300mb jetstream graphic from the Weather page, Monday 12/6.

(click to enlarge)



The jetstream is pumping cold arctic air into the Southeast.  Brrrrr!

Cleaning the Silver Comet Trail Report: Friday 20101203

A cold morning with frost on the ATV windshield and saddle.  I needed to wait for sunrise before heading to Rockmart, fortunately everything had thawed by the time I got there.   You certainly can’t run the blower with a frosty windshield and no defroster in the ATV.

Stats for the day: 50.48 miles, average speed 9 mph.  Normally the average speed is higher but the huge quantity of debris in Polk County was a major problem.  The section of the trail cleaned ran from downtown Rockmart to the Alabama state line.

Polk County has been trimming shrubbery along the trail and leaving a huge quantity of hazardous debris on the trail.  Thank goodness we have the blower running, there was so much mess I couldn’t get everything like I usually do, but I got probably got 98% of the debris off the trail. At least when you blow the trail, what gets missed is visible and easy for others to avoid or remove. The GRITS guys do a great job of following up and fixing things, in fact I saw Junior out riding Friday and we discussed the follow-up.   I’m very proud of the work that the blower does.  Here are a couple of before and after photos.

(click images to enlarge)

This is how one of the worst debris strewn areas of the Polk County section of the trail looked.  Hundreds of debris chunks that are a serious hazard to bike and rider.

Debris on the Silver Comet Trail

Debris on the Silver Comet Trail

Of course the trail blower did a great job of cleaning up the mess.   This is how it looked on the return trip.  Quite a difference.

After the cleanup.

After the cleanup, note all the debris adjacent to the trail.

After the cleanup, note all the debris adjacent to the trail.

Finishing in Rockmart I get to treat myself to dinner at Frankie’s.  A good way to finish a hard day of  work making the trail safer and more enjoyable to ride.