Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Meet Firenze and His Fantastical Tale

Buy a Stereo and get a FREE bike? I did an internet search for my new (used) bicycle curious about their history. If the lore is true it’s got a neat history. Apparently these bicycles wouldn’t make certain safety specs when they wanted to import them into the USA but somehow found out that they could “give them away” as promotions in some legal loop hole. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I did have the bicycle shop go over it to be safe.

I’m not sure when they say taking your bike out for a ride they mean to carry it? I now know what 90lbs maximum and high pressure tires mean. I’m having to make small adjustments…the new (rather old but new to me) bicycle has thinner tires and higher pressure. I apparently put in 91 pounds? I leaned the bike against the wall, put my pump away and shut the door. The vibration was the hair trigger needed to set off what sounded like a shotgun blast, my rear tube popping, or more vividly exploding the seal ripping a 4 inch hole in the tube, proving once again I still need adult supervision? I had to carry the bicycle on my shoulder back to the bicycle shop to get them to put on another tube.

I spent a bit of the morning putting on one of the two water bottle holders (nicely coordinated with the yellow and blue theme too!) I tried with the other but I think they make the little bolts just a tiny bit shorter than what was needed to fit the bar. After fiddling forever I just gave up on the second until I can get a longer set of bolts. Then I’ll have two water bottle cages just like those racers!!! Next stop bright neon plastic rubber lycra outfits and shaving my legs?! (Well, um likely *NO*)

This 12 speed along with having 2 more gear than the black racer I used to race at the speedway last year also is bigger. It’s taken a bit of getting use to being on your tip toes at a stop light however the ability to stretch your legs better as you peddle I think is making a huge difference in power. I don’t have a speedometer on it yet but I’d say it’s dare fast and may be even more so when I can really develop aerobic endurance. I’m actually only in the easiest 3 gears so far. I can’t fathom the speed (or for that matter the effort to peddle) at the top ones!

This last week an a half has seen some unofficial gains in weight (maybe up to 7-8 pounds?) I haven’t been sticking to a decent food plan or in reasonable volumes. Yesterday was the first day in a while I capped the caloric intake under 2000 calories once more. Really bummed I’ve gained of course but who’s the one to blame for eating ice cream and pizza in vast quantities? Today I did better with something high calorie I kept a reasonable serving size. I’m hoping to get back to something with some reasonable nutritional value too. I won’t “ban” goodies but I also don’t think it’s a good idea to make the funny bones and Doritos your two main food groups!

With a couple of days left to the month I’ve bicycled over 160 miles in June! About 30 more than May! The whole year last year I could barely make 200, so it goes to show if you keep on trying you got a good chance at getting better!

Time to get peddling!- Alan

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Admit It. I Killed Her!

I swear I didn’t mean to kill her! I don’t know what happened exactly, it was a crime of passion?! I was trying to fix up the old Irish girl, my dear Green Lady and what have I done!!! Now she’s just laying on the garage floor in pieces!!! Maybe she’s not really dead and won‘t really die? But gee the prognosis doesn’t look good! It doesn’t look good at all! There might be a happy ending somehow, right?! It can’t end like this!
I meant to post Part II pictures of Motorcycle week, but I think that will happen next time. I just had to come clean about it and what I have done. This 70’s era vintage Raleigh grand prix 10 speed was a yard sale find last year and it was in horrible shape. The front derailer was rusted frozen as well as the brakes both stuck. The tires were petrified on cracked with the ages to the point I can‘t even read the size of the tires.
Looking for my next goal I was thinking about doing more serious mileage riding on a road bike rather than just on my hybrid bicycle Boba. So I set to work on the old girl. Half a can of spray oil and wrenching I got the old brake cables front and rear off as well as both the seizing brake calipers. For the life of me I reefed and reefed but can’t get the broken seat off yet to fix it.

A trip to my trusty friends at the bicycle shop for parts didn’t go so well. Adding in new tires, replacing the cables, rewrapping the handlebars… I had hoped to do neon green theme to highlight the beautiful green of her paint… the price kept going up and up near the 200 dollar mark. What to do?! To a vagabond like me that’s a serious bundle of cash that isn‘t easy to come up with! Not to mention the couple of races I hope to ride in coming up are going to need entry fees and travel gas…

So I end up sitting on the curb next to the local corner store with a coffee, and trying to work out the plans and goals and praying what to do… if the goals are worth going for. I asked God quietly out loud “How am I going to pay for this?” Then I look down and find a penny and another penny… I laughed, apparently God gave me his two cents about what He thought of my plan?! Then I found another two cents and a dime… coincidence? Perhaps, but I took it as a sign not to give up just yet.

So I went to another Bicycle shop to see if he might have some cheaper supplies from different sources. I saw an old bike in far better shape rust wise with the same old style brake set ups kind of just leaned haphazardly in the corner. Out of curiosity I asked if that one was for sale and how much. He said he’d part with it for $30 then a moment later said, “Naw, actually just take it. The bike needs a bit of tinkering though.” I had to ask him four times *Really*?! She's below... Isn't she pretty?

I’m not sure how this story ends yet because it’s still playing out. The bike shop is doing some very basic stuff to the newer 12 speed including hopefully finding an old junk seat to refit it with or fix it because the other was broken. Hopefully there isn't anything major they find. I’m not sure if the wheels might actually transfer over to the old Raleigh size wise and gear wise. But I also have a basic set of bell cables I got at the department store to try to replace on the old Raleigh. I haven't given up on the Raleigh! Hopefully with all the tinkering one of the two will be ridable and I will have a true skinny tire race bike to replace the old black “shade” that I used last fall to race with, the one with fat sized tires.

Actually since I promised, I will post two pics from motorcycle week to give you a little something till next time. My favorite sign above I spotted at a vendor, “unattended children will be given a shot of tequila and a free puppy” and a shot of a custom bike build modeling show below.

Till next time Fools Fitness Fine Friends- Alan

Monday, June 20, 2011

Laconia Bike Week 2011 Part I

Going into the Weirs Beach on Lakeside Avenue in Bike week I (perhaps like many celebrities?) got a personal police escort by two bicycle police! I’ve got a few photos to share in this and the next post…This photo was taken on the go as I rode my bicycle behind them via my cell phone camera… gee technically isn’t that distracted riding? Well, anyone who refers to himself as “Fools Fitness” likely needs a bit of adult supervision anyways right?

Today (June 20th) I hit about mile 112 for the month so far on “Boba”, the 7-speed Raleigh Venture… It works out to be about 55 for April, 130 for May and with now I’m around just a touch under the 300 mile mark for the year! Originally, I figured since I did a touch over 200 miles last year to shoot for 300 or 50 miles per riding month this year. At the start of the year that seemed huge, now wildly it was apparently a pretty low figure! I figured 150% of last year would have covered it! Guess not!!!

Keeping on with my bicycle wanting it’s picture taken everywhere possible here is a row of “bikes” I think you can click on the picture to enlarge it. Bike, bike, bike… wait a minute? Hey, they said BIKE week! I can’t help but think of that old Sesame Street song they use to play when I was a kid, “One of these things is not like the other…”

Stay tuned within the week I hope to get some general Motorcycle week photos up. Some of the motorcycles were true artworks. Moreover I tried to get a few shots to get you a feel of how many people were in the area. Stay tuned for more on Laconia Motorcycle Week, hopefully by the end of this week on Foolsfitness!

Now getting back to my riding goal. I think goals are important in what ever it is you do. To have a vision of where you want to go and a future you are working toward. To close your eyes and be able to really envision yourself at a point is critical. It makes walking away from the extra helpings easier.

Last year I had a goal of doing a bicycle race, and a bicycle marathon fundraiser that helped me stay on track… this year was the 300 mark. Now I’m thinking about what’s next. I know there is a neat bicycle race event coming up in September but that is more for serious pros. I’d like to go see it though and maybe have a goal of bringing a bicycle along for a goal of a ride. I’m even pondering about trying to get the “Green Lady” my old yard sale find of a Raleigh 10 speed from the 70’s ready to ride again and back on the tar. She's going to need a lot of TLC.

This last week has been horrible eating choices, and perhaps its time for more of a Zen spiritual goal like bringing back the spirit of that old bike. Without a goal in my mind I drift. What that goal will be I'm not sure yet... but it needs to be there.

At Foolsfitness it’s time for a goal. Then the attempt for the extra point after too?- Alan

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weigh Crazy and Crazy in General

Hovering on the edge of being in the two hundred some things is driving me a bit more insane than my normal insane! My “official” (IE someone besides me saw it) weigh for last weekend was 301 for another 4 pound drop. WAIT! That number says 299!!! I sort of did it not thinking unprepared with jean shorts on and a belt. As you can see at home I can hover under that magic number… somehow 301 seems so much more than 299!!! Weighing can drive you insane, if you wear the wrong clothes, have eaten or drank something, time of day, need to use the rest room… are wet from a shower?! they all can bounce those darn numbers around!

I’m trying (with some but not perfect success) to focus on weighing ever two weeks and getting off the scale between times. Daily (even multi-times daily) weighs can drive you bonkers.

It’s been a bucket load of oddities lately, travel, rain, super hot weather (I saw the bank thermometer over 80 one night after 8:30 at night!) various stressors… now it’s motorcycle week in the area, and the sleepy little city seems to gain double it’s population for a bit. I couldn’t resist riding my bicycle yesterday even in the mist got in about 13 miles. I headed toward Weirs Beach and kidded some of the people I saw as I peddled along with my bicycle amongst a thousand motorcycles, “I thought this was *Bike* week? I’m so confused!” Or found groups of people sitting on the side of the road watching the motorcycles ride by and I ching chinged my bell to cheers. I got a feeling some of those folks might have had a bit of “liquid encouragement” in them if you follow my meaning.

Hopefully later this week will have a decent day and I can make another trip up there and get a few pictures to share. During my last trip I got a new pair of amber yellow shades and a stretchy cargo net for my bicycle adventures. I’m thinking if I might want to go all out and get a battery powered light for night riding, as some of my rides push the border into sunset.

I’ve gotten to the point where I seem to be collecting pictures of the bicycle with odd things in odd places. One ride recently I got this shot with my Boba bicycle below a rocket in Concord, New Hampshire (In the United States of you are somewhere else in the world that is the state capital and in the northeast of America) I think you can click on the picture to enlarge it or just look close at the base of the rocket and you should see my bicycle

I hope everyone is well and keeping on the road to becoming more healthy- Alan AKA Fools Fitness

Monday, June 6, 2011

Faster Than A Locomotive!

How fit am I becoming? Well, I’ve started racing trains on my bicycle for sport! The pictures you see are of little two person railroad service cars, I think they are nick named putt-putts. As I was bicycling I bumped into a group of 20 or so on the railroad. A group of people restore them as a hobby. I happen to be riding in the same direction and noticed that if I ground my gears I could actually keep up with them!

Then I thought the game was ON! Being a messenger I knew most of the side streets and where the railroad lines go, I started racing them, me riding the streets and meeting and waving to the group as it passed each railroad crossing. Then I pummeled the pedals of my bicycle Boba to the next crossing down the line. Doing some bicycle messenger work I rarely ride aggressive, but I really let loose for fun sake cutting corners and hopping curbs… I can honestly say I got a tiny bit of air bouncing the bicycle around and used all gears including the very insane top gear. On a flat I can get that cargo bike doing about 17 miles an hour or so for a bit, my max on a downhill is about 34. I’m not certain when the last time was I rode that hard.

So over the next 6 miles or so I met them at about 5 railroad crossings all the way from one side of the city to the other! Once the group saw what I was doing as we ran parallel in some areas they whooped and cheered me on. After that I knew the next crossing was a town away and up a rather long hill so I had to wave goodbye for good. However I can now say I am faster than a locomotive, actually several! OK, not real locomotives… but some small putt putts anyways!

After the “race” I had really pushed my physical limits. I was working at nearly top aerobic level for a good while and a few times crossed to the burn of anaerobic. I bonked my glucose level in my muscles and was on total empty. Moreover I had involuntary muscle spasms twitching and shaking for a good time after. I popped into a convience store for a majorly needed snack and had to hold my cup of soda with both hands so I wouldn’t drop it. It was a hoot… a loss of a bit of dexterity meant I struggled putting the cover on and trying to unwrap a sandwich from the plastic was an awkward endeavor for sure. Where I sat on the curb I literally drenched with sweat. I’m thinking in the future I might carry a couple packets of honey on my bike.

At Foolsfitness we chase cars and trains too, but like dogs wonder what to do with them after we catch ‘em! - Alan