Don’s LXX Ride
Aug 2011 15

Translation: Don Stosberg hosted an invitational fun ride to help him celebrate reaching 70 years young this past weekend. The ride, an eventful 50 mile loop, from his Devil’s Hollow Rd. driveway, a few miles outside Frankfort, through Bagdad, Pleasureville, Eminence, and back to Don’s house, allowed Renaissance & Masher to think back to an idea we developed towards the end of the riding season last year. We thought it would be cool to start a “Birthday Bicycling Club,” that would not be for members only, but would be a way that we could get close friends together for a bike trek anytime someone’s b-day arose. We thought the rule would be that when it’s your b-day, you send out the invite, you pick the route, you provide the after ride treat, and everyone else shows up to honor your day! Maybe Don helped us get this officially started.

Don’s LXX Ride was a fun journey, one I’m glad to have participated in, and I look forward to the next friend’s b-day. Keeping true to the ride title that Don chose, I will call this the numbers ride and summarize with roman numerals.

II:   Total number of flat tires repaired on the side of the road during the ride, and also the number of female riders (Angela and Julia)

III:   The total number of counties we rode in, although I never saw a single county line road sign.

V:      Total number of male riders (Don, Charles, Greg, Tim, and Kevin)

VII:   Total number of riders that started and completed the ride, all with different ending mileage.

X:   Approximate start time of the ride in the morning.

XV:   Number of seconds that it took Masher to get clipped in when the ride began to roll. Time for new cleats!

XX:   Number of seconds it took us to reach our first climb, which proved to be probably the longest, toughest grade climb of the day. Masher got clipped in just in time.

XXXIII:   Mileage where the group was accidentally split up for the first time as we were arriving at Eminence. Also where Renaissance accumulated some extra miles looking for the follow group.

XXV:   Mile marker where we stopped at a local Dairy Queen restaurant in Eminence for lunch break. Also where Masher bought a PowerBall lotto ticket and some more water for the gang.

XXVII:   Approximate number of minutes it took Renaissance & Masher to get to a McDonalds drive through upon exiting Don’s house, and celebrating the ride finish with a strawberry milkshake. It hit the spot, as usual!

XXXIV:   Mileage where the group was split up for a second time, this time for the remainder of the ride. After a 6-7 mile push into a stiff headwind leaving our lunch break, the front group passed up a turn by a couple of miles.

XXXV:   Age of the youngest rider in the 7 person group.

XXXVII:   Close to the number of minutes that the front group waited at the wrong turn for the back group before we decided it may make sense to look at our route sheet. That’s the moment that we also realized we were now the back group for the rest of the ride, and it was an unspoken pact that we would not let this group split up.

XL:   Probably the number of dogs that we passed, however, thankfully not a single one decided to see how one of us taste.

LIV:   Total mileage at the finish for Masher, although, because of circumstances, every rider recorded a different number that ranged from LII – LVIX.

LXIII:   Age of Charles, who celebrated his birthday on the same day as Don.

LXX: Age of the oldest rider in the group, who also happened to be our host on this fun ride. Thanks for the ride Don, the weather was great, the hills and headwind were awesome by Masher’s standards, the memories will be too many to place a roman numeral next to. I hope you started a tradition that will continue on others birthdays. I am already thinking about the route for my b-day, which will fall a week after GABRAKY, the Governor’s Annual Bike Ride Around Kentucky, and formerly called the Grand Autumn Bike Ride Across KY, a great yearly fundraiser ride for the Grand Theater in Frankfort. More details regarding this ride will be posted in the near future, but immediate info can be found on their website at www.gabraky.com. As always, the time I spent on this journey for Don’s LXX Ride was much better than wasting a Saturday at work, or doing yard work, or sitting on the couch watching tv!

Bike Review: 2011 Jamis Zenith Pro
Nov 2011 07

Masher’s new ride as of October 15, 2011 is a brand new 2011 Jamis Zenith Pro carbon frame road bike with SRAM Force components. As you can see, it is a beautiful black, white, and yellow machine, and it rides as good as it looks. I purchased the bike from Troy Hearn at Capital City Cycles in Frankfort, KY.

I took it out for my first ride on my birthday, although it wasn’t an actual b-day gift. I was joined by some friends and family for a 30 mile out-and-back ride including the Legacy Trail. My initial impression was that it begged to take off from the group, but I didn’t think that was necessary, considering we had two teenagers with us. I was able to satisfy that craving on my second ride, though, and it delivered excitement as I hoped. The bike is very responsive, handles like no bike I’ve been on before, and turns on a dime. It is very quick, climbs well, and in general, it’s fun to ride. I’m sure when I take it to it’s first big group ride, it will be a head turner. I am still getting used to the SRAM Force “double-tap” shifters, but the bike as a whole is AWESOME! I would compare it to my Trek Pilot road bike as though I went from a sports sedan to a true sports car. For example: from a Nissan Maxima to a Nissan 370Z. Oh yeah, it’s like that!

Why a new bike? Not totally sure the correct answer to that yet. I have hit a spot in my cycling career and fitness training where I feel like I needed a change of scenery, change of pace, and I hope this bike will help provide that much needed bump in my road. I also feel like I was ready for a step up in bike including upgrading frame, components, etc. and decided it is more cost effective to buy new than try to upscale. I’m super excited about receiving free lifetime tune ups, as well.

Why Jamis? This is a little easier to answer: first, I trusted all of Troy’s (Capital City Cycles) recommendations in relation to bike, size, components and cost. I feel like I got the most bike for my bucks spent. I also did some research online, and decided I wanted the SRAM and Jamis has built a solid name for themselves over recent years. I did notice some pretty good close out deals by purchasing a bike from a direct dealer online, but my final decision was to go with Capital City Cycles and the Jamis Zenith Pro.  (The bike weighed in at 17.2 pounds fully built with computer and water bottles mounted.)  My philosophy is, “if you can’t support local people, you shouldn’t expect them to support you!”

I know we are nearing the end of the 2011 riding season, and I’m sad about that, but I am very excited about training through the winter and rolling out early in 2012 with goals to accumulate more miles than ever in a single year, and attending one “Big Ride” charity event every month from April through October. In fact, please post a comment and let us know when and where your favorite ride is, so we can add it to our most wanted list and try to attend in 2012! And stay tuned for the first ever RAM Cycling Ride Event, it is still in planning phase, and we hope to have some more solid details by the end of the year!

In closing, thanks again Troy Hearn, Capital City Cycles, and Jamis for my new Zentih Pro road bike! I am looking forward to the next phase in my cycling like, thanks to you and your product!     *Masher

CYCLING GEAR: Winter Season
Jan 2012 06

The information in this post may be a week or even a month overdue, however it is vital to surviving the cold weather on a bicycle. If you are anything like me, only so much time on the trainer, indoor bike, and/or treadmill is tolerable. Sure it’s a great way to stay in shape through the off season, but it doesn’t compare to the fun and freedom of being on the open road.

Luckily, there is gear available that will not only protect you from the elements of winter, but even enhance your riding experience throughout the year. I was fortunate enough to visit Norway twice while serving in the U.S. Marines, and the cold weather survival training I experienced as a result of those trips gave me a leg up on how to cycle in the winter. Utilizing the tips I will share with you, don’t be afraid to get outside and keep cycling through the dead of winter.

WINTER CYCLING TIPS:

1. Eat, Eat, Eat

2. Drink, Drink, Drink

3. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

4. Layers

5. Protect Extremities

6. Maintain Comfortably COOL

7. Use The Buddy System

 

First, and foremost, your body needs more energy in the winter to keep you going, therefor you need considerably more rest while consuming more food and water. Hydration is just as important in cold weather as in hot, and naturally you need more stored energy to burn to keep you warm, hence eat more.

Clothing should be kept simple, and are similar to summer cycling gear, with a few added layers. Closest to your body needs to be covered with a base layer of a tight wicking material to keep moisture off your body because you will sweat. I recommend poly propylene, this layer includes your head and feet. The next layer should be an insulating layer, but not too thick, and needs to be a breathable material such as polar fleece or wool. Finally, your outer most layer is your shield from the elements. This is a layer that will protect you from the wind, rain, snow or sleet, and gore tex is a great material for this. Full finger gloves, polar shoe covers, and insulating head wear covering ears are all a must. The extremities tend to get colder first, and can make you miserable if not properly protected. Remember, maintain a Comfortably Cool body temperature, not cold, warm, or hot. The last three will certainly lead to frost bite, hypothermia, and/or dehydration and overheating. Allow your layers to vent or simply remove and replace as needed. Listen to your body!

The last basic tip I can offer to help you continue cycling outdoors through the winter season is to do it with a friend. Your layers, when worn properly, will protect you whether you are moving or not, but in the event of an unexpected stop, it is always better to have an extra set of eyes to monitor. Another general rule of thumb to go by is try to avoid riding when precipitation is expected, for example rain, sleet, or snow, for obvious reasons. Keep it safe, check on your riding buddy often, just to make sure all riders are comfortably cool. Also, beware of salt crystals on the roadway for snow melting, as this is nearly as bad as riding over glass, not to mention, what it does to dry out and clog up your chain and cranks.

So get on out there, with your winter gear, rest, stored energy, and fully hydrated of coarse, and keep right on rolling through the depth of winter on your bicycle! I recommend centering your focus on time on the bike, base mileage, not speed and long distances. Keep it simple, keep your butt and legs in shape, and enjoy a spring season with less pain of getting back in bicycling shape.

*Masher

INTRO TO CYCLING: Basic Guide To Get Started
Feb 2012 02

Working towards my personal goal to add more bikes to the road in my area, I had yet another coworker and good friend that called me this week inquiring about cycling. Exciting news to me, as I love to converse about cycling with anyone, especially someone that respects my opinion about the sport and wants to start riding. So now that I’ve recently been through this scenario more than once, I thought, it would be real helpful if new cyclists, or people considering cycling as a hobby, had a point of reference to get them started.

That’s the vision of this blog. Hopefully, it will prove helpful to anyone considering the opportunity to begin cycling, and more importantly, help them find a new passion. RAM Cycling is living proof that all it takes to become passionate about bicycling is to get started. I will address the introduction to cycling in an outline format with some FAQs to follow. As always, feel free to send any additional questions by posting a comment below, and we will do our best to find the correct answer for you!

RAM CYCLING: INTRO TO CYCLING

I. GEAR NECESSARY

A.    Must Have

1.   Bicycle (mountain, road, hybrid, commuter, etc. . . it’s your choice)

2.   Helmet (please take our advice on this, I promise)

3.   Air pump (inflate tires to proper pressure before every ride)

4.   Bike All-Purpose Bag (mounts under seat or on handlebars)

5.   Water (stay hydrated on every ride)

6.   First Aid Kit (keep in AP bag for emergencies)

7.   Compact Bike Tool Kit (needed for minor bike adjustments)

8.   Spare Tube/Tire Repair Kit & Compact Pump or CO2 Inflator

B.   Enhancement Items

1.   Shoes & Clip-less Pedals (get comfortable with the bike first)

2.   Cycling Shorts or Bibs (with built in chamois or padding)

3.   Cycling Jersey (with front zipper and rear pockets)

4.   Gloves (fingerless for summer, full finger for winter)

5.   Lights/Reflectors (not just for seeing, but for being seen)

6.   Sunglasses (or protective glasses to keep out flies, bugs, etc.)

7.   Bike Computer (for tracking stats and knowing your speed at all times)

8.   Money & Snacks ( store in AP bag or jersey pockets)

II. WHERE TO RIDE

A.   Mountain Bikes

1.   Trails or Trail Parks

2.   Roads (not recommended)

B.   Road Bikes

1.   Paved Trails

2.   Roads (and bike lanes in towns)

III. WHO TO RIDE WITH

A.   Group Rides

1.   Local Clubs (great way to learn road rules and safety habits)

2.   Private Groups (not organized, but still a group)

B.   Solo Rides

1.    Alone (bicycling gives you freedom to ride anytime)

IV. FAQs SECTION

Q: Where can I ride on the road, and when?

A: Ride on the roads at any time, just be sure to be highly visible, especially in low lighted times of day, and follow the rules of the road as if you were driving a vehicle. Use arm signals in traffic and make eye contact with drivers. Not permitted to ride on parkways or interstates, everywhere else is fair game!

Q: What kind of bike should I buy? New or Used?

A: Consider what you plan to use the bike for most and start there. If you want to ride dirt tracks, get a mountain bike. If you want to commute to work, get a touring or commuter bike, and so on. I recommend starting out getting a used bike until you find the passion of cycling that interests you most, then spend the big bucks for the bike of your dreams.

Q: Where should I buy my bike?

A: Used bikes, you can find good deals on the Internet, just be sure to check out the seller’s background. New bikes are also on the web, but I recommend finding a local bike shop close to you and developing a relationship with them for buying and servicing your bike. They sometimes have used bikes for sale, as well.

Q: I want to ride a road bike, but the traffic scares me. How can I get over the fear of riding on the road?

A: Road fear affects us all to some extent. Join a local cycling club if possible, the group riding experience will help create a confidence for road riding. It will also teach you safe riding and group ride etiquette. Find a route and time of day for cycling that feels safe and comfortable, then plan to ride accordingly.

Q: What do I do if I have a flat tire on a ride?

A: It’s not if, it’s when. That’s why I highly recommend keeping an AP bag attached to your bike with all the necessities for bike or tire repair on the go. You can carry CO2 inflators or buy a compact pump that mounts to your bike’s frame.

Q: Do I really need cycling shorts, jersey, clip in shoes, and pedals?

A: If you are riding as a commute to work, no. For pretty much all other aspects of cycling, yes. Without going into a lot of detail about each enhancement item, once you get each, you will see and understand the difference.

Q: When is the best time of the year to start cycling?

A: TODAY! The sooner you start cycling, the sooner you may discover your hidden passion for the sport.

Hope this info helps you get started into cycling, and allows you to develop a love for the bike and the experience. If you have additional questions, please feel free to post a comment on this blog. I definitely recommend joining a local bike club if you have one available, because of the wealth of info they make available to you, as well as the experience and knowledge you gain by riding with groups. If you are in or near the Lexington, KY area, check out the Bluegrass Cycling Club at bgcycling.org . I also recommend finding a local bike shop to cater to your needs for clothing, gear, and more knowledge. Now get out there and get started CYCLING!!!         *Masher

WHY I CYCLE!  WHY DO YOU CYCLE?
Mar 2012 05

If you were to look up the definition of bicycling it would probably read something like “the action of riding a bicycle.” I would also assume that the definition of a bicycle would state “a 2-wheeled mode of transportation with a seat, handlebars, and powered by pedals.”

If you were to ask RAM Cycling how we define bicycling, we would prefer to show you in person. There’s no better way to define bicycling than to experience it for yourself. I cannot list my personal definition of cycling passion in one simple article, because it is far too lengthy to tell my entire story, however I will try to touch on the highlights.

I define bicycling as: the act of pedaling a 2-wheeled vehicle over the roads that are less traveled, engulfing the air that surrounds this earth we live on, creeping up inclines while exerting all the energy I have stored, rapidly rolling down the descends recovering energy one mph at a time, viewing the awesome scenery that is my free and ever-changing art gallery offered by Mother Nature, releasing the weight of the stresses of everyday hustle and bustle in the real world, cleansing my soul, enjoying the moments of true friendship while riding with others, mashing the pedals when I need to or just want to, and coasting when I don’t, and relishing in the awesome joy of knowing that as long as I have my bike, I can go anywhere I want to!

IF I HAD TO DEFINE WHY I RIDE IN ONE SENTENCE:

Masher: “I ride because I am passionate about pedaling!”

Renaissance Man: “I ride because I feel that cycling is the ultimate form of prayer – taking God’s gifts, your life and your body, and you push them to your limits!”

Please post a comment below and let us know WHY YOU RIDE! Thanks

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