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!

Brand New Cyclist, Thanks to RAM Influence
Nov 2011 04

The Kevin Morris Story by Masher

I’ve known Kevin Morris for almost two years now, since I joined forces at Team Fayette as an employee in the  H2O Maestro plumbing division of Fayette Heating & Air. Kevin is a commercial service technician in the HVAC department and is also a licensed electrician. I see Kevin almost every morning in the break room before we begin our work day, however these days we are starting to see a lot LESS of him.

Morris is an outgoing guy, the kind of person that probably never met a stranger growing up. He is very good at talking to anyone and everyone, finding out what he has in common with you, and proceeding to make friendship through it. He is a family man with high interests in the outdoors, especially fishing and most recently bicycling. Kevin is a typical blue collar American with an extraordinary story of improved fitness, and his story holds some chapters not yet revealed, it’s a work in progress. Check out the recent conversation Masher had with Kevin Morris and listen to some pretty motivating words if you are trying to lose weight. It’s also interesting how his perception of cyclists has changed from “dorky” to “a new love in life.”

If you’ve ever needed to lose any weight, whether i’ts 10 pounds more than 100 pounds, there’s a good chance that you also wanted to lose that excess weight. And it’s completely normal, if you tried one or two or more different methods, but failed. Some failures are caused by health reasons, while others are simply a lack of commitment. It’s never easy, I know personally, having gained and lost, lost and gained weight several times in my adult life. I certainly need to shed some excess pounds right now, and have failed to commit myself to a plan, but I’m very motivated by Kevin Morris’s story. You see, Kevin made a commitment, and is on the brink of losing 100 pounds. And he is not finished!

QUESTION: So what was different about this time? Surely you tried a diet plan or two in the past, and what have you done that has allowed you to follow through this time and what convinced you to do it most?

ANSWER: “Commitment is absolutely the key to success in losing excess weight. When I decided to get on this (no sugar, low carb) diet, I made myself go four months before I cheated, and I only cheated then by having a dinner out and piece of cake with my wife on our anniversary. Then it was straight back to the meal plan. It probably sounds somewhat corny as an excuse, but I was convinced I wasn’t going to be the person who couldn’t be active with my son, who is only one year old now.”

QUESTION: Why the low carb, no sugar meal plan similar to the “Atkins Diet?” There are so many options out there, what made you try this one and stick with it?

ANSWER: “I struggle with too many options, such as a “Weight Watchers” plan or counting calories, etc. I needed a plan that had more limitations, so I would know I can only eat this or that, and it’s a lot easier for me to plan my meals this way.”

QUESTION: Don’t you get burnt out on the same old meals?

ANSWER: “No, it’s amazing how diverse a salad can be when you change it up by adding or subtracting the foods that are on the plan such as meats, cheese, and nuts. And it’s not salad all the time, but salad is something I love so I eat it as often as possible. 0-sugar peanut butter has become my dessert, and I look forward to my spoonful every night!”

QUESTION: So exactly how much have you lost, you look like a different person? Of coarse, seeing you all the time, it’s not as noticeable every day, but it’s crazy to look back at a picture from the old you.

ANSWER: “Well, I was around 350 at my heaviest, and I’ve sort of plateaued over the last two weeks, but I now weigh 255. My original goal was to get to 265 with out having to exercise. I hate exercising, in fact, I told myself I would quit the plan before I start a workout.”

QUESTION: Almost 100 pounds? WOW, that’s amazing!!! You obviously changed your mind about exercise since you recently bought a bike and began cycling, right?

ANSWER: “Sorta, kinda. In my mind, I consider exercise as working out indoors, at a gym, etc. Since I ride my bike outside, I just feel like I’m relaxing in the outdoors more. I perceive bicycling more as a recreational sport, than a workout or exercise plan.

MASHER COMMENT: “I can relate somewhat, but I know for a fact, that I can get as much out of a bike ride as I put into it. As a former moderate runner, I compare the two sports by claiming that the worst part of a run is the run and you always feel better when you finish, but the worst part of a bike ride is the end, and the best part is the ride! Either way, I would much rather be outside than inside on a treadmill or stationary bike any day.”

QUESTION: So why cycling? Of all the outdoor “recreations” or sports you could have dove into, what made you pick bicycling?

ANSWER: “Well, I have to give that credit to you, Pearl (KP the Masher). I didn’t have the first clue what to expect from bicycling, but I remember passing people on bikes on the road and thinking they were a bit dorky, and slowing down traffic. Now I am much more aware of cyclists on the roadways and am happy to be riding myself. I had no idea what I needed to get started and where to go get it, so that’s where you came in and gave me great advice. If I didn’t know you and pick your brain about cycling, I’m confident I would have never given it a thought. I owe a big thanks to Masher.”

QUESTION: What keeps you motivated? You have slowed down some on the weight loss, which typically means you are getting close to your target healthy weight, so what will keep you on track now?

ANSWER: “That’s what I worried about, but staying focused is part of the commitment. I know we are going into a tough time of year for cycling because the days get shorter, and the weather gets tough to ride in, so I already got a membership to a local gym, and plan to do exactly what I thought I never would. I plan to work out and stay on the same diet, it’s worked for me so far, and I know it has. Looking at some of the old pictures of me are a brutal reminder of where I came from, and that is great motivation to stay on track.

MASHER CLOSING COMMENT: “Kevin is a very good friend, I am proud of him. He has given me more motivation, that I need right now, to improve my health. I have ridden over 2500 miles this year to date, including 3 centuries, and in 3 different states, and I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on my exercise, however I definitely can improve my eating habits. I WILL have my own weight loss story soon, too, I am confident of it, because I am ready to make a commitment. It is very gratifying to hear him give me credit for him becoming a new bicyclist. As our Mission reads here at RAM Cycling, we are committed to raising bicycling awareness, and what better way to do so than to add people to our bike population. In fact, Kevin also bought a bike for his wife, who is an avid runner, and she is also enjoying getting started in our beloved sport, as is her cousin, who followed suit. Thanks to RAM Cycling, we have added 3 bikes to the area! Keep up the good work Kevin, I hope you join RAM Cycling for a century ride next year, and you have plenty of time to train for GABRAKY 2012, also!

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

A Glance At The Past, & A View Of The Future
Jan 2012 13

Wow, time certainly flies and I can’t believe 2011 is now history. Well, it was a memorable year, one that helped me find focus on cycling again, after a great finish to 2010. We recently posted short blogs by Renaissance Man & Masher with their Goals for 2012, but we have yet to publish the Goals for RAM Cycling, until now.

First, let’s reflect on the awesome happenings by RAM Cycling in 2011, then we can take a look at where the road leads for 2012 and beyond. Some simple, but important events accomplished by Renaissance & Masher in ’11:

*   First century ride of the year (first ever for Renaissance Man) was the “Wheels O’ Fire” in Hamilton County, Georgia on April 2, 2011

*   The idea of RAM Cycling first came to light on a Renaissance & Masher shared spring break vacation at Jacksonville Beach, FL during the week following that 1st century ride

*   Our second century ride of the year was “Horsey Hundred” in Georgetown, KY on Memorial Day weekend 2011

*   RAM Cycling was officially launched on the world wide web & twitter around the start of July 2011, we are claiming 4th of July as our Birthday

*   Renaissance & Masher cycled in the sunshine state some more on vacation at Panama City Beach in July

*   The months of August and September saw RAM put in miles and miles in prep for GABRAKY

*   RAM Cycling rode in GABRAKY 2011 in October, a 3 day cycling event that travels around Kentucky (this was our second consecutive year, and included our 3rd century of the year)

*   RAM Cycling closed out 2011 moderately by posting several hundred more miles before rolling into 2012

Now that we have reflected on the recent past, RAM Cycling can only move forward by setting some Goals, just like Renaissance & Masher did personally. The good news is, RAM is a reality, and here are some of the goals we hope to achieve this year or in the very near future:

***   Bring excellent news and memories from our charity and group ride events to life right here at the RAM Cycling website

***   Fight to have legislation introduced and passed into Kentucky Law to raise awareness and safety for bicycling, including a 3-FEET TO PASS LAW, more bike lanes, more Share The Road signs on roadways, more local bicycling events for the public & more

***   Gain corporate backing of some close partners, in order to help support our push for legislative updates and help us promote a more healthy and bicycle friendly America, and also help us support  local charity groups that host events we intend to ride in this year and in years to come

***   RAM Cycling intends to host it’s own bicycle ride event, however the details are still in the planning phase for time of year, course, total miles, and location (expect this to be 1st class when it happens!)

***   Design and purchase our own cycling jersey to wear at events to help promote RAM Cycling, and t-shirts to give away

***   Obviously, we intend to support Renaissance & Masher in all of their bicycling endeavors

***   We want to develop a free membership club for the purpose of distributing important cycling information and legislative updates through a monthly newsletter

***   Finally, we will be excited to publish all of the good news we can find and relate to regarding bicycling

Thanks for visiting RAMCycling.com We hope you will continue to visit throughout 2012, as we try to accomplish our mission. So far it has been a wonderful ride, but it’s a journey that we are glad you are sharing with us. PLEASE feel free to leave a comment on any post we publish, or send us an email at any time. Your feed back is important to us and helps us improve our site for you. You can also follow us on Twitter @RAMCycling. Here’s to a great year in 2012!

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

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