As the season winded down in 2011, I had my mind set on a new bike purchase and pulled the trigger in October, buying a new Jamis Zenith Pro road bike. I was anxious to begin putting miles on the new wheels, so I chose to take the standard set up on the bike and hop on. Hind sight proved that was not a smart decision. I rode moderately through the winter months, and with the mild weather, began accumulating great base miles in March, but I was not comfortable on the new bike like I was the old one.
I loved the feel of my new ride, the new components & gears, and the look. However, when I went out for a 15-30 mile ride, I experienced finger numbness, lower back pain, and some moderate knee soreness. I actually caught myself thinking at one point “I wonder if I could buy back my old bike?” That’s when I got some much needed advice in the form of a referral from my good friend and cycling companion Tim, the Renaissance Man. “Call Pedal Power Bike Shop and schedule a custom fitting with Alan. Trust me.” So I did. I spent about three hours on a Saturday early in March, being custom fit with my new bicycle, and I am proud to say we are now a real pair. Since being fit by Alan Brady at Pedal Power, I have accumulated over 500 miles on the new bike, and it feels great. No more pain and discomfort on an average ride, and no more thinking about the old bike . . . it’s now a great memory, but a good bike for another new local cyclist!
I should have known sooner to ask Tim for help, because he went through a similar experience. As his first ever cycling season closed out in 2010, he completed a ride across the state of Kentucky on his Giant hybrid frame bicycle, and decided he was committed to cycling. That’s when he got a new Litespeed carbon frame road bike for Christmas, and began the new season a lot faster than the previous. After completing his first century ride in April in Georgia, he began to have some serious discomfort on the new bike. He had purchased the bicycle online, taking advantage of some points that had built up on an account. He had the bike adjusted and fit at a local shop, but as he began to feel comfort issues arising, he began to question some of the settings. He, like me, loved the new bike, and just thought he had to suffer through some of the new pains.
In the month of May, he completed the Horsey Hundred century bike ride in our hometown of Georgetown, KY. Following the Memorial Day weekend riding, he could not bear the pain any more. Now, the numbness in his hands was occurring even when not on the bike, and he got to a point when he lost all strength in his hands, making it nearly unbearable to ride. After seeing several doctors and specialists in the medical field, and being recommended for surgery, he decided to follow his original gut instinct and have a second opinion on his bike fit.
He was spot on! He visited Pedal Power Bike Shop in Lexington, KY and had his custom bike fitting session with Alan Brady. Alan is certified by the Seratta International Cycling Institute (SICI), and uses the techniques and standards that he learned at the SICI school. Both Tim and I highly recommend going to see Alan and Pedal Power if you experience any discomfort on your bike. Trust us! A direct link to Pedal Power is on the right side column of this page and our home page. Please feel free to click on it and check out all of the services that they offer.
I would have to say that my custom bike fitting with Alan Brady at Pedal Power Bike Shop is one of the most thorough experiences I’ve ever had with my bike, other than an actual ride, and because of that experience, my rides are once again enjoyable. So if you’ve added or lost weight, or had any uncomfortable rides lately, maybe a custom bike fit is just what you need, whether you have a new or older bike. Please feel free to share this info with all of your cycling friends and tell Alan that RAM Cycling sent you!
Last year I heard a lot of talk about Strava, and had no idea what it was. I admit, I am a little slow on some of the technical gear associated with cycling, however, my interest in recording and tracking my ride results is definitely on a rise, with some help and thanks to the Renaissance Man. When he first taught me about Cyclemeter and how he tracks all his rides, I honestly thought to myself “what’s the big deal about that?” Well the more I learn about it, the more I embrace technology, and cycling is no exception.
So to answer the question at hand, Strava is an exercise tracking application that allows members to not only view their results on runs and rides, but also how they stack up against others. When you set up your membership, you can opt for the basic (which is free), or upgrade to premium. I’m a basic member, so I’m not sure what the fees are for premium, but I know the stats that can be tracked are significantly more. For now, I’m fine with basic. To see how you compare against others while not actually riding with them, you can view the segments section. I discovered this after my first ride. Of coarse, you can search and locate segments in your area, and go out and try for the podium or leaderboard, or you can just work on your own personal records, it’s totally up to you. That’s the beauty of Strava, it can be as competitive as you want it to be, without any road rage.
The Strava app and membership can be downloaded to smart phones (Androids and Iphones, I know for sure), and you can rocrd your rides using your phone as the GPS device, or you can use another GPS device to record your activity, then upload the information to you account on the internet at your log-in/ home page. I simply love the Strava membership, I feel that it has helped me to improve my fitness on the bike, by me challenging myself to perform on segments, plus the fact that I know others who are following me will also see my results. And they may not mention it, but if I slack, they will know it.
After completing a ride of around 60 miles, I realized that my phone would not have enough battery life to record a century ride, and still be charged for an emergency call if necessary. That’s when I started doing some research on alternative devices to record my rides. At first, I thought I should keep it simple, and get the cheapest unit I could that would carry out the mission. But as I mentioned earlier, I am beginning to embrace technology more and more, therefor I decided to upgrade a little and get a Garmin Edge 500. I thought it would have everything to satisfy my needs and/or wants for now and well into the future. Then I decided to make the purchase from my local bike shop, Pedal Power, in downtown Lexington and when I went in to make the buy, Josh talked me into the new version that was getting ready to be released. The Garmin Edge 510, he said would be available mid February, and as I do with any technical idea in question, I referred to the expert, Renaissance Man. He confirmed that the upgrades on the 510 model were probably worth the extra cash. So as soon as Pedal Power got the new devices in, I made my purchase.
I am still early in the learning process of what all I can do with my Garmin Edge 510 GPS device, but I have recorded all of my rides on it since I bought it. I have also successfully uploaded all of those activities to my Strava account, where I can view and track my training progress. The Edge 510 is very user friendly, comes with multiple charging connections, and thus far most importantly for me, has a very strong battery life. Now I can probably record multiple century (100 miles) rides and not run any programs on my phone that drain it’s battery life.
I am very excited with the bulk of the 2013 cycling season already arriving to view some of the very challenging segments and the tough grades on some of the upcoming hilly rides I have planned on my schedule. I can easily do this with the friendly help of Strava, Garmin Edge 510, and even my smart phone. And I would highly recommend both Strava and the Garmin Edge 510 to anyone who is considering using them.
Near the end of the 2011 cycling season, I made the decision to make a purchase. After months of reviewing and researching, I bought a Jamis Zenith Pro road bike and when the bike shop ordered it for me, they said it was the only one of that particular model sold in the state of Kentucky that year and it was the last one in my size. I’ve been riding that bike faithfully since it became part of the family in October 2011, in fact, I actually sold my previous road bike because it was too nice to sit around and waste.
I’ve had a few mechanical parts worked on or replaced as expected due to normal wear and tear. I’m especially hard on the chain, or so they say at Pedal Power, my local bike shop, nearly every time I take it in for service. Well, they’re about to see it again this week, and I’m not surprised. This time, it’s time for new tires! What does surprise me though, is how many miles I got on the tires I have now, which happen to be the original ones. I have no idea how many miles one should expect to get on a set of road tires, and I’m sure a lot of factors play a part in their life expectancy, but here’s what this set of Vittoria Rubino Pro Slicks went through: over 5,000 total miles in nearly 2 years on the road, some of those roads being very rough pavement (all of my local club members that have ridden Old Lemons Mill Rd will certainly agree), probably half of the miles were with my overweight, I’m not the cyclist that takes the best of care of my bike unfortunately, but I do maintain it and tend to any problems immediately, and through all of this rough riding, I’ve only had 1 flat tire! I know, I know, I just jinxed the heck out of myself, but it’s true!
I could probably order a new set off the internet and save a few dollars, and I’m certainly cable of replacing them myself, but I won’t. I’ll take it in to Pedal Power and have them order the new tires and perform the switch out. My philosophy is simple: if you can’t support your local bike shop, you shouldn’t expect it to support you! I’ve never waited more than a week for service there, but according to my triathlete friend Steph, they sometimes expedite the work. I’m not giving her secret away, but I may give it a try. One thing’s absolutely for sure, I will wait, if necessary, to ensure I get the exact same tire: the Vittoria Rubino Pro Slick! I’m not being paid to promote their product, and I haven’t been promised any product. If they want to send anything, I’ll certainly accept it, and use it because I’m 100% sold on their brand. I have no reason to try any other tire after the last 5,000 miles! I’m not even familiar with the company, but I will be writing them to let them know how pleased I am with the product and let them know that my opinion is being shared here. Conclusion: next time you need to replace your bicycle tires, I highly recommend Vittoria brand!