KC/DC Cycle

Ride to live... live to ride

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Making a friend and a repair

I finally got around the getting the valve replacement for my floor pump. The story goes that I bought the pump and didn't use it for two weeks. When I tried it the valve leaked all over the place. I took it back to the shop they refused to replace it. They tried to repair and it only got worse. I posted in my Facebook over 60 cycling group for help determining what to call the part. I was able to find the part on Lazada and received it. Putting it on was easy enough altho I still haven't put any kind of clamp to secure it on the end of the hose.

It was very disappointing having the bike shop leave me high and dry though. Part of it may have been language while another part may have been they anticipated I was a tourist and wanted to use the pump for two weeks and then leave while getting my money back. There are other shops that I have worked with. I have been teaching here for a year, so I'm not a tourist. It was an interesting story about that transaction tho. The young man helping fix the valve actually deferred to an older woman behind a glass partition in an office. She assessed my character or whatever and rendered her verdict. They did have another customer translate for me. Oh well.

It was a success. Thanks to all of those who contributed ideas and solutions. Now when I pump up the tire the built in gauge works (which it didn't before) and the valve holds air. My old floor pump is about 20 years old and I've never had a problem.

ON MY RIDE Near the top of the mountain I came upon another cyclist. I don't often find other cyclists on this route. The guy had a van following him to block traffic. When I caught up to him he seemed to be about 70 or so years old and a local Thai. So I blazed by him carried by the momentum of catching up. After a minute he caught back up and passed. On the really steep downhill I passed him without even pedaling. I was traveling upwards of 50mph. On the flat river valley we had some time to chat. We rode and chatted for a while. At my usual turn around point he suggested he had a route to show me. So we rode up the highway together a few hundred yards and showed me a tiny little alley sized side road. It was a nice way to loop back to the other road. He said he lives in Phuket town which is about 5 miles from me. He complimented my power in the climbs and the sprint.

Last time I met someone on the mountain we had a nice ride. That guy said the mountain seems easy when you ride with a friend. That was nice from a guy I just met.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

safety on the road

Before I forget I want to share a very cool concept:


My Facebook biking over 60 group had a conversation about air horns. Here is my comment:

Horns are light, fairly cheap and fun. About 45 years ago I had a freon horn like the ones used at sports events. I don't believe it helped in traffic safety but it was a blast to get peoples attention. In a crisis situation I would be able to find the button and jam on the brakes, so it just didn't seem practical. 5 or so years ago I got a horn you can pump up - someone mentioned the airzounds. Same principle, same problem. It doesn't hurt to have.

I moved to Thailand 1 1/2 years ago. I was hit by a motorbike on the third day here. I didn't go down but the occurence freaked me out. I can't imagine the trauma you must have experienced. There are certain strategies and techniques that enhance safety. Otherwise you're largely at the mercy of psychopaths raging in one ton death machines.

Strategies for safety include the visibility techniques, driving practice (defensive driving), road choices, a helmet, eyewear and a well maintained bike. If only we were hooked into everyones GPS so when the car approaches a cyclist they get a warning. Someday it would be nice. Still wouldn't guarantee the outcome, but it could help

Monday, October 08, 2018

Heros and the long haul

I'm a member of a Facebook group called "Cycling over 60". Many members of the group had returned to cycling for the first time since childhood. So my skills and experience are valuable in that context. They are learning to ride again. They are learning about exercise again. They don't know the developments in bicycle technology that I've seen in transition. The group tends to be wealthy and attracted to the bright lights and whiz bang factor. Everyone submits their "riding my age" journal entry. I submit my "riding my maturity age" journal entry. I enjoy riding my bicycle. In the US I rode all the time every week often doing 50-100 miles a week. It's not so much about the mileage but the regular enjoyment of physical activity which helps me to divert my energy from rational thinking to a peaceful relaxation.

There are some folks like me that just enjoy a simple ride a few days a week without even knowing the tabulation of statistics. I don't use a speedo much less the heart rate monitor, rpm gauge, altimeter readings. I'm of the simple and cheap school of riding. As a child I was already scavenging parts from the rubbish bin to build or repair my bike. I was wrenching to replace parts. I remember vividly noticing how torn up my axle nuts were after I was finishing removing the wheel a few times. I often used vise grips or channel lock pliers. The rounded the edges of many a nut. As a child I bought tools. I still have one of the first tools I bought. It is a cable cutter which is used to trip the extra length from a brake or derailleur cable. I'm still not a great mechanic especially when facing something carbon fiberish.

I was also on a listserv group for cyclists who look for the long haul ultimate utility bike. One of the oft quoted sayings there is "steel is real". They referred to carbon bits cynically as "crabon". They wanted to be assured if there bike got banged around and used for decades it would still usable and repairable. The BOB group still gives me fond memories. The acronym comes from Bridgestone Owners Group. Grant Petersen was the US representative of the Bridgestone corporations bicycle group. He promoted the steel machine that would be practical for use in the US market. He revolutionized cycling with Rivendell cycle company. Rather than focus on the racing agenda in cycling his company focused on road riders who pursued other aims. He is one of my heros.

I have several cycling heros: Peter White, Sheldon Brown, Major Taylor, Peter Gostelow and Grant Petersen. 

Victor: My heroes are the everyday people who ride their bikes and challenge themselves. The people who really aren't sure if they have it in them to do a metric, century, or DC, or whatever it is that is on their radar ... but the give it their best anyway.

It doesn't matter if it's 10 miles, 20, 50, 100 or 1000. What counts is that they are willing to chase their goal and make it happen.

Lee: See the book by John Howard about Major Taylor (recent release). He just coached / ran the team of Denise Meuller-Konarek breaking bike land speed record (at salt flats) 184 MPH 2 weeks ago. A fearless rennaissance 'hero' Mr. Howard is.

Jerry: The Wright Brothers..both bike mechanics...bio in David McCullough showed their tenacity and ethics.

Also Chuck Bramwell, the guy behind the California Triple Crown. Always positive,encouraging to others and amazing at avoiding conflicts with people who do not always agree.

Earl: I gained a hero along about the fourth or fifth stage of the Tour de France this year. Luis Leon Sanchez crashed just terribly and tried to get back on his bike and continue. He tried HARD, but with four broken ribs and a broken elbow the body just wouldn't do it. That takes guts.

James: Andy Hampsten, a clean rider who still really enjoys riding a bike

Alan: Lance Armstrong.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018


I met a guy in Urbana, MD who rode distances in a full wheelie. I saw his bike parked and the weird tilt of his seat and I shook my head. Then when he took off my jaw dropped. He rode in a full wheelie. It was pretty cool. I've never seen anything like it since.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Cager awareness

In 57 years of riding I've never had a horrific accident. It would be hard to get back on for me. It seems no amount of precautions will protect you. You just have to do what you can and enjoy the ride. Where are you located? Some areas and some routes are less safe. Maybe you need to change your route. Most of my riding has been in the DC area which has crazy traffic but a vocal and responsive cycling community. The community helps insure that there is a minimum awareness. That's one of the legacies we can leave behind. Awareness is a big factor in safety. So many cagers respond that they "didn't see" the cyclist. Most likely they weren't looking or aware. We can always blame the cell phones now, but it's always been the case. Someone will be fiddling with the radio, putting on makeup, reaching for a cigarette. It's not the gadget it's the lack of respect for the ton of vehicle that they're commanding