I know with the virus situation not everyone has been fortunate enough to be outside. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that sense. I’ve had nearly 6 months of daily riding and it’s been fantastic. I think I’m likely healthier than I’ve been in 20 years. The past 5 weeks of cycling with the unassisted fatbike on our new trails and road rides during rainy weather have been the best part of my days. When I’m not working (which is often these days due to the virus situation) I’m either riding or thinking of riding.
Since my last post we’ve had a very wet 10 days which meant switching most of my riding to the road. It also has manifested as longer ride times and more miles ridden. Mostly it’s my time in the saddle that I care about. On the road an hour means 12 miles or so ridden, on the trail it’s more like 6 miles. I’ve found that my road rides are generally longer and end up with more calories burned.
Riding the road with the fatbike is an excellent experience. I air the tires up to about 20 psi which eliminates self steer and results in a very quiet ride. The Vee Tire Mission Command tires are excellent for this kind of mixed pavement and trail riding. Far from riding a skinny tire bike but very doable. The gearing on the bike is a nice sweet spot for off-road and on-road riding. When I’m off-road I keep it on the small chain ring and on-road I tend to keep it in the larger chain ring as the speed of the ride is generally faster. The gearing range I’m getting is working very well.
Last, I’m really happy with my ability to handle the riding I’m doing. 80 to 90 minute rides are no problem. Daily totals of 140 minutes of ride time are no problem. The next step is to try some longer rides, perhaps in the range of 160 to 180 minutes which should be no problem. I’ll likely try my longer ride into Perry county soon. It’s a mix of pavement and gravel, about 28 miles and on the Rover was about 144 minutes with a speed of 11.5 mph. I expect I’ll be able to do the same ride at a similar pace on the Gravity.
It’s been a few weeks since I took a road ride but we’ve had a lot of rain here the past week so I decided to give the trail a break today. I did fit in a 1 mile ride this morning before today’s rain rolled in on me mid-ride. Then later a 4 mile ride on the gravel road and over to the pond across the way. But I wanted to do a longer pavement ride. I’ve got my sister and various nieces, nephew and their significant others here visiting so I sent a group text inviting folks to do a ride. My two nieces rode the ebikes and I rode the Gravity.
We did an 11 mile ride in just under an hour with an average speed of 12.2 mph. I was pretty happy with the ride. I’ve had several one hour trail rides on the new bike but this is the first one hour ride on pavement. The steady cadence with several rolling hills, a couple longer, lower intensity hills and one very steep hill felt really good on this bike. The steep hill was a good bit of work but I made it up without too much fuss. I’d pumped the tires up to about 18 psi to avoid self-steer and decrease the rolling resistance and they performed pretty well on the pavement.
My family have all been using the ebikes and are having a blast on them which has been great as my family are not cyclists. There’s little doubt that in this case having the electric assist has added the zip they needed to get started. That said, for the most part, they’re all happy to offer their own effort with the peddles which I’m happy to see. From what I can tell they are getting used everyday that is not too rainy.
Milage for the past week:
I’ve been living in the cabin for most of the past 12 years. The first four were spent mostly outside gardening and clearing the area of tornado-downed trees.The fifth was a lot of time outside at night looking through the telescope and then I left for two years. When I returned in the fall of 2015 I never quite got back into the rhythm of gardening or my time at the telescope. I was still outside a lot but not in the steady, mission-driven way that I had been before. My time outside became more casual and meandering.
This spring I’ve been back outside far more. First on the bike, riding around the county. Then, in mid April, my sister and niece began an extended stay in their cabin which prompted me to cut my rides short. From 36 miles I dropped to 26 miles or less and my ride time from 3 hours to 2 hours. And then, almost accidentally, I started the trail building project in mid April. Three weeks later and we’ve now got about 2 miles of completed trail. I feel like I’ve spent most of my days either working on the trails or walking on them or riding on them. It’s been a wonderful, rewarding process.
The simple act of just getting out into the quiet woods during the springtime has been a privilege I wish more people had access to especially in these times of the Covid virus. I’m used to having outside time and space so it’s not really new for me but a lot of people are struggling with what to do with themselves.
Whether walking, biking or trail building, time spent in the woods is good for the mind and the body. Obviously, increased movement and exercise is always good but the time spent hearing birds and frogs sing, observing the daily emergence of spring wild flowers and the flight of insects amongst those flowers is a constant source of bliss.
As my trail building slows I’ve spent more time walking and riding. Slowly but surely my time in the saddle is on the up and up and it feels so nice to be peddling again! I’m not back to my 3 hour ride time but this past week I’ve had daily ride times of 90 minutes to two hours. My rides are different in a variety of ways in that they are now primarily on the trails which means they slower. On average a Rad Rover road ride was about 12.5 mph whereas a trail ride on the Gravity is about 6.2 mph. Also, rather than one long ride each day I’m tending to take 2 to 3 rides a day.
I feel like the workout is better on the trails but my heart rate seems to be about the same, perhaps just a bit higher than on the e-bike.