Three or so weeks ago I posted that with only 5 days into the month I was on track to ride 900 miles in July. I wasn’t all that certain that with 26 days left I’d actually ride that much. But as has been the case for the past 6 months, I’ve been excited to ride everyday and so I rode 30 days in July and as it turns out it wasn’t that hard for me to average 34 miles per day. As the month went on it was looking like I could actually ride 1,000 miles for the month so that became my new goal. As of today, July 31, I’ve got 1,034 miles. All but three days of these miles were ridden on the Gravity fatbike The last three days were done on the new Poseidon X (which I’ll be covering in my next post).
I’m not certain that I’ll ride that much in August. I’m not sure I want to have any kind of monthly goal in regards to my time or miles. I’m not really an athlete, I’m not training for any kind of competition. When it comes down to it I ride because I want to ride. I like the way it feels to ride a bike. The exhilaration and the sense of adventure that I get to tap into. Seeing the world by bike is a wonderful way of getting to know it. Also, ice cream. And food generally. I like to eat and it sure is nice being active enough that I can eat without much concern about my health. Cycling is a great way to stay fit!
Honestly, I think I’d be happy to ride 4 or 5 or 6 hours a day if it weren’t for the sore ass and back, both of which seem to set in every ride at about 3 hours. I’d love to be able to do some all day rides at some point if I can get past that current problem. For the most part my legs are fine to keep going. My plan is to just work on getting used to more time in the saddle with each ride. If I have a goal of any kind it would be to extend the time I can comfortably stay in the saddle.
I’ll start with trail update and it’s just one. I’ve put in a new trail by the creek at the southeast corner of the property. This is the creek that flows with water the longest though it too usually dries up by mid to late summer. The trail is a short one that connects to the trails I put in during the spring and allows for a nice ride or walk right along the creek edge (well, there’s a few feet of buffer but it’s close enough to feel that you’re on the edge). It’s about an 8 minute walk or 2 minute ride. And I’ve put in a couple chairs and a table at the spot which seems to hold water the longest. It’s a nice place to sit and watch the few small fish that live there.
The rest of the trail put in or re-established this spring is looking pretty good. Maintenance has thus far mostly consisted of riding it a lot and the occasional trimming back. I’ve ridden about 600 miles on the trail during May and June which is a good amount of traffic and it shows. The trail looks very well used.
Now for a few bike updates…
I’ve got 1200 miles on the Gravity fatbike over the past 2 months. Assuming my current pace It’ll have at least another 400 miles on it before the end of July. Most of my riding in May and June was trail riding where the fatbike is a blast to ride. It’s perfect for trail riding.
The Origin8 Space Off Road II Handlebars I added back in May have been a great addition to the riding experience allowing for 3 different hand positions though one of those positions is only useful for faster riding on the road. I’ve also added some grippier RockBros pedals and they’re better than the pedals I’d taken off the Rad Rover. Also, a small but very helpful addition of the Moosetreks Bike Handlebar Stem Bag has been very nice for carrying small things such as the dog spray, dog horn, cords, phone, etc. Last, the change from the stock tires to the Maxxis Mammoth tires has been great. The stock Mission Command tires were fine, these are better both in terms of the ride which is a bit softer thanks to the higher TPI and also in the weight as the Maxxis tires are a good bit lighter.
All that said I’ve bumped up against a barrier with this bike which is my desire to get back to doing some longer road and gravel riding. I can certainly ride the fatbike on the road and have been. 413 miles of mostly road riding in the first 12 days of July alone. Compared to the 80lbs of the Rad Rover the 38 lb Gravity seems like a nimble featherweight. But those 38lbs and fat tires, while fine on the trail, make for a fairly slow road ride. I’m not racing anyone and am generally okay with a slower ride with one exception: dogs. My ride to town and my longer ride out to the gravel roads of Perry county both take me up hills that also have dogs that chase. I’m not willing to ride uphill on a heavier bike when I’ve got a dog that I don’t trust living at the bottom or anywhere along that hill. I have no problem peddling the Gravity up a steep hill but I do slow down on such hills. An aggressive dog chasing me in that situation would not be good.
The solution is, of course, yet another bike. In this case, a much lighter gravel bike. I’ve ordered a flat bar version of the Poseidon X which weighs in at 24 lbs and has fairly nimble 700x35mm tires. It’s still a fairly inexpensive bike compared to the big brands but the frame is excellent and the included components are fairly nice. That’s 38% less weight than the Gravity and substantially faster tires. While my current average speed is 11.8 mph for road rides I should have no problem maintaining 15 mph or more on the Poseidon X. Uphills will be substantially faster. And it’s a gravel bike which means that it should do fairly well on the gravel roads as well as the paved roads. It’s slated to ship my way sometime this week. After that I’ll be happy to be able to get back to some 40 mile rides at the far reaches of Madison county and into the neighboring counties. I won’t be entirely dog proof but I’ll have a much better chance at outrunning any that I encounter!
As the summer heat has moved in I’ve been getting up earlier so that I can get a good long ride in before the sun gets too high in the sky. At the moment that time is 4am and I really like it. Early mornings are similar to late nights in the sense that it’s still dark outside and it’s quiet. It’s the time that the birds are beginning to wake and sing.
My routine seems to work fairly well. Wake at 4 and have oatmeal or an oatmeal, peanut butter and banana smoothie. Then a sandwich with peanut butter and preserves. I check the news and charge my watch then step out at 5am almost ready to ride. Check the tires and add air. At that point the sky is just starting to lighten up a wee bit but the sun is still 30 to 40 minutes from actually peaking over the horizon.
About halfway into my ride on my current route the sun is just rising above the horizon and this is the view from the bike…
I expect to post in the next day or two about some trail updates, a few upgrades I’ve made to the fatbike and a new bike on the way. Until then, some photos from recent rides and mileage updates.
Total miles ridden on the Gravity fatbike for May, June and July is, as of 7/5, 1092 miles. While most of June was trail riding I’ve decided to move back to mostly road riding in July in the mornings and trail rides in the evening. Thus far, only 5 days into the month, I’m on track for 900 miles in July which is my goal. That means 30 miles a day, for 30 of the 31 days. My ride time for July is up to 181 minutes per day thus far which meets my goal of 3 hours a day.
As much as I love trail riding I think 2 hours of road riding and 1 hour of trail riding is probably better for my knees. It seems that any knee issues I have or am likely to have are more likely with the constant sitting/standing that I do when I’m trail riding. On the road it’s almost all sitting and steady spinning. Will see.
Another consideration is the disturbance I seem to cause to the deer back on the trail. I’d like to try to minimize that as much as possible. Rather than 2 or 3 trail rides during a day I’ll try just the one for about an hour. We’ll see how it goes.