Well, how did I get here?
It’s been awhile
since I’ve had time to do more than ride around the neighborhood in the evenings. Maybe “Back In The Saddle” is overstating, but riding more than 3.3 miles at a time feels significant. Yesterday, I got in about 70 minutes riding at an exertion level I’d characterize as high, then about 30 minutes of moderate effort and 15 minutes of easy pedaling. Today, I rode about 61 minutes. My average mph today was just under 16; yesterday’s, just over 15. These averages are on a par with my speeds on the Miyata 610 when I am in pretty good condition, but I was riding the Jamis Supernova.
Today probably marks 50 to 60 miles with the Origin8 Gary2 handlebars; the 7th or 8th time I’ve ridden the Continental Tour Ride tires. They feel like crap. They feel heavy and slow on pavement, so I was surprised that my average speeds were as high as they were. Yesterday’s ride included about two-and-a-half miles of unplanned offroad and dirt road riding, so I feel pretty good about that overall average of 15.03.
Truth is, I felt a little like crap yesterday, too. Fat, heavy, sluggish after two or three weeks of no-time-to-ride and Halloween candy. Oh yeah, and a beard, too. For November, I’m growing a beard. It’s got a date with Norelco or my barber come December, but for now, I’m letting it grow. No one can really see you when you’re wearing a beard, just like no one can really see you when you’re wearing cycling kit and helmet. Just one more generic cyclist on the road, unrecognizable as an individual. So I felt okay about wearing cycling togs and going for a ride.
Today, I felt less like crap, and rode faster, too. This time, the ride was pavement-only.
Thoughts About Riding a Lightweight Bike
Compared to the Miyata 610, which probably weighs close to 30 pounds rigged with saddlebag, rack, and water-bottle, the 2007 Jamis Supernova feels super-light at maybe 20 pounds? More weight with the Continental Tour Ride tires, though. Still, carbon seatstays, carbon fork, carbon seatpost, carbon headset spacers, triple-butted aluminum frame, aluminum handlebars – the bike feels flimsy. It gets blown around a good deal in side winds, and feels like it may have trouble powering through a headwind. Still, it’s only the side-winds that have so far been a problem to handle.
Origin8 Gary2 Handlebars
Yesterday, on a dirt road, now degraded to little more than a dirt path, I hit a patch of broken cinderblock and stone at about 12 or 13 miles per hour. The building materials had been used at one time to fill in a shallow ditch running through a treeline. I didn’t see it until I was upon it and too late to brake so just pedaled across the jagged, uneven surface. Thought I would for sure come to grief, but the bike withstood the abuse and I didn’t break stride. You can see the place in the image above – it’s at the point I entered the trees just before the sharp left turn.
The Gary2 bars’ angle at the bar ends feels a little like I’m witching for water with the front fork and wheel instead of steering. What that means is they feel a little squirrely on pavement. When I hit that unexpected rough patch yesterday, though, they were rock-solid stable. They are great offroad handlebars, much better than I thought they would be given their reputation as knock-offs of the On One Midge which is, itself, a knock-off of the Salsa Woodchipper, which, according to the Internet collective mind, owes much to the WTB Mountain Drops.
Up until the point marked as Mile 14, I knew exactly where I was headed. The rest of that ride through the scrubby woods was just guesswork. The Continental Tour Ride tires never once lost their grip, in fact, the bike as configured, was a joy to ride offroad across fields and on dirt roads. What I’m having trouble getting used to are the bike’s on-road characteristics, but it shows promise.
Here are some more photos from yesterday’s ride – click on them for bigger images: