Thursday, August 23, 2012

Product Review: Steve Hamilton - Animal pedals

These pedals are used as commonly as they are for good reason. The construction is amazing because though they are plastic, I've put them through hell and they always come out wanting more. They are an excellent match for my Chicago WIG Street straps, complementing each other with their simple yet solid no-bull-shit design. Built initially for bmx, they withstand stress like no other, but I'm not the first cyclist to use these pedals for other styles of riding. For fixed riding, they provide a large, yet appropriate, surface for my feet and grab hold of even the slickest of soles.

I recommend Steve Hamilton's Animal pedals to anyone looking for a durable and good quality pedal with a price that won't break the bank.


- RideaBicycle

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Under That Marina Sun

Lately we've been having some good weather. It's been predominantly dry and the last few weekends have been insane. It was pretty hot on Saturday and Sunday, yet staying indoors and recuperating from the work week was not something I wanted to do on this particular Sunday afternoon. I was in the mood to ride. I decided early in the morning that I was going to ride out to Boston Harbor Marina because I have a close friend who works out there and I thought I'd surprise her and enjoy the ride and the super nice weather all at the same time. Killing hella birds with one stone. You know.

The ride out there is about an hour, give or take a few minutes and there are lots of ups and downs on the route I usually take up there. It's a pretty good ride, with some interesting views along the way as well.

I semi-successfully surprised her, and coincidentally arrived at the marina only a short while before she went on lunch break. Good stuff. I got to sit around listening to the flight attendant-esque safety procedures as she sent kayak after kayak out onto the Sound. It was actually quite interesting, and I learned at least how to properly get back into a kayak once I've capsized, using the hand pump to then remove water from inside. Useful information, no doubt.

I stayed the afternoon on the docks, enjoying the time I spent interrupting the flow of her work...and I also got some reading time in (though mostly soaking in the view and relaxation). I ended up spending my entire day there and by then, the last thing I was in the mood for was riding home. It seemed that I stayed for so long only to prolong the time before the inevitable ride back home after sitting in the sun all day. However, I got lucky and tagged along with my friend in her car back towards home.

The marina was a great destination at the end of a satisfying, yet simple, ride. If you haven't been before, I recommend it to anyone! Riding home from downtown was a night cap of exertion for the day. I slept great that night, feeling fully satisfied with my weekend.

Good weather, good times!

- RideaBicycle

Friday, August 10, 2012

Product Review: ISM Adamo Prologue saddle

First of all, I will start by saying that this saddle and it's relatives created by the ISM team may save your future. I am not being dramatic in any sense of the word. Bicycle saddles have been known to subtly cause a variety of issues regarding the functions of the reproductive organs. The traditional nosed saddle has a design that can, with time, lead to some gnarly realities. The perineum is a region behind the scrotum that consists of nerves and blood vessels. The complete functionality of this circulatory process is crucial to your health. The numbness that can be felt after a ride with a traditional saddle is caused by this loss of circulation and has short term as well as long term health affects.

Now I know that this may not have immediate affects, and to most individuals the issues are ignored for that reason. But I decided to play it preemptively and made the transition now rather than waiting until I can't feel my junk to realize there's a problem.

ISM has a number of models. Each one is designed for a specific riding style or form. For me, the Prologue was the one, designed for a track-like forward positioning.

The Adamo Prologue saddle, with it's noseless design, eliminates pressure on the area behind the scrotum and makes for an amazing ride. Since I've been riding with it, I don't get uncomfortable in the saddle. I can focus on more important things such as traffic and when I ride for a long time, and make a pit stop, getting back on my bicycle isn't a pain in my ass. The chromoly rails are easy to mount on just about any seat post system. There is a good deal of padding which has helped me a great deal for distance rides, decreasing the amount of soreness on my sit bones and the sloped arms remove rubbing on the inner thighs that occurs on traditional nosed saddles.

Now, I don't want to forget to mention...(since I'm sure you're thinking "who wants to have kids after 50 anyway?")...that this is not just pertaining to the health of your sperm production. It is regarding functionality AS A WHOLE. The act of performing any sexual activity involving your genitals is what's at stake here. Remember this. Functionality as a whole.

Setting up the saddle takes some time and patients. It takes a bit of experimenting to get the positioning right for your individual comfort. But the instructions on the ISM website are extremely detailed and very helpful, making this process quite worth it considering the benefits it provides. To give you the gist of it, this saddle will be fitted correctly if there is approximately two inches of saddle visible behind your bottom, and the saddle should be slightly below the point of being level if not lower.

Overall, I would not say that the ISM saddles are for cyclists that explicitly feel the symptoms I've mentioned. I believe that anyone from a casual cyclist who rides once a week or less, to the insane individual that commutes by bicycle fifteen plus miles to work and back should consider this investment. It could save your future.

Best of luck to those of you who choose to turn the other cheek.

This saddle has changed the way I ride, and the way that I view cycling as a whole. As it is a very important aspect of my life, I am stoked to have a saddle that amplifies my passion for riding.

- RideaBicycle

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

San Francisco Cruising

It was a beautiful day for riding in the city. My friend, Henry, and I set out to North Berkeley Bart around 10:30 and caught the next train into San Francisco. As we sat on the train we noticed a sprinkling of Giants hats getting on at each stop. Jumping to the assumption that there was a game that day, we started cursing our luck. Our minds wondered and we decided that the occurrence of a Giants game would be beneficial, drawing all the city locals and tourists to the park and off the streets, leaving us to ride through the empty city as though it were struck by a zombie apocalypse. This was not the case. It was a beautiful day and we were far from alone.

We road down Market St. to the Embarcadero and found it crawling with tourists. I mean, totally packed. Our vague plan was to ride to the Golden Gate, and across to Marin. As we road up the Embarcadero, we wove in and out of the crowds of tourists walking and on rental bicycles (which by the way is an awesome resource, but basic etiquette of riding might be a good addition). We road on. Raced a pair of cyclists in full kits, riding super nice fixed gears for a ways up the Embarcadero. We passed loads of tourists as we cut our way through and as we got closer to the Golden Gate, we winged our navigation, our wheels eventually leading us to it's mouth. Henry was on his road bicycle and I was riding my California Blue fixed.

Henry is a great person to ride with. Especially in the city. We both have the same level of familiarity with the lay of the city and it made navigating the crowded streets much more enjoyable for the both of us. Feeding off of each other's energy, we backtracked and re-routed many times, searching for the streets that felt right at that given moment during the ride. As we headed back from the bridge after reaching the Marin side, we searched for a spot to eat a quick lunch. We had heard of a place called Rapha that was supposedly a cycling oriented cafe of sorts. We found it. They sold full kits, and other high class accessories. It was a very clean place. With minimal yet utilitarian style decor, it had an "expensive" feel to it. They had a small selection of cookies and a ton of beverages, but after looking around and catching a bit of the olympics, we split in search of food. As we cut through the traffic, we found ourselves in Pacific Heights. To our surprise, we came across a pizza place. It had some outdoor seating  with snowboard tables. We decided to try it out and it was delicious! It was well worth the $5 for two vegetable covered slices. We people watched the bleach blond hair and fake tans for a while, finished our snack and thought out our plan of action. It was still quite early in the day since riding the bridge took a lot less time than we had anticipated. We thanked the folks who worked at Extreme Pizza and headed out, exploring and feeling our way back towards downtown.

Our path through the city eventually met with Embarcadero and we road down till we hit Market. We stopped at the plaza and enjoyed the time to chat and took advantage of the excellent opportunity for people watching. We headed back to Bart and from Downtown Berkeley, road the rest of the way home.

Henry is a great friend of mine and it was great to finally get to ride together in San Francisco. The feeling was mutual and I don't get to see him as much as I'd like to but it was awesome to spend the short time together in the Bay Area on our bicycles. Henry is an experienced cyclist and riding with him is always a great time. On this occasion, through the city by the bay, San Francisco.
We plan to do it again one better on our next visit home.

- RideaBicycle

Friday, August 03, 2012

Product Review: Nashbar C-Force Trainer

Needless to say, everyone knows riding a bicycle in the outdoors is where it's at. But in Olympia, WA, sometimes the outdoors are soggy and wet and it's actually not where you want to be.

I was at my local Goodwill a few weeks back and, like usual, I scanned over the section with bicycles and exercise equipment of different shapes and sizes. I knew that the prospect of finding a working bicycle trainer at Goodwill was slim, but ever since about a year ago, when I saw a gentleman in line at the register with a trainer in hand, I've been casually keeping my eyes open, hoping that one day I'd get lucky and find a trainer.

This day was my lucky day, and coincidentally, it was Friday the 13th. I found the trainer, and without getting too excited, examined it for flaws that would lead me to some reason why it was even there and for the price of twelve dollars and ninety nine cents. I couldn't find anything that would stop me from using it. It was completely functional!

Once I got it home, I began to set it up and it worked great. I was stoked. I've never used a trainer before but after trying to emulate what a trainer does with an ancient exercise bicycle, this was bliss. I was so stoked on the idea that if the weather was bad and I wanted to ride, I could hope on the trainer and pedal away and not on some creaky machine, but on my own bicycle.

Riding an exercise bicycle is not like riding your own bicycle. The geometry is completely different, you're not in the same saddle you ride every day, and the list can go on and on. There is no transition for discomfort or awkwardness because the trainer is a resource that allows you to train on the same machine that you ride on the streets. It's amazing.

Search your Goodwill today, folks! Because it could be your lucky one.

- RideaBicycle