Back in December, Nancy and I went up to Bilenky Bikes. It was a great trip and they are great guys. Since then we have exchanged a couple of emails and phone calls and we received drawings of the bikes and specs/final pricing. This part was wrapped up by mid-February. Then came the hardest part, waiting… We are in line with the rest of Bilenky’s customers waiting our turn in the line to come up. Currently, we believe we should have our bikes by 22 May at the latest. This means we are under 30 days. Torches should be getting fired up soon for our bikes. I cannot wait to see them.
On John’s recommendation I took my aching body out for a short, easy ride this afternoon. The idea being that would help work out some of the
pain discomfort induced by yesterday’s longer ride.
And a what a gorgeous spring day it was. To my surprise, I had fun. And it only hurt a little. I got to see this flourishing tree (above). And (below) one of my favorite houses.
Some intrepid bicyclists continue riding through the entire winter no matter what the weather brings. Me? Some years yes, but not this year. Being self-employed and working at home most days now, biking is a thing I do purely for fun, renewal of the spirit and fitness. It was a long and brutal winter and getting on my bike didn’t strike me as fun, spiritually renewing or a great way to exercise. That’s over for now – finally – and we’ve had some terrific spring weather.
Providing further motivation, we’re signed up for the Tour de Cure on May 2, starting from Cookesville MD. (donate here to support my ride in this fundraiser for diabetes research). The terrain for that ride is very hilly so it’s time to get serious about getting in shape. We’ve been out there and enjoying the spring that’s finally here. Today was a little tough, we took a great leap forward and did our longest ride so far of 2015. Yes, I’m a little sore. Well, maybe a lot sore. But that’s biking. Sometimes it’s fun and carefree, sometimes it’s a struggle that leaves you stronger once you recover. Today’s ride was both.
So it’s spring and it’s beautiful. I’ll stop complaining about achey legs. Or maybe I’ll complain some, but keep it in perspective. Yesterday as we neared home we met a guy who had been a cyclist for 50 years, and had to quit due to vertigo that has never gone away. He’s got it tough. I’m so very lucky to be healthy and strong enough to keep doing what I love so much.
Yesterday, Nancy and I traveled up to Philadelphia to visit Bilenky Cycle Works. It was a very exciting day! I mean new, custom bikes. How cool is that??? The trip was pretty quick, 2+ hours up 95 and with the miracle of GPS, it was pretty straigtforward finding their shop. It is just as described, right next to a Junkyard and the ceiling and walls are covered with bikes.
We met with Steve and Tom and discussed what we were looking for and got measured. This was a funny mixture of Grant Peterson measurements and a fancy Calfee machine to set up and get the ‘perfect’ fit for you where all variable can be changed. It was very informative and I could not say enough positive things about the experience. Both Steve and Tom were great to work with through this process.
My bike needs are weird in that I need a 50cm seat tube coupled with a 55cm top tube. I have requested a Ti bike but I would like to handle larger tires so I am getting a steel fork so that I can handle up to 42mm tires like the Grand Bois Hetre. We are awaiting final pricing on parts and then the wait begins.
Tomorrow, Nancy and I are off to Philadelphia to visit with Steve Bilenky from Bilenky Cycle Works. As wedding/Christmas gifts to ourselves, we are getting custom bikes made. This should be an exciting trip and journey!
While has been a slow year for biking, biking gear, and biking adventures 2014 has been a wonderful and interesting year. Much has happened this year, Nancy and I got married, I lost a job that I had been at for 19 years, I got a new job that started a week after the wedding, and I had my first summer off since 1977. But, no bike vacations. No century rides. So with that:
- Epic ride of the year was the Three Mountain Inn Half Century (link) – this was a 50-mile “All Roads” type ride with lots of climbing, beautiful views, dirt roads, and some lovely little towns. This has spurred us to begin thinking about bike riding that is not just paved roads but having spirited bikes that could handle less-optimum roads also. That should be a fun process into the new year!
- Best new product – Brooks Cambium saddle (link)- Incredibly comfortable with no break-in period, great road vibration absorption, and waterproof. If any of these apply to you this could be your saddle:
- You are a Brooks fan but like me keep losing those little rain covers for your saddle.
- You ride the Bon Ton Roulet or other rides where it rains for days on end.
Then this is the Brooks saddle for you. I think I like the Bethoud leather saddle a bit more. Both the Cambium and the Berthoud are excellent saddles if you like the Brooks/Bethoud experience.
- Honorable mention – Rapha lightweight bib shorts (link)- These are the most comfortable bike shorts that I own. They are lightweight (pretty good name then eh?) with great compression. I have used them on long rides (50 + miles) with no issues. I have washed them for a summer without any wear or issues. The interwebs seem very divided on Rapha. You either love them or hate them. I fall into the first category. I have ridden centuries in the Rapha bibs and have been extremely comfortable but like saddles this is a highly personal experience. Comfort at mile 80 is almost priceless…
- Second summer update – Garmin 810. If the price does not scare you off, this is truly an amazing GPS unit. I cannot say enough great things about it. It syncs with the iPhone easily. It syncs with the Mac desktop in a reasonably non-sucky way. Garmin Connect is very nice. Importing maps from Ride with GPS or Map My Ride is straightforward. You can have it notify you via turn-by-turn or visually with a live map. They are both pretty user friendly.
- Whelmed mention – gloves. I bought a new pair of summer Endura Aerogel gloves (link). They are very comfortable. My biggest gripe is the front pads are covered in a goofy plastic mesh. I tend to wipe (blow whatever) my nose with the fronts of my gloves rather than the backs and uh stuff gets caught in the damn mesh. I am not sure what they were thinking with that idea. Or me for that matter since I have always used the fronts of my gloves for that…
Companies that I still love using their products:
- Swift Industries – best damn bags made in America
- Rothera cycling hats – best damn hats made in America (Well Texas that is almost like America)
- Skratch labs
- Light and Motion lights – Best damn lights and pretty sure they are made in America
- Compass tires – great tires! Made in Japan.
- Baltimore Bike Works – Best bike shop in Baltimore.