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Phineas Cycles for Fun and Fitness

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#1 Phineas_Carmichael



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Posted 19 May 2015 - 03:38 AM

When I was 14 years old I spent a summer detasseling corn. Worst. Job. Ever.

I took the money I earned and bought a bike. A GT Timberline FS with the Ghost Flames paint job, just the bike you would expect a 14-year old Phineas to buy. It felt so good to plink down a few hundred dollar bills and ride home on a bitchin machine! :cool:

Timberline FS.jpg
<not my pic, found with Google Images>

I rode the shit out of that bike until I moved out of my parents' house and didn't take it with me. My dad got rid of it after I had been gone a few years and never managed to come back for it. :sad:

Fast forward almost 20 years, 700 cartons of cigarettes, a megaliter of booze, a metric tonne of pot, and I found myself woefully out of shape. Last summer I bought myself a Trek 7.1 and tooled around on it for a few months.

Trek 7.1.png
<Not my pic, taken from Trek's website>

I wanted something better, but this was all I could afford and I logged a few 5 and 10 mile rides; my pace was around 4-5 minutes per mile on a good day, best mile 3:23. I can ride my aluminum heavy-ass bike here in the swamp (no elevation gains to speak of within 50 miles) as fast as the fastest runners can run.

Heh. "Heavy-ass bike," -- Here's some comic relief in the middle of this text wall:

I haven't ridden since August 2014 when my work started getting crazy busy; then winter hit and with it came my crippling seasonal depression. Tonight I got angry at 12:30am and went for an irresponsible drunken bike ride with a helmet and reflective gear but no light. I rode about 1.5mi on surface streets until I hit the trail (which is technically closed after dark) and then biked until Lola, the lady who lives in my cell phone via the Runtastic app, told me I had gone 10 miles. Then I caught my breath, turned around and biked home.

I need to be accountable to someone besides myself and my Associate for my improvement, so I'm posting things here.

Distance: 20.21 miles
Time 01:34:02 (4 minutes total stoppage time, some at the 10 mile mark and some at a water fountain on the way back)
Pace: 4:39min/mi
Elevation Gain: 30ft - this is due to bridges over the "rivers" which cross the trail.
Avg Speed: 12.89mph
Max Speed: 21.04mph
Best Speed over 1mi: 15.66mph in mile 3, the first mile on the trail
Speed over mile 20: 14.55mph - I sprinted home


This trail is converted from an old railroad bed. Super flat and super straight.

This was my first 20 mile ride.

There are windsocks all along this trail. I intended to take a 10 mile ride but didn't feel half done at mile 5 and the windsock said I would have a tailwind on the way home. By the time I hit mile 10 the wind had shifted and I had to fight it all the way back. The windsocks lied to me. Assholes.

Cycling while drunk and angry on a paved trail at night with no lamp is terrifying. I had to slow down when the trail ran through woods because I couldn't see anything. Basically I fixed my eyes on the break in the trees and pointed myself in that direction, hoping I wouldn't run off the road. My numbers would have been better if the sun was out...

My ass is killing me; my legs are fine. I need a better saddle. Or a better ass...


Thanks for reading my drunken blah blah blah.

I can't be the only Topiate who likes to cycle, can I? I can't find any decent training plans, only the exercises one should do at the gym to supplement one's cycling... How do I improve my pacing and increase my distance without destroying my ass? Hee hee... ;)

Edited by Phineas_Carmichael, 19 May 2015 - 08:35 AM.

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#2 Luckyloser


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Posted 10 June 2015 - 07:58 PM

One tip I've heard is don't focus on pushing down as much as you do lifting your legs. It will help strengthen your core.

As far as the saddle goes, when I first started biking after a 10 yr break, it's just gotta get used to the seats again. Don't get me wrong yiu can get a better seat, but it's still gonna take some getting used to.
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#3 Moo


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Posted 28 June 2015 - 06:07 AM

Right on Phin, way to go.  I also like to ride.  Last summer was doing real well at about 15 miles a day.  Looks like you're  a bit faster than me,  I go about 5 miles in 30 min avg.

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#4 drmcnasty


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Posted 29 June 2015 - 11:16 AM

Nice phin. Fucking swamps man! I hate the swamp life.
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#5 Phineas_Carmichael



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Posted 08 July 2015 - 08:23 PM

Tonight's ride through the rain:

My associate and I are housesitting. I cooked what I call "Jew-ritos" (don't worry, I'm Jewish, I can make jokes like that) at our house (our cats need hooman interaction daily) and packed a couple in my messenger bag to take over to her. Basically a sprint when traffic allowed it.

1.32 miles
6:01 minutes
Pace: 4:33 min/mi
Speed: 13.2mph
Elevation gain: 26ft
Stoppage time: 29 seconds

I'm waaaay out of shape... Arrived puffing and blowing after a 1 mile sprint. Ridiculous!

Side note: Everyone who drives needs to learn bicycle hand signals; my driver's ed course in 1997 taught them for fuck's sake! I was making a right turn onto a street where a car was stopped at a stop sign. I signalled (bikes don't have blinkers, damnit!) and the driver saw me and started to go. Then he slammed his brakes to let me pass! I had to point at myself and point right so he got the message that I wasn't going to ride in front of him.

Pardon my elitist cyclist rant... ;)

Return ride on a slightly more efficient route:


1.32 miles
5:45 minutes
Pace: 4:22 min/mi
Speed: 13.7 mph
Elevation loss: 22 ft
Stoppage: 17 seconds

I need to ride every day, but I'm a lazy jackhole. Last summer I was riding 5 miles 3 times a week or more. This summer I've barely been on the bike at all.

I'm lazy because I need to have clean pee for potential jobs in the future. It's hard for me to get out there and ride when I'm sober... :(

Edited by Phineas_Carmichael, 08 July 2015 - 09:43 PM.

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#6 niemandgeist


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Posted 11 July 2015 - 04:31 AM

At least I know most of the bicycle hand signals, so if I see a cyclist I can tell what he is going to do, but most of those guys don't signal you and cycle with reckless abandon sometimes.


I usually do a lot of brisk walking for fitness, and sometimes jogging, but this summer it's been tough being up early or late enough to go. I don't do well in the heat. Cars are my number one enemy when I'm walking!


If you jog, run, walk, hobble, skip, limp, or bike get one of those day-glo neon green and reflective lightweight vests! Even with one of those on I still get idiots blowing through stop signs trying to kill me.

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#7 Phineas_Carmichael



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Posted 11 July 2015 - 08:43 AM

At least I know most of the bicycle hand signals, so if I see a cyclist I can tell what he is going to do, but most of those guys don't signal you and cycle with reckless abandon sometimes.

That pisses me off to no end. Bicycles are technically motor vehicles in the US and so must obey all the same traffic laws as cars, except in Idaho. There is a law there that allows cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs & red lights as stop signs.

I always follow traffic laws, but sometimes drivers make it hard. I'll slow to a 4-way stop 5 seconds after a car and the driver will try to wave me on. Just fucking go! You're not doing me any favors, it takes me longer to get through the intersection than you. I appreciate the thought, but I'm driving as a motor vehicle, treat me as such.


#8 Myc


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Posted 11 July 2015 - 10:34 AM

The key to your fitness success is cadence - or rpms - revolutions of the pedals.

Your new zen focus should be on maintaining a cadence of around 95 - 105 rpms over flat terrain.

A cheapo bike computer with a cadence meter is a great investment. They can be had for around $25 bucks. 

Stay toward the "easier" gears of your drive train. This means using a smaller ring in the front - smallest to middle chain ring while playing between the bigger to smaller cog in the rear. Stay off of the big ring/small cog arrangement until you build muscle tone and endurance. 

Spin to win. 


After you build a good cadence habit you begin to focus on maintaining/increasing speed.

16 mph is "touring speed" for a heavy bike loaded with panniers.

20 mph is a sustainable pace for a higher-end road bike. 


As for traffic laws, if you ever want to enjoy an ideal bike ride - where mutual respect, courtesy, and trust are the "norm" - travel to the Netherlands. 


Otherwise, while riding here at home, I dunno what to say. Anger and the self-feeding rage cascade which results from hostile encounters is simply not productive. I have faith in our community and just try to stay out of the way - keep moving as you've pointed out. Maybe hip off of a fender now and again. If you ride with partners, as you get stronger - try pushing each other over while riding. This is seriously good practice. In Le Tour - in all of that pack of riders, reckon there is a little contact? Better believe it. And without training for those situations, you can wind up in some awkward mishaps. Be aggressive - it's hard to push a gyroscope over - just as it is hard to push over a pedaling cyclist. ;)


Be good to yourself.

Start light, ride comfortably and within your limits. 

Enjoy yourself.

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#9 Harleensacidtrip



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Posted 18 July 2015 - 04:01 AM

Right on Phin. I also ride...I've always found it to not only be a great way to keep my body in the best of shape and conditions but to zone out on nature trails and just soak in what you're riding through is amazing.

I tend to get lost in my mind and in natural...only to forget how far I've gone. Lol.

Imo, riding can be very therapeutic.

Keep it up Phin!
Peace, love and good vibes!

#10 TVCasualty


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Posted 18 July 2015 - 06:46 AM

Unless you're racing, get rid of the racing saddle (if your bike currently has one, which it appears to in the stock photo). Those are designed to not be sat on (pretty much) since racers rarely relax that much (I guess they're mostly there to prevent the top and seat tubes from getting lodged up your ass if you come down too hard after a drop or something).


Anyway, get a saddle designed to avoid putting pressure on your perineal nerve/artery (the kind with the hole in the middle), like this one: http://www.terrybicy.../Mens-Endurance


I have that model and it's worked great (no numb-nuts!). And while you're still developing your ass-callouses, you might want to consider adding a gel-pad cover (also nice to use for extra-long rides).  


Your nuts will be glad you did.


Aluminum is the stiffest frame material so it provides the harshest ride, but you can improve it dramatically by adding a Thudbuster seatpost. I HIGHLY recommend it (from personal experience)! I had an aluminum Trek w/ front suspension that I liked for mountain biking on really steep, technical trails but I only started liking it after getting a Thudbuster (aka "ass-saver"). It makes the ride MUCH smoother but doesn't add the weight of true rear suspension (and doesn't reduce your efficiency when pedaling up hills, though that's not an issue with rear suspension that you can lock-out on the fly for steep, non-technical climbs).


If you ride where there is a lot of traffic I can offer a bunch of bike-mounted weaponry and assorted counter-measures I've developed over the years for handling vicious dogs, sociopathic drivers, and the generally-oblivious (who genuinely didn't mean to "door" ya or back out their parking spot right into you).


For example, I've found that a marine air horn mounted on my stem with two zip-ties is highly-effective at getting people's attention if I can see that they can't see me coming (it's so loud it sounds like an 18-wheeler locking up its brakes, which has made for some comical moments after some of the startled/panicked drivers I've had to blast it at slam on their brakes and then see a guy on a bicycle go by, lol...).


And the most-effective anti-dog measure I've used has been a can of wasp and hornet spray kept in the bottle cage on my down-tube (I use a Camelbak for hydration so don't need to store water there). It sprays ~20 feet, burns and stinks like hell, but won't cause permanent damage. Loose dogs along your regular route will usually stop chasing you after you go by and blast 'em in the face with hornet spray a couple of times. I had a few anti-people measures as well since it's only a matter of time before someone fucks with you if you're on a bike. :bat:


By the way: To hell with traffic laws! I've only ever been hit by cars while following traffic laws (it's happened twice, but that's twice too many!) so I just decided to assume that I was invisible to everyone else and go from there. I even used to ride at night with no lights and dark clothing and would spend as much time on sidewalks and going up or down stairs as on the road, and I had far fewer problems doing that than following the rules. I should add that I always deferred to pedestrians (never buzzed by them too fast/close, dismounted if too many were around, etc.) but in most contexts outside of college campuses and such there are relatively few pedestrians (and even fewer bike lanes). 

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#11 Myc


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Posted 18 July 2015 - 09:49 AM

In support of some of TVC's comments:


Good bike seat:

Only you can decide what's best after some experimentation.

Your current saddle appears to have a cut-out or channel to accommodate the male anatomy. 

WTB makes a pretty good saddle as well as Terry.


Some fun future tweaks to your drive train:

Convert that bad-boy to an 8-speed or even a 9-speed if you have the room at the rear dropouts. You'll be able to then upgrade the front and rear derailleurs to superior equipment for more reliable shifting. A shifter upgrade will be another fun project.

Get yourself some Shimano XTR v-brakes to replace the stock ones. The Shimano v-brakes are the best available until you go into disc brakes (which are the bees knees).

I've never used a suspension seat post before. Instead, I prefer to use Thompson seat-posts and stems. They have some of the most elegant machine-work and clamping mechanisms I've ever seen. Thompson equipment is bomb-proof.


Get rid of that elastomeric front fork. It's robbing you of power and adding unnecessary weight to your bike. If you ride on flat terrain, a fully rigid bike is the way to go. Don't waste your money on suspension products unless you plan to use them. In an urban setting there are just too few situations which require a suspension system. 


My favorite tweak of all:

Tube-less tires. Once you go tube-less, you'll never go back.

Drop the mike. I'm done. LOL

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