Saturday, December 3, 2016

Cycling Effects: Before & After.

Before someone gets to ride one of these: 

Someone had to ride one of these:

Only in Europe does one see such things.

*Disclaimer: To start the "cycle" in motion, There is one more thing which must be ridden beforehand, however, since it is not a bicycle, and this is not an X-Rated blog, we won't show a picture of it.  However, we're sure you all get the idea.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Auto Racing Fans Love Their Bicycles, Too.

Perusing the infield at Auto Club Speedway, one comes across quite a few interesting bicycles used by fans camping during an event weekend.

With some fans camping at the track for up to four-days, an uncomplicated, quick way to get around the crowded infield is to ride a bicycle.  So, from road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, beach cruisers, and fixies, to low-riders, trikes, fur-covered nightmares, and rolling bars, the fans have all of the bases covered.

In short, they know how to have a good time.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Great Moments In "Mechanical" Doping.

In the early days, not only was it potentially lethal, it was pretty difficult to conceal, too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Great Moments In Cycling: Ingenuity.

Not only is this soul a hardcore cyclist, they also "Keep it in the Family" by pairing a Cipollini with a Ducati.

Now that's Italian!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Why NASAR Drivers Are Sissies.

I love racing of all sorts, no matter the discipline.  Humans are naturally competitive, so sport has become a significant part of our lives, and, for some, their livelihood.

Adding to the challenge of Speed & Sport is the inevitable variable of weather.  Anyone can be great when conditions are perfect, however, as life itself is far from perfect, variables manage to, like it, or not, sort out the Men from the Boys.

So, why pick on the Good 'ol Boys over at NASAR?  Well, actually, I am not.  Call it more of a frustration, that whist every other major racing series in the world, either two-wheels or four, do not call it quits just because the Good Lord provides vertical moisture, NASCAR, for some reason, does.  And, that is not the way it is meant to be.  Water is a challenge, and it cannot simply be dismissed as a hazard off-the-cuff, as the two-wheeled photos here prove otherwise.

Even in my long-ago, amateur motorcycle roadracing career, rain was just something we dealt with as a challenge, and to be honest, it was kinda' fun to ride around in.  Guys fast in the dry suddenly became nonexistent on the podium, and conversely, many a hidden talent were discovered when the wet stuff hit the pavement.  The rain was a hoot.  It was a challenge.  It added a lot of interest to the spice of racing.

In summation, embrace the challenge of all-weather racing, NASCAR.  Embrace the fun.  And, most of all, put on your Big Boy pants and race whether rain or shine.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Reality Check: You Think Your Garmin Edge Is Expensive? Compared To Their Aviation Products, Maybe Not So Much - For What You Get.

The G1000 Avionics suite on a Beechcraft King Air.

No, that headline is not a poke at Garmin.  Matter of fact, I applaud their products, and it just dawned on me that I have been enjoying both their cycling and "In the Air" offerings for quite some time, now.  To anyone who has flown behind Garmin avionics, it would be an understatement to say they have revolutionized the industry.

What got me thinking about Garmin, in general, are the occasional email updates I get from them regarding anything newsworthy in their aviation business.  Thinking back, I remember one of the email headlines exclaiming, "Act now, and save up to $50,000 on a G1000 package." Well, I had a good laugh when I remembered how many people I have spoken with claim Edge Cycling Computers cost way too much.  

While the aforementioned email was about saving up to $50,000 USD via a trade-in program, it shows just how much money we are talking when it comes to Garmin's top of the line General Aviation (GA) avionics package.  While hard numbers are difficult to ascertain, being it is based upon the model of plane you have, and any necessary modifications, and/or problems the tech's encounter during an upgrade, tapping into my contacts in the aviation business, a purchase, and swap-out, of old, analog avionics for a G1000 package can begin at around $100,000 USD, and that is a really, really conservative estimate.   

The Edge 1000. Garmin's top of the line cycling computer.

Garmin's top of the line cycling computer is the Edge 1000, with a retail price of $599.00 for the bundle (down from its $700.00 introductory price).  It is an amazing piece of equipment, is quite capable, however, I just can't see popping for one to replace my reliable, trusty Edge 500 suite, which cost me under $200.00 USD for the bundle back in 2011.  However, that color, large-screened, turn-by-turn capability beasty sure is tempting. 

So, what is the point of this comparison?  Well, compared to other Garmin products, we really are getting a deal.  The sad part is, compared with their aviation products, capability-wise, we kinda' aren't.  The difference, I see, is something I call Manufactured Obsolescence on the Automotive/Motorcycling/Cycling side (I can't speak for their Marine products, being I have not skippered a commercial vessel in a really long time), versus the Aviation side.  In the air, pretty much all of the current technology, and features, are actually realized.  Meanwhile, back on the surface of the planet, it seems we are always asking why the components are not up to what is technologically capable at the given moment.  It just seems like Garmin, save for Aviation, is holding back on us.  To get the features we really want, we are expected to upgrade our GPS products on a yearly basis.  If you want more, you have to pay. 

Pilots, on the other hand, are not expected to upgrade their instrument panels annually, so they pay, upfront, for all of the bells 'n whistles.  That is the Manufactured Obsolescence I was referring to, and it is not limited to just Garmin.  Across the range of consumer products, from purses to phones, from computers to cars, it is the engine of the Retail World.  So, there arises the obvious question: Are Garmin Aviation products overpriced, or are the Cycling products under-priced?  It all depends on how one chooses to look at it.  Hey, no one said life, and choices, were easy.

So, what can we, the consumer, do?  In reality, not much.  The only real choice we have is when, and at what price-point, we chose to dig-in and make an investment in something.  And, no, I don't have any affiliation, nor beef, with Garmin.  I just struck me to point out that while their Aviation side leaves me for want-of-nothing, their Cycling side has always left me wishing for more. 

However, for what it is, and what the Edge units are capable of, cyclists do seem to be getting a pretty decent deal.  It all comes down to personal perspective.

Pilots would agree.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Getting Caught-Up In, And With, Cycling.

I had a birthday this last Monday.  Not a giant, earth-shattering event, per se, however, it got me thinking more about, well, everything.  And, that included not only my own life, it also included my riding, plus subsequent lack of writing, and enthusiasm, for my own blog.  I mean, I REALLY lost interest in all-things-bike, and I began to just keep to myself (opinions included).  I did not, however, arrive at that conclusion overnight.

My cycling-life can be charted like the stock market, or a roller-coaster – A series of up’s ‘n downs.  Serious road riding began in late 2010, and my cycling life just flourished from there, snowballing to into voracious, all-weather riding, club membership’s, Century Rides, consulting, product testing, and ultimately, photography and writing.  I never did earn a dime off the whole endeavor, though, miraculously, all of my compensation was in materials, i.e. components, nutrition, clothing, even memberships, were all comp'ed, which offset a lot of my expenses.  In short – I got into, and sustained myself, in cycling for much, much less than most mere mortals do.

While rolling these issues around in the amusement park of my mind, other, similar, questions began to arise, such as, is the “New” really new?  Is the “Better” really better?  And, do we really “Need” everything we are being told we need?  To the point, NO!  My immersion into cycling has showed me the key to cycling happiness is to find something I liked, to stick with it, and replace things only as necessary, not because I was expected to.  It was a much more logical, cheaper, approach, with the added benefit of much more stable blood pressure, no matter what angst, or ire, was on my radar at the moment. 

And, getting too caught-up in cycling can be a very real double-edged sword.  The actual reality of cycling is the same as the reality of life: Everything in moderation.  A balance is another way to put it.  The Good Lord calls it Wisdom.  Whichever word to which you feel is applicable to your own life, the concept is the same - Total immersion can have both good, and bad, results.  Riding every mile possible, seeking out all new products, trying out new, “Better,” bikes, meeting everyone meet-able, climbing everything climbable, towards all horizons, north, south, east, and west, takes one thing all of us do not have in an infinite supply – Energy. 

No one can keep up the level of enthusiasm at the pace the cycling industry is unleashing on us.  Every moment, of every day, a “New” something-or-other is/was around the corner.  The industry thrives on keeping us all-charged up – Two wheeled pushers for the two wheeled addicts.  Participate if you feel you must, however, this human is now off the Needs-Market driven high.  Implied Needs?  No, thank you!  Sorry Marketing Department, “New” is not a selling feature onto itself.

And, I practice what I preach.  My bike is a 2010 do-all road bike, my truck is a 1994 reliable companion, my motorcycle is a 2002 Italian beauty, and, my bass guitar and amplifier both date from 1981.  There are many more things in my life I have found to be reliable, and cherish, and the former are just some of the things that come quickly to mind.  The way I see it, either something is a true, necessary technological marvel, or it fits into the category of “They don’t make ‘em like they used to.”  Everything in between is just unnecessary fluff.

In an interesting parallel, the exact same scenario occurred with the motorcycling side of my life.  One day, I was all gung-ho, totally involved, and the next day nothing, zilch, nada.  And, that conclusion, too, was not arrived at overnight.  Deadly motorists had a lot to do with that decision, and that is in interesting tie-in, being it is the number-one reason I get fed-up with cycling from time-to-time.  The good news is that both activities are now solid components of my life, motorists be-damned.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

09-11-2001; No, We Didn't Forget - And, We Never Will!

"We will forever defend these shores, and to the death, if necessary."

Darryl Bustamante
President CEO Cycling Dynamics

Monday, July 25, 2016

I Learned About Riding From That.

Jess; 86-years young, and still going strong.

The Pace.  To some, it is a matter of life and death.  It is the difference between a good ride and a bad one.  It is where a man tests himself against other men in the heat of battle (and, I’ve seen the gals do it, too).  We brake for no one.  The passing scenery is but a blur.  Snot-rockets are a minor annoyance.  It is the stuff of legends.  And, the process repeats itself wherever, and whenever, groups of cyclist dwell.    

I used to be that kind of cyclist.  Then, I met Jess. 

86-years young, with nothing to prove, Jess subscribes to the philosophy of actually enjoying the ride.  His ear-to-ear smile has been honed by countless, thousands of miles of riding, with all kinds of cyclists, over varied terrain, in all kinds of weather.  And, after sampling the battle more times than he could remember, he had finally achieved cycling bliss – The union of Human, Mind, and Bike. 

And, what was the secret Jess discovered?  Well, turns out, it was as plain as the road in front of him.  He concluded volume, rather than outright-intensity, was the answer.  And, you know what?  He was absolutely correct, and, after trying his method for myself, it really is a good way to go. 

My prior riding routine was to go out and do all-mighty epics, stopping at no less than killing myself, or it just was not a proper ride.  Whether in a group, or alone, if I was moving, I was hammering.  I mean, we, as cyclists, are told (and expected) to go out and hammer, hammer, hammer, and when in doubt, hammer some more, right?  I started to become a pretty good cyclist, though my hammering made it difficult to ride more than four or five times a week, as any more mileage just left me physically exhausted, and with a very sore ass.  The routine, believe it, or not, even led me to occasionally avoid the bike for extended periods of time.  I was not having any fun.  Something had to give.

I met Jess one day at a local coffee stop where he was talking to a group of friends, which he said, "liked to hammer.Jess, being the prophet of motion he now was, only greeted them to say “Hi,” then, he was off to do his own ride.  I asked to tag along, and that was when he explained how he rode, extolling the virtue of riding at a slower pace, whilst riding for more extended periods of time.  Time pedaling became the key, not necessarily total mileage.  I liked the concept.  Intrigued, I wondered why I did not realize this sooner.  So, off we went at 13-15 Miles per Hour, for a little over an hour, and then stopped for coffee.  And, it all felt so good, too.  For the first time in my cycling career I did not care how fast I was going, nor what anyone on the road thought about my pace.  It was LIBERATING!  It was FUN!  I loved my bike AGAIN!  It all made so much SENSE!  

My new riding routine now has me doing rides, the Jess way, of course, of an hour, to an hour and a half, and I usually end up with 15-to-25-mile rides.  I also began to accrue mileage riding six-to-seven days a week with no discomfort or stress.  I am not only getting fit, I am a whole lot happier mentally, my ass does not ache, and I am really enjoying my rides.  Plus, I can even take in the scenery, too!  Sheesh, what’s not to like?! 

Thusly, in the grand scheme of human existence, I am now enjoying cycling more than I ever have.  I am finding new routes to ride, have begun to vary my start times (from sun-up to sunset), and I have even learned to ignore the high winds off the coast that used to keep me indoors in the late afternoons.  Now, I just cruise along at a slower pace, for more extended periods of time, and the wind is more of a training aid now.  Neat stuff. 

Summing it all up, I am not criticizing other cyclists, or their methods, as truly to each their own.  The trouble, as I see it, comes from those who see the ride as nothing but a selfish, hammer-fest of glory, punishing all-comers.  They, and their methods, not only discourage others from becoming long-term cyclists, they are also missing out on the pure joy of the ride.

They need to meet Jess.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tested: Schwalbe Durano HS464 25C Clincher Tires

Back in November, 2015 I did a quick write-up about the Schwalbe Durano HS464 tires.  It was more of an introduction, really, however, I promised to get back with the results of my on-road findings once they were mounted up and had some significant mileage on them.  And, wow, are the results impressive.

It actually took me awhile to get around to mounting the HS464’s up, as the previous version, the HS399’s, just refused to wear out.  I had mounted that version the summer of 2013, so the HS464’s had some REALLY big shoes to fill.  I now have them on two wheelsets, the latest being my trusty, bomb-proof, Mavic Ksyrium SL’s, in addition to my go-to SRAM S40’s (which I love!). 

And the results?  They are absolutely the freest rolling tires I have ever used, and I have used a lot of the biggies – Bontrager, Continental, Hutchinson, and Michelin – And none, absolutely none, have provided the feedback, and performance, I am currently experiencing.  The dual-compound tread (harder, faster-rolling center, softer, grippier, more pliant on the sides) has light very light siping, so all conditions, save for Noah’s Flood, should present no problems whilst riding out-and-about.  The Raceguard function adds two layers of nylon for added puncture protection, and from personal experience, it really, really works.  I am also very surprised with the incredible performance, being these are not even Schwalbe’s out-and-out high performance tires.

The tread detail.

To sum it all up, while tires can be a very subjective thing when looked at purely from a passionatehuman angle (Marketing Departments), if you are seeking tires with certain attributes, seek out people who have experience using products you are interested in.  They’ve done the work.  That’s how I discovered the Schawlbe’s, even though many people were telling me to try Brand A or Brand Z.

And, if you have not tried Schwalbe tires, I highly recommend that you do.  They roll like Tubular's, and even sound like them, too, as they cruise along.  Very cool.  

The Specs:

Model: Durano DD HS464
Type: Clincher, Folding
Tread: Dual Compound, With RaceGuard Puncture Protection,
Use: Race, Performance, High-Mileage
Weight: 245 Grams
PSI Range: 85-115
Available Colors: Black
Retail Price: $65.87 USD

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spotted Along The Santa Ana River Bike Trail: Random Acts Of Storage?

Santa Ana River Bike Trail, Costa Mesa, California.

With Storage Centers popping up like weeds everywhere, it was probably inevitable this would happen, sooner or later.

As to the reason for this random act of POD, well, no one seems to know for sure.

This may indeed fall under the heading of, "Things best left unsolved."

Monday, March 7, 2016

Yes, There Is Still Life On This Blog.

When I started this project it was with the best intentions to inform, and share with others, a common thread of this activity we call Cycling.  Well, that mission has remained true, although some of my former, personal biases have been brought back to reality via a more focused attention on the passing scene.  Allow me to espouse.

When I began Cycling Dynamics, I was still pretty much riding hard core, evaluating new products quite often, was still very interested in professional racing, and I still thought Cycling Coalitions were benevolent factions, with everyone’s best interests at heart (Hah!  Share the road?  Heck, those anarchists want to OWN the road, and, at taxpayer’s expense!).  Well, quite a few things have changed, as I have had my, as alcoholics call it, a personal moment of clarity.

Riding is the reason we live.  And, if it is not, you really are missing out.  I have seen people on old beaters having the time of their lives, smiling, and waving at people, while the “Roadies” astride their $10,000, plastic wonders are snarling, frowning at, and flipping off, the masses.  My guess is, deep down inside, they know they are total douchebags for spending that much money on a bicycle, whilst pretending to be a professional racer.  Cycling is about getting out there, seeing where the road takes us, seizing the moment(s), bothering to enjoy the scenery, a total experience, aboard two-wheels. 

In the realm of always trying out “New Stuff,” well, I have finally seen that charade for what it is – To suck revenue out of the pockets of the masses, and deposit said money into the pockets of the Industry, merely for their own needs.  In totality, what this means is I intend to write reviews on items that have some actual, real value to cyclists, not just the latest, lightest, most expensive, useless gadgets, parts, nutrition, or items of clothing.  Cycling stuff is expensive, and upgrading, purely for upgrading’s sake, is just not sensible (hear me, Garmin?  And, that goes for you bike manufacturers, too!).  If I see some value in something, then I will try it out, and I will share the results with all of you.  Then, you can draw your own conclusions.

As for professional bike racing, while I still give it a cursory glance, the truth is, I really could not give a shit, anymore.  Basically, the product is a complete fraud, and why the hell should I pay attention to grown men (and now the ladies, which if you criticize that even more awful product, somehow you are a Misogynist), being paid for what is essentially their hobby?  I mean, I have to work for a living, so excuse me if my heart does not skip a beat because Mark Cavendish happens to ride by. 

As for the un-pleasantries of our past-time, well, just by being out in public, we will encounter assholes, be they in motor vehicles, on bicycles, or even walking/running.  We are in a Post-Decorum Age, and as long as you are not being an ass yourself, the most difficult thing you will ever do in your life is deal with other human beings.

So, there.  And, if I have not pissed you off by now, stick round.  In the next few months, give me a chance to do so.  Then again, I just may inform, or even entertain you, too.

Meanwhile, I’m going riding.