Wednesday, April 18, 2012

RandoBoy's Latest Favorite Things

Welcome to another installment of "Nifty Things I've Been Using Lately That Any Good Cyclist Should Consider Using," or NAFTA for short. Let's get to it ...

Almond Breeze

Ever since my last physical showed signs of bone-density loss, I've tried to get more calcium into my diet. Used to be, coming back from a really hard training ride, I would fix a smoothie with yogurt, frozen fruit, a little milk, whey protein, and glutamine. Lately, instead, I just come home and have a couple of glasses of Chocolate Almond Breeze.

Now, most folks know about having chocolate milk as a recovery drink. What makes this better, however, is that it's lactose free (RandoGirl appreciates that ... if you know what I mean) and actually has more calcium than regular milk. Nutritionally, it's got all kinds of good stuff, and if you're scientific-brained you might ought to use some of that thar book-learning what you got to see just how good it is for you.

Frankly, it had me at calcium ... okay, I'll be honest. It had me at the taste.

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tires

John at The Bike Route put these on my Salsa Casseroll when they rebuilt it from a single-speed into a touring rig. They're heavy. They have a tread pattern that gives them a different kind of buzz than you get with most bicycle tires. The ones I'm using are wide -- 35C to be precise. When loaded, I keep them at the upper end of their pressure, at 80 psi. When out noodling, I run them at about 70 psi.

And they soak up the bumps. Gulf Shore Boulevard down here has some crummy pavement in the bike lane. You feel it on a race bike, but with these Schwalbe's you don't.

I got this bike set up as it is to do a month of loaded touring on the Pacific coast this fall, but I've been using it a lot lately for short noodling rides, or trips into old town for coffee or the farmer's market. One of the great things about having a bike set up like this is that it makes it easier to do recovery rides. You don't even try to go out and join the pack on an off day, and if the pack happens to pass you there is no way that you'll try to jump in. A touring bike on a recovery day still gives you a workout, but it also forces you to slow down and enjoy things.

Light & Motion Vis 360

Ever since the time change last month, it's been dark either getting to or during the first few minutes of the 7 a.m. group rides here. It's easy to put a blinky on the back of your bike, but when it's really dark I like to be able to see the road in front of me, too. This light allows me to do that on the way to the ride, but then take it off and stick it in a pocket when it's bright enough later and everyone starts going fast.

Since it goes on your helmet, the headlight lights up whatever you're looking at. This positioning also makes the rear blinking light -- which is almost too bright, to be honest -- more visible to cars overtaking you. Since it charges via a USB plug, I'm going to take it with me to the west coast and regularly top off the battery via my E-WERK and the Schmidt Dynamo Hub. I probably won't ride much at night, and will still have lights on the bike itself, but I hope that using the Vis 360 will provide extra safety and visibility during foggy mornings and going through tunnels.

Going Nowhere

UPDATE: SOLD OUT. The 500 spaces sold out in less than four hours this year. It was really good swag, and (more importantly) the cause was excellent!

Today is THE day to sign up for the Fat Cyclist's 100 Miles of Nowhere. I've signed up, and plan to ride my 200K of Nowhere in honor of Peter Lee next Wednesday (April 25th), starting at 7 am. The wind and temperature forecast down here look about perfect. The current forecast for middle Tennessee looks pretty good, too, so if you want to use last year's route this is a good time for it.

If you want to join me here, let me know. If you want to ride last year's route in College Grove, TN, let me know and I'll send you a route sheet. The markings (arrows with "W.K. Lee" for Peter) may still be visible. Either way, make sure that you sign up today since Fatty says it's going to fill up fast. The money goes to LiveStrong for a special project, and the swag and t-shirt are first-rate.

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