Over dinner the other night a friend asked why does anyone need eleven bicycles. Good question … especially as I’m now up to number twelve. Of course a key consideration in having this many bicycles is an understanding wife: Lis says she would rather I have a bicycle in every port than a girl.
One of the key factors is the number of places that I work in. I have bicycles in Sydney Australia (#1 – Cervelo P3 Triathlon Bike), Washington D.C. (#2 – Merinda Road Bike), South Tarawa Kiribati (#3 – Co-Motion Road Bike) and Tonga (#4 – Reach Road Racer folding bike). I’ll also soon have a bike in Dili East Timor (#5 – Marin hard tail mountain bike). I also have an old $80 hybrid bike (#6) with my parents in Toronto for my visits.
Then there are the bikes at our cottage in New Zealand (#7 – Shimano Mountain Bike and #8 – a road bike). At home I have my Cervelo P3 Triathlon Bike (#9), my Trek 5300 road bike (#10), and a Motobecane fixed gear bike (#11).
I had week in January to spend in Toronto which meant lots of time indoors (it was –27 C today outside with the windchill and lots of snow). So I decided it was time for a proper bike to continue my Ironman training. I checked out Craig’s List and identified a few options. Packed some pedals, picked up my stationary trainer from Washington D.C. and arrived ready to ride. Four hours later I was north of Toronto in Richmond Hill passing over a bundle of money to a very happy duathlete, whose husband had never ridden the very nice Canondale bike she had bought him. I was happy – nice bike at about half the price of one from the shop.
One of the big challenges with a new bike is getting the fit right. Every bike has a different geometry, and road bikes are very different to triathlon bikes. Lately I’ve just been riding my Cervelo P3 triathlon bike so it felt very strange back on a road bike. Had to brush up a bit on my bike fit skills again.
The first step was to get the seat height. There is a very simple formula which is that the distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the seat should be 0.88 x inseam length. So I used that as an approximation.
The next step is the forward/back seat position. This is best done using a plumb bob from below the knee: you move the seat so that the knee is directly over the pedal spindle (I know not everyone agrees with this). I had no plumb bob, but my computer mouse worked just fine.
A good check on that is when you are sitting on your bike the handle bars should obscure the front axle. They did so I was about right.
It was then time to do some riding and some fine tuning. I ended up moving the seat about 0.5 cm higher but otherwise it felt fine. After adjusting all the gears it was time for a proper test …
My favourite source for cycling DVDs is Sufferfest, their motto: IWBMATTKYT: ‘I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow’. My training plan had a general ride in and since my chest infection was still there I didn’t want anything too hard, good excuse for the newest Sufferfest video: ‘Local Hero’.
In this DVD you are at the 2010 UCI World Championships in Australia representing your country: Sufferlandria. Not only are you the first Sufferlandrian ever to compete in the World Championships, but the entire country is dreaming of a Sufferlandrian World Champion. The DVD has a cyclocross warm up, a criterium, a time trial and a road race. Most of the effort is 7-8/10, although with my chest it felt a lot more! I got it set up on my computer in my parents kitchen and it was time to ride.
On a trainer one bike basically feels like another, so I will have to wait until spring when I will be able to take it out on the road and see how it goes. At least I did a good job on the gears and they changed smoothly! Since my body has been so dialled into my time trial position my back was a bit sore, but otherwise the bike felt great.
The DVD was typically challenging and absolutely riveting. Much better than the other DVDs which have a bunch of people riding in a gym somewhere: these keep the riders attention. My parents drifted in an out and grabbed a few photos, expressing their concerns about their 51 year old son not acting his age. Hey, if I’m racing David Miller I’m going to be going all out, even if it is on a DVD. And then to race Greg LeMonde … of course I’ll give it everything, with due consideration to my chest infection.
So bike #12 is a success. I’ll get as many rides in as I can over the next week as it looks like the following week will be quite fragmented with travels to Washington and Tonga before hitting New Zealand in a fortnight. I’ll be taking back from Washington Bike #13 (yes, Lis already knows) which is waiting for me at my friend Genie’s house (a titanium hard tail mountain bike), but that’s a story to come …