Friday, February 20, 2015

Bikeslut, or, Enter the N+1 Theory

N+1 per
While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

Prior to moving to Cedar Rapids, IA, we used to live in San Diego, CA. My wife and I went to Sports Chalet and bought rigid Bianchi Timberwolf, her's was metallic orange and mine was black. I think that was 1997 or 1998. That was my jump off point into cycling as an "adult". We enjoyed those bikes and bounced around San Diego on those little rascals for quite awhile. When our daughter got into the picture I got her a copilot bike seat, and she loved that. We still have those bikes. I turned by black beast into a singlespeed and her's became a permanent fixture on the indoor trainer. Rock solid bikes.  This bike is N.

The last couple of years we lived in San Diego, my coworkers got me into mountain bikes and trail riding. I got my first bike in 2004 after riding loaners (N+1). It was a 2003 Jamis Dakar  and was a great starter full squish bike. In retrospect I shoulda/coulda gotten a better spec'd hardtail for the same money. But that thing was confidence inspiring despite the shitty clipless pedals it came with causing a lot of shin damage.

After moving to Cedar Rapids, I found the trails and started riding. I usually felt that the bike was overkill due to the suspension and how I rode, and how often I rode. I had a lot of guilt trying to break out for some daddy time and found I was not riding that much. I enjoyed it but could not do it. Bullshit. I started eeking out time during the work day to ride, taking off early from work here and there, and commuting when possible. Most commuting was done on that rigid Bianchi Timberwolf.  These two bikes became N.

I had been eyeballing the Surly Krampus for sometime.  My wife heard me complain and whine. She is incredibly patient. And kind. This bike became the N+1. She must of got worn down from all my talk. She said I should get it if it will shut me up make me happy.  Talk about being out of one's head.

I found one on eBay and bought it after some deliberating. I put a lot of miles on it and love it. I rode it 2-3x times a week on single track, commuting, family rides, whuteva. But there are some limitations to that bike. The enormous 3" x 29" tires are not ideal for commuting on a 85% asphalt/concrete route. I had some 29x2.3 Geax Tattoo lites on there and that really made it fun but took away the awesome nature of the bike on dirt. I really love to get dirty on that pig. The first time I rode it, I was just blasting thru snow piles with a ear to ear grin. Then on the trail with berms, fuggedaboutit. So fast when pointed downhill and traction for days. A 1x10 drivetran and flattish area i rode mostly were made for each other. I commuted a fair amount in the  summer and fall and found I often gassed out on that bike. I was super-stoked.

I love the fun geometry and float on loose dirt and sand, I love the ability to roll over a lot of stuff due to the giant wheels. January of 2014, the CFO of the family gave me the reluctant nod to get a new bike. This became N really fast. 13 months.

I was looking for a bike on Craigslist for my brother-in-law and stumbled upon a used Surly Straggler. Enter N+1, again. After more whining and pissing and moaning... I got it Monday.
So happy. So tonight i took another ride on her, 16 degrees F. No wind. No precip. $25 magic shine chinese knockoff. Smooth, capable bike. I excited.

Only one stipulation regarding this bike:  If I don't lose 20 lbs by May, I have to sell a bike. She knows me. :)

Getting Old, Physically. Impetus for getting off my ass.

I hit 45 years old earlier this month. Mentally, am I 45? No. Probably closer to 9 or 10. Tops. 

The realization that I am not what I once was has left me a little perplexed and motivated.  I used to surf and swim a lot. Then I moved to Iowa. I mountain bike or ride when time with my family allows. I am working to get them more interested in biking on trails and eventually singletrack. Over the last year, I probably put on 750 miles on my surly krampus. 

My 5 year old boy, Leo, is into it. Still working on Charlie (10 years old) and Emma (13 years old). My wife likes the exercise aspect of biking but I am not sure I am comfortable getting her on singletrack due to her bike handling skills. I am probably the worse instructor she could have and teaching a spouse something like that, can really be stressful for both parties.  Anyways, I digress. Back to the topic

I have not been diligent on the exercise front, since Leo was born. When asked to play indoor soccer, I was a little lot leary. 

2 reasons really: I suck at soccer. No footwork at ALL among many other issues. 2ndly, no conditioning. It is a bunch of awesome people between early 20s and late 50s, and they are patient with me, give me "pro-tips". I play hard and at one time I was kind of athletic. 

So I played yesterday. 1st time in 3 weeks. Things started off okay. We played 5 on 5, with one sub to share. I got a goal and felt pretty mobile. Then I felt a minor cramp-like pain in my lower left calf area. I got some snow/ice and tried to massage it out. No dice. Not a cramp. I got back into the game and had a very similar pain in my upper  right calf. I got another break and iced them down. They never really subsided. Nope. I went back in and tried to stay central up top and not be a defensive liability. I could hardly move. Every now and then I would have a burst and get after it. I really enjoyed playing semi competitive, even if the others were just messing around.  

I have played a handful of times and really enjoyed every time, despite physical setbacks. It has made me want to get in some sort of shape, and I think I can do it just cutting back on snacky crap, portion control, getting forms of exercise I enjoy, and finding that elusive internal motivation. I polish this off as a I have a New Glarus Scream IPA. HMM.