Where does your food come from?

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I’m turning 52 in just a few days.  It’s understandable, I think, to spend more time thinking about your health as you get older (probably shouldn’t wait that long).  While many people focus on the need to exercise more, I’ve spent more time focusing on the food I eat.  I think mine may be the first generation raised on processed food.  I remember eating tv dinners, the emergence of diet soda etc.  These were all promoted with convenience, and health in mind.  Little did we know.

Just a little investigation tells you that for decades we’ve been sold a bill of goods when it comes to what we should eat.  I’m no doctor, nor am I’m not a nutritionist, but cutting processed foods out of my diet has had a positive impact on my health and well being.

I’ve recently become fascinated by the small farmer.  People that have devoted their lives to growing natural foods and raising animals without stuffing them in cages and pumping them full of unnecessary hormones.  These are the folks selling their goods at your local farmers market.

We have several of these small farmers here in Indiana.  I hope to speak to some of them soon, so I can share what I learn in this space.

Great.  Now I’m hungry.

 

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Embracing the new without throwing out the old.

I’ve spent the better part of the last decade trying to fend off the onslaught of technology that has bombarded the bike industry.  Constant “improvements” that add varying degrees of enjoyment for the end user.  Sometimes, like in any other industry, we see change merely for the sake of change.  It makes me crazy.  However, with a recent bike build I employed some features that, while not brand new, I had previously eschewed.  I’m warming to the idea that all new things are not necessarily bad.  Radical, huh?

We’re at an interesting point with regards to bicycle technology.  Like with any tech, things happen pretty quickly, but not all  “improvements” lend themselves to a better overall riding experience.  My biggest complaint is that this new tech makes the bicycle, which by it’s very nature is a very uncomplicated machine, much more difficult to work on.  When professional mechanics struggle what hope does the home mechanic have?  I think if what “we” (as an industry) really want is more people using bikes, shouldn’t those bikes be a simple and straightforward as reasonably possible?

Now, you have to understand I’m not talking about recreational “bike path” bikes.  Those bikes are straight forward, easy to ride and easy to maintain.  I’m talking about bikes ridden by more……enthusiastic riders (I refuse to use the word “serious”.  Why would anyone-save for someone making their living on a bike-be serious about something that should be so enjoyable and care free?).

The touring bikes that I ride, and sell have historically been the epitome of a bicycle that is functional, durable and straight forward with regards to design.  What I started to notice a year or so ago was “newfangled” tech creeping into my precious touring bikes!  The horror.

As I started to build a new bike this year I started to think about adding some of these new features.  Things like a 1x drivetrain have allowed me to ditch my front derailleur.  Tubeless tires make the big tires I ride, ride even better.   Finally, disc brakes allow me not only better stopping power, but more flexibility in tire selection.  There were challenges here and there, but I shouldn’t have been surprised that everything worked just the way I expected.  Have no fear, there are plenty of old things on this bike (least of which is the rider!).  It is, to me, the ideal mix of old and new tech.  It employs classic touring gear while borrowing from current mountain bike, and bike packing gear.

Keep one foot firmly planted in the past, while exploring whats new and embracing what works for you.  I like it.  I’m sure there are more aspects of life where this strategy can be employed.  I look forward to further epiphanies.

Below is a picture of said bike.

Thanks for reading.

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Old Timey & New Fangled

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It had been a good long while since I had been camping.  We had talked about it for years.  Getting to the campground by bike was the plan.  Logistically we just couldn’t make it work.  Instead of putting it off for yet another year, we decided to just go camp.

I bought a new pack, and A got her first pack (part of the fun of camping is buying new gear-am I right?) and we set out.  It was a great experience, and we are both anxious to do it again.

As a boy that grew up in the city, spending time in nature has never been something that I craved.  I do believe that it something that we MUST do.  It’s led me to wonder how many things that used to be part of our day to day lives have been forgotten, or set aside in favor of our new technologically “improved” lives.

I hope to investigate and explore these topics.  Hopefully you find them interesting.

Chris

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A bill of goods

I hear it all the time.  “I need clipless pedals so I can pull up!”  Sigh.

I think you’ve been sold a bill of goods.

So many people come into my store asking about clipless pedal and shoes.  Their assumption is that they “need” these items in order to be a “serious” cyclist.  If I could channel Denzel (channeling Malcolm X) for just a minute.  “Ya been took!, Ya been hoodwinked, Bamboozled, Led Astray, run amok!”

Before I get too far I should say that I’m never going to tell anyone not to use something.  If you want to wear cycling specific pedals and shoes, go right ahead.  I wore them for a couple of decades.

My issue is with folks thinking they NEED to wear them.  YOU DON’T.

When I put flat pedals on my bikes and could ride in whatever shoes I happened to be wearing, I fell in love with my bike all over again.

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Bedrock sandals and MKS Grip Kings-a tasty pairing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what about this “pulling up” thing?  What I can tell you is this: It took me the better part of a season to get used to flat pedals.  My left foot particularly kept wanting to come off the pedal.  As I got used to not being attached, I found that my feet stayed planted on the pedals, and my pedal stroke smoothed out.  Pulling up was a crutch that actually took away from efficiency.

Don’t believe me?  I get it.  Here are just a few of the articles I found on this subject.

http://pedalinginnovations.com/does-this-video-really-prove-that-flats-are-more-efficient-than-clipless-pedals/

http://www.nourishbalancethrive.com/blog/2015/10/02/its-not-about-pulling-why-flat-pedals-work/

http://www.over40cyclist.com/correct-pedalling-technique/

Here’s the bottom line: if you like your pedals and shoes, by all means, keep wearing them.  If you’re unsure, however, why not give flat pedals a try?

Ride on!

It’s time we admit it

Cycling jerseys are awful.  Aren’t they?  I mean……really?  Not to mention that, for let’s say 99% of riders, they are totally unecessary.

Ridiculously garish, completely unflattering and………did I say unecessary?

There are plenty of shirts one can wear when riding.  Pockets?  Feh.  Put bags on your bike.  Let’s start a new trend, and just say no to the “costume”.