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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Community Service Message!

So, the winter season is coming to a close, the Snowbirds have begun preparation for their retreat to milder northern climes, and the rest of us brace for another summer season slowly encroaching upon us.  As I rode in this morning relishing the sun and mild breeze my pessimistic thoughts ran to the dreaded expectations of another tropical summer, but I tried desperately to squelch them, and just enjoy the morning.  The prevailing thought became "preparations for summer riding" which is something I always have to consider as our families life choices mandate it.  Where we lack the option of rolling up a window and cranking the AC (AC on a bike is "RIDE FASTER" and get some wind!) we have to make plans.  For those of you who have chosen the Veloist lifestyle (and you are a wise hero in my eyes!) recently, or to remind those who have been for a while, or to just forewarn those who have made the odd choice to vacation in the tropics come summertime, here's a few tips for Summertime Cycling!

"Check the weather report before heading out!"  While not always accurate, if the report reads rain, plan on hitting the road in the Early AM, or later afternoon evening.  Most rain fall down here comes mid afternoon, a downfall just long enough to make the remainder of the day rather humid.  By nightfall things cool down a wee bit, to bearable levels. Don't give up on the day, just plan accordingly.

"Pack LOTS of water!"  Dehydration is a real risk.  Don't think you'll just grab when you're out.  Stop every couple miles, grab some shade and have a healthy swig. 

"Sunscreen"  Nope, I never use it, but my skins different then most, apparently, I never burn.  Most folks will, though, so be careful!

"Goody Bag!"  Get a fanny pack for under your seat (that's where your fanny goes!) Carry a couple spare tubes, adjustable wrench, Philips and flat screwdriver, tire lever, and a hand pump.  Spring and summer are BAD for sandspurs and they can take out the heartiest of tread.  Always make sure, if you have the misfortune of a puncture, that you check the inside of your tire before you put in the new tube!  These bloody thorns can and WILL stick in your tread awaiting to pop the NEW tube.  Seen it WAY to many times! And if you have the space, squeeze in a set of rain slickers (bright yellow is the best) And, for the more permanent rider, here's a tip, throw an extra change of clothes in a garbage bag then into a backpack and strap it to your bike rack (don't have a rack?  You should get one)  Even with a slicker some real downpours may leave you squishy in your shorts! 

"ALWAYS BE AWARE OF WHAT'S AROUND YOU!"  OK.  Keep the cell phone in your pocket, and keep one ear bud out and the volume down, don't let yourself get distracted!  "Right of Way" means NOTHING in Florida!  Sure, if you get mowed over at an intersection when you have the crossing signal by someone taking a hard right without stopping, you could sue...if you survive.  There are plenty of beautiful trails to explore with minimal interaction with the two ton death machines, best to stick too those.  BUT if you have to travel the roads...skip the bike lanes!  Car drivers pay no heed to each other. much less bike riders!  Best to stick to the sidewalks.  Just remember, always ride to the right and by courteous to the pedestrians and let them know you're coming. 

"Plan your time"  Remember, you my be good for a ten mile ride, but as one can guess, the heat can be taxing.  Don't push yourself!  For every mile you ride AWAY from your have to cover it to get back!  Just keep that in mind!

"Tune-Up!"  Okay, this one IS a little self serving, but if you are in for a biking holiday or just preparing for another year, visit your choice of shops and have a skilled mechanic give your ride the once over.  Murphy's Law mandates, that if you don't, SOMETHING is going to break down and more than likely it will be just when you reach the farthest point AWAY from your return destination!

S'okay!  It aint a full list, I'm sure, but I hope it helps give some folks a leg up!
Ride hard, ride far, ride long....until you die.
Then coast. are the goodies put out yesterday.

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