Tuesday, February 26, 2013

First Century of the year

Its a 100 days to my ride from San Francisco to Los Angles with ALC -2013, and what better way to celebrate than by riding a 100 miles in a day.

So on Saturday morning 2/23/2012 my friend Gino and I embarked on a 100 mile ride though the South Bay.

Our route started with a warm-up to Milpitas and then on to a 1000ft climb up Calaveras Blvd. We then went around Calaveras Reservoir into the City of Fremont via Niles Canyon. Both Calaveras Reservoir and Niles Canyon were gorgeous routes.
From Fremont we rode across the Dumbarton Bridge to East Palo Alto and took the Bayshore trail to the Stevens Creek trail to end up on Foothill Blvd where we stopped for a well deserved lunch of sandwiches and chocolate croissants at the Los Altos Bakery & Cafe

After lunch we continued on to Palo Alto-->Atherton-->Woodside and then looped back to ride back to Santa Clara.

Elapsed time: 9:05 hrs
Total riding time: 7:00 hrs
Avg Speed: 14.4 mph

Link to Strava: http://app.strava.com/activities/42017157

Pictures along the ride:

Panorama of Calaveras Reservoir

 Calaveras Road


Beautiful day to ride

End of the ride

Friday, February 1, 2013

First Month of Training - Jan 2013

Today, Jan 31st marks the end of the first month of training for ALC 2013.  Its been a really cold January for riding and I had to start riding with ski gloves cause my finger were freezing during the rides.
My stats for this month are in and I am very pleased with the data:

Total Distance : 267.3mi
Elevation Gain: 9,380ft

 My Goal for February is to roughly double these numbers, so I'd like to be at:

Total Distance: 500 miles
Elevation Gain: 20,000ft

Additional details, ride maps and a few photos are on my Strava profile here

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to buy a new road bike

If you're looking for a new road bike or planning to upgrade your existing bike-  this is a good post for you.

The sheer number of choices available when deciding on a road bike is overwhelming!  I recently went through the process of upgrading my bike  and learned a lot about the decisions one needs to make and the choices available for selecting the ideal bike.
This post  focuses on the fundamental decisions - and can be used as a step by step process for new  and novice riders when selecting a new bike.
(I  say new or novice riders because the decision making process is rather different for expert riders)

Buying a road-bike 101 

Step 0:  I'm going to assume you've weighed the pros and cons and have already made the decision to get into road-biking! Congratulations!

Step 1: The basics : understanding geometries
As you begin your hunt for the ideal bike, you need to first understand the two types of road bike geometries.
  • Endurance Geometry
  • Race Geometry 
Endurance Geometry: Designed for longer distance riding (endurance riding) these bikes and are know to be a  more comfortable geometry.  These bikes sport a (relatively) shorter top tube and a taller head tube, giving the rider a more comfortable posture for those long endurance rides. (If you think you're going to do century rides - this is the type of geometry you want)

Race Geometry: These bikes are designed for speed and have a more aggressive set up. They sport a longer top tube and shorter head tube: giving the rider a more aerodynamic posture for sprinting and racing.

The basic recommendation for a beginner rider is to test ride both these geometries and select a bike that fits just right. The race geometries stretch your torso more than endurance geometries- so one may feel better than the other.  For a beginner rider neither geometry is better or worse. Its all a matter of what feels and fits best.

Remember being fast is far more a function of your fitness rather than the bike, or any accessories for the matter, although most road bikers pretend to be willfully blind to that fact :)

Decision:  Have an idea of the type of riding you're going to be doing, analyze your fitness levels and keep in mind the different geometries.

Step 2: Decide on a budget
Road biking can be a very expensive sport and the cost of accessories, upgrades and clothing options  add up very quickly. I recommend you start off by setting a budget - one for the road bike and another one for accessories.

Before you set your accessory budget here is a basic list of accessories you will need :
  • Helmet
  • Front and rear lights
  • Gloves
  • Biking outfit (shorts + jersey)
  • Pedals + Cleats
  • Biking Shoes
  • Water bottle cages
  • Water bottles
  • A bike computer (or gps) (*optional)
  • A heart rate monitor (* optional)
  • Spare tubes
  • A bike pump 
  • A patch kit

Step 3: Go on test rides
Walk into your Local Bike Shop (LBS) and test out the bikes that fit your size, riding style and budget.

The most important factor while buying a bike:
The most crucial requirement is to have a bike that is the right frame size for you.  Your LBS rep will help you select the right frame size.  This is really important because a riders comfort on the bike and his efficiency on the bike is essentially dependent on the right size frame.

Once you know your ideal frame size - test ride the different geometry bikes. Also try out different brands as they all fit a little different.
And don't buy the bike on your first visit. You need to ride a few bikes before you make your decisions - so go to other bike stores and ride the different brands of bikes. You'll soon understand the difference in fit - what feels more comfortable and what doesn't.

After a week or two of test riding - you will have a good idea of the bike you think suits your needs best. This is your bike.

Some thoughts to keep in mind while making this decision:
Q: What kind of components should one get?  (and you can spend a LOT of money here).
A: My advice is - buy the best components within your budget.

Q: Should I get a Carbon or Aluminum frame
A: If a Carbon frame is within your budget then go for it.
However if I had to select a new bike -  I'd go for an Aluminum frame with better components over a Carbon frame with not-as-good components. Again as a beginner it all comes down to the budget.

Step 4 : Purchase your bike
This may sound basic - but keep in mind the kind of customer service you've experienced at the bike store before you buy your bike. You're probably going to go to this store often - for repairs, general maintenance and accessories - so buying your bike from a store with good customer service will be worth it.

I hope these guidelines are useful and help you have a enriched bike shopping experience. And when you start riding, don't forget to Strava

Sunday, January 20, 2013

First real hill climb of 2013

Got down to conquering the first hill of the year. Not as fast as I'd like and a whole lot of room for improvement - but a good start to climbing.
Reverse Sierra is a good steady climb, and in comparison front Sierra is absolutely insane. Front Sierra downhill certainly categorizes as a hazardous decent with steep drops and winding roads. I was clutching on to the brakes through the decent. I can only imagine what it'd be like to climb front Sierra....soon.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

World Aids Day - and I'm riding 545 miles!

Its been a long time since I've updated my blog - and this is a great time to start writing again.
Today, Dec 1st 2012 is 'World Aids Day'.
On this day I'd like to help raise awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS. It’s easy to think that HIV/AIDS is no longer a problem. Medications have come a long way, and people are living longer, healthier lives.
However, AIDS is not over.
In California alone there are 151,000 people living with HIV. Nationally, 70 percent of all new infections occur in communities of color and people under the age of 25 are increasingly affected.

So this year to help raise awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS and raise money for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation I'm bicycling in AIDS/LifeCycle from June 2-8, 2013. It's a 7-day, 545-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to make a world of difference in the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS.
Starting this day, I'll use my blog as a journal to document my journey towards getting in shape for this 545 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Please take a moment to support the fight against HIV! HERE

Sunday, March 7, 2010

City Ride 1: Ride Singapore

It's officially ON! I've completed my first city ride.
And one word to describe this ride is "HOT".

Sunday morning the 28th of February 2010, I was in a taxi heading over to the East Coast Park, Singapore to start my first city ride.
After spending a few hours on Saturday looking for a good route on Bikely I found one that would work.
The route started at the East Coast Park (ECP), went along the coast, around Changi airport, into the Eastern parts of the city, then to Bedok reservoir and back to East Coast Park.

City Ride 1: Ride Singapore (Road Biking) | Singapore

Where to rent a bicycle in Singapore:

1. Kit Runner at East Coast Park rents out road bikes for S$20/ 2 hrs.
However they rent a generic brand bike with low end components in only one size. Would recommend this place for a leisurely ride along the coast, but not for any serious rider.
They also rent Mountain Bikes, Hybrid bikes and inline skates.

2. The Bike Boutique on Amoy street has a better selection of bikes ofavailable in an array sizes. They rent bikes by the day: around S$50/day. I'd recommend them for a decent bike.

The Ride:

My friend Ankit who lives in Singapore decided to accompany me on my maiden City Ride and his maiden ride :)
We started our day at a McDonalds on ECP with a hearty breakfast of Pancakes and eggs. and once fueled we picked up bikes from Kit and hit the road.

Our route as you will notice on the map, started off very scenic. We rode along the coast of Singapore, by clean blue waters and ships in the backdrop. Our ride took us along the beach, with picnickers taking in the sun, a group of Indians playing holi, then to the pier with folks fishing. We crossed the Bougainvillea gardens, a water sports park, riding through dense green trees for a good part of the ride. Check out the pictures below.
The Singaporeans have done a good job creating a beautiful bike and skate park.

We reached Changi airport where Ankit turned back (woot woot! Thirteen miles on his first ride!) and I continued to ride into eastern parts of the city.
Once in the city, I tried riding on the streets as there were no dedicated bike lanes, but after being pushed off the road twice (thanks to the taxi drivers) it just seemed safer to ride on the side walk. Little did I know that people on mopeds are allowed to ride on the sidewalk too!

The day got crazy hot and temperatures reached 32 degrees Celsius, 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The humidity made the ride even more intense.

I got back to ECP around 3 hrs later, exhausted, sunburnt, and dehydrated but excited to have completed my first city ride.
We returned our bikes at Kit and went across the street to Scruffy Murphys to celebrate the ride with a near perfect pint of Guinness.

Route Description:
Mostly flat and scenic ride. Gets urban, crowded and on-road in the city. Skip the city if you're not comfortable riding on the streets.
I'd recommend riding this route up Changi Airport all the way to the Singapore Sailing club and then riding back on the same route. This way you'll be on a dedicated bike lane though the ride.

Advice for a Singapore ride:

- Keep yourself hydrated. Carry lots of water.
There aren't any water fountains around Singapore.
- Overload on Sun Screen. The heat + humidity makes it intense.
- Get a good map. Directions aren't obvious in parts of Singapore.
- The city does not have dedicated bike lanes. While drivers in Singapore are generally nice, be careful of Taxi drivers.
- Bring your own patch kit. Bike rentals don't give you patch kits here.
- Carry your cell phone.
- Carry some cash (Very useful to buy cold water at 7 Eleven)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bike the world, one city at a time.

Its almost summer in California and its time to ride again.
This winter has been wet and cold- and I've missed out on any riding this
winter due to both a tight traveling schedule and a little laziness.
Now with the Livestrong Century coming up in July, I'll need to start riding more often.

Last week, while on a long flight across the Atlantic, I had an interesting thought about combining work related travel with a few rides. How cool would it be to ride a bike in every city I visit? We all know that the best way to see a city is on two wheels and this would also be a good way to get on a bike more often. So here I go: I'm going to Bike the world, one city at a time.

I spent some time doing a little research on the feasibility of this endeavor: How to transport my bike, How to find a good route, and will I need carry my riding gear: my pedals, riding shoes, helmet and gloves.
This means I won't be able to fly with only a check-in bag. And any frequent flyer worth his miles knows the importance of traveling with only one check-in bag!
(If you don't get it, please watch "Up in the Air")

I made a few phone calls to the airline companies and searched the web on flying with a bike - to learn that most airlines charge an extra $150 USD one-way to check in a bike that has been disassembled and packed in a bike case.

Seriously? Please think about our carbon footprint each time we fly. If one could offset that by taking fewer taxis on land and riding a bike more often; shouldn't the airlines help promote this?
Shame on you Airlines! I'm trying hard to reduce my carbon footprint here, and you want to charge me and extra $300 USD round trip.
Tsk Tsk.

Which means I'll have to find a bike rental place everywhere I go.

Some basic rules for the city rides:
- The ride needs to be 25 miles or more to qualify
- Publish a blog post after each ride
- Post the route map (I'll carry my GPS)
- Post some pictures (My Iphone will come handy)
- A video on youtube would be great!

So that's it folk. Its a new year with a new goal.
Now lets see how many cities I can ride this year!