Monday, May 2, 2022

An Ode to the Underappreciated - Horizontal Dropouts

 I love horizontal dropouts, to me, they are the epitome of design tweaks over the life of a longstanding product resulting in multiple benefits.

They aren't really horizontal, but the angle of them has evolved to be tangential to the rear brake pad mounting bolt. This minimizes as much as possible the amount of both angle and reach adjustment needed at the brake pads when moving the wheel through the range of the dropout.

The additional benefit of their long evolution is that the ride characteristics promoted by the position of the wheel within the dropout are complementary. If I have smaller, lighter tires on the bike and move the wheel to its most forward position, the wheelbase will be shorter, which generally will promote a quicker handling ride. Again, due to the angle of the dropout, this position also results in the rear end of the bike moving up several mm, both raising the bottom bracket and effectively steepening the head and seat tube angles - all characteristics that will make the bike respond faster to inputs.

Conversely, if I wanted to soften the ride, the first things to do would be to mount bigger tires on the bike and move the wheels back, which will increase the wheelbase, lower the rear of the bike (assuming same size tires front and back), slacken the head and seat angles, and provide for a bit more clearance around the rear brake and behind the seat tube. If keeping similar sized tires, this position also allows for more room for fenders for converting a bike to winter training. Again, changing all of these attributes simultaneously is complementary to the desired result.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Kyphosis Exercises

 Here's a link to 5 simple exercises to prevent kyphosis, 2 of which I've already been doing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Single Leg Training

There was recently an article in Cycling Tips that points to evidence that single leg training can be beneficial.  Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I've been spending more time on the rollers and am working this back into the routine.  The feeling when switching from doing each leg independently to pedaling with both legs is that the legs feel weightless as they turn the pedals more fluidly.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Washington Scenic Bikeways

Our WA State House has voted to pass a statewide network of scenic bikeways similar to those in Oregon. The bill just needs to pass the State Senate and be approved by Gov Inslee.

What excites me about this and led me to post is that, "Any person may propose the designation of a scenic bikeway route. The State Parks Commission will provide an opportunity for public comment on the proposed scenic bike route before determining a scenic bikeways designation."

What if this kind of thing leads to some kind of utopia in which some of our state's most beautiful roads have signage acknowledging cycling with education/ecouragement/enforcement for people both driving and cycling?

What routes in WA would you want to see on the list if it passes? Here's the Oregon site for inspiration.

I'd start by nominating the North Cascades Highway SR 20 between Newhalem and Winthrop and will give it some thought over the next days.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Cross Country Ski Trip

I went for cross country ski trip with the family over the Dr Martin Luther King Holiday, driving up to the cross country routes starting from Hyak off of Interstate 90.  It was a gorgeous day, with fresh snow still falling most of the way up.


Getting the car packed up with all the gear is much more of a challenge since having the 2 year old.

Yours truly, still smiling.
As is climbing the grades while pulling Madeline and the trailer on skis.  Whether by bike or ski, this is where I'm most in my element, chugging up hill and pinning myself against my anaerobic threshold.  Fortunately, the bike/ski/jogging trailer we were able to procure from craigslist is very adaptable, and just fits in the wife's Subaru.

Yay!  Fresh powder!

Generally, my motto on the descents while skiing is "fast, dangerous, and outta control," and I was somewhat worried that with all the elevation gained, it would be a difficult descent.  But getting back down was no problem, as the snow was perfectly fresh groomed.  The last time I had been on this route, it was clear and icy, which was too fast for my abilities at the time, but this time the fresh powder enabled me to carve wide curves and get around the switchbacks as needed.


Friday, January 10, 2020

2020 Vision


There are several things I want to accomplish cycling wise over the course of the new year, so I’m boldly setting a marker in what passes for stone these days in the form of this post.

I will be headed to the big island of Hawaii in February, so naturally, I will want to bring my bike with me and try to ride Mauna Kea.  This is one of the biggest climbs in the world, from sea level to ~14,000’ though we are staying at an AirBNB in Waimea, which is on the northern half of the island but not at sea level.  Given my poor form and mileage totals, I will have to ramp up my mileage in a steady and sustainable way early in the year.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it all the way to the top, the important part of the goal for me is to try hard enough to be satisfied with the effort and preparation.

From there, I will have to come down from the summit, in the words of Rene Daumal, back to the reality that it will still be cold and dreary February in Seattle upon my return.  However, the days will be starting to lengthen, and after some recovery, I will set my sights on having a good rest of the year riding.  The goals for this being what eluded me in 2019, to build form steadily and sustainably.  I’ve been experimenting with a new tool in this regard, which is taking and logging my orthostatic heart rate each morning to assess how rested or tired I am.  Over the month that I’ve been self-assessing with this I’ve had the orthostatic rate range from a low of 6 when I felt really sick to a high of 40 after several healthy days of rest.  I’m still working on developing the right ranges for myself but it seems like 20 is about the minimum it should be to go out and ride.

I’m looking forward to the challenges of putting this new knowledge into practice in 2020!