It’s great to get back on my bike, Bullwinkle, after a winter on the stationary bike at the gym. Thankfully I’m not having all the flats I had last year. Knock wood. I’ve found that if I take a nice long bike ride, life is good.
Bullwinkle is set up with extenders going straight up from the handlebars. I used to have two sets, which looked like antlers, hence the name, but I found one set is enough. The idea is to be able to sit up straight. Everyone tells you you have to be hunched over, but if you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to ride.
Sitting up straight means I’m not going to go very fast into the wind, especially given my aerodynamic profile, but I don’t care about going fast. In fact I get a better workout than I would get hunched over.
Climbing hills I can shift into a “stair-climber” mode and apply my full body weight on the pedals.
It also allows me to use a tractor-style seat which supports the “sit bones” without any padding between them. It’s much more comfortable. I’m surprised they’re so hard to find.
I used to ride a lot with a couple of old farts like myself, and I remember talking about all the little adjustments that can make a big difference.
Seat height, for one thing. Too low and you’ll wear out your knees because they’ll be out in front of you and you won’t be able to put your weight into the stroke. Too high and you have to extend the front of your foot at the bottom of the stroke and increase pressure on your crotch. A quarter inch one way or the other actually does make a big difference.
Ideally your foot should be level throughout the stroke, although you can always raise or lower the heel to apply different muscle sets.
Bullwinkle also has lateral extenders on the pedals moving them out an additional nine sixteenths of an inch from the frame. Like Senator Larry Craig, I have a wide stance, and on most bikes my legs would be bowed inward, increasing stress on the joints and reducing the amount of force I could apply to the pedal.
I kept noticing that by the end of the ride my feet would be on the outside half of the pedals, so I asked Norm Flye the bike guy and he got me the extenders. “Just a hair over half an inch on each side,” I said. And he said that’s how they come, nine sixteenths. I guess there are a lot of stocky Saxons out there.
I got a great Sigma headlight, too. On the high setting, you can find your contact lense, and on the low setting you can ride for more than an hour.
As soon as Spring arrives I’ll put the milk crate on the back to hold my bathing suit and a towel and my fishing gear and it’s off to Puffer’s Pond.