Sunday, July 29, 2007

"On a Steel Horse I Ride"

Well, Alpha Hydroformed Aluminum anyway. There she folks, my new mofo commuter bike. My ticket to fitness and freedom from fossil fuel dependancy. Er, three days a week, weather permitting.

I've been trying to take Ruby (aka Kid Furious) on bikeseat-rides this summer and my old DiamondBack mountain bike had seen better days. Brought it in for a tune-up and it needed new tires, brakes, and various other things and it was going to run me like $160. I wandered around a bit in the store and started thinking about just moving to a new rig instead.

A week of test rides at lunch and obsessive online research later I made my choice—the Trek 7.3FX. Part of their "fitness" line. Sort of a hybrid, but more on the road side of things, without the drop bars and lower riding position. Much faster and lighter than my old bike, and I am confident it will serve me well as a commuter bike and dragging the kids around.

Over the last month, with smarter eating and modest treadmillin' I've lost about seven pounds, and am poised to re-enter the 170s. My target is the 160s—territory I probably haven't seen in over a decade. Hoping the new bike regimen will get me there quicker and will get me the cardio I so desperately need now that I'm pushing 40.

I just dug out my old bike threads and threw them in the washer. What're the odds they will actually still fit me? Probably should've tried 'em on first...


Toast said...

Oh, that hurts, man. I'm in the unfamiliar position of trying to get back down into the 200's (as in 200-210, not as in I'm 300+).

Mike said...

Cool stuff, Furious. Commuting to work by bike -- that's hard-core.

Go for it.

Mr Furious said...

Not too hard-core. Not at first anyway. Three days a week (due to a schedule issue) and nice weather only. I picked a nice HOT week to get started—highs in the 88-92 range all week.

Tomorrow's the first run.

Mr Furious said...

My high-water mark was earlier this year, when I touched 190. My wife, who is running an online diet clinic these days and calculated my "ideal" weight at some insane shit like 156. That ain't happenin'. If I get down to my previous "best shape of my life" mark of 165-7, I'll be ecstatic. Hell, at 39, getting back down to 170 will be an achievement.

angie said...

I see a movie in your future.

Good luck!

Mr Furious said...

I see a movie in your future.

For the uninitiated, the Furious spouse who loses the greater percentage of weight weekly gets a no-kids Sunday matinee.

Mrs. Furioius said...

Zero chance they still fit! You better not put them in the dryer!

And for the record I blew you away last week and already have one movie in the bank!

I'll get worried when you actually ride it!

Mr Furious said...

Zero chance they still fit!
Lucky for me, they're from back in the day when I bought things too big...shirts are XL. Shorts?...might be a problem.

You better not put them in the dryer!
Didn't you trip over the drying rack this morning?

I blew you away last week and already have one movie in the bank!
Um, just because I didn't collect the two weeks prior doesn't mean I didn't win.

S.W. Anderson said...

That is one sharp-looking bike.

A word of caution. I have no idea how far you commute, but if you're somewhat out of shape and set out to do a few miles each way in 88- to 92-degree heat, you're taking a chance.

Keep in mind, that predicted 88-92 is almost certainly for "in the shade." Actual temps you'll encounter will be several degrees higher. Plus, out on the street you're sure to get much more radiated heat from motor vehicles and pavement than you'll get shade.

I expect you will lose three to five pounds remarkably fast, but most of it will be due to dehydration.

If you have no high blood pressure problem, you might want to ask your doctor about the advisability of taking salt tablets. If you were into mountain biking, I'm sure you know about loading up on fluids before setting out and having something to drink along the way.

The thing about dehydration is that it's not just a matter of fluid loss. Electrolytes that control nervous system activity and cardiac rhythm can rapidly get out of whack, and before you know what hit you, your blood pH can go south. Just beyond that lies a commute to the great beyond, if you're not mightly lucky.

Yeah, I know; I sound like a worry wart. I hope I'm cautioning for nothing, that you will ride like the wind and have some cooling wind on your ride. Just take care.

Mrs. Furioius said...

Well I for one do appreciate that post. I just called Mr Furious to see how the ride in went. When it took him longer than usual to answer I did think "my god what if he had a heart attack... and didn't even make it!" Thankfully he's fine. But you are absolutely right.

Mr Furious said...


Mrs. F alerted me to the post. Thanks for the advice! While I can't say it didn't occur to me, I probably did not give it the consideration it deserves...

Yes. The truth is I am pretty out of shape. Doing some treadmill walking and shorter, casual biking helped me warm up to this, but probably not enough to go hard on myself every day.

My ride is about six miles. Relatively flat, but the change of elevation favors the morning ride over the ride home—when it will be hotter, and I will be working harder.

Already this week, I have a photo shoot putting the kibosh on my ride tomorrow, so it will only twice this week, and I'll miss the hottest day.

I am careful about the hydration, pre-drinking plenty (water, Toast and Smitty...), and having water with me on the ride. On the hot days like this I will upgrade that to a more electrolyte-recharging fluid. And I will not push it too hard on the way home when it's hot out.

Thanks again. Good wakeup call.

S.W. Anderson said...

Mrs. and Mr. F., good to hear you're attuned to the problem.

First thing I thought of in reading your post was rookie airmen keeling over on a parade ground in Alabama. That was in August, with 88-degree heat and rising at 9 a.m.

These were extremely fit and healthy young guys, probably in the best shape of their lives. But a half dozen out of the 200-plus out there suffered dehydration, some when they weren't doing any physical acitivity, just waiting to begin practicing for a parade that was to begin at 11.

Sounds as though you're aware of the potential for trouble, which is good. A break at the halfway mark might be a good idea, especially in the evening.

BTW, another four or five went down during that parade. Fortunately, there were two field ambulances standing by, so nobody had to wait in line to be helped.

Mr Furious said...

A Balance bar, Powerade and a bottle of water along with a nice leisurely pace home, and everything's jake.

Back on the horse Thursday.