Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Burma Road

Burma Road
San Angelo, Texas
February 7, 2017
I had been wanting to try out the Giant on Burma Road, one of our local signature rides because of the constant rolling hills with some worthy challenges. Bob and John were visiting from Minnesota. The previous day we road on of our relatively "tame" routes to Knickerbocker and Guinn Road. Knickerbocker has one good climb and Guinn Road has rolling hills. So, we decided to try out Burma as it would show off our different terrain in and around San Angelo.
 This is the beginning of the first of the challenges.
Not too bad, but just as you crest, you go around a curve and then seemingly go straight UP. Actually the Garmin says 10% but it is one of the short steep hills so it feels like straight up.
 More upcoming hills.
 Note the truck. There is a caliche pit about 7 miles into the ride, and there was a lot of  activity.
 Cliche pit is just to the left and behind me. I stayed at this spot for some time to let trucks go past. Some would come out the gate and turn left, then the next 4 or so would turn right. Tom Green County infrastructure must be booming.  
I wanted to get some action shots of John and Bob coming up our two torturous hills, (Garmin says 15% and I will not argue). I am glad I took the shot as the truck behind them just stopped so they pulled over to let him go past ruining my sequence shots. Oh well.

I am out of practice shooting pictures while riding so many of my photos of the hills were on the wrong setting and didn't turn out. Need more practice.
Waiting at the ranch gate just adjacent to the caliche pit. My new honey. I am so impressed with it that I can't wait for our first organized tour early March at Bastrop. In the meantime, to bore (or brag) about my stats for this ride:
Burma Road 
Distance 21.9
Time 1 hour
Average speed 21.9
Wind W 18
On Power setting

The bike has taken 50 years off my age. No complaints at all!!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Giant Road E

 Sebastian and Randy, owner of Randy's Bike and Run Shop, demonstrating the latest bike addition to San Angelo.
February 4, 2017
 Back in October, Randy ordered a Giant Road E for me. It arrived on February 3 and is reported to be the first of its kind delivered in the U.S. One can easily look up the specifications; they are impressive and accurate. The short specs are:  "Giant SyncDrive Sport, 28mph, 80Nm torque, powered by Yamaha." The rider is required to pedal but is amply assisted by the Yamaha motor.
Sebastian and Randy test drove the Giant around the block and gave it a rave review. So, despite the temperature's being below my normal comfort zone, I just had to try out the bike.
I loaded up the bike  and headed to one of the many favorite courses...Door Key Road. Door Key is a little over 14 miles and is a rolling hill course with 3-6% inclines.

If one is over 70 (I am 78) and want to continue riding long distances with your younger friends, keep reading.
The Road E has three power settings, Eco, Normal, and Power. On Eco the range showed that one could expect to go 91 miles. Normal, 77, and Power at 52 miles. As Normal is suggested for tours with hills I wanted to try normal.
Short story:
Door Key Road
28.72 miles
1hr 22 minutes
Average 21 mph
Max speed 30.8
Now anyone who knows me knows that the above are not my "normal" stats. Mine are (mumble mumble)---but I finish the course.

Within the first 5 pedal strokes, it was Wow! The syncdrive senses how hard you pedal and instantly gives power to assist the stroke. The result is a seamless surge of speed. It also means that when one starts up a hill and applies more power, so does the bike. In the past I could almost keep up with the group on level road but just as soon as we hit an incline, I was dropped. Well, going up a hill with the Giant, I found myself GAINING speed. Unheard of for me.
Going out is always into the headwind so the average is slower than the return. Again this was true but outbound I had a 19.3 average, and the return was 23 mph.

On one of the return flats I was tooling along and suddenly the bike felt sluggish and heavy. I glanced down and was going 27 mph and pedaled a little harder and faster and was going 31 mph, still sluggish. Then it dawned on me. The bike as advertised in the specs says 28 mph. That means it will supply the power to sustain 28 mph. Anything above that you have to provide the differential power. Ergo, it felt sluggish. Small "inconvenience."

I am looking forward to next trying out the Eco and Power settings on appropriate courses. If the performance is anything like I experienced with the normal setting, I will remain a happy camper.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Viking Ships, Oslo, Norway

Oslo, Norway
June 23, 2016
(Filler series until bike touring season)
Oslo port from cruise ship balcony. Oslo, our first stop on the Highland cruise, is the capital of Norway and is located on the Oslo Fjord.
Viking Museum.
Christine savoring the moment as the Viking ships were a must on her list of things to see on this trip.

The workmanship is remarkable. The keel is beautifully carved.

On deck shelter.

Horse cart. Best I recall it was found perfectly preserved in a bog.