I'm For Bikes!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Today's Ride + A Couple Of Product Reviews

Ride Stats:
Distance: 18.09 miles
Time: 1:30:00 (approx.)

MAN was I tired today! I got up plenty early and got the dogs taken care of, but for some unknown reason took my time getting ready, ate a PB&J, folded some laundry, watched a little bit of the Tour...next thing I knew it was way after 7, getting hotter, and the wind was picking up.

Oh, well. My own damn fault.Suck it up.

I took it easy and headed west for about a half mile, getting my legs warmed up before turning south into the wind. It was pushing against me pretty hard but I decided to push back and not give in to it. I was actually impressed - my avg. speed was about 15.8! Maybe having that PB&J and some cold water before the ride gave me a little extra oomph. 

When I turned due east the wind was still pretty strong but I kept on pushing. I don't like wind, but I know I have to deal with it - it's either that or spend time on the spinner and right now I'd rather be outside.

I turned south again and hit the Bicentennial St. overpass (a whopping height of 143 ft) for my first "real climb" of the day. After punishing myself with that brutal climb - against the wind, mind you - I headed out to the "Hill from Hell", the gradual slope that is my nemesis. When I've been riding a lot and am in better shape, I totally rule that thing.

Today, not so much. I managed to get to the top without stopping, but it was close. Always a good indicator of how much work I need to do.

I don't know if I bonked or what, but after my second "climb" (2nd St. overpass at a whopping 139 ft.) I just flat ran out of energy. I even stopped and had some Cherry Blossom Honey Stingers (part 1 of upcoming product review) but I was wiped. Funny, because the wind was once again my friend and helping push me home, but I had no desire to take advantage of it and power on. I cruised along the bike trail and took it easy. Guess it was just one of those days.

Lots of green after our recent rain

City crews out mowing

I really like this bike path

I'm wondering if maybe my legs were tired out from last night's C25K workout, and that concerns me. Am I really that much of a wimp?? Right now I'm alternating rides and runs, but I would like to be able to do both on the same day. Is this the part where I'm supposed to be patient and not get discouraged?

Bottom line: a so-so ride, but I got it done.

No thumbs up today.

Now, to the fun stuff - product reviews. 
(Disclaimer - I am doing these reviews on my own, with products I bought with my own money. The companies involved have NOT contacted me or asked me in any way to review their products. I'm just naturally generous that way.)

Product #1 - Honey Stingers Cherry Blossom Chews

OMG!!! LOVE these! I found some in my goodie jar among the SportBeans and ShotBloks so I decided to try them today on my ride. Holy crap, I wanted to eat them all at once. These things are seriously good. They didn't upset my stomach (big plus) and I felt they actually gave me a little extra kick during a difficult part of my ride. The only complaint I have is that they were kinda slimy coming out of the bag - not sure if that was due to the heat or if they're naturally that way, but it made me not want to touch them. Instead I squeezed them out of the package one at a time so my hands wouldn't get all sticky. I really liked the consistency of them (aside from the slime) as I was chewing, and the flavor was AWESOME. I will definitely be trying other flavors and Honey Stinger products. I've heard people swear by the waffles, so those are next if I can find them. 

Product #2 - Gomadic Handlebar Holder for HTC Evo

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a gadget freak. I've been trying to figure out a way to carry my phone (Evo 4g) with me on rides and be able to access it easily, mainly because I use the iMapMyRide app to track my rides via the phone's GPS. I've been carrying the phone in a stem bag, but the bag I use is very floppy and won't stay in place - plus, it's really hard (and dangerous) for me to get the phone out to stop and start the  app if I need to. I searched for something I could mount to my handlebars and found the Gomadic on Amazon for $29.75 (total incl. tax).

I was SUPER excited when I pulled it out of the box, because although it's not heavy, it feels solid. I went to install it on my bike and...


The mount was not wide enough to fit my 31.8mm handlebars. My fault for not paying close enough attention to the description, which clearly states it fits 13-28mm bars.


HOWEVER, not to be deterred, I took the entire gadget to Home Depot with Sig, and she helped me find a longer screw for it. Got it home and woooooo! It works! If you have 31.8mm handlebars and want to get one of these, go to your local hardware store and find a screw that is .4mm diameter and 50mm long and it will work just fine. The side clamps are adjustable so this can be used for iPhones and others as well. The description says it will also work on a motorcycle...not sure I'd want to use this at highway speeds, but it might be useful if I ever need a GPS on a trip.

I played around with it, making sure it was nice and tight, then took it on my ride today. One thing for sure, the convenience of having my phone so accessible scores MAJOR points for this thing. No, it's not the most aerodynamic thing around, but it's not like I'm looking to break any speed records here. I was able to check my ride details very easily and didn't have to worry about fumbling and dropping my expensive phone on the road.

A couple of things I noticed that weren't so great:
  1. There are 4 little arms on this thing, 2 on the top and 2 on the bottom, that are supposed to help keep the phone secure. The ones on the top are useless for me, since my Evo is quite a bit taller than the back of the unit. The bottom ones worked as long as I didn't go over any bumps, but when I did, the phone would pop up a little bit and no longer was sitting on the arms (this might be because I have the Evo in a very slim protective case). Luckily, the side clamps are very strong and helped keep the phone from slipping down and out of the holder. Next ride, I'm going to put a strong rubber band around the phone to keep it more secure. I would like to see slightly longer arms on the bottom to keep things secure even when using a protective case with the phone.
  2. It rattles around a little bit when going over bumps. I have it as tight as I can and still get some noise. It's not that big of a deal to me as long as nothing vibrates off.
All in all, I am very pleased with this little gadget after one ride. The other cool thing is, Gomadic also offers a lifetime warranty. I hope I don't need it, but I'm glad to know it's there. I also love that no tools are necessary to install/uninstall it, so I can move it from bike to bike if I want to.

So there you go - a bike ride and two product reviews in one post. Can you say "overachiever"?  :-)

Pics of the Gomadic on my bike

Side view

Top view - facing the front of the bike. Note the little arms, which are useless

Bottom view - those little arms just aren't long enough

Rider's POV

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