Mknac’s Weblog

Diving into the shallow pool of Web 2.0 and Social Media head first!

Converted Cyclist

I recently read Stephanies’ blog post I Love Spinning on her blog Stephanie’s Thoughts. First I think its great that Stephanie is a certified cycle instructor and that she’s involved in not only doing something she likes and that is healthy exercise but she is also introducing other people to healthy activities!

Having never taken an indoor cycle or Spinning class I have to try to convince Stephanie to try outdoor cycling. I personally re-discovered cycling about two years ago. I was tired of going to the gym and running on a tread mill or elliptical machine and decided to try road cycling. My first step was to buy a bike.

I eventually settled on a Trek 1500 road bike, which is a high-end, entry level road bike. Trek makes phenomenal bikes and if you’re considering buying a bike I highly recommend Trek.

My Trek 1500 road bike

My Trek 1500 road bike

When I say re-discovered biking I mean it. It must have been 15 years since I had been on my old mountain bike. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy riding my road bike.

The sun, the wind, other bikers, watching the black ribbon and scenery go by as your gobble up the road. It’s great! You’ll even see tangible results as your bicycle handing skills increase and your physical abilities increase. When I first started I thought 5-6 miles was a long ride. Lol Now I regularly ride 25-mile routes. That’s more a limit of the routes I ride rather than my level of fitness. Plus there is all the cool stuff you need; Oakley Radar Path sunglasses, Garmin Edge cycle gps, Road ID, gloves, jerseys the list goes on. OK you don’t need all that stuff, boys like their toys as the saying goes. All you need is a bike, helmet and the will to have fun.

Riding indoors is like running on a treadmill; going nowhere fast. Never to enjoy the rush of a downhill or to suffer on a climb! Don’t you yearn to ride free and feel the air as you cut a line through a turn?

I’ve even become a fan of pro cycling and follow the Tour De France like I follow the Ravens. I used to think watching the Tour was about as exciting as baseball, more boring than watching grass grow. Once you get to know the teams, riders, terms, roles, jerseys and strategies the Tour De France is truly one of the greatest sporting events of the year. This is a true team sport but allows for individual excellence within the team and the Tour at the same time. This time of year I can’t wait to get home and watch the morning’s stage on Vs in the evening.  Note to Vs, hey lets broadcast in HD next year!!!

So Stephanie, go outside and cylce and you won’t want to come back inside. You’ll discover a whole community of bikers in the DC area.

Here are some DC bicycle links:

Washington Area Bicyclist Association

Capital Crescent Trail

The Friends of the Washington & Old Dominion Trial

Potomac Pedalers Touring Club

Livestrong Lance Armstrong Foundations

Lance Armstrong

Greg Lemond (the first American to win the Tour De France)

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July 24, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Capital Crescent Trail

The Capital Crescent Trail (CCT) is one of my favorite trails to cycle on. The CCT is a multi-use bicycle, running, walking trail that runs from Bethesda in Maryland to Georgetown in D.C. The 7-mile section from Bethesda to D.C. is paved and approximately 10 feet wide. At 7 miles that’s not enough for a long ride but the great thing about the CCT is that once you get to Georgetown it connects to several other trails that allows you to keep riding.

CCT and terrain profile from my cycle GPS

CCT and terrain profile from my cycle GPS

Generally my favorite route is to park at Roosevelt Island; cross the Potomac; hook around the Kennedy Center then catch the CCT up to Bethesda; come back down; follow the Potomac to Haines Point then head back to Roosevelt Island. Other options include the Rock Creek Park trails and the Vermont trail that starts at Roosevelt Island.

The CCT is heavily trafficked by all types a people. I want to state up front that in my two years of riding the CCT the vast majority of the users on the trail are friendly and considerate of others. But you must be on your toes at all times and particularly on weekends whether you are biking, running, or walking. Accidents between cyclists and runners/walkers are unfortunately commonplace. In my opinion most of the accidents occur because bikers and runners/walkers are inconsiderate to each other, people are ignorant of trail etiquette/rules and speed is always a factor in any accident.

The CCT recently came out new updated safety rules. One of new rules is a 15 MPH speed limit for bikers. I think this is worthwhile but I’m not sure how they will enforce it. Two of the rules are issues I had emailed the CCT about in the past; Not using Ipods/MP3 players when you bike/run and not running 3-4 people abreast blocking the trail.

Clearly running with Ipods/MP3 players places bikers and runners/walkers at risk. Today’s bikes are quiet. Runners/walkers collide with cyclists when they not aware that the cyclist is passing them on their left. Listening to music blocks out the sound of the bike approaching and audible warnings from the cyclist.

Running/walking 3 to 4 abreast is just rude and inconsiderate. These people force cyclists and other runners moving at a faster rate of speed to have to move into the opposite lane and into on-coming traffic to pass. This in turn forces the on-coming traffic to have to avoid this potential collision. Blocking the entire lane is in my experience a runner/walker issue as most cyclists traveling at a fast pace ride single file.

A final issue I’d like to address is children/toddlers. Yes, I know the CCT is open for all people of our community to use. But parents:

THE CCT IS NOT THE PLACE TO TEACH CHILDREN TO RIDE A BIKE

THE CCT IS NOT THE PLACE TO TAKE CHILDREN ON A SUNDAY RIDE/STROLL WITH YOU.

The volume of cyclists and the speed makes the CCT inappropriate for these activities. If children can’t ride in a straight line, are scared by being passed and don’t understand the concept of checking behind and around them before changing lanes (riding or walking) you are placing your child and others at significant risk if you take them on the CCT.  See the CCT use survey for detailed information.

Generally speaking if you ride/run/walk with awareness and consideration for the other users the CCT is a wonderful multi-use trail. As I said earlier, consideration is usually the case for people on the CCT. However it only takes one person to place others in dangerous situations or to get tempers flaring.

July 20, 2008 Posted by | social media | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment