Cycling on Monday

Couch surfers showed up promptly in the morning, four of them.  A bit surprised, I had confidence they’d turn out to be good ones.  So far, they are.  After getting them all settled Dan and I dawned our outfits and loaded our bags.  Today we’d make another test run, this time not for time or distance but for strength.  We loaded our bags to the brim and added a little for good measure and headed north, up the hills.  One and a half hours later (including a long break to take a photo) we were at the top comfortable and ready for more riding.  What a pleasant surprise.  25 minutes later we were back at the bottom with a top speed from John at 56.0 kph and a top speed from dan of 57.8 kph.

There is a reason we bought bikes early.  Primarily we wanted to train, but truthfully we’d be stronger if we trained on our mountain bikes.  The important part of having bikes a month early was to test the components, break the bikes in, and make changes to the set up.  Today, we were happy to have failures.  Once back in the city, Dan hit a small cut in the road from construction and his bike came to a dead stop.  The deralur (sp) hinge had snapped and threw the mechanism into his rear spokes stopping the bike.  The impact of another cyclist into the side of Dan didn’t help the situation either.  Confused with what had happened we pulled aside and righted the chain and deralur and limped back to the Giant store.  A bit of negotiating convinced them that less than 300 km shouldn’t have component failures and they agreed and replaced it.  We hope to not run into that issue again.

We also accomplished getting a good photograph for our friends here to keep and to pass out to friends along the route.

Cycling Test 1a & b

Acquired bicycles, two Giant brand machines.  Not really made to order.  In fact, not at all.  “Want different petals?  You’ll have to buy that other bike….want a different fork?  different shifters? different handlebars? You’ll have to buy a different bike.”   But hey, this isn’t a surprise.  After all, this is a one size fits all industry, where frames and helmets are all the same.  Remarkable.  After a bit of personal negotiating I’ve convinced myself to buy the ‘high end’ bike.  2800 RMB, that’s about $400.  Dan picked up the $200 bike.  We’ll see which one wins the race.  Shhh, he doesn’t know it’s a race yet.

With the bikes, during a very strange negotiation, as our ‘discount’ we were awarded computers.  This negotiation essentially involved me saying, “come onnnn.” and them saying “No” and me saying “come onnnn” and them saying “no.”  Then I reminded them about the dolla dolla bills we’ve been spending at their shop (these make bikes 4 & 5) and they said, okay, we can give you some equipment. So I think to myself, ‘what’s a trivial pieces of equipment that is important,’ and reply with “how about some lights?” and they say “NO.  Too expensive!” and I say, “Really?!? lights are too expensive? Okay, well how about your suggestion.”  So then they say, “How about computers?”  Well, I figured computers were more hassle with installation and cost more than a couple of blinky lights, but they said it.  So now we’ve got some computers.  They’re a bit junky, Dan’s reads km quicker than mine andwe’ll certainly see that difference by the end of our journey, but in general, they’re good.  They read the same speed.  So we’ve been able to track our progress this far making our test rides quite effective.  Yesterday was a 110 km day, today we went for time and made about 60 km in under 2 hours, we feel good about these tests.  Our back ends are a bit sore and our legs stern with the new hobby, but in general, we can still climb the stairs to our apartment so we’re doing alright.

We had some bags made (Bright Orange) and have completed one ride with them on the bikes loaded with gear.  We’ll have them back to the shop for a couple of adjustments and then should be good.  While the material is waterproof, the stitching I think has compromised this feature, but perhaps a bit of glue or tape will fix this.  Because they’re bright orange, we’re quite the flashy duo riding through town sporting hot pants, driving tall bikes, and the only two goons wearing helmets.  But this is great for visibility, thumbs up & when I can’t get my foot out of my petal-basket and fall into a crowd of folks at an intersection, I can just get up and smile and say “Ni How.”  Sometimes being a celebrity is a-okay.

In other news we’re holding a celebration on Saturday (July, 4 2009) for ‘no particular reason.’  And everyone is welcome to come.  It will be complete with fireworks and BBQ (China style) and flags to boot!  See you there!