Feb 18

A Quick Fitness Ride: Back in the saddle again

Stress to the Max!
Work has been stressful this year I have a rough class of students as far as behaviors are concerned. Also, there are changes taking place at home as Tina and I get ready for our new little addition coming Early Aug. 2014.

Back in the Saddle Again
So Feb. 18th, 2014 I thought I had a meeting until 6 pm so I was surprised to see that I was out by 3:30 pm. I decided to come home and throw the bike on the Jeep and head out to the Leon Creek Green Way Trail system. I’ve written this a number of times and I’m familiar with it so I choose a smart route: I started at the Mainland Trail head and headed toward the I-10/Loop 1604 Trail Head which was up hill from my starting point. This was planed so by design as I’ve not been on the bicycle in at least 4 months! I decided I’d ride until I got mostly tired then head back to the car which from the point I got tired was “generally” all down hill from there.

This plan worked out nicely and I was able to put some miles on the Novara Transfer (it needs to get ridden more).

Saddle Soreness:
About 6 hours has passed since the ride and my rear end it telling me just how long it has been since it was on the saddle. The best way to get past this saddle sore is to ride again after taking a day to recover. Then repeat. I’m hoping to do about 6-9 miles on Thursday this week if my rear can stand it.

I rode just over 9 miles on this ride which I think was a good start.


Feb 05

“Roll Models” Ride for Fitness

Wow it’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s also been a busy few months. We had a death in the family back in November (Tina’s Grandmother), then Christmas, a camping trip here or there, and also…. We are expecting a baby! (Due in Aug. 2014)!

Well, I found this video today and really like it. It shows many of the groups and rides we have been on/ride with.

I love that it is showcasing cycling here in San Antonio as well as some of the postive things that cycling brings to the community: Safety, a sense of community and health.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I did. Roll Models




Nov 03

Interview: Kent Page – Teacher and San Antonio Bicycle Commuter

As my readers know I’m an Elementary Teacher. I’m also the Science facilitator for my campus. At a resent facilitator meeting I was able to sit next to Kent Page. In that time I learned he was a bicycle commuter. I asked Kent if he was interested in doing an interview for my blog. I think you will enjoy Bike4Heck.com’s first local interview:
Bike4Heck.com:  Tell us about yourself?
Kent:  I’m an elementary science teacher. My greatest accomplishments are being married with two kids.
Bike4Heck.com: How long have you been commuting to work?
 Kent: I’ve started riding my bike to teach piano lessons before I had a driver’s license as a way to save money for a car. Ironic, no? So I’ve been commuting now for about 300,000 years.
Bike4Heck.com: How long is your commute?
 Kent: From my home to my classroom is about 5 miles using the ruler on Google Earth. The drive is about 8 miles by car. Bikers learn circling around the back sides of buildings in order to miss a bad traffic light, or turning early to avoid the street with the aggressive dog, and slightly longer routes that have decent shoulders, etc. might make the trip longer, but much better. I would say the bike route is around 6-7 miles.
Bike4Heck.com: How often do you commute?
Kent:  Once the afternoon temperatures are out of the death march range, 3 times per week is about tops. I’m doing tutoring at the apartments of some of my school’s students (another story) but it requires a quick drive as soon as my parent pick-up afternoon duty concludes, is a bit over a mile, up hill, along a busy road with no, 2 days per week. So I’m currently only able to bike to work 2-3 times per week. On the other hand, my school just got a grant for bikes, so I’m planning a ride every Saturday morning for our new, yet to be created, bike club. I will almost certainly bike to my school for that too although I don’t know if that qualifies as commuting to work. It is also great fun to have my bike handy in the back of my truck. Yesterday, after meeting my wife for a meal downtown, we biked along the newly opened Mission Reach to burn off some calories.
Bike4Heck.com:   Do you commute when the weather is bad?
Kent:   Most of my worst bike wrecks happened in the rain. Not only are the two postage stamped sized contacts between the tires of a bike with the road much less capable of gripping during turns, drivers can’t see you as well. There is a certain savage delight in getting rain-soaked, but being splashed by cars is an entirely different category of wet, and also gets grit into the gears. Cold is okay, but I can’t figure out how to keep my fingers from going numb, but rain is something I avoid if possible. I grew up in the flat lands of the Texas Panhandle where the wind is steady and strong. Consequently, I have a healthy respect for biking into a headwind. When I first started doing bike rides long enough to get me out of the city, I would always head directly into the wind. That way, by sitting upright during the return trip, I could almost coast back to town.
Bike4Heck.com: What is your bicycle of choice?
Kent: My favorite bike is my Schwinn Super LeTour with skinny tires and little road resistance. However, to avoid constant flats, I use a Specialized off road bike. Not pretty, way too heavy, not toll enough for good leg extension, but sturdy. When I roll over road debris or swerve over rocks, I don’t have to stop and fix a leak.
Bike4Heck.com: How do you deal with not having a shower at work?
Kent:   Some way to have a shower before school starts would be fantastic. Even something like an outdoor enclosure using an unheated water hose would be an improvement, or a bathroom in the gym with a drain in the floor for doing a sponge bath. Currently, this is my routine: I stop at a spot near my school to eat the breakfast packed before to provides some cool down time outside. Then inside my room  I have a heavy duty fan to quickly dry off and cool down. After the sweat stops, I do sponge bath in the rest room using paper towels which are sealed into a baggie before going into the trash, and change into the clothes I packed for work. It is not an entirely satisfactory solution.
Bike4Heck.com: What was your motivation to start commuting by bicycle?
Kent:  I bike to work for several reasons. First, it is important to be active yet doesn’t hurt my back the way other types of exercise do. Next, it is a good model for students. Many of my oldest students in 5th grade have not learned how to ride a bike. When the grant for the bikes was submitted, the research I did about childhood obesity and how diabetes levels in San Antonio are double the national average were surprising and disturbing. Organizations in both areas unanimously advocated improved nutrition and becoming more active. Kids need to bike!  Finally, it my way of thinking globally about sustainable use of resources, while acting personally to do my own part.
Bike4Heck.com: What is the feedback you have gotten from your co-workers? and Students?
Kent:  Colleagues and students are supportive and admire the gesture. Those who are not have not said so to me. One teacher has started occasionally riding his bike to work too. Another wants me to help her figure out a route that avoids a bad patch of traffic so she can start.
Bike4Heck.com: What is your families attitude toward your commuting to work?
Kent:  My family is very supportive. My wife sometimes tries, but usually gets stranded somewhere. She has some really tough areas to get across. My family always encourages me. They have very willingly come to rescue me from under a bridge somewhere when occasional downpours strand me in some out of the way spot. However, they very reasonably insist I carry a phone, use lights, carry tools, keep a clean water bottle, and wear a helmet.
Bike4Heck.com: Besides riding to work have you ridden to other places for transportation by bicycle?
Kent:  The greenbelt linear parks have been a huge success for San Antonio. It is true to our city’s historical decision to keep the downtown river unpaved, which became the famous River Walk. With the success of the bike paths along tributaries of the San Antonio River, and the bike paths along the Eagle Land and Mission Reach, and the heavily used pay per use bikes downtown, San Antonio has finally developed the capacity for good biking. However, most roads  I use are still really dangerous to bike. Because the roads aren’t always built to accommodate, bikes, motorists are sometimes reactive to a biker for reasons I won’t speculate on at this time. At my school, the students will use the bikes we get from our grant to bike to several ponds in the area of our school to observe and record environmental measurements correlated to our tree planting habitat restoration project ACORN (Alamo-area Children Organized to Replant Natives.) It saves the instructional time spent walking, allows visiting two additional pond sites, teaches bike safety and usage, and provides healthy exercise. When the bikes are in place later this fall, we can use them in PE, the bike rodeo, during the above mentioned Creek Patrols and for our new bike club ‘Cycles in Nature’.
Bike4Heck.com: Do you see other cyclists on your commute? Do you have a relationship with them?
Kent:  I do see other bikers along my commute. I don’t know any of them. I found out while vising with Hank at the Helotes Bike Shop (now closed, alas) that the guy who always passed me in the dark like he was motorized is a professor at University of Texas San Antonio. Couldn’t get a conversation going with him though. I’ve had some luck getting some of my extended family to go riding with us. I have a nephew in 6th grade who learned how to ride a bike just so he could join us.
Bike4Heck.com: Do you commute to places other than work by bicycle?
Kent: I bike to the grocery store. As you can see from the photo, I have a very classy luggage system consisting of a milk carton secured with bike inner tubes tie downs. Since I can’t carry too many groceries that way, I have to go to the store regularly. It seems to be working out.
Bike4Heck.com: What is your bicycle of choice?
Kent:  My Schwinn Super Le Tour touring bike fits me well, allows me good leg extension, has good toe clips, very low road resistance, and a responsive Sun Tour derailleur. Going down a good hill feels like I am about to go airborne. When I go up a steep hill, it seems nearly effortless compared to my primary commuting bike in the photo. However, those skinny tires on my touring bike are too susceptible to flats. The fast clip of the speedy touring bike, when combined with down time to fix a flat, like the fable of the Tortoise and Hare, consistently loses the race to my clunky and tortoise-like off-road bike when commuting.

Oct 01

Bicycle Astronomy at National Night Out


Oct. 1st in Texas was the National Night Out where neighbors were encouraged to go out and talk with one another. My neighborhood decided to have gathering on one of the streets and have a small BBQ.

I decided to take the opportunity to do “bicycle astronomy” the term coined by Doug Riley of http://bicycleastronomy.org/. The event started a little before Sundown so I started off with a tripod and a Coronado PST (solar telescope).

Once the sun was too low to view I decided to pedal on back to the house and put the 10″ dobsonian on the Yuba Mundo cargo bike and return to show Venus through the telescope. All in all I had about 20 people look through the telescope, not many but it was a good start. On the Yuba Mundo I was able to carry 2 folding chairs, a step stool, the 10″ dobsonian Optical Tube and the base, Eyepieces and a Tel-Rad.

The two objects targeted were Venus and the Sun.

Sep 07

Bicycle Lover – A San Antonio Short Film & Bike4heck Updates

Short Update:
As an elementary teacher this is an extremely busy time of the year here at Bike4Heck.com. We have been devoting much of our energy to getting started with the school year since late July. As we settle into the school year I’m looking forward to writing more for the blog. I have an update on the Yuba Mundo with it’s newly installed custom kickstand from Steve Bode of Yuba Bicycles. Also, more Yuba Mundo cargo bike news is that I’m toying around with the idea of a modular BBQ setup for the Yuba! Can anyone say picnic bike!!

Also, expect interviews from San Antonio cyclists/commuters as well as other cyclists across the world!

Site Housekeeping:
After taking down the requirements to register before commenting on a post a little over a month ago I’ve been flooded with 1,800+ Spam comments and thus I’m reluctantly re-issuing the registration requirement. I hate to do this but the robospam bots have been hitting the site hard since it was featured nationally on Yuba Bicycles blog a while back.

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