Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Out For a Winter Fixed Gear Ride

A few days of mild weather has melted all the snow from this past weekend's storm. I was off from both the office and hospital. At a maximum temperature of 42 degrees Farenheit and clear sunny skies, it was a great day to take out Miss Pinarello for a spin on the South Fork of Long Island. This was a typical 40 mile ride from Southampton to Easthampton and back, the return made more difficult by a 20mph headwind coming from the west. This ride is very scenic, including huge mansions, uncrowded roads, and lots of water views.
This ride is on flat to gently rolling terrain, and perfect for a fixed gear bike. I have been riding fixed as well as geared bikes together for about two and a half years. Switching between them seems to cause my body no confusion during the interchange of riding styles. Among the many advantages of riding fixed gear in the winter are: less maintinance, silent geartrain, smoother rotation of the legs, superior low speed handling, and extra warmth on cold riding days. I will say that fixed gear riding has become my first choice, except when the course is hilly. It gives you a sense of purity, connection with the machine, and a great workout when time constrained. Unfortunately, it is also considered cool. Unlike some who ride with no or single brakes, I consider safety first and ride with two brakes always.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Finally Some Snow ! My First Cross Country Ski of the Season

After the freak October snowstorm, we haven't had any snow to speak of. The weather has been challenging for the active cyclist, and I have not been out on the bike for about two weeks. This has been a time of relatively little physical activity, and I have been working on filing for taxes and doing darkroom work in both medium and large format photography. Yesterday we had our first substantial winter storm, which left about 4 inches of snow on the North Shore of Long Island.

It was a cold and overcast day, about 30 degrees farenheit. The snow was a little crunchy, but very skiable. I would rate it a solid 7 on a ten scale. I had a lot of fun in the fields and forest trails. My Rossignol back country skis with metal edges served me well in this area which has no tracked trails. In fact, there are not any tracked trails on Long Island that I know of. Cross country skiing is a great cardio-vascular workout for both the upper and lower body. I know that most males are watching football playoffs, but I could not resist the urge for this wonderful winter workout.
A nice passer by took a portrait of me with my skis and the open field as a backdrop. We are meeting our friends Ron and Phil in Woodstock Vermont in early February for a weekend of cross country skiing. I can't wait to ski those pristine Vermont trails of the Mount Tom network. We also need to get away for a few days. Who doesn't?