Traveling by Bicycle Across America

Category: Training Ride

Rides into the wind are always longer than rides with the wind at your back

Yesterday was my last training ride before I leave for Anacortes, WA. I only rode about 35 miles. With winds SW at 20 to 21 mph and gusts 28-30 mph, it was a tough ride. At one point a gust hit me, making it seem like someone put on the brakes. I was crawling at just 7 mph at times. On the way east – just about two miles – I could revive some. Going North was good until I got back to Plainfield Road. The wind had shifted to the West and the road runs NW.

My training has totaled more than 3100 miles this year. I am now looking forward to the Northern Tier roads.


6.66 and Another Flat Tire

Quick patch for bicycle tube

Quick Patch

Just 6.66 miles from home on the way to meet my daughter Kate I had a flat. The quick patch worked well. Still I had another flat a few miles later. It was a tiny hole, I couldn’t hear the air leaking. I ended up switching tubes. The tire, a Specialized Transition 700c x 28 had about 4000 miles on it. It has now been replaced.

My grandsons had a chance to play in the park before we headed toward home.

Bicycle pulling trailer bike, pulling a trailer

Kate's BikeTrain

Kate gets a good workout every time she takes the boys out on this rig. She really could use some lower gears than those available on the bike she is riding. We stopped near a bicycle shop in Batavia for a picture in the geodesic dome built with bicycle wheels.

Kate and her boys in a geodesic dome

Kate and the boys

The Wind is Your Friend

Recently we have had a lot of wind in our area. I try to work out routes that let me go out into the wind and return with it behind me. It does not always work out. Some days the wind shifts against me on my return trip.

I was on a webinar listening to author and coach John Howard of John Howard Performance Sports. He said, “The Wind Is Your Friend.” Since we have to live with the conditions as they are, we might as well take advantage of them. You can ride hard into the wind then turn around and recover for a while. On my ride yesterday, the wind was up in the 30mph plus range. Gusts were reported at over 40mph. I was on the Centennial Trail and staid east of Lemont Road to have some protection provided by the woods. I just do not go as far in my training time when I have to ride into the wind. I typically have to drop into the lower gears so I can keep a reasonable cadence.

Riding into the wind, my heart rate monitor shows that I am getting a good workout. When the wind is behind me, while I go much faster, my heart rate is slower and I am not working as hard as I might.

One of the topics that comes up in planning a coast-to-coast bicycle ride, is the prevailing wind. It is west to east. I am starting in Anacortes, WA on the west coast. I am not counting on tail wind as I bike across the USA.

Trail Sightings

Swan preening on the river

Swan Preening on the River

Last week training on Centennial Trail I saw a pair of swans preening on the river. Later in the week I encountered a whitetail deer. It was about 50 yards or less from me, standing at the edge of the trail. When it saw me, it ran to the edge of the woods, stopped and turned to watch my approach. Deer are curious animals. That same day I saw a fellow in a recumbent with a full body. He was really moving. I think all of the speed records for human powered vehicles have been set by this type of bicycle.

A Flat Tire

On my training ride this afternoon I made an unscheduled stop to change a flat tire. I had been around 1800 miles this year without a flat. I inspected the outside of the tire. Seeing no signs of a puncture, and noting that the valve stem (Presta) had not been tightened, I add some air and rode a short distance before it when down again. When I removed the tube, I pumped in some air. Not finding the leak, I carefully ran my finger along the inside of the tire. The puncture was caused by a tiny thorn. Once located from the inside, I found the entry point on the tread. I was back on the road in about 15 minutes.

It was a very pleasant day other than the persistent 26mph crosswind with gusts that approached 40mph. I was on the Centennial Trail near Lemont. The trees near the river and the woods in other areas helped a lot. These tires are nearing the end of their life. Perhaps new tires will give me more flat free mile.

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