I was stupid, well stupid

Having more or less reached a happy position on my bike, I wanted to check a few final things — for comfort And I unleashed new troubles, mostly because I forgot how to measure things

Despite those fun detours, I enjoyed many smiles on the rides since the first episode two weeks ago because that’s what cycling does

Stupid Me

Remember what I concluded last time

I’m now enjoying a smooth ride

I’ve reached a decent enough position to ride continuously

I’m relieved after months of trial and error, I tamed the aluminum beast underneath me Finally, I’m ache-free, able to ride and feel the freedom riding a bike offers

I knew all of that But I still wanted to play with a few careful adjustments to see if I could maximize comfort And knowing the limits of that window that works is beneficial, I thought

The adjustments I looked at were saddle tilt and setback, followed by a few tweaks to the front end

I had the saddle ever-so-slightly tilted because of this model’s peculiar shape My comfort increased as soon as I dialed that change in early into my journey with this bike

The goal was to find out if I really needed that tilt

At the same time, I also wanted to see how different setback settings feel and if a change could make me more comfortable So I moved the saddle forward, despite not having enjoyed it when I tried it once before

Saddle discomforts appeared soon after those changes I could have returned to what had worked But I continued the experiments and lowered the saddle in multiple small increments before I was willing to accept the tilt and setback changes had led me astray

Somewhere along the way in that experiment, I started measuring fantasy distances that convinced me I was sitting higher than I had intended

And I should have known it couldn’t possibly be true

I measure saddle height the standard way center of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle But I also use a backup measurement, which I find a bit less tricky to get consistently correct, even though it doesn’t give me my saddle height

The distance from the top edge of the seat clamp to the bottom edge of the saddle rails is still useful because I can measure it more easily, with less chance of being inconsistent, and I can use the result to dial in height changes quickly

It wasn’t that number that made me realize I was moving out of the window that had worked before It should have

It was my neck and, to a very mild degree, my knee

It wasn’t as bad as before, but my neck shouting at me was an annoyance I took a minute to regroup, and I measured again By some weird magic, the measurements matched up again Indeed, I was exactly as low as I was when the neck complained the last time Well done…

I used the neck rest to sort my notes and understand where I went wrong I do now

To be continued

Cycling Sorts You Out

Despite the issues, the time since the last episode included decent riding, from a slightly sketchy off-road excursion and a beautifully relaxing harbor recovery spin to a decently hilly longer ride and a triple waste-tip climber

I used the waste tip Haniel in my training before — for running I think I never cycled up The running path I used is unsuitable for bicycles; road bikes in particular It might be a different conversation if one uses a mountain bike

I studied a map and found an alternative path It wasn’t much better

Gravel is rideable with the bike I have, as long as it’s smooth enough, not too sandy, and not too rocky This path is uneven and has sandy and rocky bits The way down wasn’t much faster than the way up

The ride was fun I can’t deny it But I won’t attempt it again There’s supposed to be a smoother path up that’s even partly asphalted, but it can only be accessed from the wooded area at the bottom of the tip Maybe I recce that path one day

The following week, I enjoyed one of the most peaceful rides since starting this journey I felt perfectly at home on the bike The morning was calm Smooth sailing to Dusiburg’s inner harbor, around, and home Seventy beautiful recovery minutes showed me I was not wrong about cycling

Sorting out the saddle issues and time issues caused disruptions, but every ride I could do improved my mood One of the longest rides recently was a 40 k loop along the river Ruhr — a peaceful early morning that took me less time than I had planned, without being harder than prescribed; promising

On the downside, though, technical glitches added to the headaches It was the last ride with my heart rate monitor because one of the connector buttons on the strap broke off I was expecting it to happen The cosmetics hadn’t been promising for some time Luckily, my watch can beam its optical heart rate measurements to my head unit It seems to work decently enough and thus suffices for the time being

That ride was decently hilly for this area Even though there aren’t any big mountains to conquer, heading in the right direction can deliver nicely rolling terrain and a few entertaining climbing challenges, at least for a beginner cyclist living in a flat part of Europe

And that doesn’t include the waste tips The one pictured above, with the Tetraeder triangle on top, is one of the best options for uninterrupted hill training

For this ride, I packed three climbs into one route twice up to the Tetraeder and once up a smaller waste tip shown in the first picture above

That smaller climb came first It’s an even shorter climb, but the gradient hits the double digits for the final bits

The Tetraeder climb follows a couple of minutes after the completed descent and offers two choices

I always used the more obvious a long left turn, about a kilometer of steady uphill

Before I tackled that traditional Tetraeder climb, I sampled a second route up Instead of the long uninterrupted street, the other side of the tip features scenic switchbacks The descent was a bit hairy, though, especially in the rainy conditions that morning Good fun

If those troubled rides are already enjoyable and sort my mood out, I can’t wait for the effect of riding when I finally feel one with my bike and can get back into proper workouts and actual long rides

That journey begins now with my first workout in ages that I plan to use to return to saddle position happiness once again

So much for this cycling update You can expect a new What I’m Reading and A Journalist’s Diary on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively The topics I’ll cover range from children in Ukraine and a different kind of profile to a police visit in Ghana that concludes the Thanksgiving parade I experienced in my time in the country The next cycling post will follow in two weeks, hopefully without bike-fit-related thoughts