All posts by Kit

My other bike: Mechashark!

I’ve given love to my fast bike, Emu, so it’s time to give some love to my slow bike, Mechashark!

It’s a 2014 TerraTrike Rambler.  I got it because, well, at the time I was nearly four hundred pounds, and there aren’t a lot of bikes that can hold a dude that big.  This is the bike that got me over the initial hump of weight loss so I could move on to faster bikes and longer rides.

Now, it’s the ride I use for more casual stuff and local errands.  I’m now a strong enough rider that this bike is useful so I’m not constantly champing at the bit, looking to go ahead of people, so it’s usually the bike I use when riding with other people!

Initially, it was named Shark, but I installed an FSA Metropolis Patterson front drive to increase the gear range:

Now, the front tooth serves both as a 28-tooth ring and a 45-tooth ring.  With the internally geared hub in back, I can spin up to about 20 miles per hour with favorable conditions – which is enough for most rides!

It also has a bike computer mount and a light mount in front.  It’s the bike I prefer to ride at night because of its stability:

Seen from the back, that’s where I put my water and groceries.  The bags hold about two plastic grocery bags worth of stuff, so I do much of our shopping on Mechashark!

The bike is also equipped with fenders for when it’s wet outside, making it my de facto all-weather bike.

While not as sexy as Emu, I’ll always have a fond spot in my heart for Mechashark because it started me on the road to cycling.  So I’m very happy to have found additional uses for the bike in my day-to-day life.

Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner review – it’s a history of the CIA!

I have finished reading Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner. I found it to be a very odd book.

On the one hand, I have no fault for Weiner’s research. Since I’ve been following the CIA for a while, much of it was known to me, but seeing it collected in one spot was moving – the CIA has done so much evil.

On the other hand, Weiner doesn’t follow his research to the obvious conclusion: that the CIA never worked, and never will, that people operating in secret cannot be trusted, and secret services are a threat to democracy and global stability. Which is to say, the CIA should be shut down for the good of the United States and the world.

Continue reading Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner review – it’s a history of the CIA!

Nearly Quit Writing This Week

I almost quit writing this past week. Art is a very rough road, and there are no clear signs to “success.” Effort and ability are not enough. I’ve got a bookshelf and tablet full of indie writers who have gone through the considerable effort of writing and publishing their works – but the truth is that few people are likely to read what they write. It is as I said: hard work and ability aren’t enough.

The flat truth: the number of writers in any given market are increasing at a much faster pace than the number of readers. The limited amount of time and money the audience has is being more finely distributed over an ever-increasing number of authors. So bad is it that it is considered de rigeur for indie writers to pay promotional sites to give away their books. It is a reader’s market, and for the readers it’s great! They get to read to their heart’s content and not pay a dime, to have a plethora of high-quality work for free, indeed, the expense is borne by the writer, not the consumer.

Continue reading Nearly Quit Writing This Week

Weight Loss Monday (on, y’know, Wednesday), Part 9

I lost about three-fourths of a pound over the last week, which is slow for me, but there was a big contributing factor: I was at a convention. Four days! This is going to be an issue, I think. It’s very easy, at cons and shows, to rationalize overeating. Since I’m an introvert, cons are inherently stressful. I enjoy them, but there is stress. So when I’m at a gas station, and I see some candy, I get it. And then, because I don’t have access to my kitchen, I end up eating at a restaurant, which rarely has healthy choices. And if I go out with other people? Add some beer into the mix. Lastly, at cons, I don’t exercise – no bike, no gym. So, duh, it’s harder to lose weight at a convention!

However, I managed to do it, if only a little.  So, yay!  Hashtag goals or somesuch.

Still, before the con, I did ride 94.8 miles that week, though I didn’t do any lifting.

Which is a boring update, which is probably why it’s so late!

Weight Loss Tuesday, Part 9

Bike stats! In the last week, I rode 224.38 miles. I lost 3.8 pounds – I gained weight last time, and I did want to reverse THAT trend, thus the two hundred miles of riding in a week. I didn’t lift but. . . 224.38 miles on my bike in seven days! Forgive me that “lapse!”

In the coming week, I won’t get much riding done.  I messed up the XStream a bit – the problem with fiddling with things is somethings you get in over your head.  The bike isn’t damaged, but if I ride it in its current state it could become damaged, and since I’m going to be leaving Thursday for InConJunction. . . well, it won’t get fixed until next week.  My workout next week will be light.

Continue reading Weight Loss Tuesday, Part 9

Presenting my new ride: the Rans XStream

My, aren’t you a sexy beast!

And, now, for the Rans XStream. First, I include pictures because the X-Stream is a fine looking bike. Note the Zipp 404 wheel in front! It’s also got Q-Rings and a low-profile, aero front brake with the Shimano 105! That bag behind the seat isn’t just convenient to hold things, it also makes the bike more aerodynamic, saving about 7 watts at 24 miles per hour! I can even GET to 24 miles on hour on this bike! The seat angle is about as low as it can go on this bike, which is about thirty degrees!

Continue reading Presenting my new ride: the Rans XStream

Fare thee well, Cruzbike, adieu, adieu

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I. . . got another new bike. Well, a new used bike. A Rans X-Stream.

One might be asking, “Kit, what happened to the Cruzbike Sofrider v3?” Good question! Here is my review of the Cruzbike Sofrider v3.

I rode the Sofrider for almost exactly four weeks. During that time, though, I rode it thirty times for a distance of approximately 650 miles. Without a doubt, it is a faster bike than my Sun Bike EZ-Racer, which I rode before it. I can claim without hesitation or reservation that, indeed, Cruzbikes are climbers. I saw increases uphill in the 30% range, and the Sofrider was just faster everywhere else, too. Like all recumbents, it is a comfortable bike, too, though it wasn’t until the end that I got everything dialed in. Pro tip: if you’re not comfortable on a recumbent from day one, seek advice!

Continue reading Fare thee well, Cruzbike, adieu, adieu

Weight Loss Monday, Part 8, with weight GAIN!

I crossed a couple of thresholds this workout period. Since starting this experiment eight weeks ago, I’ve ridden over a thousand miles and burned over one hundred thousand calories on those rides. Which means I’m riding an average of 132 miles a week! I think that’s pretty cool, even if. . .

This past week, I rode 132.2 miles, worked out for 120 minutes, burned 15,780 calories and GAINED, yes, gained 1.8 pounds.

It is an object lesson on the importance of diet. No matter how much you exercise, you can sabotage yourself with diet.

Continue reading Weight Loss Monday, Part 8, with weight GAIN!

Weight Loss Monday, Part 7

The best news is that when taking my blood pressure and pulse, my BP was 106/72 and my resting pulse was 62.  Not only am I losing weight, my cardio fitness is great!  It’s weird to me that I don’t have the body of an athlete (albeit a weekend warrior), but the abilities of one.

Last week, I rode 118.3 miles and lifted twice for a recorded time of 120 minutes, which burned 13,235 calories according to Map My Ride. I lost 2.6 pounds, which is 1 pound for every 5,090 calories.

Continue reading Weight Loss Monday, Part 7