My new saddle is made of hard leather. It takes 200-300 miles of riding for the saddle to adjust itself to your butt. When it does, it’s supposed to feel great. Before it does, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable.
I rode my first 20 or so miles today. Even with a rock hard saddle, the ride was more comfortable. I can’t wait to feel how it rides in a few weeks.
Here’s today’s ride, A dog with a butterfly on his snout.
Brian and I rode together, which meant I wasn’t always figuring out where to turn. I think the only choice I made was to pick up that one street in Toluca Lake that’s been bugging me. I HAVE YOU NOW, WEIRD DEAD END STREET.
When I got home, I added my new toy to my bike:
Twice as heavy as my old seat, hard as a rock, and super pretty. It’s going to feel awesome… in a few hundred miles.
Cartoon dog wearing a turtleneck and smoking a pipe, or hand reaching from the grave for Santa’s boot? You be the judge.
And’s here’s a rough guess of which parts of this ride were new-to-me roads.
I guessed that there are are 3,200 miles of road in the San Fernando Valley, but I based that on a report from the City of Los Angeles that doesn’t include other cities. No Burbank, no San Fernando, no Glendale. New guess: 3,400 miles.
I had no idea how many miles of road there are in the San Fernando Valley, so I decided to try and look it up. The most recent information I could find is from this 2008 report. It says:
The City of Los Angeles has approximately 6,500 miles of … [paved] streets divided into two geographic areas, Metropolitan (53 percent) and the San Fernando Valley (47 percent). It is the responsibility of the Bureau of Street Services to maintain all streets in a perpetual good to excellent condition.
47 percent of 6,500 is 3,055. I’m sure there are more streets now than there were ten years ago, so let’s call it 3,200. I don’t have any way to figure out what percentage I’ve completed, but it’s not anywhere near that!
Tonight’s ride looks like a smiling at lost his hat.
I hear you asking: “Why the weird ride?” Here’s the thing: I’m a guy who repeats himself a lot. I find something I enjoy, and I NEVER CHANGE IT. Or I change it so slowly that it doesn’t feel like it’s changing.
So, I’m changing that. Two things that made me decide on this project:
Strava has a “Heat Map” function; it shows all the streets from every ride you’ve logged. More common streets glow brighter (that’s why it’s called a heat map) but all I care about is the log of all streets.
I read this post about a woman who plans to ride on every road in Alaska.
I’ll never ride every road in California. I’ll never even ride every road in Los Angeles. But I can ride every road in the San Fernando Valley. Will it take a long time? Sure. But I have no time limit. Right now I’m just riding on streets I don’t remember using, but pretty soon I’m going to have to start actually planning these rides or I’m going to leave a bunch of short chunks all over the place.
This is what I’ve got so far:
And this is roughly what I added today:
I have no idea how many miles of roads there are in the Valley. At least five, that’s for sure.
Tonight was less of a ride for exercise and more of an excuse for Brian and I to compare our freshly painted bikes. Mine is made to be really visible: all shiny yellows and oranges. His is Stealth Bike: matte black EVERYTHING.
My favorite part of tonight’s ride is where it looks like I’m flipping you off. (I’m not.)
When someone talks about a bike’s geometry, they’re talking about how the bike is set up to fit the rider. Frame size is a huge part of it, but other things like seat height and handlebar position make a big difference as well. People who like to go fast tend to set up bikes aggressively so they can hunker down and be really aerodynamic. People who are just riding for fun (and old fat folks like me), usually prefer a more casual, upright style.
My new bike originally belonged to someone much taller than me. Everything was set to “Big… no, BIGGER.” Today’s lesson (yes, it’s my lesson, not yours) was “if your handlebars are too far away from you’re body, you’re not going to be comfortable.” My stem (that’s the piece that holds the handlebars to the top tube of the fork) is way too large. I did most of the ride with the middle of my fingers on the handlebars. Not comfy.
But other than that the bike rides well. I just need to replace that stem (part is already ordered!) and figure out where to mount a lock and a pump. Then she’s ready for a proper long ride!