Category Archives: Just for fun

Fat Biking in Alaska (with video)

What a great trail!

What a great trail!

I’m back, and I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything recently. I had a family emergency which caused me to be without my regular computer for some time. Now I’m back, and everything is fine!

Now for biking… I was able to borrow my Dad’s fat bike (an Alaskan made Fatback) and go off-road trail riding. I took a video and snapped two pictures to announce being back and ready to write more here!

The roads around Fairbanks are extremely icy at the moment so commuting from my house to town on any bike would be dangerous (I suppose that’s what I get for living out in the hills). I guess in the meantime I’ll just be enjoying trail tours near my house.

The trail ride was on the Isberg/Cripple Creek multi-use trail system directly off Isberg Road in Fairbanks, Alaska. The bike performed very well on the slightly packed down snow; it handled cornering at high speeds, fast descents were comfortable, and ascents were easy with no slipping (see video).

 

Homeless and Hot: A touring cyclist’s tale

While I was on my tours I would often think of this:

To an everyday citizen who happens to see me – I probably look as if I just crawled out from underneath a bridge. The smell of sweat, musky clothing, and wilderness matter follows me where ever I roam. I wear clothing which was likely picked up at a local secondhand store during the dollar days sale. In fact, I probably look as if I’m living on 5$ per day or less…

…Wait a minute, I do when I’m on tour.

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Now my view of what other people thought of me was often backed by some common occurrences, such as, people telling me where the nearest homeless shelters were, inviting me in to the soup kitchen, asking if I was alright when I was sitting along the side of the road eating lunch, and inviting me to have a properly made dinner in their homes… this, however, just may be the kindness of the people in the world!

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But then… there were other occurrences… and these ones made me feel like I was hot stuff on the bike. They even overrode my thought of people thinking I was homeless. This is a confidence boost every tour.

The first occurrence:

This was on my 2 day tour to Denali National Park. I was on my way to Denali when a car beeped its horn a couple of times and slowed down to my pace and a bunch of girls were cheering out their windows.

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The second occurrence:

This was on the same 2 day tour to Denali National Park, but was when I was on my way back home. I stopped in Nenana for a hot dog when a local girl came up to me to talk, and ended up asking me out. If I was smarter maybe I would’ve stayed for the date, but I declined.

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The third occurrence:

On my cross-country journey I stopped in a campground and when to fill up my water bottles when I ran into a group of older women near the water pump. They were traveling in a caravan of campers and were (uncomfortably interested in what I had to say) wooing at everything I said…. This was my only encounter with woo-grandmas in my life. It was interesting.

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The fourth occurrence:

I was locking up my bike while I was on my cross-country journey and someone soon pulled their car to the side of the road and was staring at me. When I noticed she zoomed off to her parking spot, and got out of her car. When she walked past me she said “Sorry about that. It’s not everyday there is a hot man around here.” I laughed and thanked her.

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The fifth occurrence:

This was right after I was hit by a car in Stillwater, Minnesota. I was gathering up my gear that was scattered around the road and people were coming up to me to see if I was okay. Then a girl about my age came out of the shop she was working in and said I could wait in there. She ended up asking if I wanted to go out that night before I had to leave.

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After coming home from these tours where I’m asked out I always wonder why I was, because my clothes reek of homelessness or what some girls would consider the manliness of cycling.

So what is a touring cyclist? Homeless? Hot? Both? Neither? I don’t know. I suppose it can go both ways.
*A quick note about the pictures: I did not ever sleep under a bridge, ask for money, take soup, eat a hamburger, eat someone’s wife’s famous spaghetti, have something dripping from my hot dog in Nenana (that I was aware of), flexed for a wooing group of grandmas, or bent my bike as badly as it is shown in the picture. These pictures were for entertainment only.

What’s my cycling “fuel economy”?

Welcome to North Dakota!

People always say bikes have unlimited miles to the gallon, but is this truly the case? Probably not.

Why? Because what powers a car is the energy the gasoline produces not the gas itself. This is interesting because a basic unit of energy is a joule (J) or calorie (kcal). In fact 1 kcal = approx. 1.184 J. However, we’ll stick to the most recognized unit of energy, a calorie.

According to convertunits the amount of calories in a gallon of gasoline is approx 31500 kcal/gallon of gas.

From my experience using a heart rate monitor,  my efficiency goes up and down do to wind direction/speed, tires being pumped up 100%, and other factors. We will ignore all factors except for my weight 160lbs, and assume my average riding speed is 20mph on flats with no wind. For each pound at this speed I lose .25kcal/mile (general rule of thumb I’ve seen many places…here’s the livestrong analysis); therefore, I burn 40kcal/mile – This has been confirmed with my heart rate monitor.

(35100kcal/gallon) / (40kcal/mi) = 787.5mi/gallon = 787.5mpg

Therefore, if I was able to drink gasoline without dying I’d be able to ride 787.5 miles for every gallon I drink… I have yet to see a more efficient motor.

DO NOT DRINK GASOLINE – IT CAN KILL YOU

* These calculations are for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy!

Check out my running fuel economy here.