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American Flyers

American Flyers

SUMMARY: The best cycling movie I have seen.

I first saw this movie on TV many years ago. Later, when I started bike riding a little more seriously, I began to watch this movie often on VHS, to get me pumped up for a ride. This is long before Lance Armstrong was winning Tour de France championships, and making cycling more common in the USA. In the movie, the race is called The Hell Of The West, but it was based on the real life race The Coors Classic. I love the cycling footage. The acting is so-so, but I enjoyed the story, and there is quite a bit humor in the film. It is a relatively early role for Kevin Costner. Alexandra Paul is amazingly cute in this movie too. I have watched this movie countless times. After about 13 years without a bike, I am just now getting back to doing some bike riding. I now have a mountain bike, but I do miss my old Trek road bike. I miss flying down a hill at close to 60 miles per hour! I haven’t tried that on the mountain bike yet. Anyway…I recently watched this movie again while doings some miles on my treadmill. I don’t think it has lost anything. It is a thoroughly enjoyable movie. (parents beware, there is a small touch of female nudity in the movie).
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As I have said previously, I don’t usually wear a bike helmet. But since I am signed up to race in a duathlon, I will probably need one. I stopped in at the local sporting goods store at lunch time to look at helmets. The first one I tried was a Bell Solar. It looked to be the cheapest at $29.99. After I adjusted the helmet, it was actually kind of comfortable. I am familiar with Bell from their motorcycle helmets. I know they make some good ones. An employee came over, and was showing me the Giro Gila. He said it had been their most expensive helmet, but had been marked down to $39.99. He said it was a very good helmet. It had a visor which might be nice. I like the idea of get a good price on a quality item. I tried on the large size Giro Gila helmet. It took me a little bit to figure out how to adjust the helmet. It felt very loose side-to-side. I tried on a medium size Giro Gila helmet, or at least attempted to. I couldn’t get it on at all. The Gila did come with sizing pads, though I am not sure how well they would have worked. I would have hated to buy the helmet, put in the pads, and find that it still didn’t fit well. I went back and tried the Bell Solar, and it was way more comfortable than the Giro Gila. While the Giro Gila may be a better helmet and have a visor, if it is completely uncomfortable to wear, it is not much of a bargain. I will take the less expensive Bell Solar. I did get a white helmet, so that if I decide to wear a helmet sometimes, such as at night, it will be more visible.

After running 11 miles earlier today, and then doing a 2 hour karate class (as well as running 7 miles yesterday, and riding 10 miles), I decided I wanted to go for a bike ride. I bought a Planet Bike 5000X bike light, but hadn’t used it yet. Tonight was the night. I changed clothes, took my bike out, and got ready to go. The light has two levels of light, but I left it on the lower level. Since much of my ride was on the shoulder of a road that I have ridden and run before, I didn’t feel I needed the brighter light setting. If I were on trails, I would probably use the brighter setting.
I had planned to take a leisurely ride, but ended up going aggressively. It was fun. I rode the 5.5 miles to the Burger King, ate some food, and then rode home. Well, rode most of the way home. My legs are kind of toasted, and I was having a hard time keeping going up the hill, that I finally got off, and pushed the bike at a couple of the steepest parts.
Whew, I am tired! Tomorrow night is more of a rest night. No running, no riding. Only an hour long Aikido class.
Tuesdays I normally have a karate class, but no class this week due to Columbus Day. I still am supposed to run 4 miles Tuesday night, so I may go for another night bike ride.

My Cateye Micro bike computer came in the mail yesterday. I unpacked it, and there weren’t that many parts. The instructions were on one big sheet of paper (about 2 feet by 1.5 feet), and included a dozen different languages including English. Most of the important installation instructions were done in pictures with arrows. The first set of pictures show the actual install. First, they show how to mount the bracket on either handlebar, or the stem. Next they show how to mount the magnet on a spoke, and the speed sensor on the fork. The bracket and the sensor are attached using zip-ties. Installation is pretty easy once you figure out the instructions which are a little confusing.
On the other side of the sheet are a set of diagrams showing how the set up the bike computer for use. First you need to press the All Clear button. Next, you need to choose whether you want the speed to be in km/h or mph. Then you need to set the wheel circumference in mm. Fortunately, they have a chart that gives you the number based on the tire size. For example, my mountain bike has a tire size of 26 x 1.95 which gives me the number 2050. Then I entered the number using the mode button to increment the current digit, and the start/stop button the move to a different digit. After I entered the number 2050, I hit the menu button to end. Another part of the instruction diagrams show how to set the time, and flow through the different bike computer modes.
Now I am looking forward to taking me bike out for a ride. Hopefully tomorrow I will get a chance. I already have plans for tonight. But maybe tomorrow after Aikido class, and after I do my 7 mile run, I can mount my new bike rack on my car, then take my bike for a ride along the canal path.

I have never worn a bike helmet. When I was a kid, I rode my stingray bike everywhere without a helmet. We used to jump over ramps, and go flying down steep hills, and doing all kinds of crazy things with no problems. Later, I rode many miles on my road bikes with no problems. I usually wear a cycling cap, or a baseball cap. When I have ridden motorcycles (street and dirt bikes), I have always worn a helmet. But when I am riding a bicycle, I am usally not riding nearly as fast. But not wearing a helmet is my choice. In New York, kids have to wear helmets, but adults are not required to. I will probably buy a helmet though. I am interested in racing in a duathlon, and see that they require a helmet.
I look at many of these laws and regulations with amusement, and think sarcastically “how did we survive our childhoods without all of these new laws?”

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