I paddled a bit, dragon boat and outrigger 2007-2012. And I have walked a lot, and hiked
In January 2011, I had a medical emergency. After I left hospital in February I started to cycle again. I started regular walks on well-groomed trails to work on balance and stamina. I went back to dragon boating for one season in 2012, which cut into my time for hikes and rides, and was not useful as a fitness activity. In the winter 2012-13 I began to have stiffness in joints and other arthritis symptoms.
Mainly I cycle. I cycled as a teenager and came back to it about 2002. My bikes:
- Kuwahara Apollo, a road bike with a Chromo-moly frame, purchased around 1980. It has many original components including Shimano 600 cranks and shifters. I added a longer seat post in 2005, and a replacement stem to get the fit of the bike right. In 2015, Shimano PD-A530 pedals (SPD cleat).
- Giant Yukon. Originally a hard tailed aluminum mountain bike, a stiff, fat-tired, 26 inch wheel bike. I could call it a quasi hybrid if I had new wheels and thinner tires. I changed cranks, chainrings, hubs, pedals, changed the stem, added bar ends in 2004. I replaced the seat in 2005. I changed the cranks and chainrings again in 2009. I gave it away when I upgraded.
- Trek FX 7.4, a hybrid (700 x 32 wheels) purchased in 2015. I added the Trek kickstand, a rack and the stem-mounted light. I put one my old Cat Eye Mity 8 odometer on it, and my Shimano PD-M324 pedals, which have clips for the SPD cleats on one side.
On my visits to Winnipeg 2006-2014, I borrowed bikes from Mike a couple times.
A helmet is a necessity, and a light helmet with good airflow is worthwhile.Good shorts with a (modern, synthetic) chamois are vital. For summer, a light jersey in a wicking fabric. At one time most of my clothing was purchased at Mountain Equipment Coop, which is dependable for some kinds of clothing, tools, tubes and some repair parts and replacement components. I have replaced with better clothes purchased from specialty stores.
A small bell is useful for riding trails and paths shared with runners, skaters, dog-walkers, pedestrians and other cyclists. Some are in their moment, listening to music, hearing impaired or indifferent to the possibility of being overtaken.
I went to clipless pedals on my Giant and cycling shoes with cleats in 2004 or 2005. I started with Shimano SPD, the two bolt system, in the universal release mode, with a low end Sidi mountain bike shoe. I have tried the black cleat too, but didn’t like. I couldn’t find a good wide shoe at MEC so I went a size too large in my first shoes. I should have had a proper fitting shoe. I changed to the Lake 90 shoe in 2010, an inexpensive lace up shoe that fits me well, takes the SPD cleat, and has a rigid composite sole. This suits the riding I do. In 2007, over the winter, I bought the Look style Ultegra pedals for my road bike, and (on sale) Carnac road shoes and Shimano SPD-SL (Look Style) cleats to go with the new pedals. I never got comfortable with that system. I changed to Shimano PD-A530 which has clips for the SPD cleat on one side in 2015.
I change the cranks on the Giant in 2004 was to upgrade from the factory Suntour cranks and to customize the rings. I did not see a problem in purchasing the 185 mm cranks that the bike store had in stock. At first I didn’t see the problem, which is that I am not tall enough for long cranks. My Apollo felt better because, among other things, I had 180 mm cranks. The original seat on my Giant broke down gradually in 2005, which meant my right hip was lower than my left for at least a couple of months and several hundred k.
The FX has a better seat. I have tended to get numb or tingling hands, and had an experience with carpal tunnel in 2007, due to seat alignment and handlebar height, which had me with too much weight on my hands. I am fussy about crank length, seat position, headset and handlebar height and position, and cleat position and alignment. Getting any of the above wrong means discomfort and pain, and fighting the pain makes it worse.
I put fenders on the FX in 2017 to ride on days with showers or moisture on the road or trail.
I have a back rack and a rack pack – I like to carry a replacement inner tube and a pump and some tools. Self reliance and hard to get a cab for a ride home when I am not sure where the nearest cross road is.