Friday, April 24

Long Distance toys

I now have several items to make long distance riding more fun, especially on long day rides of SaddleSore distance (1000 miles). Even in the range of 500 miles, these "comforts" will be good to have even if I don't use them. One item I don't use--just never felt a need for it is the Throttlemeister. I got it only because my throttle hand has a wrist that is held together with a  6 inch titanium implant. I figured the Throttlemeister might help when I needed to rest my wrist. But so far I've not felt the need to use it more than a few times. 

I am also not a listener of music on my rides. But it sure came in handy in the 800 miles phase of the SaddleSore, when it was dark and quite lonely out there. I had just enough Ipod juice to get me through the last 200+  miles. Coming back from VA recently, my Ipod got me through twelve hours of riding that Saturday. There is something comforting and relaxing about riding in the dark with love songs playing in your ear. 

This brings me to my new XM satellite portable radio. One thing I've missed on early Saturday morning rides is listening to National Public Radio, C-Span and CNN. Now, I can if I desire. My other newest toy is the Amazon Kindle. What does that have to do with riding? Well, it has to do with packing for my rides. I typically carry four books with me, which takes up far too much room. On those multiday rides when I've tried to take one book, I invariably end up going to a local bookstore and buying books! How crazy is that?! 

Nothing satisfies me more than ending a long day of riding with reading the night away. And, I've just never learned to read one book at a time.  Though I love the physical book, the smell of new--and old--pages, the whole tactile experience, I can't spare the space to tote four books with me on each trip. Initially, the Kindle felt like indulging in a forbidden pleasure, like cheating on books. I've gotten over that. I traveled with it to and from VA. In it, I carried 11 books in a package thinner than the newest Ipod and about the size of a paperback. It comes with an internal Oxford Dictionary and a Theasaurus. I can make margin notes and highlight passages of each book and store my notes as backpages to each book. It's an addicting device that promotes minimalist packing.

Riding this season is about distance + fun, which will be a huge challenge given that I work each day. I read that some mileage club distance riders, to keep in ride-shape, will take an evening or early morning ride of a few hundred miles. One rider came home from work and after dinner, would ride for three or four hours. I hope for a BunBurner this ride season, that's 1500 miles in 36 hours, which I think should be easier than the SaddleSore.  I can actually factor in a nap with the BunBurner--couldn't do that on the SaddleSore.  

At some point during the weekend I'm bound to test out the XM. With regards to my toys, I should add the new heated jacket and pants--and the bike's heated grips. All this reminds me of the adage it's better to have something and not needed it than to need it and not have it.