May 22, 2020

Bicycled with a friend and how good am I on a bike?

6:29 AM (of Saturday, May 23rd 2020)

Today is Friday, May 22nd 2020 and the week felt like it had gone by so fast. It's already Friday, the last day of the weekdays and after work is done today then I have several days free to do whatever I want.

Morning Video

Like I wrote about last night, this morning was first going to be used on making a video. I woke up at 6 AM, updated all my logs, and then worked on creating the video right away. I recorded several takes for the video, it literally took me 2-3 hours, and I was dissatisfied with all the results and so I ended up not uploading anything.Overall the topic for the video was pretty open-ended (it was about free time), and I didn't know exactly what to say or what my exact opinions of some things were, so possibly some of the things I said were pretty weak.


Anyway after that, work started. I just worked like normal, pretty much the same as any other working day. I didn't realize it was going to be a three day weekend this weekend until I got an email telling me to enjoy my three day weekend. Oh shoot, it's a three day weekend?! What am I going to do?! During work a friend texted me asking if I wanted to go biking with him. I was like heck yeah, and after work I went over to his place to bicycle.

Cycling with Friend

I had to fit my bike into my car, and then went out. It was seriously one of the best bicycling sessions I've ever had. I didn't start my fitness tracker unfortunately and didn't track what I did, but I bicycled for over two hours, we went to a lot of places, majority of it was slow riding, but I also started up a lot of fast sprints and such. There were so many twists and turns.

We just went around his neighborhood and the area around his neighborhood. He has a really great area to bicycle around, there are so many places to go. I thought my neighborhood was pretty good because there were some twists and turns I could practice my bike handling with, but his has a lot more through several connected neighborhoods and connected paths.

I guess one weakness for his area is that his didn't have any hills at all. He took me to the two hardest hills in the area, he calls them the two hardest, and they were so easy. So very easy. These hills are not comparable to the hard hill I wrote about a bunch of times. I would equate that hard hill to climbing a mountain basically, because it's a very steep incline up, and you have to go quite some distance. It probably takes 1-2 minutes to get up on top of, maybe longer, I never timed myself going up. The hills he took me to you could traverse in like 5 seconds total, if that. They were steep hills but they were just such a short distance. Basically the hard hill I keep mentioning is roughly as steep as the hills he took me to, but so much longer. Cars have trouble going up this hard hill I keep mentioning.

Anyway we went to a bunch of areas and had so much fun. We bicycled for around 2 hours or over two hours. We also took some breaks every now and then and talked about how our lives were doing. For me there's nothing new. I can't think of anything new. For him he says he does new things every day, which is cool. He shared with me some of the new things he's been doing, and I thought those were also pretty much normal things too. If I used his definition of "new" for what's new, then yeah I would probably have a lot to say too. My definition for new though is like, anything different? For me, no, I don't think so anyway. None of the things I do on a daily basis seem much different than any other day. I did start bicycling, so I guess that's new, but he knows that, so I couldn't have said that was a new thing.

At the very end I started doing lots of sprints on the bike and he couldn't keep up. He was on a much heavier mountain bike though so that was to be expected, however, I really wonder if I can keep up with some very advanced cyclists. I still so far haven't seen anyone else do that hard hill I keep writing about, and there's been no one on a bike that has impressed me with their speed and no one I felt like I couldn't catch up to and pass or even hang with on a bike. There was one road cyclist wearing special cycling gear like spandex jersey that passed us today, he was going very fast, and I still felt like I could have caught up to and even passed him.

When I sprinted several times today, each time I left my friend in the dust. I waited for him to catch up, and then I sprinted off again. I would open up 20-40 second gaps during each power burst sprint, I would have to come to a near stop and wait before he caught up. Not saying he's bad at cycling or anything, just describing what happened, again we ride completely different bike types and my road bike makes roads and sidewalks my specialty. He has far better bike handling skills than me for sure and can go on terrains I cannot go on with my road bike.

How good am I on a bike?

I just feel like I have so much power on a bike. I have no idea what my power output watts are or anything though. I would buy a power meter but they're like $800 minimum, especially right now during quarantine where even used ones are selling for like $400 just because they're sold out everywhere. So I don't think I'm getting a power meter anytime soon, but seriously. I feel like maybe I'm approaching some possible records here? Maybe I have dunning-krueger and I'm thinking I'm so good even though I'm a beginner? I mean for bike handling I know I suck. I can see my obvious weaknesses with some turns such as a right U-Turn and very short sharp right turns.

But I'm basing how good I think I am, based on others around me. I still have not encountered any cyclist I've been intimidated by, or any other cyclist that has climbed up this hill I'm talking about. Everyone around me also seem to struggle on easier hills I conquer so easily. Maybe I should go to the serious trails, where there are a lot of cyclists in spandex cycling around. Maybe there I'd feel like I don't stand a chance against any of these guys. But I just encountered one of those types today, and I wasn't intimidated by his speed either. According to my fitness tracker the fastest speeds I've gone was like 26 mph and my average speeds are over 11 mph, which isn't that fast I guess, but literally the majority of the time I'm on the sidewalk, going over lots of bumps, and many many people to pass by. So many people. I have to slow down and stop at least once every 30 seconds to 1 minute that I'm on the sidewalk.

The bumps are also one of my biggest weaknesses. There's this one long block that is probably the length of 3-5 average blocks, and there are so many triangular bumps on that sidewalk due to what looks like an earthquake and trees pushing up the concrete. That block is so annoying to go over because I have to brake a little each time I go over those bumps and there are so many. So that part slows me down a lot.

Also I already mentioned it, but the sidewalks can fit 1-2 people at most, and most of the time people are walking in the center of the sidewalk, so I have to notify them so that they scooch a bit to let me pass, and I have to get closer and slow down to do that. When people are walking towards me then obviously they see, and they scooch, but if they're walking in the same direction I'm going with their backs towards me, then they can't see me approaching and I have to give an audible cue so that they scooch.

Anyway, I blame those factors as the reason why my average speed is 11+ mph and that my max speed has only been 26+ mph. So I don't know if I'm exceptional or even above average, but it seriously feels that way. Mainly due to seeing people struggling on easy hills, mainly due to not seeing anyone I could not catch up to and pass or even keep up with on a bike.

Like I said my friend took me to the two hardest hills in his area, and for one of the hills he thought my secret technique to going up so easily was because I sped up before going up to climb it, I was like no I didn't even try, so I demonstrated to him again from the bottom, starting at a standstill, and it was still so easy. Again we have different bikes completely, so it's not comparable, but still, even other people on road bikes struggle at hills I find so easy!!

My bike handling skills do suck though, I can guarantee that. My friend is much better than me at turns, because there were so many squiggly turns and sharp turns and ups and down in his neighborhood, and as he lead the way I braked and slowed down on a lot of these hard turns for me while he kept going without slowing down. Yeah I need to work on my bike handling.

You know what I feel like doing? Just waiting at one of these more difficult hills in my neighborhood, and waiting for another cyclist. Just standing there at the bottom, waiting. Then when one of them comes by to try and climb, I'll just climb with them, to gauge whether my climbing ability is exceptional or not. Because there are no hill ascends I find challenging, but, but, everyone around me struggles at basically every hill. I mean they might not feel like they're struggling, but from my perspective, because they ascend so it slowly, because they have to stand up on their bikes to climb, to me that looks like struggling. I do every hill while seated, and at fast speeds.

I can see two hills from my room window and I see people going over them all the time. There is this usual "apex" point near the top of these shorter hills where everyone without exception slows down and in most cases they now have to stand on their bikes to climb it. By stand, I mean they get out of their seat, and they do the Dance Like Lance technique to get up that final part of the hill. Well, I do both of those hills that I can see out of my window while seated the entire time going at roughly the same speeds the entire time, even at the "apex" that everyone slows down and stands up on. I just go up so easily, like a freaking motor, there is not a single part that I find difficulty. It is so easy. But again, literally everyone from my window, everyone struggles!!!! It's so frustrating, am I exceptional on a bike??? I really don't know, but again, just from my observation and from personal experience with the locals, I feel like I am very good on a bike (apart from my handling).

A hill I could not climb

At the end of my friend and I's cycling session, he took me to a grass hill that I could not climb. He climbed it by attacking at an angle though, and that was nice. I tried to just climb the steepest parts by going straight up because doing the angle method took too much bike handling skill for me. Honestly if it were road, I would be able to climb it so easily. even the absolute steepest part. It's grass though, and it was dark out, and there were a bunch of holes in the grass which I didn't know about. But it was a very steep hill because I tried it the way I always do hills, while seated, and the front of the bike lifted upwards and I almost fell backwards. Props to my friend for being able to do this hill which I could not. I feel like I have too much fear and much weaker bike handling ability to do this hill, I need more practice and experience before I can try this hill again.

Anyway that was my day today. I'm looking forward to the three day weekend. What am I going to do?

Written by JustMegawatt

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