Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Biking in BDUs

I had to learn what the term BDU means, because it post dates my own service in the Armed Forces. When I worked for my Uncle Sam, I wore an all dark green outfit made of cotten sateen with a matching baseball cap. The official name for the color was Olive Green, # 107, and we call the outfit "fatigues." I was usually pretty fatigued any time I worked in them, that's for sure. Scientific advances in camouflage led to the introduction of various patterned schemes which made the wearer harder to notice against the intended background, whether it was trees, shrubs, or desert. The uniform was made of more comfortable and durable fabrics and redesigned with more pocketc and more secure pockets and a better fit that didn't tire you out, just to take a walk in them. These became known as Battle Dress Uniforms, or BDUs. They come in varieties by branch of service and by theater of usae, but they are alike enough to be recognized as a family.

Cycling apparrel has similarly changed over the years and varies by type of riding and the morphology of the rider. On today's ride a discussion of how effective a bright tail light on a bike is, as far as alerting vehicle drivers to our presence goes, digressed into a discussion of how one's jersey selection helps or hinders the same visibility. Is a light any more visible than a bright yellow shirt, for instance? Wendell looked like a day glo golf ball in one of those yellow jerseys in fact. Joe has the ultra bright Dinotte taillight. We compared the two.
140R-AA-R Taillight You can see this from at least 1/2 mile back in daylight, and a mile a night. We judged Wendell and Joe a toss up in the day, but nodded to Joe for the night time look. This light is not cheap, but it does work. Bilee was our first rider to sport one and we called it her butt laser, as she mounted it immediately under her seat, not down on the post as shown here.

John R then noted, "And then there's Bruce, who dresses in BDUs for a bike ride." I think he meant that my dark green (OG107!) woolistic jersey and butternut shorts looked right out of an Army recruiting flysheet. Dark brown wool cycling cap and black wool socks enhanced my stealthiness, I suppose. But I enjoy old fashioned stuff. The pens I collect are mostly vintage, the bikes I ride are lugged steel, and the skinniest tire you'll find on any of them is 32 mm. (Modern road bikes run 23 - 25 mm as a rule) Today, I ran 34 mm tires in fact. Neither the outfit nor the bikes affect my rding much, except to make it more comfortable than I used to be, when I rode and dressed pretty much like everyone else still does. You might say that I've taken the road less travelled, that's all.

The ride itself was very nice. John R, John C and Jim agreed to go around 36 - 40 miles with a store stop along the way. No copperhead nipping at our heels today, but Tim came across another turtle 1/2 way across the road. He dismounted and moved to the side which had a pond nearby. This may or may not be the side of the road that the turtle was trying to reach. Of course, this may have been the same turtle from a few weeks ago, who is wondering, "When is that human going to let me get ACROSS this street and find a mate?"  Speaking of mates, Jim headed off to find the men's tree at one of our stops, and John R ran after him calling, "hey will you hold my bike?"  Where's Bill when you need him for anything? He's the designated bike holder. Anyway, after Jim and John came back from the woods together, we were sure asking them some tough questions.

We took turns in the lead and made a nice pace, without killing ourselves. This despite some headwinds that picked up in the last 15 miles due to the storm front approaching. The cylcometer tallied 38.3 miles at 15.4 avg speed, which is above my average, so it's a wonder that I am even functiional this afternoon. We pulled back into the parking lot literally minutes before raindrops began to fall, and we are all pleased on that score. No one fell, no one flatted, and no one found any dangerous wildlife. Pretty good stuff.

Next week is Father's Day. How about celebrating with a bike ride?


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