Now I’m Riding With Power?

Well, I’m now riding with a power meter, I’m still slow and weak.

I’m pretty impressed with the ease of use of the 4iiii Precision. But honestly, I won’t know much more about it until I finish some books on training with power. I need to set my base level and then I’ll probably start another training program on Strava.

As far as your questions go:

1. was it easy to install? Yes- I just used a left-crank install. So that was pretty easy to do with minimal tools.

2. Is it easy to use? That’s kind of a trick question- as far as I know, yes, these numbers called power show up on my computer. So yeah, it works. It works with both my Garmin and the Strava app (but I only use the Garmin for now). But I don’t really know what the numbers mean for now. Maybe after another month and another training program then I’ll start to “get it”

3. Would I buy from 4iiii again? Sure. I mean, I know the rollout of the “self-install” ran into problems, but they took care of me pretty darn well. Do I wish I got the meter earlier? Sure, but that’s not that big a deal to me.

Feel free to ask me more questions about it if you’d like, but it’d be better for you to read the reviews/articles on sites like DC Rainmaker

Interesting Link on City Dwellers v Millennials (via @Cyclelicious)

I saw Cyclelicious tweet this the other day:

It’s a link to a PR release about a study from Zipcar and I found it pretty interesting to see findings like this:

When asked which would be the hardest to give up — a car, mobile phone, computer/tablet or TV — both urbanites (32 percent) and millennials (41 percent) picked a mobile phone as number one, whereas suburban (41 percent) and rural (43 percent) residents chose a car as number one;

Granted, I’m too old to be a millennial and I also associate the term with negative connotations. So I don’t care much about the millennial aspect, but I do like the transportation and mobile usage insights.

As you saw from my previous post I was able to give up my car- although not by my choice. That’s why I latched on to the study. What do you think?

Now, before you say anything, yes, I went through to the links/study in the press release. The online “study” is really a poll and it’s written kind of strangely for clicks. I haven’t gone through the full slideshow of the KRC results.

Car(less) Update

Someone painted a fake redzone on the curb and gave this car a fake ticket.
Someone painted a fake redzone on the curb and gave this car a fake ticket. This doesn’t really have much to do with my post, but it’s the kind of crap you have to put up with in SF

Some of you have asked about how I’ve been faring without a car. Mine was stolen back in December/January and then later recovered by the SFPD. But it was messed up enough to have it “totaled” by the insurance company. So I’ve been carless for almost four months now.

So here are the answers to most of your questions (I may have missed one or two).

Did you buy another car?
No, I didn’t buy a car. I don’t really need one (for now), so I’m not in a rush to go out and replace mine. (See the last paragraph)

What’d you do with the insurance money?
I took the insurance money and put it in an account that I can’t easily withdraw from to keep me from spending the money. I also pay that account with a fake “car payment” every month.

So you’re rolling in cash?
Uh, no. My spending on Uber and Flywheel has gone up. Granted, a lot of that usage was over the holidays when I was going to/from parties where I wouldn’t have driven anyways. Also they were some nice parties or nights out where I didn’t want to ruin my happy buzz by riding on the 38 to go home. My spending trend has gone lower since January

What’s the plan then?
My original plan was to go six months without getting another car. It’s been four months, so I’ll re-evaluate in two months. I’ll probably keep going and try to go carless for a year.

How do you get groceries/run errand/etc?
Groceries? I walk over to Clement St, or ride my bike to Safeway. Or I get stuff at the Farmer’s Market near my place on Sundays.
Errands? It depends what I need to do, but I usually just run my errands on my bike or the bus.
What about those boxes I get at work? Oh, that’s usually wine. I put the wine in my wine carrier bags and then take six bottles home the next time I take the bus and leave the remaining bottles at work until the next bus ride.

But don’t you miss having a car?
No…… and yes.
Most of the time I don’t miss having it. I don’t miss trying to find parking. I don’t miss moving the car, or checking it at night or in the morning to make sure I’m not in a 2nd Monday/Wednesday cleaning spot. It’s REALLY nice not having to worry about it.

But sure, I have missed it at times:
I missed it twice when I house sat in the East Bay (because I wanted to take a HUGE load of laundry to the house, and I was nervous about driving my friends’ cars).
I’ve missed it a few times when I wanted to go to the South Bay to visit friends.
I missed it when I wanted to pick up my gf when she was sick and take her to the doc’s (I wound up taking a cab to get her, then driving her car).

But the point of this little list is that it’s a little list. I can specifically remember when and why I wanted my car back or to borrow one. But when I list out those incidents over time, it’s a little over once a month. That’s nothing in the big scheme of things.  But I should add- it’s nothing for now.

The only way there would be an immediate change to the above would be if my job situation changed, if my health suddenly changed or should I need to move. If any of those happened, then I’d probably need to re-evaluate everything.

Training Plans on Strava

Some of you may be interested to know that Strava added some training plan functionality at the start of the year for premium subscribers in partnership with Carmichael Training Systems. I wound up trying it out when they launched and I just finished my program over the weekend. Although I did it as an experiment, it turned out pretty nicely and I’m going to be using the feature again soon.

PR attempt amongst the Sunday riders and drivers #SF #cycling #scenefromthebike

A photo posted by El Tejano (@eltejano) on

I have some books already and a bunch of articles saved on training but I kept blowing off making a schedule or plan. I was periodically doing intervals on Wednesdays, but I wasn’t consistent about it. So when Strava announced their program I was intrigued.

So how does it work? You basically select a program you’re interested in and in an area you want to improve. For me it was the 15 Minute Climb. I wanted to improve my Hawk Hill times. And yes, although I can already do Hawk Hill in under 15 minutes, you’re supposed to pick the plan that’s within your already established range. For example, since my HH times are about 12 minutes, it’s better for me to pick the 15 minute climb plan, rather than the 10 minute plan.

So how did the plan work? Basically for four weeks I would get an email in the afternoons telling me what workout I should do the next day. It would read – “hey, tomorrow don’t ride- it’s a rest day” or “ride for 1 hour at EM pace” or “tomorrow do 1 hour 30mins total – OverUnder Intervals”. And there would be links for the definitions of the terms used eg EM Pace (endurance miles) or OU intervals. And yes, the intervals were very defined (3 sets of 10 mins of OU intervals at 4U1O).

Here’s an example email screenshot (click to embiggen)

example training plan email
example training plan email

Most of the program was varying forms of intervals, which I hate. It’s because I’m not used to “training”- I’d rather just ride and have fun. But the problem is that I want to do more group rides than the SFCC Coffee Ride I sometimes tag along with.

So in the end it worked out for me. Mostly it all worked because of the daily email reminder. That would prompt me to make sure I had a workout created and saved on my Garmin and ready to go for the morning’s ride. Then I knew what I was supposed to do.

The emails would also force me to think about where I’d be riding the next day. I couldn’t be vague about it like I normally am. I wasn’t thinking, oh I could ride around Lake Merced and back and do Twin Peaks if the email said “only do 1 hour of easy riding”. Or what was harder was thinking about where to do 6 minute climbing repeats if most of the hills on my way to work are 4 minute hills.

Overall I think it helped me and I did hit a PR on Hawk Hill when I rode it on Sunday (under less than perfect conditions- ie after the wine and empanada fest the night before). Am I super-fast and super-fit? No. Am I better than I was before? Yes, a little bit.

Good morning from Land's End #SF #scenefromthebike #cycling

A photo posted by El Tejano (@eltejano) on

What did I do incorrectly? Or what should I do better next time?

1. I didn’t really record a “before” ride on Strava (like the CTS Field Test). I tried, but the Garmin didn’t record the data for some reason- one of the few times it’s failed me.

2. I skipped or moved around a workout at least twice. They were the “EM rides” I think- I liked to do those on the weekend and my social life was interfering with the training. (I’m not complaining about that).

3. Although I like to ride when I can, I felt that if I worked out on the way home from work one day (at night) then my morning workouts felt harder, or I’d be more tired. I’d like to try to stay consistent about times.

4. My heart rate strap died during week 1. I wanted to know if I was really pushing myself with HR data vs “perceived effort” and wasn’t able to do so. I have a new replacement so the next go I’ll be able to use this data more. (this could be my #1 thing to change for next time).

Training plan info is here:

You Should Think About Backing “Academy” on Kickstarter

I know it may come as a surprise for some of you that I’m pimping a friend’s restaurant Kickstarter especially after the Donut Folly incident but here I am.

My buddy, Chef Nick, (formerly of Florio Bar and Cafe on Fillmore) is opening a new spot soon on Sutter at Fillmore. It will be called Academy and he and his team hope to be open in March- which isn’t a long way away.

Nick has a Kickstarter running HERE to get some final funding for the restaurant. You should do your do diligence and think about backing him soon if you live in SF. He even has a backer pledge for two frosty beverages and a pizza once a month for life. (read the fine print, but it’s there on the right side).

Again, yes, I understand if you’ve been burned by Kickstarters in the past, but think about backing Nick.

I hope to see you at Academy once it’s open.

*not sure if it’s formerly yet, I’d better not say… I’ll come back and edit the post after I talk to Nick.