Sunday was the first (and only) road test of our Bike Friday travel bikes, prior to heading to France. It was supposed to be the regular Pescadero run, but we didn’t get more than 2 minutes up Old LaHonda before Kevin started having nasty pain in his right leg, something he deals with off & on. In a nutshell, it happens because he rides really hard & strong without having a proper “base” of miles, pushing things a bit too far. As long as everything is adjusted *perfectly* he’s OK, but Sunday’s ride exposed a couple things that weren’t perfect. First, the SPD pedals were not allowing his feet to float like his Speedplay pedals do. Second, his saddle was set nearly level and Kevin is one of those very, very odd people that actually need to have a fairly hefty downward tilt or else leg problems make themselves known. It was a physical therapist friend (and former employee and now new dad) Todd N who suggested the downward tilt to fix the leg problem, and he was right. If you have any odd physical ailments, especially if they impair your cycling, I can highly recommend a visit to Todd!
OK, back to the ride. We made some adjustments and got going again, and he was OK for maybe 10 minutes, passing many of the people who had passed up while stopped, until we had to pull over yet again and make some more adjustments, after which the rest of the climb was very, very slow. At the top it was pretty clear this ride wasn’t going anywhere; we headed straight to 84 and home. A whopping 20 miles instead of the usual 58. Not the typical Sunday ride, to be sure. If there’s one thing that separates me from Kevin, it’s consistency. I’ve never imploded on a ride like Kevin has. I’ve always been able to keep going, maybe at a bit slower speed, but in 50 years of riding I could probably count on both hands the number of times I’ve had to shorten a ride because I had “issues.” The flip side is that Kevin has a motor that’s hard to believe. He’s built more like a sprinter, but climbs very, very well.
In the end, it was a very good thing we had that ride. It allowed us to make changes to the fit of the Bike Friday (so it better mimics his Trek Emonda) and convinced him to ditch the usual SPD pedals (which, in France, have the real benefit of being able to walk around in easily) in favor of Speedplays. Fortunately, with the new walkable cleats, the Speedplay “road” pedals should serve very well.