Sick of getting lost …
I decided to get one of the brand-new Garmin Edge Touring bike computers because I have absolutely zero sense of direction, to the point where if my instinct tells me to go in a particular direction, the safest thing is to set out in the OPPOSITE direction. I needed a bike computer that would tell me where to go.
So I searched the internet for a car-like GPS that would give me directions while cycling. What I really wanted was something that would TELL me things, like the TomTom GPS in my car, or my wife, Maggie (Mrs Average Joe Cyclist). When I am riding a bike I don’t want to be peering at written instructions – I prefer a voice just telling me what to do.
Unfortunately, no such thing exists, and I wish someone would get around to inventing one.
I guess there is the problem of how one would hear the voice over surrounding noise. But I think a single Bluetooth ear-phone worn in one ear would enable me to hear instructions while still hearing approaching cars.
Seeing as no such thing exists, and it’s not really practical to ride everywhere on a tandem with Maggie shouting instructions, I ordered the next best thing – the brand-new Garmin Edge Touring. It’s a new product from Garmin – so new that I had to place my order with Amazon and then wait several weeks.
Tourers or Commuters?
Maggie and I were excited to find our Average Joe Cyclist Blog listed on two top ten lists! We just had to share this, because we feel really proud!
The Cycling Bug (out of the United Kingdom) rates Average Joe Cyclist at no. 5 in their list of 10 Must Read Cycling Blogs, globally:
“5. Average Joe Cyclist
Average Joe Cyclist is into cycling in a big way. His posts range from tips on how to miraculously cure knee pain to the top honeymoon destinations for cyclists. His wife, Mrs Average Joe (of course…) even chimes in to bring a true beginners point of view to cycle commuting.”
My blog came in just ahead of Bike Snob NYC, which was ranked at no. 6!
The I Wear Spandex Blog (out of the USA) lists Average Joe Cyclist’s Cycling Blog at no. 3 of “Six awesome, fantastic, and must-read cycling blogs:”
“3) Average Joe’s Cycling Blog – Joe (yeah, just Joe)
Watching the Canadian women’s hockey team take gold reminded me that although I will never be an Olympian, I CAN be the champion of my own life.
When I emigrated to Canada 15 years go I loved it right away, simply because it let my family in.
Now I love Canada for everything I have learned it is.
Its friendly, welcoming people, its towering, ancient trees, the sparkling waters that crisscross the lower mainland, the crisp, clean white snow that is suddenly on top of the mountains on a bright, beautiful morning. I could go on forever about all the things I love about Canada.
But mostly I love Canada for its indomitable spirit.
Even though statistically, Canada should be dwarfed by our mighty neighbours to the south, Canada continues to proudly maintain its unique identity – truly the true north strong and true. This was vividly demonstrated when the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team held its own against what seemed inevitable defeat to seize gold out of the mouth of Goliath in the women’s hockey finals at the Olympics.
Although I have two beautiful bikes of my own, I confess that I do like to look at other bikes. When I’m out with Maggie I look at every bike that goes past. If they happen to have a woman sitting on them, Maggie tends to say things like “Get your eyes back in your head”. She assumes I am looking at the woman, but in fact, they are (almost) invisible to me. For me it’s all about the bike.
I already HAVE a beautiful wife (somewhere in my wicked, miserable past, I must have done something good) , and she’s more than enough for me. But I don’t have every bike I’d like to own, and I don’t have the ability to use my bikes as creatively as some people I see.
I really admire people who make their bikes do extraordinary things. Like the owner of this bike, spotted at the New Westminster sky train station, outside Tim Horton’s.
I don’t know if this was someone moving, or if this was in fact someone’s moving home. Either way, he or she has my respect.
Here’s another post from Maggie, or Mrs Average Joe Cyclist, as she likes to call herself. For more product reviews, see my page called Average Joe Cyclist Product Reviews.
I’m in love! Joe and I went shopping for my first road bike recently. Joe saw an ad for a Giant Rapid for a really good price. I was not crazy about drop handle bars so the appeal of the Rapid was its flat handlebars. We had both shopped at Cap’s Bicycles before and knew that they also sell Specialized and Trek so we thought this would be a good place to start. Joe read some reviews online about the Giant Rapid and they were all very positive. Determined to take our time and do our homework we set off, with Billy (our Yorkie-Poo) in tow.
Here’s another Guest Post from my wife Maggie – Mrs Average Joe Cyclist!
As I look back over the past year and a half as a cyclist and a bike commuter I have a few observations and reflections to pass along. First and foremost I am forever grateful to cycling for restoring my health, reducing my stress, and improving my looks, mood and mental acuity.
With all these benefits, I’m hooked and I can’t ever go back to my car or transit ever again.
Amazingly, I have reaped all these benefits without being a full-time bike commuter. I cycle only three days a week, to and from work for a total of about 75 km per week. For anyone who is thinking of adding cycling as a hobby or a transportation alternative I say DO IT. It doesn’t have to be a long ride and it doesn’t have to be every day.
Here are the observations of a rookie:
I got myself a LuminTrail headlight (see link to buy one at Amazon on the right) because I am a bike commuter and I often cycle on bike trails in pitch darkness. And even when I am cycling on roads in pitch darkness, I need to be able to see where I am going and look out for the massive potholes that appear to be legal requirements for any road designated as a “cycling route”.
Our "waterproof" cycling gloves drying in front of our fireplace
Human beings figured out how to put a man on the moon before most currently-alive people were even born. Now we’re planning to mine minerals from asteroids as they hurtle through space.
So can anyone tell me why no one can invent a pair of waterproof cycling gloves?
The biggest challenge in being a bicycle commuter is not so much the cycling, but the organization. Combining the athleticism of cycling to work with the need to show up on time with everything you need for a working day can be a tricky balancing act.
For a while now, I have been finding this especially challenging. Since I moved to a new home, my cycle commute has doubled in length, so I have to combine cycling with transit until I get fitter. This combination really increased my organizational challenges. Using a pannier for cycling and a backpack for transit meant that I was constantly transferring keys, gloves, wallet, cycling clothes, bike lights, socks … you name it … from one bag to the other.
But STILL I would get to my bike and find I had left my gloves in my OTHER bag, so I had to bike in sub-zero temperatures with bare hands. Or get to work with no dress pants, so I had to spend the day in Lycra (unpleasant for me and no doubt extremely unpleasant for my co-workers!) Plus my office was littered with backpacks and panniers, looking as if I was about to go off on a 10-week camping trip. It was all incredibly annoying.
There has to be a better way, I thought. Then I discovered that there is. Arkel is a Canadian company that specializes in bike panniers, providing high quality panniers designed by cyclists, for cyclists.
Arkel makes products that convert easily from bike pannier to backpack, making life dramatically easier for bike commuters. They have a range of panniers, and I chose the large and striking-looking Arkel Bug Pannier – shown attached to a bike in the photo at the top of this post – and no, that’s not me, that’s my daughter, Emily. Left is the pannier all on its own.
My first impression when I unpacked my brand new Arkel Bug Pannier was “AWESOME!”
My post called Average Joe Cyclist’s Miraculous Cheap Cure for Cycling Knee Pain is by far my most popular post ever – showing that cycling knee pain is a major concern for many of us. One thing I learned when I was a life guard is that it is far better to prevent a problem than to deal with it after it happens (stopping a child from jumping in the deep end is a lot easier than pulling a child up from the bottom of the pool). So I have been working hard to find ways to prevent the cycling knee pain that threatens anyone who regularly rides a bike.
The first step is obviously to have a bike that fits, which can most easily be achieved by getting a professional bike fitting.
But that in itself is not enough. I consulted with legendary sport physiotherapist Karen Nichols and was given a simple routine of stretches and balances to prevent cycling knee pain. I can personally attest that if one does these religiously (at least after cycling, and preferably before and after), cycling knee pain can be dramatically reduced or even prevented. I even find that when I start to feel knee pain, I can make it stop more effectively by doing these stretches than by taking pain pills.
So this is my simple, four step routine to prevent cycling knee pain.
Step 1: Stretch your hamstrings (the muscles at the back of your thigh)
There are many ways to do this. My favourite is to hop on an empty desk, with one leg out straight and one hanging down. It is then easy to stretch the hamstring by leaning forward. Above, my daughter Emily shows how it’s done. She kindly agreed to model these exercises (she looks WAY better in stretch pants than I do!)