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Who Rides for Science?

If you have been following me on Strava or Facebook recently,you might see something like “Riding for science. -36” on a recent post. While not really science, it is to me, since I’m keeping track of how my cycling affects my blood sugar levels.

Yes. Blood sugar levels.

Why would I need to do that you might ask? I’m pretty fit, exercise regularly, appear to eat well and all that, right? That’s what I thought too.

My year started off badly and included making bad choices. Drinking too much, eating poorly, smoking and not exercising regularly. I was also experiencing more stress at work than usual. So, like I said, year started off badly. I am back on track, but that doesn’t change what has already happened. Add to this the fact that, not terribly long ago, I was not pretty fit, did not exercise regularly and weighed 100-ish pounds more than I do today.

Back in May I started feeling a tingling sensation in my feet and hands, along with numbing. I had a feeling I knew what was going wrong and took way to long to see the doctor about it. When I finally made it to the doctor, a check of my blood sugar without fasting pegged the device at close to 350. For reference, normal is between 90 – 100 (110 – 120 after eating). I was started immediately on 2 medications; 1 to help lower my blood sugar, the other, an anti-depressant, to help with my feet. Continue reading “Who Rides for Science?”

The Sunday Post: The White Bike

The bike that reminded me that I like riding bikes back in 2014 and has close to 1,000 miles on it has been slowly getting repaired/upgraded.

The White Bike

It started back in 2014 with a Sunday Funday on bikes. I was on a borrowed bike for the day (since I didn’t have one) and it reminded me how much I liked riding bikes. The next week, I punched up Amazon and ordered this machine, a Critical Cycles Single Speed/Fixed Gear bike.

I started riding around the ‘hood, 2 miles. 5 miles. 7 miles. I keep that going until I started getting brave and pushed it to 10. I remember my first 10 mile ride. Thought I was going to die. I actually had to stop and rest for about 15 minutes when I was less than 1 mile from home. I couldn’t even walk well enough to push it home.

Then I did my first big ride, 20 miles in the shape of a 10 mile to brunch and a 10 mile ride back after. After that I was hooked. Miles started racking up. I even got brave enough to ride it on the street fixed (if the back wheel is moving, the pedals are moving, like a unicycle), managing a 15 mile ride that way once.

So, this is the bike that started it all.

But it is an inexpensive bike, made with cheap parts. It’s a bike made for college kids or hipsters to ride to class or around town. Not so much for clocking big miles. And big miles means parts wear out, and this bike has needed some repairs. Bottom bracket and crank. Tires. A new chain (installed tonight). I also swapped out the handle bars and replaced the seat. Back in fighting shape again.

Now I’m back to riding it.

Sometimes I just want to get out for 20-30 minutes and ride around the ‘hood. With it still getting dark to early and me not liking to ride on the streets with the after-work drivers, getting on the black bike for 15-30 miles just doesn’t work. So I’ll just pull this guy out and go ride bikes.

A few weekends ago, I even used it to do some bar hoping downtown, followed by a very nice bicycle tour. Up until it broke (which is why I replaced the chain). I’ll be using this bike again next weekend for an event ride, because that is what it is good for.

I was thinking about getting rid of it. Selling it and replacing it with a bike that I could use to ride around town for short errands, things like that. Now that I have done all of the repairs, and installed a fresh set of stickers, I’m remembering how good of a riding bike this really is, and why it got me back to riding bikes in the first place. And for that, it stays.

Wanna Ride Bikes?


Been riding bikes for most of my life, like many of you. I remember my first bike almost like it was yesterday; a screaming red Schwinn Stingray with banana seat and ape hanger bars. Or, at least I thought they were since I was 5. Learned to ride that thing like a boss too. Imagine how upset I was when I let it get stolen. It was soon replaced with a screaming yellow version of the same bike. And I rode that thing like a boss too. Forever. No kidding, like my car, I had that bike forever and rode it everywhere. It’s where I started with bikes. This might sound familiar if you’ve been a donburnside.com reader for more than a few years.

Fast forward to this last weekend. The Burnside Manor played host to the ‘rents as they needed to visit to deliver a few things. Namely some really kickass (potentially) wine. And, the beauty you see above.

I haven’t fully researched the bike yet, but I do know it is a Colson Tandem, built sometime in the 40’s. Most of it, from what I can tell, is original, like the seats and fenders, the frame and the wheels. Again, I only think. It’s got an internal front brake, coaster brakes and a 3 speed that mostly works. It was delivered with rotten tires and tubes, quickly replaced day of delivery so I could get out and ride it.

I remember when this bike first came into my life. It was at Newport Beach. Grand dad picked her up and made it part of the beach house bike stable. There were always very unique bikes in that collection. This one quickly became a favorite. Not because you could ride it with another person, which is cool to be sure. It’s that you can ride it by yourself.

From the rear seat.

Yea, this particular tandem bicycle allows for 2 person steering. Since both riders can steer, 1 can drive from the back without a front seat passenger. Took it for a ride around the hood last night and got some interesting looks, since I was riding from the back. Don’t worry, I’ll get video soon enough.

It’s a cruiser to be sure. This is not what you would consider a speedy bike. It rides so low that if you turn too sharp, the pedals will scrape the ground. But, high speed turns with big leans aren’t what this bike it about. It’s about the ride, baby. She is comfortable to ride and a joy to pedal. With as much weight as she carries, once you get moving the momentum just keeps it going, smooth and comfortable over the bumps.

This is my next project. Getting it cleaned up and tuned up. Like I mentioned, she is rideable now. After a few minor things, she’ll be ready for anything.

The Sunday Post #111: Arizona

I like Arizona. When I tell people I live here, the first thing that is always said is something about the heat. My normal response to them (especially if they are east coast or midwest) is “At least I don’t have to shovel it”. Usually garners a giggle or two and the topic is dropped. The part that needs to be told is about the months that aren’t contained within Summer. Those months, especially late February through April and even a little into May, are brilliant. Brilliant because of weather (highs in the 70s-80s, cool nights) and because of everything there is to do in the greater Phoenix area. I don’t care what kind of nerd you are, there is a festival or outdoor event for you. Me, it’s cars and craft beers. And Arizona does not disappoint in either category, especially the craft beer part. Besides the number of fantastic beer bars (including a Whole Food across the street), it seems like there is a beer event happening every weekend. And, if it’s not exactly beer related, beer is tied in as a theme of the event. Good beer, beer you have never tasted, beer you don’t want to forget. Arizona is all about the beer. And not the big, mass produced beers. Not the beers your server mentions first when you are getting your rib on at Chili’s. Nope. We are talking craft beers, good beers, locally brewed or imported from another state. Breweries you have never heard of that are creating some truly fantastic brews. One of my favorite local breweries is Four Peaks. You might have heard of them for their Kilt Lifter beer. It’s a proper brown ale with better flavor than Newcastle. They also produce an oatmeal stout that is amazing. Last weekend they put on a beer festival. Live music, food trucks, $5 beers. The weather was awesome, the beer was good, the band was great and I had some pretty awesome company. One of the better ‘Arizona Days’ that I have experienced so far. There is something about drinking when the sun is up with your friends that is fantastic. So yea. Arizona. Sure it gets hot, but we have better beer than you do and you don’t have to shovel the heat.

The Sunday Post #110: What’s Next

Ok gang. Break time is over. Time we get back to kickin’ ass. Ready?

What’s Next

I’m working on something right now that will be the theme for the year here at donburnside.com; After Social Media. Community, customer service and retention. Less about hashtags, likes and followers, more about conversions, what to do when they convert and how to keep them around.

More and more I see social media as only a small piece of the puzzle. Sure it’s great to have a large follower count or to have that group like, favorite, love, heart, enjoy, +1, the stuff that you share. But what does that do for your business? All of those things don’t have any monetary value, do not drive traffic to your website (directly) or shop, don’t give you the chance to directly interact with your potential customers. Those are only good for your brand in keeping people interested and engaged. If that’s all you are interested, then rock on! You already win.

But what about people that don’t use Social Media? What about people that visit your site or shop and have not discovered your social media presence and all that is awesome about it? At what point do we decided that there is more than collecting followers?

That. That is what’s next. It is going to take some doing, some brain mapping and many words until it’s all together in a state that makes sense. Should be a fun ride. I hope you stick around.