Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Hard Truth About Bicycle Touring

The hard truth is that the limit of one's initial capacity to ride long distances is not just one's stamina but also one's ability to endure the seat. The organ most challenged is not the lungs or heart nor even the legs, but the butt.

Thus far I have reached Nishkina (spelling?) on the Glenn Highway, a day short of Glenallen. Thus far I have begun to acquire the initial stages of stamina and thus am able to ride longer and further each day. And the Glenn Highway is now carrying me north from the Chugach Mountain Range which has turned south following the coast, giving me flatter country to ride through. At least that's the theory.


  1. Nick Danger12:44 AM

    So, Jack, what have you got against padded bicycle seats?

  2. Happy 4th Jack. Hope Alaska is being good to you. Please post again, so that the last we hear from you will not be about your sore butt.

  3. Dear Nick,
    What I have against padded bicycle shorts is that they are a sales gimmick which not only don't work, they compound the problem. They bunch here, rub there, and are literally a pain in the ass.

    The correct thing to wear are shorts with a chamois (no longer actual chamois skin but a chamois-like cloth) panel between the tuches and the seat. The butt assumes the shape of the seat and the leather seat yields and shapes slightly, and one rolls merrily along.

  4. No, Chaim, you have definitely not yet heard the last of me.

    My heart rate recovery rate (the rapidity with which one's heart rate declines after being elevated) has improved a great deal.

    My stamina (the capacity for bicycling a long way before muttering a la Danny Glover in 'Lethal Weapon' "I'm gettin' too old for this sh_t") has also improved considerably.

    At Palmer a week ago I was falling-down exhausted after 36 miles. Here at Beaver Creek in the Yukon I was in the same state after 62 miles, a 26 mile improvement. :o)

    So I figure to keep on being heard from for a while at least.

  5. Nick Danger1:00 AM

    Glad to see you've solved the problem, and that after a couple of weeks have gained back what you lost after your last long ride. My 1972 map of Alaska shows you on the Alaska Highway headed for Juneau (?) or Whitehorse (?). Looking forward to more posts.

  6. Anonymous1:44 PM

    So as a rootless cosmopolitan (and aging Lothario), are you required to wear a bulls eye tee-shirt,with a Magen David on the back? You know, make it a little easier for the rednecks to get a bead.