Lost: My Trusty Bike Pump

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Topeak Morph G bike pump

Yesterday, while at the movies, I got sad when I realized that I lost my bike pump. Not any bike pump. but my favorite, trusty, Topeak Road Morph G bike pump. That pump has been with me for several years and it has gotten me and others out of countless flat tire blues. It was dirty and a little dinged up, but worked like a champ. After doing some moonlight madness cycling the other night, I think I left it on the bumper of my car and drove off. Such shabby treatment and I’m ashamed.

What makes it my favorite? Well, three things come to my mind. One, it has a built-in pressure gauge. No more guessing and tire pinching to see if I’m at the right pressure. Most people would say be glad to have anything to air it up and go. True, but if you had the option of airing up your flat tire to the proper air pressure wouldn’t you want to? I know I do. Who wants to ride around with tires at 10-20 psi too low? Any takers?

Two, it has a flexible hose. May not seem like a big deal, but I’ve had pumps without them and it’s a pain to air up the tire and not worry about breaking the stem. I can now put the valve stem at the 6 o’clock position, clamp the tube on and use both hands to pump. Such a great convenience. The hose also has the pressure gauge.

Lastly, the handle flips out to a T shaped end (ok more of an L shaped handle) that makes it easy to pump up the tire to 120 psi. Again, I’ve had others that did not have that little extra feature and it’s a bear to pump it up to a 100 psi let alone 120. Maybe I don’t have the grip strength, but with the Morph I don’t have to worry about it as I can add my weight to pump it. It works quite well!

Now I’ve tried other hand pumps and various compressed air gadgets over the years and I always go back to the Morph. They are either cumbersome or need Hulk hands to pump. With the with the CO2’s, you always run the risk of running out of cartridges while out cycling. Since I mostly ride solo and multiple flats has happened to me before, I prefer a pump. Although I do carry CO2 just in case I forget the pump.

The only weakness in the Morph is the bike mount. It comes with one, but it takes up the water bottle cage slot. I ride with two water bottles so that leaves no place for it. I wish there was a snap on/off mount that I could use to swap out a water bottle cage for a bike pump holder. That would be cool. Right now I carry it in my jersey pocket.

The Road Morph is like a smaller version of your floor pump, but this one is portable. It has never let me down, always there when I needed it. I don’t have to worry about running out of CO2 cartridges, Earth has plenty of air. Now that I have lost my trusty bike pump, I got no choice but to go to my local bike shop and get another one.I think I’ll do that today.

What’s your favorite pump or CO2 system? Drop a comment and let me know.

Longer Rides and Such

2013 Roubaix

2013 Roubaix

I bought my 2013 Roubaix for one thing and one thing only, to do longer rides. So far I’ve done two 40-mile charity events and one metric century charity event in Corpus Christi. Besides the charity events there are the training rides of 30 and 40 plus miles leading up the events. I love cycling on the Roubaix. It’s nice and smooth, quiet, love the double tap shifter and after the bike fit, it just fits perfectly. The Richie handlebars is also a great addition to the bike. It has just enough backward sweep that my wrists are very comfortable when I ride the tops. With over 800 miles on it, I have no regrets on the purchase of it.

With the longer miles, I have to hone in skills needed for the longer rides. Most of it is nutrition before, during and after the ride as well as pacing myself and others that I’m riding with.

Everyone has their favorite nutrition remedy, whether it’s home-brew system to packaged stuff like GNU, Hammer Nutrition, or Endurox (just to name a few in a crowded market). Before my rides I usually eat a whole grain cereal and maybe a peanut butter sandwich (kind of rare that I do both) and for the ride, one bottle with plain water. If it is super hot or humid I’ll eventually add an electrolyte tablet to the bottle. It’s a neutral flavor, but it does give it a slight lime taste. On the other bottle I’ll add either Hammer Heed or Hammer Sustain to the water. The rest stops will have the oranges and banana’s for the short-term fuel spike.

Since I’m diabetic, I always carry a gel pack with me as an emergency glucose fuel. Normally, I don’t need it as the rest stops has what I need. I have been on training rides where I had to stop and take it because I could start to feel the effects of low blood sugar. Those have been rare, but it does happen so I do carry one or two of them.

For me, I like the Hammer Nutrition products, whole grain cereals, peanut butter sandwiches and some pickle juice later after the ride (as needed). The Hammer stuff doesn’t do a number on my stomach like Gatorade does. Even diluted, Gatorade still upsets my stomach and makes for an unpleasant ride. What ever you choose, I’ve learned to stick with it and not experiment on the day of a long charity event.

Long rides require fuel of some sort. It can either be solid, liquid based or something in-between. I prefer the liquid form. It does well to keep me going the distance. Although some of our routes does take us to a favorite convenience store for those tacos, so in that case my arm is twisted and I opt for a few of them. It’s a good break to get out of the sun and cool off a little bit.

As for pacing, I use my power meter to stay within a certain power range for most of the ride. I usually mix up my gearing/cadence between 80 and 90-95 just for some variety and of course the wind conditions.

Sugar Cane fields

Sugar Cane fields

I’m really enjoying the long rides with my friends or the solo rides. No music anymore since the death of my dailymile friend Dale (not sure if that was a contributing factor or not, but just want to ride safer over all), so the scenery will have to do. In a car, you really don’t get to appreciate the view as it’s gone in a few seconds. On a bike, however, the view lasts for a few minutes. At least long enough to pull out the camera and take a shot or two.

To me, long solo rides are such a challenge. It’s just you, the bike and the road. You have to be 100% self-sufficient. No one around to change the flat for you and no one to draft off of. I just gotta remember to take the appropriate gear. I have been known to take off without my helmet.

Solo rides also means no one to talk to which can be tough. I usually end up playing songs in my head and focus on what I’m doing, but always aware of my surroundings. I’m so good at it that when I ride with groups I’m usually quiet and grumble (to myself) when others are too chatty and not paying attention to the road conditions. Although, I do say silly things to break things up. I think I need to be more social when I’m riding with others.

Long rides can be fun with others and tough when you’re out there by yourself. Either way, my Roubaix is there to keep me company and take me on small adventures. As always, I suggest to keep them wheels spinning and be safe out there.