You might have heard the phrase “ride to work day”. Usually it’s a call for people to ride their cycles to work, typically bi-cycles or motor-cycles. Well, I don’t ride TO work, because it’s a 20 mile commute and even if I had the time the route is too dangerous for cyclists.
So I ride AT work. I’ve mentioned before that I usually have one of my unicycles with me in the truck, (I’m a truck driver), in case a ride opportunity presents itself. I even have a growing list of spots that work frequently puts me near, so I get to ride these places a few times a year. Belle Isle is one such place.
Yesterday I found myself doing deliveries in Detroit, (yeah, on Sunday, it happens sometimes in this job), and with enough time between the last two appointments to park the truck on the island and ride. I didn’t have the coker, (damn it why didn’t I think to bring the coker!), but I had the 24" municycle. Good enough. I rode around the western tip of the island. I wanted to do a complete circuit of the island, about 5 miles, but I was wearing down after two miles and took a shortcut back to the truck, reaching the three and a half mile mark, according to gmap pedometer.
It is a beautiful place to ride, and near the western portion of the island there are great views of downtown Detroit. Along the southern side you see Windsor, Ontario, and if you’re lucky some Great Lakes freighters gliding up or down stream. The weather was brisk, about 35 degrees Fahrenheit, and a bit windy. It was exhilarating!
Here’s the gmap pedometer satellite image of my ride (zoomed out enough to see Detroit and Windsor):
Riding during lulls on the job has become a vital source of physical and mental therapy for me. One thing I forgot since the last time I rode here: the tire gets full of goose poop. Makes it a bit gross putting back into my car at the end of the day.
I was riding a municycle, but not riding muni, Belle Isle is networked with wide smooth asphalt or concrete roads. Part of my ride was on a formula one grand prix course. I really should have had my N36 or my 29er that day but my planning skills were poor. The ride was still nice though.
Doing a bit of math I found something that is probably not very surprising, but still interesting to me, my riding limits are not determined by distance, but rather revolutions. Consider:
~ The farthest I’ve gone on my 26 (with only slight breaks for remounting after a upd), is about three or four miles.
~ The farthest I’ve gone on my 36 (with only slight breaks for remounting after a upd), is about 5 miles.
After this 3.5 mile ride AT work I did the math and found that it amounted to about 2715 revolutions of the wheel. If I did 2715 revolutions on my 36 it would result in a distance of just under (yep, you guessed it) five miles, my distance record on the 36.
So now I can think of my distance limit in terms of revolutions, not miles. If I’m planning to extend my limits I can do it on any unicycle of my choice by taking the diameter into account and calculating the theoretical limit I need to get beyond. I’m going to put it down here and copy it to a file on my desktop for future reference, so that no matter which uni I have available I can figure out how far I need to go in order to push my distance envelope.
26" 3.5 miles
29" 4 miles
36" 5 miles
The ratio of distance limit (miles) to wheel diameter (inches) is about 0.13 at this point, so if I try it on a 24 or some other wheel I can just multiply the diameter by 0.13 to get how far I need to shoot for. This factor will obviously change as I get stronger.
I expect there are other factors I’m ignoring, (crank length for one), but in general this will help me as I work to extend my distance limits.
Very good, commuting to work! I bet you’re feeling more fit just from that.
My next challenge is to see how much riding I can maintain during the coming Michigan winter. I figure as long as the pavement is free of slick ice I ought to be able to keep riding. I’ve already heard from a couple of my friends over here that “the season is over” and “riding now would be stupid”. Time to see just how stupid I can make myself.
Not being much of a trials guy myself it’s hard to say, but I think you could have some fun there. Not sure how alert or concerned the local security would be, (since many of the places are historic structures), but yeah there seems to be lots of potential. In particular the Casino looks good, with lots of walls, stairs, and rails. I didn’t get much of a look at the east half of the island, who knows what’s over there…
Oh crap how could I forget the playground? Near the zoo there is a huge playscape which might offer lots of interesting trials riding. There might even be a skate park in there.
For reference, the playground area is at the sharp left turn just after the 3 mile marker in my image above. The Casino is in the middle of the island, about midway between the 1 and 2 mile markers on the image.