The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Biking Friday on Tuesday

Due to underwhelming demand, having missed posting last Friday, I hereby offer Biking Friday on Tuesday.

I shlepped my new bike and OOS's bike with me to Israel last Wednesday. When I arrived, the customs people in Israel stopped me and made me open both boxes. My bike was in a hard plastic container and OOS's in a cardboard box.

I explained in my best Hebrew (ani iparon) that the Trek was 3 years old and that I would be taking the Litespeed back to the states. After some skeptical looks and a huddle by the two customs agents, they let me go.

OOS and I rode 20 K on Friday; 10K down and 10K up. He has newfound respect for his old man. He crushed me but almost bonked because he went out so strong.

On Monday morning I rode from Nes Harim to the base of Ramat Bet Shemesh and back. It's only about 3.5 miles down and up but the downhill is harrowing (especially because there were strong crosswinds) and the uphill was brutally hard.

The good news is that my bike rocks. The 34/12-27 gave me all the gears I need. The bad news is that my lower back is shot and I will probably ride in pain for five days next month at the Alyn ride. I don't know what to do about it with only a month to go.

More good news is that I left my bike in Israel, all set up and ready to go. I also left my equipment and biking clothes so I won't have much to shlep in October. It also means that my training will be limited to spinning for the next six weeks.

Sadly for my numerous biking enthusiasts, this will probably be my last biking post until after the ride. How much can one write about spinning?


  • At 10:48 PM, Blogger PsycleSteve said…


    Glad to hear that you're happy with the gearing choice. I have two bikes - one with a compact double, the other with a triple. Except for a monstrous century which I did last Sunday, I always use the double. That being said, I take the triple to Israel because it's on the more "unbreakable" bike. After several days of hot, hilly 80-100 rides you may just be begging to borrow my granny gear!

    Back pain is really bad news for cycling, especially when climbing. You've been writing about this for months, why haven't you taken care of it? Do you have a back problem or is it cycling related only? If it's cycling related I have some great people who could check your bike fit and make whatever adjustments necessary to get you comfortable - but the bike is in Israel so I don't know what to suggest.

    Question: Among the dozen or so questions that Alyn has not gotten back to me on is whether El Al will allow us to take our bikes as a second piece of luggage. My travel agent has informed me that El Al has the dubious distinction of being the most expensive carrier in the world when it comes to excess baggage - $130/bike each way. Blowing $520 for my wife and me just to bring the bikes to a charity ride does not sit very well with me. What was your recent experience?

  • At 5:58 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    Back pain is cycling related but I don't think it is the fit on my new bike. I was fitted by the top fit guy at a very reputable upscale bike store. I think I screwed it up in July when I rented in israel and it just hasn't healed properly.

    ElAl has never given me or anyone else on the ride a problem with the bike as a second piece of luggage. In fact, the bike weighs less than the maximum allowable weight per bag. They are also a sponsor of the ride.

    (what did you do last year?)

  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger PsycleSteve said…

    Several years ago when I started cycling I was fit by a "top fit guy at a very reputable upscale bike store" (the fitting session lasted almost 3 hours) but continued to experience severe knee pain on long hilly rides. I read about this fit "guru" who is the bike fit instructor (he teaches the retail guys) at the Serotta fitting school. Turns out he lives about a 1/2 hour from me in Orange county. I arranged for a "refit" at his home. He found that I have one hip rotated out more than the other, changed my cleats, handlebars, and stem, and adjusted the fore/aft on the saddle. Now I'm virtually pain free. A second opinion never hurts (an aching back does).

    The problem with the bike box is that it is oversized, not overweight. In prior years Alyn had a form on their web site from El Al which allowed for free transport. This year they still haven't been able to negotiate that. If RL and I encounter a person at check-in who's having a bad day we could be out big bucks.

    Alyn promised free transport of the bike box only on their "group" flight. Problem is that the group flight that Alyn arranged this year was nearly $300 more expensive than the El Al tickets we purchased on our own. In addition, it arrives in Israel at around noon on erev Shabbat. Convenient. We found out that a whopping six people availed themselves of this incredible deal.

  • At 10:26 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    I don't think El Al cares about oversized; just the weight.

    I hear you about the bike fitting but the truth is my back pain started when I used the rented bike on Nes Harim in July. When I rode my new bike prior to that, I had absolutely no problem. Because I needed to keep training, I never took time off and it never really healed.

    In any event, unless I find a fit guy in Israel who can make the pain go away, I'm hosed and will be sucking down the Advil..

  • At 10:43 AM, Blogger PsycleSteve said…

    Not cool. At least try to find someone who can give some good advise on how to cope with it (cold/hot compresses, stretches, etc)as opposed to abusing pain killers (I'm not one to talk as I'll be guzzling the sleep medication).

  • At 10:59 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    I may actually visit a back specialist when I return from London.

    One good cortisone shot.....


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