workout August 29th – Riding the Raleigh Tourist

I’ve been continuing the ride up to the top of the lake but on Friday I changed things a little. I rode my Raleigh Tourist. There’s a picture of one here, mine looks similar without the canvas bag strapped to the back.

The Raleigh is heavy, about 45 lb. The frame is made of a steel that has the properties of water pipe. The seat is sprung luxury. The brakes are atrocious. They are rod brakes, so at least they look pretty. To ride down Queen Anne hill I’m hard on both brakes at all times to keep the speed under control.

The riding position is unusual, my hands are low down by my legs and I sit upright.

My least favourite part is the crank length. They are really short. So you’re riding a heavy bike up a hill and you want long cranks but they put these little short numbers on. They are shorter than my fixie, but that has the excuse of having no freewheel so it needs the ground clearance for going around corners at a lean.

The effect of riding this tractor? My heart rate was about 15 bpm higher than when I ride the fixie for the whole ride and I was going a little slower. I had a hard time keeping it under 140 into the wind, even on the flat.

I had a thought about the use of a bike like this. Often I see a strong rider cycling with a weaker rider. The strong rider sometimes gets frustrated or gets bored or gets a sub-optimal workout. Put them on a Raleigh Tourist or equivalently slow bike and their performance would be dropped 15% or so and the riders would balance out. The only issue is ego, but it is a big one. Faster riders like passers by to know they are faster. See the upcoming post on August 31st’s workout.

I always wonder about people in lycra, or on lightweight racer bikes. If they are training, then having all the equipment to go faster is counterproductive. You don’t want to go faster on the bike trails, it causes all sorts of issues with pedestrians and it is illegal. The speed limit on the Burke-Gilman is 10mph. It all depends on your goal. If you are trying to lose weight or get fit then more challenge would be better. If you are training for a triathlon then get off a trail that is full of pedestrians and on to the road or a trail that is more sparsely populated.


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