Thursday, June 4, 2009

Negotiating Stairs on a Touring Bike

James E. Good, you should take notice of Rachel Van Slyke's 7 Step method for negotiating stairs with a loaded touring bike. We all know that you are doing good man but this girl has the experience of over 4,400 miles riding in an indirect line from Miami to Montreal last summer with at least a guitar more than you are carrying!
While on our ride together along the McAlpine Greenway Raytch and I came to a set of stairs that rose up to a side path in the direction of our travels. Whenever I get to these stairs I think little about them because my LeMond is very light, in the 17lb range which is just 2 big bags of dog food less than Team Dicky's game day weight. This day when we got to the base of the stairs I told the Rachel that I would be willing to carry her heavy rig up for her. "Pfffffft!", she replied with a smile, "What do I look like, a girl?" Rachel went on to say that she was a pro at negotiating stairs with her fully loaded touring bike. Really? Lets see and examine her 7 step method.

1. Secure the load with a handy bungee cord so that when the bike is picked up none of your stuff will fall off. Pay close attention to the fastening of your guitar case, if that falls off the trip could be over.
2. Grab Top Tube and stem area, pick up the weight then proceed upwards one step at a time.
3. Continue forward, your ascension is actually the fuel for your upward rise.
4. Keep the lower stairs at your back while you reel in the ones to the front.
5. Push out the negative thoughts about quitting on such a demanding set of stairs and replace them with the positive sight of Billy's calves.
6. Rest. At the top of the landing take a quick break, no longer than 10 seconds because that is all you have.
7. Success with a smile and a pro level exit out of the stair case.
This post was the 2nd in a series of 'how to bike tips' starring Rachel Van Slyke, the guru in forward momentum with the heaviest bike I have ever seen anyone ride. Please contact her and buy her CD so that she can continue rolling!

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