2 Cycling eBooks on Sale – Just 99¢ Each

6 06 2014

Beginning today, June 6th, and for a limited time, both of my cycling eBooks are on sale for just 99¢ each at the Amazon Kindle Store.

Regular Price: $2.99 Now just 99¢ each

Rediscover Your Joy with Bicycles and Cycling at the Kindle Store

Rediscover Your Joy with Bicycles and Cycling #2 at the Kindle Store

Both of these cycling eBooks are packed with valuable information that will help the beginning or returning cyclist with the choice of the right bike, how to save money when buying a bike, making sure your bike fits you, essential equipment and accessories, bike maintenance, where to ride safely, how to include the family, and so much more.

Praise from readers for “Rediscover #1″…Bicycles Cycling EBook on sale

“The Kindle is great for this information. Everything is practical; Richard Conte doesn’t talk down to beginners with lots of riding jargon and the topics make a good check list for professionals who can forget some things.

This book is about pedal bikes — the machines. The various types of popular bike use are referenced when describing different designs, but there isn’t discussion in depth about those uses — including bike touring, mountain biking, transportation biking exercise biking and everyday, joyous biking. Spinning was a new term to me.” ~ JudyAnn Lorenz, Author, Ozarks Missouri, USA

eBook Sale Price good through June 12th

High praise for “Rediscover #2″…Bicycles Cycling EBook 2 on sale

“This book is full of practical and helpful advice from the best time to purchase a bicycle and get the best deal to upgrades that will help commuters avoid punctures. I enjoyed the information about the tandem and tag-a-long bikes for families.

Highly recommended! I was glad to pick this up during the free GAW. Thanks for making it available!” ~ J. Robideau “Rob” Bhaisipati, Lalitpur, Nepal

Wow, “Rob” is a Top 1000 Reviewer at the Kindle Store, having reviewed 479 books for them, and he’s in Nepal. Gotta’ love this one! Thanks Rob.

Free Kindle Reader Apps for All Digital Devices

Did you know that you can buy and borrow Kindle books, as well as download free Kindle books, even if you don’t own a Kindle Reader? It’s true. All you have to do is download one of the many Free Kindle Reader Apps available for your PC, MAC, iPhone, iPad, Tablet, or Android device, and you will be able to read anything Amazon has to offer for a Kindle reader.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on a 4000 mile Bicycle Tour…

24 10 2011

It’s always interesting to read a piece written by someone else who seems to describe a similar experience in terms which illustrate your own. The following is just such a piece, A Man, a Bike and 4,100 Miles, by Bruce Weber of the New York Times.

In the piece, Weber writes of his 4000 mile bicycle tour across the USA this summer. He doesn’t dwell on the day-to-day challenges, nor does he dwell on the pain and doubt he experienced along the way, though it certainly gets a mention. He also does not write in overly descriptive terms of the beauty of the country, or the people he met. No, he writes from the perspective of a man of 57 years experiencing something few of us ever do; for the second time in his life.

As he comes to the close of his ride, reflects upon the internal changes which have taken place, as well as the memories of the experience which, perhaps surprisingly, are not so easy to recall. Yet, when he does recall them, they are incredibly vivid.  What I like most about this piece is the sense that no matter how many times one takes a long distance ride, and this is the second time Weber has ridden cross-country, it is a completely unique experience.

“This isn’t to say I don’t dream about crossing the George Washington Bridge with my arms raised in triumph (and then putting away my bicycle for a winter’s hibernation.) I do. But my visions aren’t terribly convincing; they generally engender despair, causing me to sigh out loud and give off a lament that begins with the words “I’ll never. … ” It makes me more than a little nervous to write this article now, about 300 miles from Manhattan. It may be easy to expect that someone who has already pedaled 3,600 miles can do 300 with his eyes closed, but I don’t think so. In order to own those miles, I have to expend my energy on them; in order to live those days, I have to work through all their hours. I’m as daunted by the next 300 miles as I was in Astoria by the first 3,600.”

This is something I too encountered on my own 800 mile trek from Phoenix to Denver. Until I arrived, I never quite believed I would make it and, even when I did, I couldn’t really grasp the fact that I had done so. Even today it sometimes amazes me that I was successful in my first-ever bicycle tour. But the memories linger, as proof that it is true.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. So many of the things we experienced were similar, yet very different, due to the unique perspective each of us brought to the experience, I believe. It brought back many memories for me, and for that I am grateful. I think it has also begun to fuel the fire for my next long ride.


Bicycle Touring Magazine…

2 10 2011

Found this in my inbox recently…

For anyone who has the lest bit of curiosity about bicycle touring, you should check out this new digital magazine, Bicycle Touring Magazine. You’ll find stories and pictures from around the world, from people who travel our planet by bike.

The images alone are dazzling, but the stories can inspire as well. While the idea of travelling third world countries by bicycle, or any other means, have never held much appeal to me personally, I can certainly appreciate the devotion of the folks who do. And, their stories are awesome.


Welcome to Colorful Colorado, a year ago…

7 04 2011

What a great day for me, one year ago…

After eight days on the road, my bike and I crossed into Colorado at about 1:00 in the afternoon. This was a watershed moment for me. I was back in Colorado, my previous home for 18 years, and I had gotten there the hard way. Though my legs had felt tired all day, and though I had climbed a few thousand feet to get there, I experienced a great rush of adrenaline and excitement. At that moment, I felt as if I could pedal all the way to Denver without stopping.

Circumstances would soon conspire against me however, as the heavily travelled road narrowed dangerously. With cars, pick-up trucks, SUV’s, and 18-wheelers blowing by at 85 mph within inches of my left hip, I decided to stop and call my friend Kim, in Durango, and ask her to come and get me. I had only travelled 28 miles this day, but I was exhilarated by what I had accomplished. I’d made it to Colorado, and it felt like coming home.

 April 7, 2010…

Holy crap…look where I am!

My favorite pic from The Ride, April 7, 2010.

 April 7, 2010…

One of the best people I have ever known…

My friend Kim…



51 miles, heading north, a year ago…

3 04 2011

After two nights in Flagstaff, AZ, I hit the road again, heading north to the Hopi Indian Reservation, a desolate place, yet the most direct route to Colorado.

Leaving Flag provided some great scenery to enjoy.

 I was riding at about 7000 feet now, a real challenge for a man who’d spent the last two years riding below 2000 feet. I didn’t seem to feel it all that much however, for I was very focused on the ride this day. I was also feeling pretty strong after two nights of rest in a Motel 6 which, by the way, at only 25 bucks a night had seemed like a five-star resort to me at the time.

One of my favorite shots...30 mis north of Flag.

I stopped about 30 miles north of Flag for a banana and OJ breakfast, and took the above pic, one of my faves from The Ride. The gas station/convenience store was in the middle of nowhere, as are most things on or near the Res.

After 51 miles, a relatively easy ride due to the rolling terrain, I’d made my goal for the day, a small stop on the road called Cameron, AZ, about thirty miles east of the Grand Canyon. A hamlet of about 1000 souls with a gas station, convenience store, and a tourist trap of an artifacts store, as well as a small camping area, I paid my $17 to pitch my tent on a small patch of grass behind one of the buildings, in an effort to shield myself from the wind (which was only moderately successful).

My rig vs theirs.

As it turned out, I was not the only camper there that night. Two RVs pulled in a bit after I’d set up camp and wow, was I jealous of the rigs they were driving. Very plush accommodations, with satellite dishes and automatic levelling of the rigs, these folks had it all. Is that camping? lol

The wind would definitely become my nemesis over the next couple of days. It can truly howl across the Res, with little or nothing to slow it down. As I settled into my little tent that night, listening to the wind grab at my tiny portable home, the forecast was for winds to 60 mph on the following day. The only saving grace for me was that it would be coming from the west or southwest, while I would be riding east and north-east. I was hoping to finally find a tail wind! Here is a link to Google maps, showing just how desolate this area is: Cameron, AZ.

Most of the ride through the Res looked like this, unless the hills were bigger!

I have to admit, I was very proud of myself this day. I had ridden further than ever before, and at a good pace. I’d only had to push the bike uphill for about a mile, and had reached my goal for the day. It was a very good day on the road. “I can do this,” I was thinking. That put a smile on my face, believe me.


April 3, 2010…

Day 4…

30 mis north of Flag. Got a good start on the day. Only had to walk about a mile on one climb. May have found my climbing gear! Hope so. Nice weather, a bit windy. Rolling terrain now, so should make better time. Will post pics later.

Day 4…Cameron, AZ

Well, I made it to Cameron today, a little hamlet on the Hopi reservation, 51 mis north of Flag. This was my goal for day 3, with a rest day today. Since I rested yesterday instead, I figure I can say the schedule is OK. The riding was good today. Mostly good roads, not too much traffic, not too many climbs. I feel pretty good. Tired but not wiped out, but also a little bit raw–down there. Hope to sleep well tonite, but very windy, so will see. Will also check the warmth of my bag. Gonna get cool tonite. Looking forward to another good day tomorrow, should have the wind at my back all day.


2 Days to go, a year ago…

29 03 2011

The countdown continued a year ago today. I was working hard to get everything done and really wasn’t riding much at all. This was probably a good thing however, even so, my legs were not really getting much rest.

You can’t believe how busy I was at the time. I remember this much, all I wanted to do was finish the work and hit the road. Riding a bike 800 miles simply had to be easier than moving house.


March 29, 2010…


I’m nearly packed for the move now.

I’ve done a much neater job than usual. There are cartons and boxes all over the place. Knowing that I had to pack for the future drive to Denver meant that I had to take more care. Many times in the past, when I was merely packing for a move across town for instance, I would just throw a bunch of junk into a box for ease of carrying, not worrying about transport. This time, I had to bear in mind that my stuff would be in a dusty storage unit for months before I would load it into a truck for the eventual drive to Colorado. This has forced me to be much more organized and careful. This is a good thing, right?

Packing for the ride is also pretty much settled.

I’m a bit worried that I am taking a little too much stuff. My riding clothes are lightweight and easy to pack but, even so, I’ve probably planned on too many pieces. All I really need is one outfit in my bags and one on my body. Trying to pack for all possible contingencies, such as weather and remote locations where it might be difficult to clean things, has forced me to choose more clothing than I might otherwise do. I’m going to play with the packing and unpacking a bit today and make a final decision. I really don’t want to get on the road and feel like I didn’t bring enough, yet I also don’t want to carry anything I don’t really need.

Since this is a “future post” I can’t tell you how the camp out on the floor went last night, but I’ll try to post from my phone later to let you know. I hope I didn’t wake up too sore this morning. lol


Does all that junk really make a difference?

20 01 2011

Many people seem to think I’m crazy for buying and using the cycling gear I do. “It’s soooo expensive, and you look like a clown,” they say. “Jeez, it’s just a pair of shorts. How can they charge so much?” “Holy crap, $69.99 for a tee-shirt? These guys must be out of their minds.”

Of course, it’s true, cycling gear can be quite expensive, and sometimes embarrassing, running around in spandex all the time. However, for me, it’s all about comfort while riding…and I look for deals…ALWAYS.

I can not ride in jeans. The seam through the crotch alone, for example, is so thick that it really hurts me…down there. Plus, they’re heavy and do not wick away moisture. Even cotton tees, in which I live when not riding, are very uncomfortable when I’m sweating and panting for breath.

What it comes down to, really, is how much one rides, as well as how hard one rides. If you only ever ride your bike a mile to the corner store for an energy drink now and then, it makes no difference what you wear. However, if you’re going to head out for a 20 mile ride three times a week, plus a 15 mile daily commute, you’d better invest in some decent gear. If you want to ride 800 miles, as I did in April 2010 on my first bike tour from Phoenix to Denver, you’d better believe you’ll need some special gear.

I have a saying about bicycles and the gear that goes with them and, even though it sounds counter-intuitive, I believe in it firmly; The better quality your gear, the easier it is to work hard.

What do I mean by this? If you have a quality machine, i.e., a bike which fits properly, which rolls smoothly, which shifts cleanly and stops properly, it is easier to pedal the miles you wish to ride. If you are also dressed and shod properly, in items which prevent discomfort, and even pain, you can also put in the miles you seek.

Cycling-specific gear is designed to help you accomplish these things…well designed, actually.

There are certain articles of cycling gear which I believe are essential to anyone who rides regularly. A pair of padded shorts is essential to a comfortable ride. They don’t have to be skin tight spandex; these days there are some very cool and stylish baggy shorts with padded inserts which can easily replace the tight shorts look. A good pair of shoes with a stiff sole is also essential. They do not have to be made for cycling, necessarily, but a stiff sole actually does improve power transfer to the pedals remarkably well. A jersey, with pockets in the rear, is very handy. They are made of wicking material to help keep you cool, and are surprisingly comfortable.

In order of importance:

Shorts: Avg price $65-$165; can easily be found for $35-$45. Padded shorts, shorts with a somewhat kidney shaped pad in the crotch, also called a chamois, go a long way to relieving pressure on the pirenium and the sit-bones. The tight spandex type os shorts also provide compression to the thighs, and are designed not to ride up the legs to expose unmentionables. They are designed to be worn directly against the skin with nothing beneath them.

For example:

Canari Paceline Cycling Short...$24.99 @ http://www.buy.com

Shoes: Avg. price $75-$175; can easily be found for $35-$65. Shoes are crucial to comfort and efficient power transfer. Soft-soled shoes, such as sneakers, are designed to absorb energy thus denying the efficient transfer of energy from the legs to the pedals. You should find that a stiff sole is actually more comfortable on long rides as well. (Besides which, specialty shoes are often the most comfortable shoes you can own. I once owned a pair of golf shoes which I also wore to work at my old sales job.)

For example:

Exustar SM602 Mountain Shoes...$29.99 @ http://www.nashbar.com

Gloves: Avg. price $25-$45; can easily be found for $15-$25. Padded gloves, half-finger or full-finger, also go a very long way to improving comfort on a long ride. They also help to keep your hands soft and sexy for your mate.

For example:

Nashbar Epic Gel Glove...$14.99 @ http://www.nashbar.com

Jersey: Avg. price $70-$100; can easily be found for $25-$45. While it is possible, if not easy, to ride comfortably in a tee-shirt made of modern wicking material (I did it for 2 1/2 years in Phoenix, after all), I have found that a real cycling jersey makes a huge difference in comfort as well as portability. In other words, it’s easier to carry all my crap with me when I ride. Plus, most wicking tees do not have a zipper down the chest which comes in very handy on warm-weather rides.

For example:

Nashbar Earth Jersey…$19.99 @ http://www.nashbar.com

I’m not here to push any one website which sells cycling gear. Bike Nashbar is one of the best, though. We also like to buy from these other sites: www.Pricepoint.com, www.niagaracycle.com, www.bike.com, www.bizrate.com, plus, of course, amazon.com and eBay.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the best BEST, BEST, way to buy cycling gear at a reasonable price is to look for CLOSEOUTS. I  have also found some wonderfully priced and versatile items at Wal-Mart and Target which I have been able to adapt to cycling. Doing this can save you a ton of money.
The best answer to anyone who thinks you overspend on cycling and cycling gear is…the fact that you are riding and enjoying doing so; especially since, in all likelyhood, the last time they rode a bike was when they were in junior high.


Layers, Layers, Layers…

9 01 2011

It’s amazing what a person will do, when feeling the need to ride, even in cold weather.

My typical riding outfit would look something like this…


Pearl Izumi Quest Jersey
Pearl Izumi Slice Short
Pearl Izumi SPD Shoes



However, since moving to Colorado, I’ve had to add a few items to my riding outfit to protect my self from the cold weather…

Champion C9 Tee as base layer

Under Armor Cold Gear leggings

Under Armor Cold Gear 1/4 zip

Pear Izumi Quest Thermal Bib Knicker



Starter Wind Tech

Gore Wear Windstopper


Pearl Izumi Toe Covers




And for even colder days, I add more, or heavier, layers…

Starter Wind Tech

Chaps Insulated

Endura Midweight

Heated Balaclava


Now, some of these items can be very expensive while, by shopping carefully, one can save money by finding replacements for cycling-specific gear by shopping at the large discount stores. Plus, I never pay retail for anything. If it isn’t on sale, or beter, on closeout, I just ain’t gonna buy it. Retail on all this stuff would be near $1000, but I did not pay anywhere near that. Plus, some things, like shoes, and shorts or bibs, you really shouldn’t skimp on. Just look for deals…especially CLOSEOUTS. Last year’s style can be 1/4 to 1/3 of this year’s style. If you’re not a bike snob, who cares?

The key to riding in cold weather is, of course, to wear enough layers to keep yourself warm, while not impinging freedom of movement. Layering the legs seems redundant, I know; figuring they’ll keep themselves warm with all the work they get. However, if they can’t GET warm, they can’t STAY warm. So, layer up and, if you need to, remove them later, as needed.



27 07 2010

Feeling a bit smug and self-satisfied recently, I posted some pictures of the bikes we’re working to “hybridize.” Only after hearing from an old friend on Facebook did I realize that most people have no idea what I mean by this.


A hybrid bike brings together the best features of a mountain bike and a road bike. A hybrid bike has a strong, durable frame with an upright riding position (mountain), while still being quick and agile with a smoother, faster ride (road). It is a fun, comfortable bike to ride, whether commuting, touring or just spinning around the neighborhood.

Had I known such a machine existed when I began riding a couple of years ago, I would have bought one for myself. However, I did not know, so I “hybridized” my own bike; trying a variety of different things to make it lighter, more comfortable, and faster. Ultimately, after many mistakes and mis-conceptions, I’ve spent about a thousand dollars on the bike I rode daily in Phoenix, and which I rode from Phoenix to Denver, to get it where I want it. Now, we are doing the same for others, at a much reduced cost from a new hybrid bike…and much more cheaply than I did it for myself.

Mountain bikes are built with extremely strong frames to endure the pounding the bike will take when riding trails, as well as being geared for climbing hills. These features translate into greater confidence in the machine when an overweight, out-of-shape person (like me) wants to return to, or begin, riding for exercise, weight loss, and commuting. Also, the more upright riding position of a mountain bike looks, and is, more comfortable than the more aggressive, more aerodynamic position of a road bike. After all, who wants to spend time pedaling a bike while bent forward over the handlebars with one’s belly being pounded by one’s thighs?

However, there are problems in using a mountain bike for commuting or for exercise. They can be very slow and the ride can feel rough, due to the large knobby tires designed for trail riding. They can also be rather heavy and feel sluggish when riding on roads. A mountain bike also tends to receive a great deal of abuse. So, while a mountain bike can be fun to ride on trails, it is the very things which make it so which also makes it a poor choice for riding streets.

Road bikes on the other hand, by definition, are great for street riding . This is what they are designed to do after all, and they serve their purpose very well. They tend to be very light, very quick, very fast, and very agile. They can be incredibly fun to ride, even the older models.

However, a road bike tends to feel awkward and uncomfortable to the novice cyclist, making the riding experience a chore rather than being enjoyable. The riding position alone can frighten the novice rider, not to mention the price of a high quality road bike. Further, road bikes are geared for speed, not climbing, and so do not have the gearing a novice needs to climb even the smallest bumps in the road. These features, which make a road bike so much fun to ride for an experienced cyclist, are things which tend to make someone new to cycling turn away from a machine which can provide years of exhilarating riding.

Bicycle manufacturers, always innovative and always ready to adapt to new trends in cycling as a means to increase sales and profits, have understood these problems with the two most popular types of bikes for quite a while now, but have done their usual poor job of educating the public about the products they offer. The machines which are being built today are remarkably well designed and efficient, yet the general public has little or no idea of what is available. Further, the cost of a new, high quality bicycle can be very intimidating.

For the novice or returning cyclist, cost is definitely a factor. If riding is not a pleasurable experience for them, that new bike is nothing but money down the drain. If they don’t enjoy the new bike, they will not use it and the exercise and weight loss goals they set for themselves will never be realized.

A good quality mountain bike will cost $500-$1000, or more. A good quality road bike will set you back $1000, at least. Even a quality hybrid will usually be half-a-grand. Frankly, the numbers scare people. I know, because they certainly scared me, and still do.

So, what is the solution for the novice or returning cyclist? Buying used from a stranger can be just as frightening, even though the investment is much less intimidating. Plus, you still have the problem of which type of bike to choose. Mountain and road bikes do not, and never will, serve the needs of the novice cyclist.

We believe a rebuilt, hybridized bike to be the answer.

A decent bicycle can perform its function for not just years, but decades. Bike frames last a long time, even when abused. They may not look as pretty as they did when new, but they serve their function remarkably well. The components on the other hand, i.e, the stuff that is hung on the bike to make it go, can really suffer from neglect. The drivetrain alone, when ignored, can make a bike impossible to ride. The gears up front (the chainrings), the gears at the rear (the cassette or freewheel), and the chain (the chain), can become rusted and frozen, making the bike un-rideable. Even the simplest maintenance of these items will make them last nearly as long as the frame but, for someone who doesn’t enjoy using their machine, these simple tasks become meaningless, and useless.

Replacing these items on an old bike can be expensive, literally costing more than the bike is worth. So, we don’t replace them. We clean and rebuild them.

 Whenever possible, we rebuild the components of the bikes we find which allows us to keep the resale price at an acceptable level. After all, it only costs us time to do this, not cash, and our reward is in making an old bike shine. We also clean and re-pack all the bearings on the bike; in the headset (the steering), in the bottom bracket (where the cranks turn), and even in the wheel hubs (the axles). Doing this allows the bike to operate smoothly and safely, regardless of the abuse it has suffered in the past.

When it comes to tires and tubes though, we replace them with new rubber. This can become expensive, but it is essential to the creation of a safe, comfortable, smooth riding hybrid bike. Those old knobbys may look fine, but are usually dried out and cracking. Plus, they were the tires which made the bike so difficult to ride in the first place; which caused someone to park it in their backyard and ignore it for so long.

As with anything related to bicycles, the cost of new rubber can be about as high as you are willing to pay. However, we have found a couple of sources of relatively inexpensive, quality bike rubber which makes it possible for us to improve the ride of virtually any bike without forcing us into a prohibitively expensive rebuild. We install narrower, smoother tires for a quicker, more comfortable, more enjoyable ride.  And, of course, these improvements also make the bike safer to ride.

Beyond these things, which allows the bike to function safely and well, we do our best to improve the look of the bike. We do some touch-up of the paint, we polish the wheels and frame, and we clean…and clean…and clean. We do everything possible to make the bike a machine which someone will want to ride. It does no one any good to own a well-functioning machine which is embarrassing to ride. If all they do is take it home and park it, what was the point in rebuilding it?

While our vision is long-range, our goal is a simple one; to get more people riding.

We would like to see more folks out there experiencing the joy and exhilaration that we do when we ride. We want our neighbors to get the exercise they seek and have some fun doing so. We would like to see them commuting by bike and enjoying the experience. We would like to provide a low-cost, safe, and enjoyable bike which will allow them to reach whatever cycling goals they set for themselves.

We believe it’s possible. We believe we are the ones to do this. We enjoy doing it, and we are determined to make it happen.

Mile-Hi Cycle Guy


20 06 2010

I’ve also been meaning to put together a list of sites with valuable info on bike touring for anyone who’s decided it’s time to do something as crazy as my ride from Phoenix to Denver. Once again, I’ve forced myself to cease procrastinating and do it, so…here you go…

http://bicycletouring101.com/ possibly the most comprehensive site on touring available.

http://www.kenkifer.com/bikepages/touring/ still my favorite touring site, though. Touring Ken’s site is really what inspired me to try touring myself.

http://www.goingslowly.com/ a very well done, how-we-did-it, site.

http://mebobandsurly.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/42-books-about-bicycle-touring/ a great site for info, and for where to get more info.

http://bicycletouringpro.com/blog/ check out the touring gear checklist here. Can be very illuminating.

http://www.cyclocampingblog.com/ a good site for bicycle camping as opposed to bicycle touring ( though there is some cross over, of course).

http://www.fullyloadedtouring.com/ check out this site, just to see what a fully-loaded touring bike looks like. These shots are sooooo cool.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/ and once again, bike info from The Master.

These are, of course, just a few of the many sites available if you are seeking information and advice on bike touring. I’ve done it only once and learned a ton from the experience. Most of these folks have been doing it for years. My best advice to you is, just take whatever you can use from them, whatever seems to make sense, and discard the rest.

Most importantly however, if you’re thinking of giving bike touring a try, do it. It will be an experience unlike anything else in your life.


%d bloggers like this: