A Gorgeous Sunny Day

Wheel full 70px And here I am, just where I’d planned to make it to yesterday.


Wheel full 70px I’m headed off on a short side trip to get my shoes fixed.


Wheel full 70px The glue kinda sorta worked- it never sealed up tight, but it stopped further progress of the front flap separating from the shoe.


Wheel full 70px The right shoe has more or less stayed where it was.  I’ll be glad when they’re back to spec.

Wheel full 70px Then it’s on to New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Beantown, where I’ll catch a ferry to the tip of Cape Cod.  Stay tuned.

Took a Break

Wheel full 70px I took a break yesterday.  It was my birthday- my 64th- and I figured what the heck.  So I didn’t do anything.  Well, almost.  I did get on the (unloaded) bike and ride a half mile/800 meters downhill to get a Subway footlong double meat roast beef sandwich for lunch, then back just past the motel to a Rite-Aid drugstore for some first aid kit stuff and a tape measure, then back to my room.  Later I ate a middling size bag of air-popped olive oil and sea salt flavored popcorn and went to bed early after a nice phone call with my wife.

Wheel full 70px Oh, and I glued my rapidly falling apart left shoe.


Wheel full 70px Today it’s so far, so good.


Wheel full 70px We’ll see.

Wheel full 70px And, now that I think about it, I used the tape measure I bought to check out my waist size.  I got some bad news- none of my pants will even close to fit when I get home.  I’ll spare you the photo, as I’m sure you get the idea.

Wheel full 70px The rest of the day I relaxed and tried to figure out why a month’s worth of riding every day hadn’t seemed to translate into greater stamina and endurance.  I seem to continue to be running out of both go-power and daylight right around the 35-40 mile/~55-65 kilometer point each day.  I really had hoped to be solidly into 50 mile/80 kilometer days by now.  I’ve managed two.


Wheel full 70px I rolled different ideas around and around during the day yesterday and think that I have come up with the answer.  Along the Nova Scotia coast where I started, pretty much every day the total elevation gain was under 2,000 feet/600 meters, with most days less than 1,500 feet/450 meters climbed.  Since I’ve been riding in New Brunswick and Maine, comparable distances every day but one or two have seen a total elevation gain of over 2,000 feet/600 meters with a handful over 2,500 feet/750 meters.  My experience tells me that the hills in Maine and New Brunswick have been by and large more steep, too.  It is hard to get good grade information off of the RidewithGPS app on an iPhone, but I’m pretty sure that there have been a number of significant hills with a 10% grade or more.  I have a hard time believing, given my physical condition at the start of the trip, that I am pedaling all the way up these hills.  I know that a few have left me completely spent for a half hour or so after I reached the crest.  I know that I was not dealing, with but one or two exceptions, with any hills like these in Nova Scotia.

Wheel full 70px So I do have more stamina and go-power.  I’m just expending it on more significant hills, and my daily rides are shorter as a result.  There’s good news, though, ahead.  The total elevation gain projected by RidewithGPS for the entire trip is right about 90,000 feet/27,000 meters.  I have overcome, based on my cumulative daily ride stats, just about 55% of that gain- a little less than 50,000 feet/15,000 meters in the mileage ridden to date- about a quarter of the length of the entire ride.  This leaves 40,000 feet/12,000 meters of gain for the remaining three-quarters, and I’ll burn through about 10,000 feet/3,000 meters more before I leave Maine.

Wheel full 70px What I’ll do then is reduce my planned daily miles for about the next week.  I figure, adding in yesterday’s rest day and the low mileage days in the Acadia area, that this will put me five days behind the schedule I published in a post a few days ago.  I now expect to be in Boston on the 28th of this month and arriving in Key West in the second week of November.  I’ll update the entire schedule in a day or so.

Wheel full 70px In the meantime, I need to get back on the bike and ride.


Uncool Shoes

Wheel full 70px Specialized is going to get a very unhappy email from me.


Wheel full 70px You might recall that I bought these shoes in June of this year.  They are less than three months old.


Wheel full 70px I don’t walk on the toes or otherwise mistreat them. The stitching on the left shoe came apart first. The right shoe has  followed in recent days.

Wheel full 70px Looks like a design defect to me.   I  don’t think a replacement pair is an unreasonable expectation.  If those come apart we’ll just have to deal with that when it happens.

So it is way cool to be proved wrong

Wheel full 70pxA couple of days ago I posted more or less to the effect that I believed that shoe manufacturers, and bicycle shoe manufacturers in particular, were not being straight with us folks up in the “Bigfoot” sizes [linkie].  It is my pleasure to admit that the Specialized company [linkie] makes an EU 50 size shoe that fits me like a glove.

Specialized Logo 200px

Wheel full 70pxYeah, I have to fudge my applause a little.  According to Specialized, the shoe was supposed to fit a US size 15.5


Nuh-uh, I would say not.  My size 13 foot is just perfect in there.  I had an EU size 49 of these in the store to try on too… not even close.  I would have had to have cut out the toe on each shoe.

Wheel full 70pxSo I am so happy, in any event.  After trying on numerous EU size 50s and even 52s that did not fit properly, I found what I think is the perfect pair of shoes to start the trip in, and far enough in advance to break them in a bit.

2016-06-23 19.49.46

2016-06-23 19.50.05

I’ve been stationary biking every evening with them all week for six or so miles a shot at a challenging resistance.  No hot spots.  No pinching anywhere.  No sore toes.

Wheel full 70pxI think I’m good to go, shoe-wise.

David Edgren

I’d’ve worn rubber gloves too…

Rubber Gloves 800px

Wheel full 70pxBut they’re my feet.  I’m, err… kind of attached to them.

Wheel full 70pxSo several pre-ride appointments this week.  Yesterday I met with a dietitian, and that will be the subject of an upcoming post all on its own.  Today I saw the podiatrist.  Not because my feet have any real issues, mind you, other than being gigantic and 63 years old along with the rest of me.  Well, yeah- I do have some peripheral neuropathy, especially in the left foot, likely as the result of a car accident almost 30 years ago.  So I took the doc’s time to describe what I am setting out to do in about a month and hear her recommendations.  They were common-sense, but very helpful to have them organized all at once.

  1. Check feet frequently for issues.  The moving bike and the motion of the legs and feet in turning the pedals will tend to mask things.
  2. Don’t let a small problem turn into a big one.  Deal with stuff like irritation and redness before blisters and sores develop.  Deal with a small blister before it becomes a big one.  That sort of thing.
  3. Maintain daily foot hygiene.  Wear clean socks every day.  Let feet air out after a ride.  Make sure nails are trimmed and do not become ragged.
  4. If a problem develops, give it time to resolve.  Consider staying off the bike if necessary.  Some delay is better than pushing things to a ride-ending injury.

There was more, but those were the high points.  If those feet are going to get me across the country, I’d better treat them right.

Wheel full 70pxOn a related front, we ran my feet through a Brannock Device during the visit.  What’s a Brannock Device, you ask?  One of these gizmos.

Brannock Device 727px

Wheel full 70pxThese are actually a pretty interesting part of American ingenuity, dating back to just after the First World War [linkie].  When it gets used by a shoe salesperson, well, that’s just part of selling you something.  But when your foot is “Brannocked” by Trained Medical Personnel, hey- that’s the answer, right?

Wheel full 70px13B/C.

Wheel full 70pxI can’t get my foot into a size 13 shoe at any store, even with a shoehorn and someone pushing the shoe in the other direction.  And what about this?

Hoe Size Comparison Chart Size 14 Marked EU highlighted 800px

Wheel full 70pxNow, I allowed a one size fudge-factor, upping the Brannock results to a 14.  There’ve been 14s I have fit my feet into.  I don’t remember when, but I have.  Follow the red line down, though, to where it crosses the EU adult sizes (which I have highlighted in yellow).  A 49?

Wheel full 70pxUh-uh.  No way.  I’d have to cut off my toes.  Same with a 50.

Wheel full 70pxSo do I doubt Mr. Brannock and his device?  Not one bit.  I think that my problem with finding bicycle shoes- any shoes, actually- can be laid squarely at the feet (DYSWIDT?) of the vendors that make the shoes for the various manufacturers.  Like I said before, I think they take every hundredth EU48 shoe off the line and label it an EU49.  Then they take every hundredth one of those and label it an EU50.  It’s the manufacturers’ fault, too.  My feet don’t magically turn into size 52s when I put on what should be a properly sized shoe.  “They run small” doesn’t explain anything.

Wheel full 70pxI’d like to see a single bicycle shoe brand that could prove me wrong, but I’m not too worried about that happening.

David Edgren

Houston, we have a (foot) problem…

Wheel full 70pxBig feet run (pardon the unintended pun) in my family.


“Plates of meat,” as the Brits say.  More like platters in my case.

Wheel full 70pxOver the years, I’ve had problems at various times finding shoes large enough to fit properly, and especially in this day and age where manufacturers seem to arbitrarily take every hundredth bigfoot size shoe that comes off the assembly line and label it a size or two larger, and in kilometers or something. I mean, I’m no chauvinist, but why should I have to care about “EU” shoe sizes?  It’s bad enough that my feet have mutated grown from size 13 when I was in high school to their current size 15 or 15.5 state, but “EU 52?”  That sounds like some kind of Bulgarian perfume.  And why such a huge upper range (that nobody seems to make in any event)?  If your feet are EU 16, do you need a magnifying glass to see them?

Wheel full 70pxIn any event, and putting the snark aside, finding an EU size 52 bicycling shoe with SPD cleats is, in this day and age of, failing all else, being able to find just about anything on Amazon, well nigh hopeless.  Endless Google searches have resulted in zilch.  My query on BikeForums [linkie] resulted in a couple of responses that gave some seemingly specific information but after calling nearly every bike shop in Seattle trying to chase them down with no luck- lots of sympathy but no luck- I felt pretty defeated.

Wheel full 70pxEven worse, my friends at Bike Gallery [linkie] in Portland had an EU 52 Shimano shoe that seemed to fit pretty well- tight and stiff, but that’s why they are a biking shoe.  Except that my ankle where it meets my foot prevents the “strap and ratchet” closure at the top of the shoe from coming together, much less fastening.  Great shoe, but not for me.

Wheel full 70pxI’m going to call other shops in Portland today, hoping against hope I might be able to find something to take back to Alaska with me to break in over the next month or so.  If anyone reading this has any suggestions or recommendations, please let me hear from you.  Otherwise, wish me luck.  I think I’m going to need it.

David Edgren