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Running Again

Last Friday on my ride home from work I popped a spoke on my rear wheel. This bike lasted over a year before finally popping a spoke, which I guess is not bad. I made an appointment to take it in on Wednesday to get fixed and tuned up.

Meanwhile, I decided it’s time to start getting more exercise, so on Monday I started jogging again. I don’t think I’ve jogged since before we moved into our house in 2011, so my expectations were not high. However, I managed to run about 2/3 of a mile before I had to stop and walk for a couple hundred feet, and then I ran the rest of the way home. The 1-mile loop took me about 12:30.

Tuesday I did the loop again and ran it without stopping, albeit in about the same time. I got my bike back Wednesday, rode to work on Thursday, and then ran again yesterday and today. Today I stretched my run to 1.2 miles, though at a slightly slower pace since it was horrendously humid (at least for northern California) today.

I can definitely feel it in my legs, using muscles that aren’t often used to that extent. In particular my calf muscles have been tight all week, I suspect because I use them to run with a gait where I land on the balls of my feet rather than the heels, in order to not aggravate my recurring shin splints. But they’ve felt better today than earlier this week.

I know that the main factor in popping spokes on my bike is my weight, so my hope is I can alternate biking and jogging to work on getting that down. I’ve traditionally loathed jogging, so we’ll see how long I can keep it up, and what sort of distances I can reach on a regular basis.

Oh, and to go along with this I’ve started getting up an hour earlier on weekdays. We’ll see how long I can keep that up too!

4 comments to Running Again

  • Peter

    No matter what your weight is, you don’t want to be popping spokes. I’m guessing it is just your rear wheel. Ask the shop if they have or can build you a stronger rear wheel with a higher spoke count. That should stop this problem.

  • I had this problem chronically with my old bike, and I did finally have someone buy a stronger wheel, but it still popped spokes. So then I bought this bike, which is beefier all around. And it did last over a year before popping a spoke. I’m crossing my fingers that this one was just a fluke. I also wonder whether there’s something about my habits on the bike which make it more prone to pop spokes – too much torque on the rear wheel or something? I have been careful to try to start on the lowest gear when pushing off from a standstill (not just for this reason but to give my creaky knees a break), and I’m not sure what else I could do.

  • Peter

    I’m assuming you aren’t doing jumps with your bike 🙂 That’s the sort of thing that really does it. I never thought about starting torque, I suppose reducing it could help, but those forces are small compared to hitting bumps. A seat post with a shock in it ( pretty standard these days) helps reduce that and protects the rear wheel. Check that out if you don’t have one, they are inexpensive.

    But it is really about the quality of the build and keeping the wheel trued up. I used to ride 5,000 miles a year and very seldom broke a spoke. I think in 50,000 miles I’ve broken maybe 3 spokes. And I DO jump my bike and weigh 190 lbs. When you add in the 20-30lbs of gear I used to tour with, I am pretty hard on wheels.

    I have a bicycling friend who weighs(over) 250lbs who rides similar distances and he has a 10 year old wheel that never broke a spoke.

    If you don’t know how to true your wheel, have a shop do it every couple of hundred miles. But a sturdier, high-quality wheel should go a long way to reducing broken spokes.

  • Peter

    Oh, and always “unloading” the bike when you see a bump coming up ( standing up a bit off the saddle and moving your weight to the rear as the front wheel goes over the bump and then moing your weight a bit to the front as the rear wheel goes over a bump) helps protect both wheels.

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