230 Rule: Calculating Mileage Using Heat, Humidity

In South Florida, when the temperature is 90, the humidity is likely to be 90.

I’ve developed the 230 rule: 230 – the temperature – the humidity equals riding miles, give or take 20%.

Hence, 220 – 90 degrees – 90% humidity = 50 miles.

Ever notice how folks on the porch call it a breeze and folks on a bike call it a headwind?

Well Fitted Bike Eliminates Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

I know all too well what carpal tunnel (CTS) is all about. Too many years at a keyboard and a mouse have taught me more than I want to know. And, yes, I’ve been wired up and had my muscles jerk like a frog in a skillet while a guy in a white lab coat scribbled cryptic notes.

Bike riding didn’t cause CTS, but a poorly fitting bike aggravated the symptoms.

A well-fitting bike has eliminated most of the bike-aggravated symptoms and has given me a reason to get a life away from the keyboard, which has helped the computer-aggravated symptoms.

Kidney, Camelbak; Camelbak, Kidney

A kidney stone and hot, humid rides in South Florida were what moved me to get more focused on hydration.

The CamelBak M.U.L.E. holds 100 oz. I have sucked it dry on some rides, but I don’t know that I would want to carry any more weight than that. You can almost always find a place to refill before you go dry.

Camelbak M.U.L.E. with ipodIn addition to the water, I carry my wallet, cellphone, Schrader / Presta adapter, allen wrench and extra Vistalite flasher on or in it. I like the idea that if something would happen (like a bikejacking) that the wallet and cellphone are on my back instead of the rapidly-disappearing bike.) I added a tube director primarily to keep the first gulp of water a little cooler, but I’ve gotten to like the mouthpiece living where I just have to move my head a little to pick it up. If I’m not on my bike, I’ll throw in a CO2 inflator, a few more tools and some snacks.

I’ll still carry a water bottle either to refill the Mule or to pour over my head. It’s not uncommon for the water bottle to get so hot that it’s not refreshing, though.

Maybe I’ve just gotten used to the weight, but that was never an issue with me. The insulation / wicking is good enough that it has never felt cold against my back in the winter (such as we have down here) nor has it been noticeably hot in the summer (which we have for about eight months of the year). I’ll always yank off my helmet when I stop, but I usually don’t bother to pull off the Mule.

I’ve never put anything but water in it and I drain it and hang it up with the expansion hanger after every use. Since it gets used several times a week, it doesn’t suffer from the corner-of-the-closets-crud.

Hydration Backpack Advantages:

  • Water stays cool, not heated to the 90s by radiation from blacktop.
  • Water stays clean. I’ll take algae over poodle poop and pavement pollution splashed over the water bottle.
  • If I load it up with ice, usually there’s still ice left when the water’s gone. I can add water from any source and it’ll be cool.
  • Hydration happens almost without thinking, a couple of sips every few minutes rather than bottle-draining gulps at infrequent intervals. Makes following the old, “drink before you’re thirsty” rule easy to follow.
  • You can use the ice-filled bladder and insulated bag as a ice pack for an injured rider. Worked great for a friend who sprained a wrist on a ride.
  • Your grandson likes drinking out of it.

Malcolm Steinhoff drinks from Ken Steinhoff's Camelbak M.U.L.E. at Dreher Park in West Palm Beach, FL

Hydration Backpack Disadvantages:

  • Cost.

Cycling With a Heart Rate Monitor

I bought a Nashbar heart rate monitor (HRM) last year about this time, mostly because I’m a gadget freak and partially because the warranty runs out pretty early on Steinhoff males and I wanted to see how close to becoming a red-colored fountain I was.

I’ll be 54 this month. I’m 5’10 and weight about 190-195. I started riding about two years ago after 25 years of little exercise and have wracked up about 5,200 miles.

The highest rate I’ve hit was 194 BPM climbing a fairly steep hill on a hot day. I can ride all day in the 160-165 BPM range with a cadence in the 85-95 range. I can feel it when I hit the 180s for any length of time.

When I stop, I usually use 130 BPM as my refreshed starting point, and I usually reach it within about two or three minutes.

I don’t know what my morning resting rate is, but one of those automatic blood pressure checkers at the drug store the other day calculated my HR at 58 BPM.

Heat and humidity will elevate the rate by about 10 BPM. When the temps and humidity hit the mid-80s, my recovery HR may not dip below the 150s until and unless I get into the shade with a wind blowing. It must take a lot of pumping to cool off the engine.

One observation that I can’t explain is that my rate seems to drop the longer I ride. If I start out at 175, within 10 miles I may be in my “normal” range of the mid-160s and at 50 miles I may be in the low 150s. I would have thought the other would have happened.

Riding in heavy traffic will also cause my rate to go up as much as 3 to 5 BPM. (That doesn’t count what happens when biker road rage kicks in.)

What does it all mean? Heck if I know. It’s just another thing to look at to keep from being bored.

Scars, Road Rash and Going Over The Top

I did an endo a couple of years ago and landed on one elbow. I still have some scars from the road rash, but I didn’t do any permanent damage (as far as I know).

Last month I noticed that I had a lot of pain in the elbow and a loss of strength. I went to my chiro, who has a lot of experience with sports injuries, and asked him if the endo might have caused this.

He poked and pulled and said that I was the proud owner of an anti-tennis elbow.. Tennis elbow typically is felt on the outside of he joint. What I have is on the inner side.

He also speculated that it is more related to the hours I spend in front of a computer using a mouse than it is the hours I spend on my bike.

I also don’t notice the pain while riding.