Saturday, November 27, 2010

How Warren got his Groove Back

I've gone through a lot of phases with my bike riding. Bike Commuter, Recreational Cyclist, Utility Cyclist. It's no secret that the end of my commuting put a damper on biking and blogging; and that is fine, we all go through that kind of ebb and flow in various aspects of our lives.

This last year my interest in cycling waned. There were lots of excuses: I'm working from home now, walking the dog in the morning, working on the house and yard, the apprehension that came after a couple of friends had been hit by cars, and, to be honest, the thrill was simply gone.

For some reason I turned the mental corner a few days back. Perhaps it is just because this is my favorite time of year for riding. Yes, it is getting cold, but cold weather riding is not uncomfortable if you're wearing the proper clothing. It also means I'm a bit more visible with my highly reflective and hi-vis jacket. Also, the air is "crisp" and I like that.

Now, as a case in point, I needed to make a quick run to the bank this morning which would be 3.5 miles round trip. I knew it would be cold so I dug out my balaclava and quickly checked the temperature: 28°. I checked my list of what clothes to wear based on the temperature and hit the road. (I do need to adjust the list again now that I've discovered the miracle of wool socks.)

When I got home I realized that the joy of riding that has been missing for months is back. I also feel energized; I don't know how else to put it. Maggie and I will still get our daily walks in, but I'm going to make time to get out on the trail early in the morning so I can have this feeling throughout the day. So, when you see cyclists out in the cold, don't feel sorry for us -- we're having a blast.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reasons to ride

In all the articles I've poured over concerning reasons to ride bikes I always see items along the lines of riding being good for the environment, good for the body, good for traffic calming, and FUN! I hardly ever see anyone else mention Rock Star Parking, although Noah has been kind enough in the past to mention it.

So, Saturday I spent part of the day replacing a faucet and when I found myself needing a couple of faucet connectors I knew it meant a trip to Home Depot. I almost drove but since the round trip would be less than a mile and a half and the weather being nice, albeit windy, I hopped on the bike and grabbed a parking spot right in front of the door. I just wish they had a proper bike rack.

As I was unlocking the bike, a guy who lives down the street was headed to his car and came up to say hi. He said "I'd never thought of riding my bike." I told him I just wanted to get in and out and this made it quick.

Guess who made it home first... [Me]

Monday, November 15, 2010

Altruism ride?

Something our pastor mentioned in his sermon yesterday reminded me of this headstone. I've driven or ridden past this for almost three decades, always meaning to take a picture. Since it had still been on my mind this morning, I decided a lunchtime ride would be in order. A quick check on the weather revealed sunny skies with temperatures in the mid 50's and no wind.

Does the angle of the sun make my shadow look fat?

The first half of the ride was primarily residential side streets and as quiet as can be. I rode the Mendota and the lack of a bike computer resulted in a leisurely pace.

The second half of the ride was in moderate traffic.

While I waited at the Metcalf light, you could tell that the cars that pulled up behind me weren't used to sharing the road. I'll leave it at that because the rest of the ride was wonderful.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Feeling out of whack?
Needing balance in your life?
Learn to ride a bike.

(It has been a while since I've done a bike haiku...)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Walking my dog is making me fat

I started walking my dogs pretty regularly around 6 months ago. Before that time I hate to admit it was rare due to one being rather old and the other being such a challenge to walk. 4 months ago I finally made it a daily habit; I knew we didn't have many months left with Belle and wanted her to enjoy her final days. I could still get in several bike rides a week but dog walking was becoming my daily thing. Belle's gone now but I still get out with Maggie every morning. I'd mentioned before that bike rides have also taken a back seat to painting the house, so there just hasn't been any spare time to go riding.

When I weighed myself at the gym yesterday morning I came to a sudden realization: walking my dog is making me fat. Granted, I've only gained 3 pounds in the last couple of weeks, but if I do the math it seems that if I don't get back on the bike soon I'm really going to pack on the pounds.

I walk the dog for 30 minutes in the morning before work. This used to be the time that I'd go out for a 40 minute bike ride.

  • 30 minutes a day walking the dog burns 142 calories.

  • 40 minutes a day riding my bike burns 612 calories.

  • That's a difference of 470 calories per day or 14100 calories or 4.7 pounds gained per month.

    That must account for the gain in weight, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the jalapeno/artichoke dip with chips and/or the milk and Oreos I've been snacking on lately...

    So, walking the dog must be the reason I'm gaining weight. Realizing this, I decided to take a ride during lunch and got 10 rather windy miles in. In celebration, I had a bowl of ice cream.