Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Casual Ride

I bought a new, more comfy seat for Rose’s bike in hopes that she would join me on a ride, which she did on Saturday. Her friend Michelle also joined us, both on their new bicycles.

I finally felt like I wasn’t the newbie anymore as we rode the two miles or so to the park. I wanted to get a photo of me on my bike for the header of this blog so I asked Rose to photograph me at the park.

I made two big mistakes. I failed to mention I needed a wide-angle photo and she took a close up of me. I also failed to look at the photo she took. I just assumed it was good. Lesson learned.

When we got home, Rose complained about how hot she was and I realized that I did not even notice the heat while we were riding, which is unusual for me because I tend to enjoy a very narrow temperature range. I guess us humans can get used to almost anything, even this Florida heat.

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Three in a Row

I was actually able to ride to work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week. I was allowing myself to rest between rides but it seems I have reached a point where that is no longer necessary. The only questions remains, if I am really starting to improve physically, why have I gained two pounds since I started riding?

I guess I have only myself to blame. Last night I did not get home until 6:45 and then my wife wanted to go out for dinner. Since I am a pushover, I said “okay.” I then proceeded to eat a large Italian dinner and  went to bed shortly after getting home.

Today I am bringing the car to work so I can get home early enough to do some other bad thing. Perhaps we will go see a movie. Just one more reason I need the bike.

I just want to change gears a little (pun intended) and share something I learned. In fact, one reason I started this blog was so that newbies like myself could learn what a new rider might encounter on a recumbent bike, or any bicycle.

When I bought my bike it came with two drink holders. It did not, however, have the bottles that they were designed to hold. I didn’t mind though because I am not a big fan of squirting water in my mouth. I prefer to drink from a standard bottle.

So on my first practice ride my half-liter water bottle fell out every time I hit a bump. My good friend Rick, who has many more miles under his belt, suggested I loop a rubber band around the top part of the holder and then loop the other end around the neck of the bottle. This worked great. Thanks Rick. Hopefully I will be able to share more great tips in the future.

If anyone has more tips they would like to share, please leave a comment. Also, check out my other blogs at badcatchris.com and RomeoRooster.blogspot.com

What’s a Little Rain…?

Last night when I checked the weather forecast online it called for scattered thunderstorms all day. This morning the forecast was much better.  It was as though the day shift at weather.com came in to work and found the night shift sleeping at the switch. The weather was nice this morning and the rain chances for the late afternoon ride home were for areas farther inland.

I rode to work in under 70 minutes, my best time yet and I was not even trying to hurry. Fortunately I remembered to bring a spare shirt with me, especially since it is still quite humid.

What I didn’t count on was getting sent home early due to lack of work. I started my return trip just after 11:00 a.m. After about a half hour it started to rain. I thought about adjusting my route to find a store to take shelter in but decided against. I could see the clouds ahead were darker and it was possible that if I stopped, I could be waiting a long time.

I decided to press on. At the moment, the rain actually was light and felt good. It got a little heavier along the way and then stopped unexpectedly. I decided to stop at my chiropractor’s office, which was almost on the way. I had a 5:30 appointment but I was hoping he could see me early, which he did.

From there it was just two miles to home. I made it about a mile before the rain started again. My main concern at that point was for my phone and iPod. I did not feel like stopping to put them in my bag. I also did not feel the need to break out my rain jacket. The rain was coming from my left and my phone was in my right pocket so that helped. It also helped that my iPod was clipped to the bottom of my shirt, which I was able to fold over a couple of times to help keep it dry.

The rain gradually increased in intensity until I got about 30 seconds from home, when it started coming down in buckets. I didn’t bother stopping at the sidewalk. I rode right up to the front door.

I must admit that except for my concern for my electronics, the rain really didn’t bother me much. I think next time I will carry a Ziploc bag in my pocket.

Back on the Road Again

It has been ten days since my last ride to work and it feels good to get back on the bike again. I was held up by a persistent afternoon rain that I thought would never end. Finally, yesterday, I was able to ride my bike again.

I thought the time off would be a problem but I made it to work in under 75 minutes, my fastest time. Now just to be clear, I think competing against myself could be good but I don’t want to worry too much about improving. I want to focus on enjoying the ride.

I did go out with my wife on Saturday. It was her first chance to ride her new bike so we decided to ride to the park. We got less than five minutes down the road and had to turn around because she was complaining about her butt hurting. I said she should buy a recumbent.

I got a new iPod Shuffle for my birthday, which I listened to yesterday. It is so much better than my last one, which was the 3rd generation Shuffle. That one had all the controls on the earphones which was a stupid idea. I had to replace them twice at $30 apiece because my cat chewed them (see http://badcatchris.com). The last set I lost, so I can’t blame the cat for that. This new iPod has the controls back on the device. We decided to take a trip to Germany next year so now I will be able to listen to German lessons.

I like riding because see some pretty interesting things on a bike that I would miss in the car. I always see rabbits on the bike trail but yesterday I saw a turtle with some interesting markings. I looked online but could not find one that looked like it. Maybe I will see  it again.

More Bad Weather

I knew when I bought my bike that we were at the beginning of the rainy season here on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Often the rain comes from small rain clouds that pop up, deposit a light to moderate rain for a short time during the late afternoon, then blow on by.

That kind of rain does not concern me and I can live with getting wet. Unfortunately, what I have seen lately is heavy rain accompanied by lightning. That is something I do not want to have to ride through so my bike has been stuck in the closet since Monday.

The good news is that it is not lonely in there anymore. The other day, as I was filling the gas tank of our car, I noticed a women’s Trek Bicycle at the pawn shop next door. My wife and I looked at it and found it to be in good shape and very light so we put a deposit down on it. We got it yesterday and now it sits in the closet next to my bike waiting for drier weather.

I just checked the weather for tomorrow and it calls for a 60% chance of thunderstorms for my trip home from work. I think I would ride to work if the chances were 30%, perhaps even 40%, or if it was just rain and not thunderstorms.

I supposed I have become a little spoiled but I remember the last time I got caught in a heavy rain. I could not look in front of me while I was riding. I had to look down at my front tire and occasionally take a quick glance up to make sure I wasn’t going to hit anything. I also forgot my iPod was in my pocket. Do they make waterproof iPods now?

Exercise is good for the brain…or is it?

Yesterday was my fourth ride to work. Each time seems less tiring so I know the workout is doing some good, although I have not lost any weight yet. What I am losing, I think, is my mind.

Last time I mentioned my A.D.D. and the fact that I missed an important turn on my way to work. Today I was not paying attention again and missed the same turn. I also forgot my sunglasses, which I didn’t notice at first because I left before the sun had risen above the trees. That was a bad mistake because I ride east to work and west back to home.

Finally, I forgot to lock the door, which, of course,  my wife noticed first. What’s worse, it is the third time in a week or so that I have done that. I never forgot to lock the door before, maybe I should sell my bike and buy a La-Z-Boy…or not.

Another Good Ride

I fully expected it to take a few weeks before riding to work started getting easier, but after only three trips, I am seeing improvement with each ride. Granted, nothing major but it has become noticeably easier.

One thing that hasn’t improved in my attention span. I do suffer from self-diagnosed A.D.D. and my wife always jokes if I get Alzheimer’s nobody will know. Case in point: On my way to work, I missed a very important turn and when I noticed, I had no idea how for I would have to back track. I decided to keep going straight. I knew where I was going but my carefully planned route to keep me out of heavy traffic no longer applied. I made it to work okay but I had to rely on sidewalks which I wanted to avoid.

The way home went better and I made it in 75 minutes. I packed my good rain jacket today because the rain chance was 40 percent but it stayed sunny all the way home.