Yesterday morning I put my bike in the truck and rode with Rose to her work and then continued on my bike the rest of the way to work. As I mentioned in a earlier post, my commute went from ten miles to over seventeen and I normally don’t have enough hours in the day to make the commute. Yesterday was an exception because Rose wanted to go to her aerobics class after work so I was on my own to get home. I talked to my boss and arranged to come in early and take a short lunch so I could leave a little earlier.
When I was leaving that morning I talked to my neighbor and mentioned what I was doing and he thought I was crazy. “It’s supposed to be 95 degrees today.” he said. He even offered to give me his number if I got into trouble but I really didn’t think my bike was going to fit in his Corvette.
I was out of work and on the road just after 4:15. The weather was hot but after being cooped up inside all day I was happy to be out. I rode the familiar route home and stopped at Rose’s office for a few minutes to stretch my legs and then I headed home. This time I was riding a new route and didn’t know what to expect.
From Rose’s office I had a few routes to choose from and I chose the most direct. It is seven miles west on a very busy road. The first few miles have no bike lane so, for safety, I chose to ride on the sidewalk. At least I thought it was safe but not long after getting on the sidewalk I was again struck by the curse of the clipless pedals. My front tire went off the edge of the sidewalk and the lip was to big to steer it back on so I tipped to the left. It was no big deal and putting my left foot out would have prevented a fall but I couldn’t unclip fast enough and down I went.
My bike after fall.
The rest of the ride was uneventful except for a hill that seemed to never end. I kept thinking, “This is Florida, it’s supposed to be flat.” It really showed how spoiled I have been and how I really needed this challenge. Of course, the greatest part about a hill is that there is always a downside, and by that I mean an upside.
I made it home just after 6:30. As I was turning into my driveway I waved to my neighbor who was pulling out in his Corvette. What a great ride. I want to do it again but I don’t want to push my luck and try to leave early too often.
Long before I started cycling regularly I walked during my lunch break. I enjoyed getting out but it was not the ideal way for me to get exercise. It was only 30 minutes a day and I had to stop for a while during the hottest days of summer. In addition, I was not able to relax during my lunch break.
Cycling solved those problems. I quadrupled my exercise time and I was able to do it without sacrificing my lunch break. I was also able to ride during the hot summer months because instead of being out at mid-day, I was riding in the morning and late afternoon. I also get more breeze while riding than I did while walking.
It is not perfect, however, because I am not getting an upper body workout. My wife goes to an aerobics class a few times a week where they get a more complete workout. That is not for me but I do need to supplement my bike riding with something different from time to time. This weekend I found a great counterpart to my cycling routine: kayaking.
Since we live on the water again we thought kayaks would be fun to have, so Saturday morning we bought a couple of kayaks and as soon as we got them home we put our swimsuits on and put the kayaks in the water.
Me stuck on a sand bar.
Sitting in the kayak was somewhat like riding my recumbent bike but instead of using my legs I was using my arms to propel myself forward. I am embarrassed to say this but Rose blew me away on paddling. My arms were tired after five minutes but I pushed on. Fortunately we hit a sandbar halfway to Caladesi Island and I was able to get out and walk for a while while my arms rested.
The best part about kayaking is, besides the exercise, it is fun, so I believe I will stick with it like I have with my bicycle. Hopefully, at least once a week, we will actually put them in the water. I know that once a week is not consistent enough to develop a strong upper body but it is one more time a week than I was doing it.
My only other problem is replacing my alternative exercise with another alternative when winter arrives, but I am not going to concern myself with that now.
It has been an entire month since my last post. Where does the time go? Rose and I have been busy with a move. First it was searching for a new place, then , since what we found is smaller, we had to spend time weeding out stuff to be donated. After that it was two weeks of packing and another week of unpacking and we still aren’t done.
We moved back to Dunedin. For me, it is the fourth time I have moved to this small city. Every time I leave, something keeps pulling me back. It is a great place to live, especially where we are, just a half mile from the Pinellas Trail, which is a 47 mile linear park built on an abandoned railroad corridor. It runs mostly north and south throughout the entire county. My path to work is east to west so I will use it for weekend rides with my wife if we can ever find her a bike that she is happy with.
Another benefit of the new place is that I can keep my bike on the screened patio. Our last place had a screened patio that was too small and had no extra room for a bicycle. Consequently, I had to maneuver it through the front door to the right and then immediately to the left and into a long, narrow closet. It was difficult to do without scratching the door frame. I also got a lot of static from Rose about getting the carpet dirty. Now I just need to find a cover for it.
The problem I face now is that we moved seven miles in the opposite direction from my work, which takes my ride from 10 miles to 17 miles. I am up to the challenge and would welcome a longer ride but the problem is time. My wife, as a manager, works many hours more than I do so I have many responsibilities at home that include taking care of the cats, making coffee, breakfast, etc. An extra 14 miles a day would take away another 90 minutes from an already cramped schedule.
Fortunately, we traded our car in for a truck the same day that we moved (It was a busy day). For now, I plan on putting the bike in the truck and driving to Rose’s work and then I will ride to my job from there. I will reverse the process on the way home. This leaves me dependent on Rose being ready for work early enough. Not an ideal situation but it is the best I can do for now. I welcome any other ideas.