Another Evening Ride

Since I haven’t ridden to work this week yet, I decided to squeeze in another 11-mile evening ride.  This time it wasn’t fully dark when I left, but was nearly so when I arrived home.

I had three dogs give chase, but I could actually see them this time.  They appeared friendly, and I’m glad, as they cut in front of me, forcing me to brake.

The weather forecast has been calling for rain and possible thunderstorms, but it was simply cloudy during most of the ride.  Some light rain started shortly after I got home.

Spinach

I’ve been snacking on fresh spinach recently.  I bought a bag of pre-washed, ready-to-eat spinach and ate the whole bag with dinner a few nights ago.  It was supposed to be three servings, but at 20 calories per serving, I wasn’t worried.

I bought another bag, and it took me two days to snack my way through it.  It’s like eating green, leafy potato chips.  :)

I had a light dinner today and my total calorie consumption for the day is 1170.  Yesterday was 2520, so it does vary quite a bit.  Amazingly, I’ve averaged only 1600 calories per day in the last week.  The week before was over 2000.

Not Bad for a Monday

Today’s weather is the epitome of a beautiful Spring day.  It turned out to be a good day for me, other than spending a good portion of it at work.

I needed to drive to work due to running some errands before work, so I couldn’t ride, but I am enjoying my new truck.

After work I had some housework to do, and I cooked a steak on the grill.  I sat on my front porch with the dogs and ate dinner.  After washing the dishes and messing around on the computer, I decided to go for a bike ride.

I didn’t leave on the bike until after 10:00 p.m.  The wind had calmed significantly, but the clouds were rolling in.  It is supposed to rain later tonight.

The night air was full of the sounds and smells of the countryside at night.  I startled a possum eating something on the side of the road.  I had to outrun two dogs.  I saw two cars during the whole ride, once getting out of town.

My 600 lumens worth of headlight did a decent job of showing the road, unless I was traveling more than 25 MPH.  600 lumens is a lot for a bicycle, but nothing compared to a pair of car headlights.

I was riding Nermal, so I wasn’t expecting to be all that fast, but I averaged 14.4 MPH on my 11 mile loop.  Not to shabby for a quick jaunt in the hilly countryside.

Instead of Yard Work…

… I went on a ride with Tim.  Tim sent an email this morning to let me know he had some free time for a ride.  I knew I wouldn’t ride without a little prodding, and that email was all the prodding I needed.

I rode Nermal (poor Oria is feeling ignored), and he performed well.  Since we weren’t on brick back-alleys this time, nothing rattled loose.  We did go off-road for a stint since it was just two of us on fat-tired bikes.  That part of the ride was a narrow, smooth path through the woods.  There were a few places where we had to get off, and carry the bikes over downed trees.

The weather was beautiful.  There were many people out: on road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, rollerblades, joggers, strollers, and dogs.

Tim mentions that I seemed stronger.  I don’t feel stronger than I did a few weeks ago, but I have put a lot of miles on the bike recently, so maybe I am.  Our average pace was only 12.8 MPH, but we weren’t trying to go fast.

Today was my birthday, and all things considered, it was a good one.

Weekly Average Weight for April 25, 2009

My average weight for the week ending 4/25/2009:
205.1 lbs

Down from last week:
2.8 lbs

Down since I started on 10/31/2007:
91.3 lbs

My average loss per 30 days since 10/31/2007:
5.05 lbs

Weight until goal:
30.1 lbs

My weight is going the right direction again.  I’m trying to eat well when I ride, and eat much less when I don’t.  If I don’t restrict my calories when I don’t ride, I’m worried that my weight will go back up, now that I have a vehicle again, and the ability to not ride.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Kristy won’t be moving in until at least July.  That gives me more time to focus on the weight loss.  It would be nice to be under 190 lbs by then.

I’ve had some shoulder issues that I’m now seeing a doctor for.  They don’t directly affect the cycling, but the pain does keep me up at night, which makes riding a lot harder the next day.  Also, some of my medication makes me sleepy, further compounding the problem.  It’s weird, it seems my body started falling apart the moment I decided to take care of it.

Today is also the one-year anniversary of me buying Nermal, my first real bike.  Strangely enough, I probably won’t ride him today, except for a quick grocery trip.  I have a lot to do this weekend that can’t be done on the bike.  One year ago, I weighed about 265 lbs.  Today I weigh 204.

Off-Topic Rambling

My reaction to having a nicer vehicle is much different that it would have been in the past.  In the past, I would have driven it as much as possible.  Today, I need to drive several hundred miles, but wish I could just stay at home.

As many of you know, Kristy lives 90 miles from me.  She’s currently much further away than that for work.  Initially she was going to be gone for one month, now it’s been extended to three months.

I need to drive to her apartment and grab some stuff to ship to her.  I would say more, but she’s sensitve to information about her being posted on the web.  She did tell me last night, that she’ll send a picture that I can post.  I’m still waiting to receive it.

No Longer Car-Free

img00014I really had intended on sticking out the car-free lifestyle for a while. After a discussion with Kristy about the future, and the realization that we will be in this house for a while, I decided to buy a vehicle.

I bought a used 2008 Nissan Frontier.  I’m back in the world of car payments and full-coverage insurance.

I really like the truck, and I’ll be able to haul my bikes, dogs, or whatever else I need to.

I’ll still be riding the bike to work a few days a week.  I don’t want to start gaining the weight back again.

Engaging News

I have written about Kristy, my girlfriend, a little on here before.  She likes to keep her life private, so I can say little.

What I can say, is that I asked her to be my wife, my bride, the woman I spend the rest of my life with.  That wonderful woman said “yes”!

Both of us have some craziness in our lives right now, so we haven’t nailed down a date.

It’ll be interesting to mesh our lives together, and challenging to continue losing weight, as she’s a great cook!

I’ve been walking on air for a few days because of this.  I really feel good.  I’m trying to channel this “excited energy” into riding my bike… as that’s still my only form of transportation.

Which, by the way, I had an appointment with my doctor after work today.  I had to ride there in the rain.  I arrived wet on the outside due to rain, and wet on the inside due to exertion.  It certainly wasn’t  my favorite visit to the doctor.

Why I Ride

My commute home today summed up many of the reasons I ride my bike.

  • The sun warming my face
  • The goofy grin that comes with simple pleasure
  • A strong tailwind for much of the ride, pushing me faster toward home
  • The smooth sound of tires running over wet pavement
  • The fierce headwind and smattering of rain as I neared home
  • A short break to consume the contents of a water bottle
  • Ominous storm clouds in the distance
  • Birds riding the air currents near the edges of the storm
  • A full rainbow from horizon to horizon as I finish my ride

Rainy Monday

The warmer weather has come to the Ohio River Valley.  It was 55 degrees at 7:00 a.m. when I left home today.  There was light rain and some wind.

As I continued on my commute the light rain picked up to a steady rain, but not quite a downpour.  I rode the entire way, and arrived at work very wet.

My cycling tights, compression shirt, light jacket, and wool socks did a fine job of keeping me comfortable.

I found out today that there are laundry facilities here at work, so I’m using a dryer so I don’t have to put wet clothes back on for the ride home.

A Tortuous, but Fun Ride

Today was the April RCCS ride.  This was the ride Tim dubbed the Paris-Redux ride, named after the Paris-Roubaix race in France.  Well, our ride wasn’t a race, and it was shorter, but it did go over slippery bricks, through mud, over broken glass, through potholes, and so on.

In additon to the challenging terrain it rained for the entire ride.  The puddles would hide deep holes and debris.  Let’s just say that I was glad I have health insurance.

Our group was seven people.  We managed four flats on the ride, one of them mine.  I had a small piece of glass in my tire.  We had multiple little problems with things rattling loose from the bikes going over the bricks.  We had a crash but no injury save for a scraped up hand.

The grit that gets splashed on the bike on rainy days is hard on the brakes.  The brakes were getting used a lot on this ride, so I wore a significant portion of my brake pads off.  I didn’t take the time to readjust the brakes, so I spent the last part of the ride with brakes that slowed me down about as much as a weak headwind.

Now I’m home, dried out and warmed up. I’ve adjusted my brakes and cleaned the bike.  I need to tighten everything that could have been knocked loose.

I’m drained, but I feel good.  I will sleep well tonight.

Wrapping-Up the Work Week

I rode my bike to work and back Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (with some bus assistance).

I wimped out on Thursday, and called a co-worker for a ride.  That co-worker was not able to give me a ride home, and I didn’t have my bike with me.  I borrowed a car overnight to get home.  I drove the car back to work on Friday, with my bike on the back.

Friday afternoon was beautiful.  The temperatures were in the 70s and the skies were sunny and clear.  I had forgotten to bring my helmet, and I rode home in jeans and a t-shirt.

The Second Street Bridge was closed, but I had a positive experience with the shuttle service to get me across the river, as did Tom.

Normally Fridays are bad for rude drivers.  Not this one.  It wasn’t until after I got home that I realized it might be because I was wearing my Ride to Conquer Cancer t-shirt.

I found myself smiling most of the way home.  It was the best commuting ride I’ve had in many months.  Earlier in the week I was dreading the ride.  I considered going into debt to buy a car, just so I could get one now.  I held out, and feel better about it all, and will be riding again next week.

Today, I’m mostly sticking around the house to do yard work.  I may make a grocery run on the bike.  Tomorrow I have an RCCS ride, but I’ve arranged a ride to get there.

Weekly Average Weight for April 18, 2009

My average weight for the week ending 4/18/2009:
207.9 lbs

Down from last week:
2.4 lbs

Down since I started on 10/31/2007:
88.5 lbs

My average loss per 30 days since 10/31/2007:
4.96 lbs

Weight until goal:
32.9 lbs

Things are heading in the right direction again.  Lack of a car has meant much more riding.  I’ve also been eating better (mostly).

Tired

Riding to work everyday, even when I use the bus for a portion of the trip, is starting to tire me out.  I’ve put 80 miles on in the last three days.

I took it slower today, and used the bus for both legs of the commute.  It still meant riding 21 miles.

I normally commute with three bags on my bike, but I’ve eliminated all but one for the bus.  It’s easier to just have one bag to take off before loading the bike on the front of the bus.  I can carry a change of clothes, laptop, tools, spare tubes, lunch, wallet, keys, cellphone, and such.  What I don’t have a lot of room for is spare clothes or a grease rag.  I’ll have to look into more options.  I loathe backpacks, so that’s not an option.

I haven’t ridden my recumbent in a while.  I love my recumbent, but I prefer Nermal for commuting… and the ‘bent won’t fit on the bus rack.

3500 Calories?!

The extra bike riding of the last two days has made me extremely hungry.  I didn’t binge on anything, but I did eat almost constantly today.  I totalled it up, and it came out to just over 3500 calories.  I won’t lose weight if I keep doing that.

Alright, I’ve had a lot of exercise, now I’ve eaten, it’s time for bed.

Officially Car-Free

kia003My Kia was hauled off on a flatbed truck just a few minutes ago.  I have a wad of cash to deposit tomorrow morning.  It’s done.  I will miss that poor little car.

My commute today was interesting.  I rode 10.5 miles on the way to work, and caught the bus for some of the trip.  I hadn’t used the bike racks on the buses before today.

On the way home, I felt good, and rode the whole way.  I did get rained on, but I was dressed well enough for it.

I also ran two errands on the bike today.  During my lunch hour, I rode to a downtown bike shop to get a spare tube.  After getting home from work, I did some grocery shopping.  Fewer people here in Charlestown look at me funny.  They must be getting used to seeing me hauling groceries on the bike.

I am a bit nervous about not having a car.  I do intend to buy another car at some point, but not yet.  I’m using what little money I have to pay my taxes.  I didn’t know I was going to owe money until today.  Selling the car became necessary to pay my taxes on time.

Weekly Average Weight for April 11, 2009

chartweekly-2009-04-11My average weight for the week is 210.3 lbs.  I’ve gained again.  The last several weeks have seen more gain than any time since I have started this project.  It’s painfully obvious in the chart on the right.

Three changes may get me back on track:

  • Kristy has left the state for work for a while.
  • My daughter goes back home this weekend.
  • My car has died and I will have to ride to work every day until I get another car.

This was not my normal weekly weight post.  I didn’t want to just spit out the numbers without talking about how to fix it.  I have a plan, now I just need to stick to it.

Unintentially Car-Free

My poor Kia is out of service, possibly for good.  The timing belt broke this morning and some pretty serious engine damage came out of it.  I could repair or replace the engine, but the rest of the car isn’t worth it.

The timing (no pun intended) of this was actually pretty good.  Had it happened earlier in the morning, it could have meant Kristy missing her flight (I drove her to the airport).  If it waited until this Sunday, I could have been stranded somewhere between here and Michigan.

Although I’m looking around for a cheap replacement car, this could be a great opportunity to ride more.

I normally drive to get dog food and cat litter because I get large quantities from 12 miles away.  Today, I had to get a smaller bag of dog food of a different brand, so that I could get it here in town, and so I could haul it on my bike.  20 lbs of dog food and 14 lbs of cat litter definitely affected the handling of the bike, but I made it home safe.

Great Day for Riding

I got on the bike today.  I rode a partial commute from Jeffersonville into work.  It was still chilly in the morning, but the ride was good, and traffic didn’t get too backed up on the bridge.

Nermal’s new back wheel is working flawlessly.  I really like the slightly higher gearing the 12-28 cassette has.

By lunchtime the temperature had hit about 60.  I took about  a 3.5 mile ride down to On Your Left Cycles.  I didn’t buy anything, I just wanted to check out another bike shop.

They did have a KHS Urban-Xpress.  I was checking the bike out for Kristy, as she probably needs an upright riding position.  She hasn’t commited to the idea of a recumbent yet.  The bike there wasn’t the right size, but they should have more soon.

I still have to ride my bike back to my car after work, but it’s a beautiful day.  Let’s hope the drivers are polite.

Weekly Average Weight for April 4, 2009

My average weight for the week ending 4/4/2009:
207.9 lbs

Up from last week:
2.5 lbs

Down since I started on 10/31/2007:
88.5 lbs

My average loss per 30 days since 10/31/2007:
5.10 lbs

Weight until goal:
32.9 lbs

It took me several days to get around to posting this.  I’m disgusted with my weight heading the wrong direction.

I was going to ride my bike today, but overslept.  I’ve ridden way too little, and eaten way too much.

I Wish I Had Brought a Camera

I spent Saturday driving to Michigan and back to pick up my youngest daughter.  Kristy went with me, and it was her first time in Michigan.

I made a short detour on the way back to stop at a beach on Lake Michigan.  It was cold and windy, but it was nice to watch the waves for a while.  Walking along the sand, and climbing the rocks was fun too.  Kristy has spent time on coasts before, but never at one of the Great Lakes.

I didn’t have a camera with me, but I could have had some great pictures.

My weight loss is doing poorly.  I’m overeating and riding too little.  I really need to work harder on that.

The Rain Missed Me

I was away from home overnight, and didn’t have time or energy to ride to work today.

While driving home from work the storm clouds were blowing in.  The rain just missed me.  I was home for all of about ten minutes before the wind and rain teamed up to give horizontal rain.

The rain was intense, but short-lived.  After it stopped, I hopped on the bike, and rode to the grocery store.  Several minutes after getting home with the groceries, the rain started again, but more of a slow drizzle than a downpour.

It was fun to squeeze all of my travel between rain showers.

I’m attending a wedding after work tomorrow, but I’m still considering a partial-commute on Nermal.  I’m a bit leery of doing it, as I haven’t got around to buying a another tube to replace my spare.  Maybe I’ll patch my old one.

Almost Rode to Work

Today looks to be the best day for bicycle commuting this week.  I got up at 5:00 a.m., showered, dressed in my cycling clothes, ate breakfast, packed my commuting stuff into the bags on Nermal, and headed out the door.

About 2.5 miles into my commute, I had a flat rear tire.  No big deal, I have a spare tube, pump, and tire levers.

Bicycle tubes come with a variety of valve types.  The two most common are Presta and Schrader.  Schrader is what most cars have.  Nermal used to have Schrader valves.

My new wheel was set up for Presta.  My recumbent has Presta also, and I was looking forward to not having two different kinds of valves to worry about.  Nermal’s front wheel is still Schrader, but I carry both tubes, so it shouldn’t be an issue.

My pump is convertible between Presta and Schrader, but changing it requires taking it apart, and flipping two different parts around.

It took me entirely too long to change the tube, even longer to convert the pump, and my pannier that holds my laptop and change of clothes lost some mounting hardware.

So, I rode back home, changed clothes, and drove to work so that I could make it on time, and with my laptop intact.

I still managed a five-mile ride for the morning.  Maybe I’ll squeeze in another ride tonight.