Category Archives: Bikes

No Time to Post

I’ve really been meaning to write.  I’ve done some really good rides.

Today, 82 miles with Tim.  Last weekend, 70-ish miles.  A few weeks ago an awesome adventure off-road in Daniel Boone National Forest.

The “no-beer” thing didn’t make it.  The new resolve to ride more did.

More later.  I need sleep.

Keeping on Pedaling

I’m still beer-free.  The eating hasn’t been great.

I haven’t ridden my bike to work at all this week.  I’ve had the beginning of a neck flare-up.  No matter, I leave in the morning for a camping trip with Tim and Timothy.  My Fargo is loaded and ready to roll.  I’ve packed plenty of anti-inflammatories.

Although I’m still in pain, I need this three-day weekend trip to keep my sanity.

More later.

Good Ride, but Damn, I’m Out of Shape


Warning: fopen() [function.fopen]: http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_fopen=0 in /usr/home/dcrowell/public_html/fatguy.org/wp-content/plugins/wp-gpx-maps/wp-gpx-maps.php on line 776

Warning: fopen(http://fatguy.org/gps/2014-07/2014-07-13.gpx) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /usr/home/dcrowell/public_html/fatguy.org/wp-content/plugins/wp-gpx-maps/wp-gpx-maps.php on line 776

I met up with Tim at Breadworks at 7:00 this morning for a ride with some distance.  I haven’t done much of that recently.  I rode the rSogn.  Tim was on his Lightspeed.

Within 15 miles I was hurting.  We were pushing into a headwind.  I made it known that I wasn’t sure of completing the ride.  Tim suffered through my bitching and we rode on.

We stopped at Iroquois Park to rest, and for me to decide if I could go on.  Tim cajoled me into continuing, against my better judgement.  He did change the route slightly to avoid a road that I loathe.

We cruised to the Jefferson Forest area, and rode a couple of hills.  Tim waited for me as I fell behind.

After the two hills, it was mostly flat.  Before long, we turned and enjoyed a tailwind.  The tailwind made me feel so good, I pushed the pace too much, and bonked later.

With another stop for refreshments, I was able to continue.  This ride wasn’t my best showing, but I need to build my fitness back up.  I ended the day with just over 50 miles.

I took no pictures.  There were a lot of other cyclists out.  It was a great day.  The forecast rain never materialized.  It did get quite hot near the end of the ride.

I’m considering this ride the first step to getting back in shape.

New Toys!

I have to reward myself for my new drive to get fit again.  I can’t have beer, but I can replace it with something healthier, like bike stuff!

Gadgets

My old GPS still works, but I can’t mount it to the bike anymore.  The piece that connects to the handlebar mount is broken, and isn’t something I can order from Garmin.  I’ve since learned about RAM mounts that would work, but before I knew this, I bought a newer device – the Garmin eTrex 20.  It’s similar in size and appearance to the old eTrex hCX, but it’s faster, more accurate, and has a much more robust mounting system.

Once I buy the RAM mount, I’ll have two usable GPS devices for the bikes.

Cousins in the GPS family
Cousins in the GPS family

Rebirth

My poor single-speed has been languishing in the basement for too long.  The crank and bottom bracket were trash.  I damaged the stem and handlebars.  The original (30+ year old) headset was crunchy.

Some time ago, I took it in to have the headset replaced.  I ordered some brake pads, cleaned the bike, obtained some tires, and had a rolling frame in the living room for a while.  It did make a nice art piece, but that wasn’t the plan.

I ordered a stem and handlebars.  I mounted the brake levers.  Diane had bought me a crankset (a beautiful Sugino) on our honeymoon.  I took the bike and crankset up to the bike shop and dropped it off.

On Friday, I got a call that the bike was ready.  I went and got it, put pedals, lights, and a bell on it, and took it up the street a bit.

The single-speed lives!
The single-speed lives!

It still needs bar tape, but I haven’t decided on color yet.  I also want freedom to re-position the brake levers for  a bit, so I’m in no hurry on bar tape.

I went for a different look this time.  I ditched the red accents, and when grey, silver, and black.  I may give it a splash of color with the bar tape.  I may cloth, twine, and shellac for an old-school look.

Mechanically, it is a little different.  The new crankset would give it a higher gear ratio (but I really liked the crank).  So I also had a new freewheel put on, to lower the gear ratio.  The end result is about 65 gear-inches, which is a bit lower than before.  That’s about perfect for my old knees.

I won’t be commuterizing this bike this time.  I did last time, but really this bike just wants to be a simple, nimble, light, fun ride.  I’ll ride a different bike to work.

Saturday, I met up with Tim for a ride.  He, unfortunately, rode a geared bike.  No matter, I got to give the bike a good workout.  I got  a good workout up and down the hills.  Things were good until on one climb when the headset made a loud pop and the lock ring came loose.

I carefully rode it to Tim’s house, where he gave me a ride home.  I didn’t use the front brake at this time.

Once home, I was able to tighten down the headset.  As long as it doesn’t come loose again soon, I’ll be happy.

Future?

I miss my LHT.  I shouldn’t have sold it.  I don’t have the money for another right now, but when I do, I’m going to buy the Disc Trucker – which is the same bike, but with disc brakes.  It will become my commuter/tourer/beater/gravel grinder.

Once I have the trucker, the rear rack will come off of the rSogn, as I want that bike to be my rando bike, even if I never do a randonneuring ride.

Goals

I need to earn the new bike.  I need to be able to crank out metric centuries every other weekend or so.  I used to do this, but have not recently, and I certainly wouldn’t enjoy it much if I did it in my current condition.

I’ve done no long rides since my Achilles surgery (until today! – more soon!).  I’m out of shape.  I’ve gained weight.  I need to fix that.

Still on a Bike

Yes, I’m still riding a bike.  I just having been writing much about it.

Camping!

Back on June 20th, Tim and I went bike camping.  I rode my Big Dummy.

Big and Dumb
Big and Dumb

We didn’t want to deal with a campfire, so I brought a candle for light.  An unfortunate spider managed to get into the molten wax.

We each brought our Esbit stoves for cooking dinner, and making coffee in the morning.  There’s little else as important as camp coffee.

World's smallest campfire
World’s smallest campfire

This was just a quick trip to Jefferson Forest, but it improved that weekend.

Family Riding

The next weekend was my wife’s birthday.  She had her daughter over.  We got out on the bike (my stepdaughter and I on the tandem, and Diane on her own bike).

Among other places, we rode the Beargrass Creek Trail.  There’s a heron usually visible, but he’s shy and hard to photograph.  This time he was feeling brave, and I managed to get a picture of him.  I think Tim knows he well.

Heron!
Heron!

This was a slow, meandering ride.  It was quite enjoyable.  We stopped for ice cream on the way home.

Volleyball

I’m still not playing volleyball, but I will be in about a week and a half.  Two years ago, I was the only one who rode a bike there.  Last year there was usually one other bike.  Last month brought a large collection of bikes, including my ex-girlfriend riding the bike I bought her.  Sweet!

Diane and I rode the tandem
Diane and I rode the tandem

The motorcycle belonged to our group too.

Look carefully, there are four more bikes
Look carefully, there are four more bikes

Robin’s bike had a low tire.  I pumped it up.

Robin's bike looks neat with a basket.
Robin’s bike looks neat with a basket.

Fourth of July

Bicycling For Louisville put on the Family Freedom Fun Ride on the morning of the Fourth.  It was partially intended to celebrate/show off the new bike lanes on Breckenridge and Kentucky streets.

Turnout was good, probably 100+ people.  The mayor was there.  The news crews were there.  There were four highwheel bicycles there, which is more than I’ve ever seen in one place.
A few of the crew
A few of the crew
We didn’t take many pictures.  This one was at the end, before everyone returned.  Diane is off to the left in hi-vis yellow.  There’s a highwheeler hiding behind the tree.
Tim rode with us most of the way.  We ran into a number of people we knew, including Ben and Marcus.  After the ride, Ben, Tim, Diane and I went to Cumberland for beer and to watch the soccer game.
Ben invited us to a party at his house.  We went home, and packed up the tandem with beer.  
Ben is much younger than we are.  He lives in an apartment with a roomate.  There’s a nice back yard.  He had quite a few people show up, most on bikes.  You know it’s a party when the police show up.
Yes, one person was arrested.  Almost nobody there knew her.  She was arrested for DUI.  She had driven there (drunk) and ran into a parked car in front of it’s owner.  Sigh.  The police are never in a good mood when responding to incidents like this on the Fourth.
Louisville’s main fireworks show, at the Riverfront, was cancelled this year.  Diane and I went home early and watched a few neighborhood fireworks from our front porch.
More?
Yes.  More.  I’ll have more posts today.  Things are a-changing.
 

A Plan

Yes, I’m tracking all my calories again.  I don’t yet have a specific calorie goal, but I’ll get there.  Just writing it down has kept things in check.  I have had a 3000-calorie day, but I’ve also had a 1000-calorie day.  When I wasn’t tracking, I probably had several 5000+ calorie days.

I’m weighing again every morning, but I’ll just be posting my weekly and monthly averages.  I’ve updated the weight page.

I gave up beer.  It was supposed to be a month, but a social engagement enticed me to have a couple.  That’s okay, I’m tracking the calories of the beer also – and limiting it greatly.

I’ve already had a happier digestive system than I did before.

Diane and I have been a bit more active.  We’ve been walking the dogs more frequently.  We bike-pool to work on the tandem most days.  On Sunday, we took the tandem and trailer on an errand run in parts of town I don’t normally ride.  Those areas have a reputation for not being bike friendly, but we had no issues.

The Rig
The Rig

Due to Diane having an earlier schedule, I just go to work early.  I went in a 6:30 this morning – which meant I got to leave at 3:00.  That’s not a bad deal.

Sometime’s It’s Not Worth It

There was an article on a local news website today that drivers are driving in the new “protected” bike lanes.  I haven’t yet used these lanes, they don’t go where I’m going, but I’ve seen them.  They’re “protected” with paint.  That must be some magic paint – or not if people are driving in them.

Anyway, I clicked though and made the mistake of glancing at the comments at the end of the article.  These are people who post comments from Facebook, so their real names show up.  I’m not on Facebook, and even if I were, I would not want to engage these same tired arguments.

Ignoring the rare occasion, I normally have no issues with drivers.  So why do I get so angry when I see the raging ignorance online?  Maybe it’s because they are willfully ignorant.  Some are worse.  In one article about a cyclist badly injured in a hit-and-run crash, one idiot commented “Good!

I want to take away their cars and licenses until they have a better understanding of the law and more empathy for their fellow man.  Maybe I’m just having a bad day, but this is getting to me today.  It’s making me want to go have a beer – but I’m trying to lose weight.

Riding, Updates, and New Resolve

Driving

I don’t care for driving, but I still do it for longer trips.  I first got a drivers license two days after my 16th birthday.  I rarely drive these days.  After having a valid license for a solid 27 years, I managed to let it expire yesterday.  I didn’t realize it until this afternoon.  It’s now been renewed.

Beer

I’m taking a one-month break from beer.  I’m not cutting back, I’m cutting it out.  I’ve gained too much weight.  I’ve been lazy.  I’ll re-evaluate in a month.

Bike-Pooling

Diane and I often ride the tandem to her work in the morning, then I ride solo a few blocks to my work.  We did that today.  In the afternoon, I picked her up, and headed to get my drivers license renewed.  She had changed into casual clothes and flip-flops.  She learned that flip-flops can come off while pedaling.  She had to retrieve her footwear in downtown traffic.

Look carefully - There's Diane grabbing her flip-flop
Look carefully – There’s Diane grabbing her flip-flop

Achilles

My weak ankle has been causing me to limp.  The weird walking caused a large buildup of callous on my heel.  The heel split open and was quite painful.  This caused quite a few issues.  I started putting “heel balm” on it a few days ago, and it’s much better.

Sunday’s ride with Tim showed me that the ankle is still quite weak.  I think the uptick in activity that I’ve had recently has been good, if a bit painful.  I noticed today that I can barely lift myself onto my toes while standing only on my right leg.  I haven’t been able to do that since before the accident.  I’m also not limping at all today.  I still have some weakness, but I’m making good progress.

More About Beer (and Food)

Beer and food is the keystone of my current social life.  I often go out for beer after a bike ride.  Diane and I go out for beer too often.  Since I’m not drinking beer for a month, we need to come up with healthier habits.  We started today by taking the dogs for a walk.

We walked the dogs to the bank, post office, and coffee shop.  It was about a 2.5 mile trip.  I much prefer riding a bike that distance, but it was nice to do something different and the dogs liked it.

Sandy enjoyed her break at the coffee shop
Sandy enjoyed her break at the coffee shop

What’s Next?

I’ll eventually start weighing myself again.  My last doctor visit had my weight at 268, which is pathetic.  It basically means I lost 100lbs only to gain back nearly 70% of that.  I weigh more now than I did since before I started riding a bike.

I’m going to have to help more with the cooking around the house.  I have some ideas for healthier eating.  I’m going to start tracking calories again.  Once I do allow myself beer again, the beer calories will have to be tracked.

I want to feel like a cyclist again.  I’m not selling the Fargo.  I’m holding off on buying another bike.  The bikes I have can get me through.  It’s more about riding the bikes than buying them.

Three-Day Weekend Fun

Saturday

Tim and I met up at Breadworks, as usual, on Saturday morning for an urban spin.  The ride was pleasant, but it’s really the only kind of riding we’ve been doing recently.  We schemed to do something about that.

He did play a game of Spot the Turkey at my expense, but that’s how we roll sometimes.  If you follow that link, you’ll see that I’ve gained some weight.  More on that later.

I was up quite early Saturday morning.  Diane and I bike-pooled to her work on the tandem.  Then I rode home to grab my rSogn to meet Tim for the morning ride.

After the ride, I went back, grabbed the tandem, and took it to the shop for some minor repair.  I then picked Diane up and headed home.

Later, Diane and I rode the tandem again, this time across the newly-opened Big Four Bridge.  We checked out a burger & beer place in Jeffersonville before riding back home.  The Big Four Bridge has no car traffic, but the crowds of pedestrians made this a walking-speed ride.

Sunday

Diane was on her own on getting to work.  I had other plans.  I had the rSogn packed and ready to go when Tim pulled up in his car with his Atlantis on the rack.  We loaded my bike and headed for New Washington Indiana.

Tim and I have ridden the New Washington area before.  It’s got enough hills to be interesting, but it’s not brutal.  It has enough gravel to add texture to the ride.  It’s low-traffic and our Sunday morning began with beautiful weather.

Tim likes his beach sunglasses
Tim likes his beach sunglasses

Much of the route was wide-open farmland.

Moo?
Moo?

Some of it was a bit more forested.

Shady
Shady

We had navigation issues.  Tim used his Edge GPS, which isn’t meant for routing.  I didn’t have the route, and my GPS was at home with a broken mount.  We meandered in the general direction, but managed to make a wrong turn on to a long dead-end road.  It wasn’t wasted.  It was one of the better roads on the ride.

We had planned a reasonable 35 miles, as both of us are out of shape.  At 20 miles I was done.  My right ankle is still weak.  The ankle kept trying to turn while pedaling.  It was painful, but I managed the last eight miles back to the car.

Tim wrote his piece here.

After I was home, I still had a few errands to run.  I was extremely slow on the bike, but I managed without injury.

Monday

Monday, being Memorial Day here in the States, brings various celebrations.  Louisville has the Mayor’s Hike, Bike, and Paddle.  I had already planned to ride this on the tandem with Diane, but Asher contacted me about riding with him and Denis on their tandem.  Tom and Jen joined us on their Rans Screamer (tandem recumbent) – and it was a party.

Asher and Denis with matching jerseys
Asher and Denis with matching jerseys

There was a huge variety of bicycles to see.  John brought his velomobile – probably the only one in Louisville.

John and his velo
John and his velo

There were a few ‘bents, and a few tandems, but I only saw one tandem ‘bent: Tom and Jen’s.

Rans Screamer
Rans Screamer

The first part of the ride was very crowded.  I spent most of that time at a walking pace in close quarters.  That’s a bit of a challenge with a tandem among wobbly children.

Tandems everywhere!
Tandems everywhere!

At one point Denis, started a water fight with me.  I retaliated with my water bottle.  Diane ended it by dumping water on me.  It was already unfair – Denis, Asher’s stoker attacked me, the captain.  He had his hands free to aim.  I had to steer.  Then my own stoker turned against me.  All is fair in love, tandems, and water fights.  I did get the last squirt in later in the ride.  I zoomed past Asher and Denis’s tandem, drenching the surprised Denis along the way.

I have recently put a new saddle on the tandem.  I hate it.  I think I’ll be changing back to the old one.  I was rather sore by the end of the ride.  The six of us had a meal and beer at Against the Grain before going our own way.

Whew!

Over those three days, I rode 104 miles.  I’ve certainly done more, but not recently.  I’m out of shape and too fat.  I went to work today by car.  I was really sore.  I left early due to a massive headache.  I’m slightly sunburned.  I guess I need to work on my physical well-being.

Peeved and Sore

I had a minor incident while riding my bike home from work today.  A woman stopped at a stop sign, but started again without yielding to traffic (me).  I was moving at a decent clip on the Big Dummy.

The Big Dummy has excellent brakes.  I think I (barely) missed her car, maybe I grazed it.  The panic braking would have been fine on a four-wheeled vehicle, but the swerve and braking led to me hitting the pavement.

The woman stopped, but was nasty and complaining.  She tried to blame it on me.  I didn’t have a stop sign.  She did.  I called the police.  They weren’t much better.  They refused to take a report.  One officer said “I’m sorry you fell off your bike“.  They never checked her registration, insurance, or license.

The bike has some scuffs, it’s just cosmetic.  My hands and left elbow had road grit embedded in them.  My left knee got a little scraped through my pants.  That’s all pretty minor, and I really don’t even feel it now.

My left shoulder is another story.  I have a deep ache in that shoulder and arm.  This is not the right should that I’ve struggled with.  This is my left shoulder.  It’s been fine, until this afternoon.

I wrote a complaint to LMPD for the poor service I got from one of their officers.   I hope they follow-up with it, but I’m not hopeful.

So, I had a crappy evening.  I’m hoping the shoulder is feeling well enough to ride to work again tomorrow.

Selling Bikes?

I regret selling my Surly LHT.  I want another one.  One way to fund a new one is to sell an existing bike.

Here’s what I currently have:

  • Surly Big Dummy
  • Rawland rSogn
  • Bacchetta Agio Recumbent
  • Salsa Fargo
  • Raleigh Record single-speed
  • Trek T-900 Tandem
  • Specialized Crossroads (Diane’s)
  • Norco VFR4 (Diane’s)

Diane’s bikes and the tandem are staying.  The recumbent is staying.  I don’t ride it much, but when my neck flares up, I need it.  The single-speed is in pieces, but I intend to fix it.  I miss it.  The Rawland is definitely staying.  (Sorry Scott).  That leaves the Fargo and the Big Dummy.

I had decided to sell the Fargo to fund a new LHT.  Then I’d sell the Big Dummy to simplify.  I can’t live without a car now that I’m married to Diane, so we’ll always have her car when needed.  The LHT would be commuter/gravel/touring rig.  I still have a trailer for cargo if necessary.

I brought the Fargo back upstairs (it had been in the basement) to clean it.  I don’t want to sell it, but I don’t ride it often.  I did take it out on an awesome ride back in January, but mostly it just sits.

I have some soul-searching to do on this.

Wedding Update & Stuff

On April 6th, 2014, Diane and I were wed at Duncan Memorial Chapel.  This is my third marriage and her second.  It’s the first time either of us had a “traditional” wedding.

Duncan Memorial Chapel
Duncan Memorial Chapel

We had approximately 50 people attend the wedding.  It was a good mix of her family and friends, and my friends.  I have little family in the area.  Asher played the organ for us.  His husband, Denis, was there also.

Asher at the organ
Asher at the organ

Michael and his wife, Sarah, were able to make the drive.  I hadn’t seen Michael in a while.  We need to ride bikes together again sometime.  He brought his camera and got some great shots.

I'm looking older
I’m looking older

Tim was my best man.  It was great to have him there.

He was arm-in-arm with Denise, Diane's sister.  He'd never met her until this day.
He was arm-in-arm with Denise, Diane’s sister. He’d never met her until this day.

Tom and Jen were able to make it.  Patrick couldn’t make the wedding, he was at a funeral (gulp), but he did make it to the reception.  Timothy was there, and dressed well with a bow-tie.  He likes to pick up women at weddings, but I don’t think there were single women in his age range.  In a way, most of the RCCS crew was able to be there.

I hadn’t seen Diane since earlier the day before.  I had a beautiful bride.

My beautiful bride
My beautiful bride

Once the ceremony was complete, many pictures were taken, as people left to head to the reception.  I was really tired of pictures by this point.

The reception was at the BBC (Bluegrass Brewing Company) Taproom.  The mood of everything was lighter there.  Several people Diane and I both know from the Louisville Ski Club were present.

Ski club - just there for the beer
Ski club – just there for the beer

Once the alcohol was flowing, people loosened up.  My daughter and her husband showed up.  They had been unable to make it to the wedding.  People started acting strangely, especially the bride and groom…

The garter is in here somewhere...
The garter is in here somewhere…

I did find the garter.  It eventually ended up on someone’s head.

Um, wha?
Um, wha?

Our wedding night was a quiet night at home.  We needed the rest after such a busy day.

We did have honeymoon plans.  We had a rented “cabin” in Brown County Indiana.  The “cabin” was actually an upstairs apartment in somebody’s home.  It had it’s own deck and hot-tub.  It was in the tiny ‘burg of Helmsburg Indiana.

On Monday, we loaded the tandem bike on the car and drove there.  We arrived during a cold rain, so we tried to stay warm in the hot tub before going to bed.

All the interesting shops in Brown County are in Nashville Indiana, about six miles from our “cabin”.  This was an easy ride on the tandem.  The tandem was our transportation for the duration of the honeymoon.

Let's go tandem-ing!
Let’s go tandem-ing!

The route between the “cabin” and Nashville was hilly, but scenic and low-traffic.

Tandem selfie?
Tandem selfie?

Nashville is a small town, but it’s full of local shops, restaurants, and bars.  It also has a bike shop.

Bike Brown County!
Bike Brown County!

Nashville is also the site of Big Woods Brewing.

I love a woman with beer
I love a woman with beer

The weather on our too-short honeymoon was mixed.  There was always a threat of rain.  It did rain a little, but we were never caught in a downpour.

“I’ll be your driver for the evening”

The nights at the “cabin” were peaceful and quiet.  I have no pictures from that.  It was dark and the hot tub was hot.

On the way home we drove through part of Hoosier National Forest.  We went by Story Inn in Story Indiana, where the Gravel Grovel passes through.

Diane and I will need to save money to take more vacations.  We really enjoyed our time away form the daily grind.

Atrophied Cankle in the Rain

Tim and I had planned a 7:00am ride for this morning.  At 6:30 a storm with heavy rain and lightning was moving through.  We made the decision to wait it out.  By 7:00, things had settled down, and I headed out in the rain (by then, just a drizzle) to meet up for the ride.

I took the more direct, but hillier, route along Eastern Parkway.  My loss of fitness was obvious.  I was terribly slow up the hills.

My right ankle swells up frequently.  I call it a cankle.  The calf-portion of the cankle has atrophied due to the achilles tendon not being connected to the foot for a while – then not walking on it – and finally walking carefully on it with a limp.  So, I have an atrophied cankle, and I took it out in the rain.

It was about 65F degrees.  I dressed in shorts and short sleeves.  That was probably under-dressing considering the rain.

Tim and I headed around some neighborhoods to warm up before hitting the hills.  I had already warmed up on Eastern Parkway, but I was glad to tone it down a bit.

The hilly roads in the park are a lot of fun.  I had to ride the brakes a lot to dry them while descending into a curve, but it’s all part of the fun.  There were no accidents or almost-accidents.  I am a bit out of practice with fast riding in the rain.

During the ride we had two downpours.  One of those times included a little lightning and thunder.  It passed.  We looped through St. Matthews, Mockingbird Valley, and Indian Hills before heading back to Breadworks for coffee.

I stayed warm during the ride.  I think the effort I was putting into keeping up with Tim kept me warm.

We arrived at Breakworks much drier.  The rain had let up.  We each had coffee and a snack before going our own way.

The ride home was cold.  I had sat, cooling off, at Breadworks.  My top speed for the day was also in the stretch home.

I got home with 31 miles on the odometer.  I took a warm shower, poured another cup of coffee and sat on the front porch with the dogs for a while.

This has been a good start for the day.

Transition

Life is strange.  I’m in a weird place.

Diane and I had a wonderful wedding, and the marriage has been good so far.  Yes, we’ve had an argument, but nothing we won’t get over.  Mostly, things are quite good.  I really have planned on a big post about the wedding, but I think that’s dead now – over a month later.  We wedding was great.  The weather was perfect.  The reception at BBC Taproom was a blast.  I’ll write about the honeymoon – including tandem bike, later.

Wait.  I'm married now?
Wait. I’m married now?

My temporary job has been extended until the end of the year.  I don’t enjoy the job, but being employed is nice.  Work has kept me busy, too busy at times.  I feel like many other things are falling behind.

My doctor has not sent me to physical therapy for my leg/ankle/achilles.  I had my final appointment with my orthopedic surgeon, and he believes all is well.  It could take a year to feel normal again, but I have no more activity restrictions.

I still get swelling and soreness sometimes.  Walking causes more issues than riding the bike.  I still intend to start playing volleyball for the next session.  In the meantime, I need to stretch and work on strength.

I’ve gained weight.  I haven’t been weighing regularly, but I’m about 260lbs right now.  I still drink too much beer.  I’ve left the weight issue on the back burner for now.  I know I shouldn’t, but I feel like I have to finish the transition to married life and fixing financial issues.

Diane and I are trying to fix some financial issues.  We want to own a home someday.  Our spending on beer is down – most due to buying it from a store rather than a bar.

I’m on the bike pretty much every day now.  Diane and I ride the tandem several times a week.  We bike-pooled to work three days this week on the tandem – and plan to do so in the morning again.  We work within a few blocks of each other, so it works.

I seldom ride at a fast pace.  Serious distance would hurt.  This is killing has killed my fitness.

My depression issues have resurfaced again, but in a different way.  I’m able to monitor how I feel.  Maybe I’m just learning a new coping mechanism.  It still sucks, but it doesn’t paralyze me.  I can analyze it.  I can usually avoid hurting others.

I hope to not go another month without posting.  This blog was built on accountability on my weight control.  It’s been failing at that recently.

Tandem Toodling

I spent most of the weekend at home being lazy and reading books.  Diane had to work.

When she got home today, she wanted to go out.  We hopped on the tandem for a quick trip to Four Pegs.  We decided not to eat there, but go somewhere farther away.  The tandem has the new chain and cassette, so I figured we should really give it a work out.

We headed to Indiana.  We cranked over the bridge, but very shortly after that the chain wedged between the cassette and the spokes.  I got very greasy getting everything back together.  We continued the ride, but soft-pedaled it, as the chain would skip.  Apparently it has a bent link or two.

We eventually made it to New Albanian where we enjoyed BBQ pork sandwiches and delicious beer.

The drivetrain on the tandem was really complaining on the return trip.  I was worried that we’d break the chain.  I carry both 9 and 10-speed chain links, but the tandem is an 8-speed.  Again, we soft-pedaled our way along – and took the bike path through Clarksville.  It was dark by the time we made it to the riverfront.  We were well lit, but we took some time to enjoy the view.

Louisville Skyline from Clarksville
Louisville Skyline from Clarksville

We made it home with no further mechanical issues.  Now I need to get in the shower and scrub the grease off of my arm.

Just Bikes

This is the first week that I’m truly back on the bike.  This means I ride the bike to work every day.  I don’t borrow the car, or take the bus.  I’m getting back to normal – as normal as I get anyway.

I’m a little sad that I don’t seem to enjoy the recumbent bike anymore.  I won’t sell it.  It comes in handy when my neck hurts.

I rode the Big Dummy on Monday.  I switched to the rSogn (with new tires) on Tuesday.  I rode the Big Dummy again today to haul the tandem’s rear wheel to the bike shop after work.

In addition to having the spoke issues dealt with, I bought a chain, cassette and seatpost.  I installed those tonight.  The drivetrain is in much worse shape than I imagined, but the old 8-speed stuff is cheap to replace.  The seatpost was not original, and was above the minimum insertion line – even with Diane, the short one, sitting on it.

I did buy beer tonight.  I didn’t go to a bar.  We’ve not gone out yet this week.  Eating a home-cooked meal and drinking beer from a six pack is certainly cheaper, and a tad healthier than going out.

No Focus?

Reminders

I’m glad I have friends to remind me where I’ve been.  In April of 2010, Tim and I did a nice ride.  He grabbed a picture of me that I didn’t think much of at the time.  I was just over 200 lbs.  I was much fitter.

He posted that picture to me earlier this year on Google+.

The "good old days" should be coming back
The “good old days” should be coming back

I need to get back to that instead of the 250+ I’m at now.  I don’t even know what I weight, as I haven’t been weighing myself.  That will require cutting *way* back on the beer.

Bikes

After a week of riding the recumbent to work, I realize that it hasn’t been my favorite bike for many years.  That’s unfortunate, as it’s a nice bike.  I won’t get ride of it, as I need a bike for the “bad neck days”.

The rSogn has been in pieces.  I finally got around to picking up some used 650b tires* from Tim for a fair price.  I’ll re-assemble the bike this week.  I won’t be commuting on it.

The Big Dummy is in great shape for commuting.  I’ll ride that tomorrow.

Diane and I have been riding the tandem quite a bit over the last three days.  I made the wrong choice in tires for this bike.  The 26×1.75 Paselas are nice tires, but with our combined excessive weight, glass works it’s way through the tire pretty frequently.  I fixed another flat yesterday.  I’ll keep using the tires, but when they’re worn, I’ll replace them with something tougher.  Also, the rear wheel has two broken spokes.  I had no idea until changing the tire.  The wheel still runs true – one of the benefits of a 40-spoke wheel.  I’ll be taking it in this week for repair.

I won’t be buying a new bike for a while – probably not this year.  Money is tight.  I need to fix some things on the bikes I have.  I need to make the single-speed ridable.

The Leg

I’m recovering well from my Achilles repair surgery.  I still have a bit of a limp.  I started riding the bike (against doctor’s orders) five weeks after surgery.  This quickly led to accelerated recovery.  I quit wearing the boot within days.  The borrowed wheelchair was returned.  The purchased crutches, walker, and knee-walker are in the basement.

On March 13th, I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor.  He said although I’ve been aggressive with my recovery, that I’m unlikely to re-rupture unless I start running or jumping.  Easy – I won’t be doing any running or jumping.  He hasn’t ordered any physical therapy as it would only be for range of motion, which I have no issue with due to my “aggressive” recovery.  I still need strength training, but he wants to wait a bit longer for that.  My next appointment is April 24th.

Tomorrow will be ten weeks since my Achilles rupture.  Friday was nine weeks since the surgery.  I’m pleased with the progress.

Fun Riding

I really haven’t done much leisure riding.  It’s mostly been commuting and errands.  I’m pretty liberal on what errand really means though.  It includes riding the tandem with Diane to the bar, the store, her mother’s house, or whatever.

We hauled her dog (Baxter) in a backpack on the tandem last night for a trip to Apocalypse Brew Works.  They are a dog-friendly establishment, and have good beer.  We had drivers pointing, laughing, and taking pictures on the way.  Baxter is a cutie.

Today, we hooked the trailer to the tandem and rode to Diane’s mother’s house.  We hauled the borrowed wheelchair back to her house.  We then went to her oldest son’s first apartment and had dinner.

On the way home we stopped for beer.

The Wedding

It’s still on – just in case you were wondering.  :)  It’s two weeks from today. I was asked if I had cold feet.  I said I’d wear warm socks.

There are a few small details to iron out, but most everything is ready.

Work

My job was a contract position that was supposed to end on 3/31.  That’s now been extended to 4/28.  That means I can’t tease Diane that she’s marrying an unemployed bum.  Oh well.

There is talk of another extension.  I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that.  I do feel as if I’m wrapping things up and fulfilling my duties.  I will be ready to move on at the end of April.  I just hope I can find a job.

Weight, Beer, and the Elephant in the Room

I haven’t been weighing.  I know I’ve gained weight.  Diane has gained weight.  She had to have her wedding dress re-altered.  Yikes!  She’s not happy about that.  Our combined weight was apparently too much for the tandem’s rear wheel and two spokes have broken.

I gave up beer earlier this year for weight loss.  It didn’t last long.  I’m getting married on April 6th, and our reception is at a bar.  There will be beer.  My birthday is 4/26, and there will be beer.

I’ve made tentative plans to quit drinking on 5/1, but will I stick to it?  I honestly don’t know.  I know I need to.  I want to lose another 70 lbs.  I want to be able to crank out mildly-hilly 70-mile rides on the single speed.  I’ve done it before.  I want to be able to do it again.

Diane and I talk about losing weight.  We just don’t do anything about it.  I’m sure that will be a recurring theme here for a while.  This website is fatguy.org after all.  Maybe I’ll find focus someday.  Maybe I can reach my goal weight of 175.  Then fatguy.org will redirect to usedtobea.fatguy.org, or something.  :)

*Tyres for Mark because he’s from the UK, and for Timothy, just because he’s weird.

Moving Forward

I haven’t been concentrating on weight loss.  I’m still not weighing myself.  I am on the bike most days now.  I have an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon later this week where he can tell me I’ve been reckless, but that it’s turned out well.  :)

Diane and I have ridden together on the tandem and on single bikes.  We had an argument while riding single bikes on Friday night.  It turned ugly, but was fine later.  We’re both out of shape from lack of riding, but she was struggling more than I.  We had both been drinking.  It wasn’t a pretty sight.

I still can’t run.  I still have a limp.  Otherwise I feel mostly normal.  I don’t feel so fragile anymore.  I haven’t done any big rides.  I may not be ready for that.  I need to get back on the scale, back on the bike, and back on track.

Diane and I spent some time on the computer today to print wedding invitations.  She bought pretty paper.  I had to make it work with my laser printer running Linux on my computer with less-than-ideal drivers.  I wasted a lot of plain paper getting it right, but the finished product looks good.

The wedding date is approaching too quickly.  There are too many things to handle.  My medical bills are coming in.  I need to do my taxes soon.  I need to start looking for another job, as this one will be ending soon.  Bleh.  This is the wrong time of year to get married.

I worked on bikes today.  The rSogn has had a flat tire for over a week.  It turns out the rear tire is worn.  The tire came used with the bike.  It’s had enough.  I can see the casing through the tread.  Buying a set of tires is another item to add to the list.  I tuned up the recumbent for tomorrow’s commute.

I know I need to get back on track, but I feel overwhelmed with everything going on.  So instead of worrying about everything, I’m trying to tackle short-term tasks first.  The weight loss isn’t on the radar yet.  :/

Stay tuned.  I’m sure it’ll be an interesting ride.

Almost Normal?

Okay, very little about me or my life is normal, but we’ll let that slide.

On Sunday the 23rd I wrote about getting back on the bike.  I had ridden wearing the boot to protect my ankle.  It did bring it’s own issues.  It was awkward and almost caused a wreck on it’s own.

I ditched the boot after that.  I haven’t worn it since.  I did a short ride that Sunday evening.  I had no issues.  I rode the bike to work two days last week.  It’s great to wear two shoes again.

This past Saturday, I had intended to get up for a ride.  It was going to be the last nice day for a while.  I felt like crap and stayed home.

I did get up for a morning ride yesterday with Tim.  It was 33F and raining – PERFECT!  We were staring down a winter storm warning.  The frozen stuff wasn’t due for hours.  I met Tim at Breadworks, as is usual.  We meandered a bit, complaining about the weather.  We tried the recently opened Gralehaus for food and coffee.  It’s not someplace I’ll go regularly, but it was a nice change of pace.

Tim’s thoughts are here.

We split up short after that, where I went for a beer at Four Pegs before heading home.

A recent change is that I’ve started drinking a lot more water.  I’ve had too many nights/mornings over the last couple of years where I woke up sick and dehydrated from over-consumption.  Drinking water will alleviate that if I keep the amount of alcohol under control.  I also wonder if dehydration was partly to blame for my Achilles tendon rupture.

Yes, I’m still not supposed to be walking on this leg, let alone riding a bike.  I still have ten days before I go back to the doctor to get set up for physical therapy.  I’m just considering this an early start.  I’m listening to my body instead of my doctor.  I just hope the body is right.

On The Bike

On Friday, five weeks after my surgery, I rode the bike to work.  It wasn’t planned.  Diane was working.  I overslept and missed the bus.  It was the latest bus for another 50 minutes.  So I grabbed my rSogn and rode.

I was wearing the boot.  I was very cautious about stopping and starting.  I had no issues but I was quite slow.  Diane met me at work at the end of the day (on her bike) and we rode out to Apocalypse for beer.  I had eight miles for the day.  I was a little sore.

Saturday, I joined Tim for a short coffee ride.  Then Diane and I went out for food and drinks – on bikes.  I got 16 miles in.  I wasn’t as sore as I had been Friday.

Today my ankle feels really good.  I haven’t left the house yet, or even gotten dressed, so I haven’t had the boot on.  My ankle feels almost normal.  I still have no strength to push forward with my toes, but I’m walking differently to compensate.

Yes, I’m drinking beer again.  I’d like to blame Diane for bringing beer back after a week without it, but the responsibility falls with me.  I still have some decisions to make about all that.

I intend to continue riding to work.  The injury took away my freedom now I feel I have it back.  I just need to continue to be careful so I don’t re-injure myself.

Baby Steps, Beer, and Bikes

My last post was pretty negative.  I was having a bad day.  Today is much different.

I had a good day yesterday, but last night was rough.  I had drank too much and eaten some questionable food.  I had trouble sleeping with an upset stomach and a headache.  I also had muscle aches that are probably due to dehydration due to alcohol consumption.

Getting up for work this morning was hard.  I made it in to work a bit later than intended, but still before 9:00am.  Work was a busy blur.  I can’t complain – I was productive and time flew by.

Before I even made it to work, I’ve decided to quit drinking.  I seem to have an issue with moderation.  I’m also not going to lay around like a lump until my leg heals.  I’m borrowing a trainer so I can use my recumbent bike as a stationary bike.  I’ll pedal one-legged with my SPD shoe until I’m cleared to use both legs.  I’ll have the trainer tomorrow.

Two days ago when I complained about lack of progress with my leg, things got better.  I can walk now.  I’m not supposed to, and I rarely do, but if I need to get up some stairs without a rail, I can.  I only walk slowly taking very small steps.  It’s almost a shuffle.  I can’t “push off” with my right foot, but it’ll hold me up.  There’s no pain when doing this either.  I only do this when wearing the boot to support my ankle.

I’m still using the Knee Scooter.  I hate the crutches and the walker.  I don’t need the wheelchair.

Now I just need some exercise.

Weekend Riding

I did get two enjoyable rides in over the weekend before my injury on Monday.  Tim planned both of them.

Saturday

The first was a road ride on Saturday.  This ride was just Tim and I.  He was trying out some new handlebars on his Rawland Sogn.  I was riding my Rawland rSogn.  We took a mildly hilly route through part of Jefferson Forest.  It was a good day on the bike.  We didn’t push the tempo too hard.

The morning started with some light rain, but it moved out, leading to a beautiful day.

Two Rawlands
Two Rawlands

I was nearly at the end of the ride when my rear tire flatted.  Rather than fix it on the side of the road, Tim walked with me back to the coffee shop, and gave me a ride home.  The bike is still sitting in my office with a flat.  I should fix that soon.

I got 36 miles in on Saturday.

Sunday

Sunday brought a ride with some off-road stretches.  Patrick joined Tim and I for a “camp coffee” ride.  No camping was involved, but we brought coffee-making supplies and stoves along for the fun.

I rode my Fargo.  Patrick rode his Fargo.  Tim rode his Mukluk.  This meant all three of us were riding Salsa bikes.  That’s unusual.

We rode city streets to Indiana.  Once there we rode a few paths before diving into diversions near the river.  These weren’t paths, but muddy tracks that usually dead-ended near the river.  Tim’s 4″ wide tires meant he did well here.

Flotsam and Jetsam
Flotsam and Jetsam

After enough dead-ends, we back on roads for a bit to get to an old railroad grade that I’ve ridden before.

Trees and sun
Trees and sun

Tim turned-off downhill to check out a spot for coffee.  Patrick and I continued on to check out a railroad bridge.  We turned back to join Tim.  We found the wrong “path” to get down to him.  It would still get there, but it was much steeper and muddier.  I didn’t realize that and went down first.

Riding down the steep section was thrilling, but relatively safe, and it was straight.  Then there was a steep uphill to slow me down, which it did.  What I didn’t count on was the uphill being so muddy and slick that I couldn’t even walk up the last few feet.  I had to cut through the brush – after falling and getting muddy.  Patrick walked and avoided the mud.

We rejoined Tim and started our stoves.  Three cups of coffee were made and consumed in the woods.  It was pleasant.

Great riding
Great riding

We continued on across two defunct railroad bridges.  I’ve been across them before – once on the rSogn even.  Tim and Patrick elected to walk while I rode down the middle.  Tim wrote lies about the event on his blog, but that’s okay, he made a more interesting story than I did.

We headed back to town.  Tim and I rode with Patrick toward his house (he lived the farthest), but I turned back after a bit – as I had a busy day planned with Diane.

I arrived home with a terribly muddy bike that I had to hose down in the back yard.

Muddy Fargo
Muddy Fargo

I rode almost 28 miles for this ride – much of it difficult off-road.

Spreading the Love

Diane’s sister’s birthday was over the weekend.  Diane and I went out for a drink on Saturday with her and her fiancée.  We were a bit silly, but I was designated driver, and kept us safe.

They came over again on Sunday to pick up her (their?) birthday gift – an old yellow Sears-branded tandem bicycle.  It’s a cruiser style bike – single speed with coaster brake.  I bought it from Asher and Denis, since they now have a better tandem.

I fixed it up a bit.  It needed grips, tubes, and rim strips.  I cleaned and lubed it.  I added a bell – because I like bells.  The four of us rode the two tandems down to Four Pegs for a beer.

I wish I had taken pictures of the tandem, but I failed to do so.

Monday

Yeah.  Monday.  Work went by quick.  I rode the Big Dummy to and from work.  It really wasn’t a bad day.  We went to volleyball – then my Achilles tore.  Oh well.  Game over.

In any case, last weekend was a great weekend.  Maybe that’s why I’m still in a decent mood, even with the torn tendon thing going on.

Feeling Better, but… Surgery

I felt almost normal this morning – until I tried to walk.  Then my slow, shuffling gait reminded me that I’m damaged.  I got ready for work.  Diane had already left.  I knew the bus schedule and had plenty of time.

Walking down the alley to the bus stop was slower than expected.  I hate crutches.  I missed the bus by 30 seconds.  I called a cab.

I barely used my crutches.  I hate them.  I can shuffle slowly around.  I can even climb stairs slowly as long as I hold on to the railing.  I have almost no pain, just a dull ache and some stiffness in the ankle.

Diane’s sister picked me up from work at 1:00 to run me to my appointment with an orthopedic surgeon.  It’s only five blocks from work, but I don’t want to walk that distance.

The fact the the ankle has been feeling better had given me hope that the tendon was only partially ruptured.  The doctor dispelled that thought.  It’s a complete rupture.  I have no ability to flex my foot downward.

Anyway, I go in for surgery on Friday.  I’ll be in the hospital overnight.  I’ll be out of work for a week.  Being in a new contract job, I have no paid time off, so I just don’t get paid.  Shit happens.

It’ll be a slow recovery.  I won’t be able to walk on the right leg for quite some time.  Riding the bike is months away.  This sucks, but that’s the way it is.

Diane was off work when I finished up at the doctor’s office.  She picked me up, and we headed to buy dog food.  As she was driving down Baxter Avenue, I saw a familiar cyclist ahead.  It was Katie who organizes car-free happy hour.  I rolled down my window and talked to her at a red light.  She said she had the same achilles problem before – from falling.  I didn’t have time to ask her if it was due to riding a bike.

Now that I’m home, I lubed the chain on the Fargo.  It had been a muddy mess after Sunday’s ride.  I haven’t had a chance to write about that yet.  I will soon.  I had washed the bike after the ride, but the chain was beginning to rust.

Now that the Fargo is done, I still have a flat tire on the rSogn.  I probably clean it thoroughly while I work on it.  I might as well work on the bikes since I can’t ride them.  I have some changes I want to make.  Now is a good time.  I just need the money to buy some parts.

I can still be a bike geek, even if I can’t ride.