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.

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.

Welcome to 2014

Happy New Year!

It’s fine to celebrate the new year, but let’s dive back and look at 2013.

In January I said I’d buy no new bikes.  I didn’t for myself.  I did buy a bike for Diane, and a tandem for both of us, but no new bike for me.  I guess I get that on a technicality.

I was disappointed in riding just under 3600 miles in 2012.  I made it a goal to ride 6000 in 2013.  That didn’t happen.  I had 3800 miles.  I had training, weight, and diet goals.  I’ve failed them all.

I participated in a nice gravel ride in January.  I’ll probably do another one this weekend.

February brought Cyclocross Worlds and some company from California.  I also attempted a 100-kilometer populaire, but I bailed early.

In April I met Diane.  She’s continuing to affect my life – usually in a positive way.

By May, most of my non-commute cycling was with Diane.  This is a good thing, but it does slow the pace and shorten the rides.  I’m currently 21 pounds heavier than I was in May.

In June I rode with Tim to go camping at Clark Forest.  I rode my ‘bent.

Diane and I spent some time in San Francisco in July.  It was a work trip for me, but we squeezed a couple of extra days in for a vacation.  We didn’t rent a car or bring bikes.  I learned a lot about public transportation in a major city.

September was decent.  Tim and I did a crazy bike-hike thing on some “goat trails”.  We also did a metric century through Charlestown and checked out the Parklands in the eastern ‘burbs.

September also was when Diane and I bought a used tandem.  It’s become our primary “together” bike since.  She rarely rides here bike now.

September was also supposed to bring a century ride – my only one of the year.  I drove to Michigan for the ride, but got sick and didn’t ride.  I did get to sit on the beach for a while though.

October brought Diane’s first S24O.  We also got engaged.  I also enjoyed one of the top-three gravel rides I’ve ever done.

In November, Diane and I rode the tandem for her second bike-camping trip.  Diane’s car was stolen, then recovered.  I resigned my job without a new one lined up – a first for me.  I also bailed on Gravel Grovel.  I raced it in 2011 and 2012, but didn’t feel up to it in 2013.

In December, I started a new job.  I finished up the year with a cold S24O with Timothy, Tim, and Patrick.

Recurring themes throughout 2013 were weight gain, slow cycling, and drinking too much beer.  I intend to make some changes to fix this.  More on that later.

Recovered

Diane rode her bike to my work.  We went out for a beer.  On the way home she was complaining about not having her car.

We were home for about 20 minutes when we got a call from LMPD.  They had located her car, and arrested the thief.  The car was a mere 2.5 miles away.  We rode there on the tandem.  The car only has minor damage, and is drivable.  They used the center console as an ashtray.  All the belongings from the car were gone.

Blinkenlights

Blinkenlights

She drove her car home, and I rode the tandem home solo.

Poor car

Poor car

I’m a tad disappointed.  I had hoped her car-free adventure would last a bit longer.

Crestwood – Part Two

When we left off in Part One, Diane and I were invited to sleep indoors in the warmth.  Once in the spare bedroom, I was asleep within seconds.

I woke to coffee and breakfast served by our hosts – my future brother in-law and his wife.  I had hauled my Esbit stoves with me for morning coffee, but this turned out to be unnecessary.

We were able to shower before heading back out.  This was quite nice, and different than the average bike-camping trip.

Unlike Saturday, we didn’t have to worry about rain.  It was a beautiful day, if a bit cool.

I had a different route planned.  It was a little longer, a little hillier, and a little more scenic.  We struggled on the hills.  We eventually scrapped the planned route and took a more direct route.  This required taking the lane on busy multi-lane roads.  We had no issues.

My favorite part of the day was a brief break we took near the Snyder Freeway.  We pulled off into a grassy field, and sat in the grass, drank wine, and ate some crackers.  We should have brought cheese!

I adjusted Diane’s saddle (and watered the brush) and we were back at it.

We stopped at Mark’s Feed Store, Diane’s favorite BBQ place, along Shelbyville Rd.  There was a large crowd waiting to get in, and they really liked the loaded tandem.

The lovely Diane, behind the refreshing beer.

The lovely Diane, behind the refreshing beer.

We had a large lunch and a beer and moved on.

Yes.  I like beer.

Yes. I like beer.

We really were in “get back to the barn” mode now.  This was the last of the pictures.  We did make another stop for beer, but it was brief.

We rode three roads that I usually avoid: Shelbyville, Hurstbourne, and Taylorsville.  They are high-speed, heavy-traffic, multi-lane roads.  I took the right lane and let people go around.  We really didn’t have any problems other than odd looks.

I do think that Louisville drivers are pretty clueless about how bikes fit into traffic.  I don’t think they’re all that aggressive about it.  There are always exceptions… but not for us on this trip.

We arrived home, tired and sore.  This was more than 50 miles over the weekend – which is new to Diane.  I still have saddle issues on the tandem, so I was a bit tender.

Overall, Diane still loves the tandem.  She tells me that pretty regularly.  How can I not love her for that?

Relationship News

This blog has seen a lot of changes in my life.  I went through a divorce in 2007 and 2008.  I married in 2009.  I divorced again in 2011.

I’m a bit of a loner.  I like the freedom of living alone.  As I’ve aged, I’ve found being alone to be, well, lonely.  I want a good woman to spend the rest of my life with.  I’ve found her.

Today, I asked Diane to be my wife.  She accepted.  We’ll marry on 4/6/2014.

I had planned to ask during the camping trip, but I stupidly left the ring at home.  Doh!  I considered asking without the ring, but it didn’t feel right.

Today, we ate dinner on the front porch.  After eating, I got up to grab something to show her.  While I was up, I grabbed the ring and pocketed it.  After being back out on the porch for a bit, I dropped to one knee, and asked her to be my bride and spend the rest of our lives together.

Yes!, said the beautiful woman

Yes!, said the beautiful woman

 

I Could Get Used To This

I rode the tandem to work yesterday… by myself.  Nobody yelled “she fell off”.

After work, Diane and I rode it to volleyball.  The tandem is our car replacement for trips together.

Today, I rode my rSogn to work (it fits on the elevator).  We went to see Dracula at Actors Theatre after work.  It was raining lightly, yet Diane was willing to take the tandem again.  After the show (totally worth seeing), we had a few drinks.  The weather had cleared and we had a peaceful ride home.

We’re considering a bike camping trip this weekend.  Yes.  I could get used to this.

Apple Cider Century – DNS

What’s worse than a DNF (Did not finish)?  A DNS (Did not start).

Today was the Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks Michigan.  Diane and I drove up on Friday afternoon, with my rSogn, and the tandem strapped to the back of the car.  I had removed the wheels from the bikes to have less of a weight load on the trunk-mounted rack.

Sketchy

Sketchy

It looks bad, but we had no problems with this setup, even at freeway speeds.

As I posted before, I wasn’t feeling well, but I assumed it would pass.  My sore throat continued to get worse.

We arrived at our hotel late Friday night in Michigan City, Indiana.  We carried the two wheel-less bikes upstairs to our second-floor room, and I promptly felt quite ill from that little bit of exertion.

The night became a bit of a blur after that.  I was too sick to eat or drink.  I felt feverish and really couldn’t swallow.  I slept poorly – hoping that I’d recover before Sunday morning.

Saturday morning was still quite bad.  I got up just so I could force some breakfast and coffee down.  I couldn’t talk without extreme pain.  I went to an urgent care clinic – replete with an annoying couple from Italy via Chicago who were arguing about paying the $75 fee instead of the $50 fee.

After a quick strep test (negative), I was sent on my way with the advice to take acetaminophen and gargle with saltwater.

We stopped to buy acetaminophen, salt, and soup (the only thing I could really eat), and went back to the hotel.  Diane went out on her own while I tried to nap some more.

Part of the point of this trip was to meet some people I’ve been talking to online on Google Plus.  So this was supposed to be a HIRL (Hangout In Real Life) – along with a 100-mile bike ride.

Jin, one of those people sent me a message, wondering where I was.  She was in Three Oaks at Journeyman Distillery.  Once Diane got back, we headed to Three Oaks.  Jin had left the distillery, and I don’t know where she went off to.

Diane had never seen Lake Michigan (or any of the Great Lakes for that matter), so we drove to New Buffalo and spent some time on the beach.  I really couldn’t talk, and the water was a bit cold, so I just laid in the sand next to Diane for a while.  It was pleasant.

Getting the feet wet

Getting the feet wet

They may not be visible in these pictures, but there were quite a few others at the beach.

Lake Michigan on a calm day

Lake Michigan on a calm day

When we left New Buffalo and headed back to Michigan City, I took an alternate route.  I’m glad I did, as we ran across Shoreline Brewery.  I drank less than a beer (Diane finished it) and I only ate french onion soup, but it was all quite good.

Saturday night’s sleep was only marginally better than Friday’s.  It had rained overnight, but appears weather cleared for the Century.  After fortifying ourselves with coffee and waffles, we packed the car, and headed home.

Much of the drive home was uncomfortable.  I couldn’t swallow or talk.  When we got near Indianapolis, I was feeling well enough to eat something soft, so I had an omelette at Waffle House.  More coffee kept me moving.

We arrived home and unpacked the car.  I immediately laid down and tried to nap.

Throughout all of this, Diane has taken care of me and been understanding of how I feel.  She didn’t tease me, or get angry that I wasted the time and money on this trip, only to bail on the ride.

I’m most upset that I didn’t get to meet those from Google Plus.  Some changes I’m making in my life mean I’m leaving that social networking site.  I’ll stick with this blog and email as my online presence.  I don’t want to spend extra energy on more.

Tandem Training?

I’ve heard horror stories about couples attempting to ride a tandem.  Some people call tandem bikes divorce machines.  I’ve read articles about proper verbal cues to use when riding tandem.  None of that mattered yesterday.

Diane and I decided to do a tandem training ride.  We’d take the hilly Eastern Parkway to Cherokee Park, then back and finish up with a beer.

We actually used little verbal communication for bike handling.  Other than “back” to let Diane know when to rotate the pedals backward (when stopped), we mostly communicated by pedal speed and pressure.  It’s coming pretty naturally.

We both struggled up the hills more than I thought we would.  Diane gets a little scared above 30 mph.  Standing and pedaling together isn’t going to work for us yet.  So, we sit and spin up the hills, and coast downhill, using the brakes when appropriate.  A scared stoker will refuse to be stoker next time.

I did cut our path through the park a bit short.  Too much distance at once would be bad.  We had to run home for an errand before our beer, but then we continued back to Four Pegs to finish the night.  We limited our beer consumption.  I’m not sure a drunk tandem team would be a good idea.

I didn’t take any pictures, but I did track the ride with the GPS.

Coffee and Tandem

I met up with Tim for a coffee ride this morning.  Neither one of us was feeling strong, but we meandered around town, me on my rSogn, Tim on his Quickbeam, and stopped at coffee shops along the way.

At one point, he mentioned a tandem bike for sale on Facebook for a reasonable price.  I’m not on Facebook, so asked him to send me contact information.

Later, I met Diane after she got off work (she had ridden her bike) and we rode home together, discussing a tandem.  After contacting the seller, we drove to his house, to check the bike out.

Oddly enough, I knew the seller.  He used to work at the bike shop that I bought my recumbent from back in 2008.  He remembered me.  He’s no longer working in the bike shop industry (and kind of misses it), but he’s doing well.  He was glad to see the bike go to someone who would actually ride it.

It’s an older Trek T900.  It could use a little TLC.  We paid cash and hauled it away.

I’ve adjusted the brakes, installed a rear rack, adjusted the saddles, aired up the tires, switched out pedals, popped some lights on, and we headed out for a ride.

It is so much faster than me hauling Diane on the Big Dummy.  I’m already in love with this bike.  We put about nine miles in, stopping for beer along the way.

It still needs a seatpost clamp, and some minor stuff.  I’d like to put fenders on it at some point.  Until then, it’ll do as-is.

There’s an old axiom that a tandem will make or break a relationship.  Our first ride was good.  I hope that’s a positive sign for the future.

Trek T900

Trek T900

It’s Been A While…

I’m still here, and I’m still riding.  I’ve been busy.  I spend time with Diane, I have social gatherings, and I ride my bike.  Having Diane around has been a positive to my bike commuting – as in she pushes me to ride instead of driving me to work.  She did drive me to work today though.  I wasn’t feeling well.

Here’s some random things since my last post.

Heavy Hauling

Heavy Hauling

Heavy Hauling

I hauled a kitchen table on the Big Dummy to my daughter’s house.  This was a four mile trip down Preston Highway.  I got some weird looks.

The hardest part was strapping the thing down securely so it wouldn’t slide off.  It was a bit wobbly, but I made it without dumping the table in traffic.

Part of the ride was a rather intense downpour.  Somebody took a picture of me while stopped at a traffic light.

Diane’s Bike

Diane's Bike

Diane’s Bike

Diane has her own bike now.  We met somebody at volleyball getting rid of a bike.  We got it for free.  It needed a tune-up, tubes, a brake cable, and a water bottle cage.  I put my dyno-wheel on the front.  Since the picture was taken I’ve added a rear rack and dyno-headlight.  I’ve still got less than $100 into it.

It’s a Specialized Crossroads Sport (step-through version).  It’s a size small, so it fits her well.

She doesn’t want fenders on it.  She may change her mind once she gets a “skunk stripe” up her back.

June Populaire

 

rSogn cockpit

rSogn cockpit

The Louisville Bicycle Club (and Timothy) put on a 100K Populaire on June 2nd.  It was leaving from Charlestown Indiana.  Tim, Asher, and I left from Louisville and rode to Charlestown (21 miles).  Tim had other obligations, so he rode back rather than participate in the Populaire.

Asher and I rode with another dozen people.  The route took us to Hanover Indiana for a lunch stop before going back to Charlestown for the finish at Charlestown Pizza Company.  - 64 miles later.

Diane met us there, and Asher and I enjoyed the comfort of a motor vehicle for the trip back to Louisville.

That was 85 miles for the day – more than I’ve done in a while.  Although I was slow, I felt like a cyclist again.  The rSogn is a wonderful bike.  The weather was gorgeous.  The company was pretty good too.

Relationship

Diane is effectively living with me, it’s just not official yet.  We’ve found the things that irritate each other (that’s what it’s about, right?)  Relationships can be a challenge, but I’m optimistic about ours.

She’s decorated the house a bit.  She keeps it clean.  She loathes the dog hair, but keeps it clean as she can.  Yes, I help with housework, but I basically just take direction from her.  She’s the expert.

Company

Diane and I have entertained company a few times at the house now.  She had her family over for dinner.  She cooked a large meal (with dessert!).  Everyone was pleased.

My mother and my niece came to visit.  They’re actually at my house for a few more days yet.  I’ve had a week of visiting with my mother.  I hadn’t seen her in person since 2009.  I hadn’t seen my niece in about ten years.  Diane and my mother seem to like each other.

Car-Free?

Diane won’t give up her car.  I don’t expect her to.  It did break down on her on Thursday.  It was about fifteen miles from my house, so it was several days before I got out to look at it.

She spent those days riding her bike around for errands.  I guess she got a bike just in time.

I fixed her car on Sunday.  She still rides with me on errands though.  She has a potential job downtown.  If she gets it, she’s talking about riding to work, weather permitting, to avoid paying to park.  She doesn’t want to ride in rain, cold, or hot weather, but it’s a start.

 

Bad Day, Nice Ride

The workday was stressful.  The only thing that made it tolerable was the pleasant bicycle commute bracketing it.

The day improved greatly once I arrived home.  Diane was there and had prepared a meal.  It was nothing fancy, but it was tasty and ready when I walked in the door.

The weather forecast has been threatening rain, but I lucked out again, and only had a few sprinkles on the way home.  The skies cleared after dinner, so Diane and I left on a bike ride.

She wanted to see my commute route, so we rode to my workplace.  From there, we turned east and rode to the Big Four Bridge.  She didn’t want to ride on the bridge due to the pedestrians, but we locked up the bikes and walked across.

Resting At the Big Four Bridge

Resting At the Big Four Bridge

After walking back to the Kentucky side of the bridge, we got back on the bikes and rode to Louisville Beer Store and each drank a beer out on the patio.  There were a lot of cyclists there.  I only recognized one of them.

View from the bridge

View from the bridge

We left there as it was getting dark.  We were well-lit and taking city streets.  There was a thunderstorm in the distance, but we never got rained on.  We made another stop at a convenience store for a couple of six-packs of beer before heading home.

On the bridge

On the bridge

Once home, Diane took a soak in the tub.  Her legs needed it.  We rode nine miles together.  That’s her longest ride yet.  I’m still hoping she’ll ride next Wednesday’s Ride of Silence.

She doesn’t like wearing a helmet.  I’ve been wearing mine less now that the weather has warmed up.  I bought a glasses-mounted mirror so I can still see behind me.  Today was another helmet-free day.

Lifestyle Change… Again

I had a few of huge lifestyle changes over the last few years.  The diet and exercise that began in late 2007, the bicycling in 2008, and the car-free lifestyle that went into full-force in 2011 are all a big part of it.  There were also relationship changes.  It’s the relationship changes that are sparking things now.

Diane

Let me be blunt.  I love Diane.  She’s not living with me, but her dog has been at my house for a few days.  I bought her a phone and put her on my family plan.  We bought a TV together, and I’m no longer TV-free.  We’ll get by with broadcast TV and an antenna.

Yes, There's a TV in my livingroom now

Yes, There’s a TV in my livingroom now

This is at least a long-term relationship and possibly more.  I bought her a plane ticket to join me on my trip to San Francisco in July.  We’re making long-term plans.  I fully expect that we’ll live together this year.

She has a dog, Baxter, and a cat, Fancy.  Fancy hasn’t been over yet, but Baxter has been here all weekend.

Baxter after a bath

Baxter after a bath

Diane doesn’t like dog hair, so we’ve both been cleaning.  I also bathed both of my dogs and brushed them out while she was out running errands.  Once the wet dog smell aired out, the house smelled better than it has in a while.

Sandy does not like getting a bath

Sandy does not like getting a bath

You won’t see her on social media.  She doesn’t use Facebook or Google+.  She rarely touches a computer.  She says I post enough for the both of us.

I mentioned that her first bike ride in years was a 7-mile night ride in traffic.  I think she has the capability to be more of a cyclist than I am.  I don’t know if she has the desire.  I’ll find out more later.

Work

I’ve been trying to focus a little more at work to avoid getting too complacent.  That involved going in a 3:00am on Thursday to get a major project completed without disrupting things during business hours.

I’m still a bike commuter, and the ride into work was easy.  The traffic was very light, although the bars were still open, and I was a bit worried about drunk drivers.

Quiet commute in the bike lane

Quiet commute in the bike lane

Money

Diane is used to being more frugal than I am.  She’s tolerating my $15 per pound coffee, but she’s insisting on cheaper grocery shopping and eating at home.  She has done much of the cooking, so I’m not complaining.

Diane is still willing to go out on occasion.  We’ve gone out for good beer at Apocalypse Brew Works on my birthday (by bicycle!), and Four Pegs last Thursday (on foot).  I did grab a picture of her on the walk home from Four Pegs.

The sign seemed fitting

The sign seemed fitting

Events

It’s nice to go out and do things again.  We walked around during the Balloon Glimmer (as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival).

Balloon Glimmer

Balloon Glimmer

We watched the Great Steamboat Race – and had a few drinks and some food.

Exercise

This is the interesting point.  Diane wants to lose weight.  She’s in relatively good health.  The only thing preventing us from doing more exercise together is time.  She likes to ride a bike, but doesn’t own one yet.  Between both of our jobs, and her youngest child who sometimes spends time with her, time can be tight.

We’ll eventually buy her a hybrid bike of some sort, but she may turn out to want a road bike some day.  I think her power to weight ratio could be much better than mine.  She’s only 5’1″.

The hit on my cycling

At this point, I’m riding a bike less, and I’m not worried.  I still get around (alone) by bike.  Diane rides occasionally and I hope she starts to ride more.  She’ll continue to drive her car for transportation.

I did a lot of thinking about what’s important in life.  Long rides every weekend didn’t rank that high.  I can do it less often.

Overall, I’m happy with life right now.  Some of that is new love.  Some of it is the anti-depressant I’m taking.  I’m not complaining.

Camping With Diane

Diane and I had planned to camp on Saturday and Sunday night at Clifty Falls State Park in Indiana.  The weather Saturday wasn’t good, so we decided to limit it to Sunday.

This was a car-camping trip, not a bicycle trip.  I’m hoping Diane will be willing and able to do overnight bike trips next year.

When we arrived Sunday afternoon most of the campsites were quite soggy with flooded fire rings.  We found one that was reasonably dry (but still muddy) and set up the tent.

We then went for a hike on one of the trails.

Diane on the trail

Diane on the trail

Some of the trail was quite muddy and slippery.  I’m glad we both wore old shoes.  Diane slipped once and got a bit muddy, but didn’t hurt herself.

Hanging around at camp

Hanging around at camp

We cooked sausage over the campfire.  I warmed baked beans on my Esbit camp stove.  We had a small amount of beer and wine.

Near the falls

Near the falls

We stayed up late, but weren’t able to see any stars due to the overcast skies.  My new tent is a tad small for both of us, but it worked.  The single narrow air mattress was a problem, and we swapped places, one on the ground, one on the mattress, throughout the night.  We’ll buy another sleeping bag with air mattress in the future.  Then we can both be comfortable.  We’ll probably buy a bigger tent also.

I slept as I normally do while camping, poorly.  Overnight rain made some noise on the rain fly, but we stayed dry.  I was comfortable, but Diane said she was cold.

In the morning we re-started the fire for warmth and started coffee and oatmeal on the Esbit stoves.

Breakfast time

Breakfast time

The campground has showers and nice toilets.  We were able to shower and prepare for a day back in civilization.  We packed up and headed back to town.

Even without the bike this was a lot of fun.  We talked about bringing bikes to ride around the park, but this time we were hiking, and that would have been problematic with the bikes.

 

Shifting Priorities

If you’ve been paying any attention whatsoever, it’s apparent that I’m in a relationship again.  Things are going well with Diane.  I bought her a new cell phone yesterday, and put her on my plan.

Diane is not living with me, but that will probably change in the near future.  I will remain car-free, but she will keep her car.  It’s paid off, but needs a little work.

My lifestyle will be going through some pretty big changes.  I have a variety of things I need to spend money on.  The plans for swapping handlebars on my bikes (or any other major expense) are on hold.  This seems to be working well as my neck issue has abated a bit, and I can ride any of my bikes again.  I rode the rSogn to work today.

Diane wants to fly to San Francisco with me this summer.  That will mean we need some extra money for spending and her flight.  I hope we can book her flight in the next few weeks.

Diane remains a good influence in my life.  She (nicely) reminds me not to overeat or drink too much.  She still enjoys an occasional drink with me.

Not everything is perfect.  As we’ve spent a lot of time together recently, we’ve discovered some of each other’s insecurities and personality flaws.  I don’t believe any of it’s a real problem, just a challenge to overcome.

I read something years ago about “being the perfect partner” rather than “looking for the perfect partner”.  That’s what I’m working on.  In the short-term, that means keeping my life in order from housework to eating habits.

Life continues to be a strange adventure.

Short, but Wonderful, Birthday Ride

I originally had plans for a 42-mile birthday bike ride yesterday – one mile for each trip around the sun.  Other things came up in the morning, and that didn’t happen.

Diane did buy me a few gifts and baked a German Chocolate cake for my birthday.  I borrowed my daughter’s bike and Diane and I rode seven miles to Apocalypse Brew Works and back.  The bike was a bit big for her, but she did well for her first time on a bike in a few years.  She handled traffic like a champ.  She had to walk a hill, but will probably manage it next time once she gets better about shifting.  She had a positive attitude the whole time.  She’s a wonderful, happy, woman, and I love her.

Look at that smile!

Look at that smile!

She was a little more tired on the return trip, but still was happy and good-natured.

Smiling on the return trip

Smiling on the return trip

The trip was made euro-style.  We didn’t wear bike-specific clothing or helmets.  He carried some luggage, and I hauled a growler home full of beer.

Tonight’s plans have changed.  We were going to go camping, but the weather’s not looking good.  We’re going to wait until tomorrow night.

A Good Influence

Diane is a good influence on me.  She’s more about home-cooking and less drinking.  She enjoys helping me cook (or me helping her…)  I’m buying beer at the store, but I’m only having one or two a day.  I’m saving money by not going to the bar.

Her daughter and mother came over for a cookout over the weekend.  It was enjoyable.

Some people have commented that we are “moving too fast”.  Well, we’re not living together, just spending a lot of time together.

If things do get more serious, my life will go through a few adjustments:

  • We’ll have a TV.  She’s not going to live without one, and I can handle it if we’re using internet-based shows and OTA broadcasts instead of paying for cable.
  • She’ll keep her car.  I’ll continue to get around by bike, but have a car available when needed.
  • She’s financially frugal.  I’ve spent the last few years spending too much money on bikes, bars, restaurants, and coffee.  I’ll need to adjust my budget and my habits.  I’ve already started on this.
  • She wants to lose weight and get healthier.  This will involve more walking.  She seems to have some interest in riding a bike too.

I played volleyball Monday, and Diane attended, mostly just to watch.  She was sitting up on the deck, wearing sunglasses and watching us play.  Then I remembered seeing her last year.  I didn’t know her then, and don’t remember talking to her, but we had at least seen each other before.

We’re planning on going camping this weekend.  It could be interesting with cool overnight temperatures and a chance of rain.  I’ll try to take pictures.

Whatta Week!

Okay, it’s only Thursday, but this has been a busy week already.

On Monday, my daughter, Dawn, married Guthrie.  I present Mr. and Mrs. Smith:

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

It was a simple wedding.  There was a dinner afterward.

Later in the evening I went to play volleyball.  I’ve been using a dating site to try and meet women with mixed results.  While at volleyball, a woman approached me and we talked.  We had a date on Tuesday.  Her name is Diane.

I had a date with Renee that I thought went well last week.  She told me that she didn’t think we should have a second date a couple of days ago.

Yesterday was a housecleaning day.  I’ve been trying to keep my life more in order.  The anti-depressant seems to be working.  My moods have been more level.  I’ve been drinking less.  I’m not “stress eating”.  I have more motivation to do simple things – but not enough to do great things.  Hmmm.

I had a date scheduled with Melissa today, but she never called or showed up.  So I sat and ate pizza and had a beer by myself.  I wasn’t really bothered much by it.

I have a second date with Diane tomorrow.  It’s odd that the only second date I’m getting out of this is from a woman that I didn’t meet online.  We have a few friends and acquaintances in common – mostly through the Louisville Ski Club, of which I’m a member.

I’ve ridden the bike to work every day this week.  I’ve ridden the bike everywhere.  I haven’t missed work.  I’ve done some cooking at home.  I’ve been keeping the house clean.  I have a second date tomorrow.  This is progress.

Homebody Weekend?

I had hoped to get out and get some mileage in this weekend.  That didn’t happen.

I was up late Friday after my date with Renee.  I slept in on Saturday, and once I was up mowed the lawn for the first time this year.  I also went grocery shopping and picked up dog food.

Big Dummy Loaded

Big Dummy Loaded

Cindy, my first ex-wife, took a bus from Michigan down for my daughters wedding.  The wedding is tomorrow (Monday).  I met up with Cindy for about 10 minutes at my daughter’s apartment.  I hadn’t seen her in a couple of years.  Cindy owns a truck, but she didn’t trust it to make it here, so she’s “enjoying” the car-free lifestyle while she’s here.  :D

I have another date lined up on Thursday.  This one is with Melissa.  I know little about her.  I think I’ll see Renee again on Friday.  There are a few other possibilities coming up too.  This dating thing is kind of bizarre for me, especially when I’m trying to keep track of the “who and when”.  I’m bad with names.  Luckily, I take notes and use Google Calendar.

Something In The Air?

I’ve experienced a bizarre set of emotions over the last few days.  My depression had lifted quite a bit this week.  Wednesday after work, I signed back up on a dating site.

I had a Thursday doctor appointment that basically meant I would go to work for three hours.  I woke up Thursday morning with quite a headache, and stayed home from work.  I enjoyed listening to the thunderstorm while laying in bed, even if it did bring a cold front along with it.

The storm had ended and the rain had mostly stopped when I headed out for my doctor appointment.  The office allows me to bring the bike inside, so I didn’t have to deal with the lack of bike parking.

This was mostly a follow-up visit for lifelong issue that I have.  I also brought up the depression again, and the fact that I’ve cut my beer consumption way down (he’s chastised me about this before).

Despite years of refusing a chemical solution to my depression, I finally agreed to try it.  He wrote a prescription.  It’ll take a few weeks to determine if it’s going to work out for me.

I was at the office for a couple of hours.  There was a paperwork snafu, and they were busy.  When I did leave, it was pouring rain, and I headed up Eastern Parkway to the pharmacy.  Tim passed me going the other way (in his car).  He was driving home from work.  Heh.  I was proud to be getting wet wearing my jeans and t-shirt.

After drinking one cup of coffee and going back to the pharmacy, I rode home.  I spent the remainder of the day cleaning the house and talking to several women on the phone that had responded to me on the dating site.  This was a much better response than I got last time.  Was it because it’s a different site?  My different approach?  Because Spring is in the air?

I had a few good conversations, but the best was with Renee.  She was also the one who could set aside some time for a Friday evening date.  I met her Friday at 7:00pm (less than 7 hours ago) at Four Pegs.  She doesn’t drink, so she had water and the famous Chicken Waffle sandwich.  I had a burger, water, and a single beer.  We spent the evening together, and I got to know a lot about her.

She eventually went home.  That saying, “parting is such sweet sorrow”, yeah.  I didn’t expect to be affected that way.  I hope to see her again.  At best, it’ll probably be another week.  She’s smart, funny, sarcastic, and cuddly.  She has a young daughter, which means I need to make some big decisions about my life if I continue down this path.

It’s now almost 2:00am.  I plan to get out on the bike tomorrow, but I won’t be getting up early to do that.

I Don’t Feel Like a Cyclist Anymore

Even after closing my dating site account, I’ve been fixated on relationships.  It’s not been healthy for me.  It’s time to move on.  I need to enjoy the good points of being single.

Another issue is bike riding.  I haven’t been doing much.  I’m also mostly limited to the recumbent due to neck pain.

I spent a lot of money building up the rSogn for long rides, but now I can’t ride it on anything other than a short ride.  I’m sticking to the rule that I won’t buy a new bike in 2013.  I also won’t sell any existing bikes.  Unless my neck improves, I’ll mostly be riding the recumbent.  I may end up putting some bikes up for sale in 2014.  Then I could expand the recumbent fleet.

I’ve had one ride this year where I felt strong.  I felt like a cyclist.  Other than that, even my longer rides feel slow and plodding.  Slow and plodding is fine for going to work or the grocery store, but I want to do more than that.  That means I need to train.

I put off training once before because I was having knee pain on the recumbent.  I’ve solved that issue.  I adjusted the seat.  A recumbent has a seat that slides forward and back – similar to the seat in a car.  Unlike a regular bicycle saddle, gaining or losing weight can quickly affect proper saddle position.  My weight gain meant my seat needed to be moved back.  Since moving it, I’ve had less knee pain.

I’ve also mentioned that the recumbent needs some work.  I keep putting it off.  I need to get around to doing it.  It could also use a few upgrades.

Dating Sucks

I signed up for a dating site.  Date #1 was a no-show.  Date #2 didn’t seem interested.  Date #3 was fascinating, but eventually it was obvious she wasn’t interested.

There was a #4, but we never set up a date.  We had some nice email conversations.  I don’t know if she lost interest or is just too busy.

What I discovered is that:

  • It’s an emotional roller-coaster
  • I need to stay true to myself
  • Looking for someone is the best way to never find them

It was hard for me to be happy while actively seeking someone.  I was willing to give up my car-free, tv-free lifestyle.  I think I was going about it all wrong.

I’ve closed my dating site accounts.  I’m going to remain car-free and tv-free, not because of any “greater calling”, but because that’s what I want.

A friend told me to “be true to yourself”.  I will.  I’m going to live my life.  Maybe I’ll find someone to share it, maybe I won’t  Either way, I can be happy being me.

Not dating means I’m more productive and less stressed.  So be it.

 

Would You Date a Sweaty Bike-Riding Guy With No Car?

I mentioned I had a date tonight.  “L” and I were to meet in Okolona – a southern part of Louisville.

The trip there was interesting.  I rode my rSogn to work this morning, because it’ll fit on a bus rack.  I intended to hop the 18 bus down there after work and ride back.  Preston Highway during rush hour doesn’t appeal to me.

When the 18 arrived, it already had two bikes on front, and the bus was pretty crowded.  Oh well. Off I go, wearing my work clothes.

I took the lane all the way down Preston Highway, almost to Outer Loop.  How many rude or dangerous drivers? Zero.  It was actually quite nice.  Traffic was heavy, but people were courteously changing lanes to pass.

I made better time than the 18 bus for most of the trip.  It passed me near Fern Valley Rd, and it still had those two bikes on the front.

On the return trip I came right back up Preston Highway, again, no issues.  There was lighter traffic, but it was moving faster.  I was well lit – three tailights, dyno-headlight, and a reflective vest.  Two LMPD officers passed me without even looking twice.

The date itself didn’t seem to go well. At least the 23-mile bike ride was nice.

Food, Dating, and a Lazy Weekend

I mentioned a while ago that I joined a dating site.  I haven’t actually had a date yet.  I had one (let’s call her T) that stood me up – probably for valid reasons.  There were two more who weren’t interested once they found out I don’t own a car.  Never mind that I don’t need them to run me around.  I’m quite self-sufficient.

There are still two more, M and L.  M is fascinating.  She’s also found this blog, so of course I’ll say good things about her.   :D  I haven’t met her in person, so who knows what first impressions we’ll have with each other.  L is less interesting, but I’m supposed to meet her tomorrow evening.  She doesn’t know I don’t have a car yet.  We’ll see how that turns out.  I’ll be taking a bus to meet her.

I spent most of the weekend in the house.  Tim, Timothy, and Patrick headed out yesterday for a camping trip and gravel ride..  I didn’t go.  My ongoing neck issue meant no gravel riding.  Although they were quite cold, I’m still jealous.

I wanted to go to Four Pegs for food and beer today.  I still had a lot of housework to do today.  I negotiated with myself.  If I did the dishes, I could go to Four Pegs, so I did the dishes.  I walked to Four Pegs – I haven’t been on a bike since Friday.

I got into an interesting conversation with a woman bicyclist at Four Pegs.  Let’s call her Z.  Z is gay.  So, I’m out of the running.  However, she actively tried to set me up with her friend, D.  It was obvious D wasn’t interested.  Z didn’t give up.  It was really quite embarrassing.  That’s the first time that a stranger tried to “hook me up”.

Oh, and Z knows somebody in common with M… but I won’t get further into that, or somebody will figure something out and get weird… or not.  Louisville isn’t that big.

This dating thing kind of sucks.  Most people (including me) want somebody to have a connection with, to have a partner, to have someone to be affectionate with.  That’s the easy part.  It’s all the other stuff that makes it complicated.  Lifestyle, TV shows, cars, beer, music, physical activity, and just normal stuff like attitude, tone of voice, and body language.

Let’s not forget the weird dance we do.  I am looking for a long-term thing, but you don’t just go out and say, “Hey! You! – you’re attractive and seem nice, will you marry me?  What’s your name by the way?”  Some people already know each other before they get involved.  That’s they way Cindy (my first wife) and I were.  We knew each other since kindergarten.  That makes it a lot easier.

M likes email (as do I), which means we’ve had several long exchanges.  That also means they come once a day at best.  It takes a while to write it all.

L likes texting.  Very little is said in each text, but you can have many in a short period of time.

I really prefer one-on-one conversation, but I haven’t got there with any of them yet, except Z’s friend D, who cut it quite short.

I’m not sure I can handle trying to talk to strangers with the intent of finding “the one”.  I’ll continue for a while, but eventually I’ll give up and go back to not worrying about it.  Too bad I already paid Match.com for three months.