The month of November is wrapping up, and it’s time to look at my progress again.
My average November weight is down 2.8 lbs compared to October. That’s not a huge loss, and the last two weeks I’ve actually gained weight. As a long-term goal, I know this is okay, I just need to work a little harder to correct it.
I took my hybrid bike for the short ride to the grocery store today. The store isn’t very bike-friendly, there are no racks, and very few places to safely lock a bike.
Today, a good portion of the front of the store had Christmas trees for sale, blocking the places I normally lock my bike.
So, I decided to take the bike in the store, and use it as a grocery cart – a grocery cart with brakes. I didn’t ride in the store, just walked along, putting items in my grocery panniers.
I did get quite a few strange looks, but nobody said anything until I was nearly done with my shopping. An employee approached me and let me know that I couldn’t bring my bike in next time. She did say I could park it in the entrance. I did bring up the lack of a bike rack. She was nice about it, so I didn’t give her a hard time.
This was my first time bringing my bike into a retail store (other than bike shops), and I knew this was a possibility. It could have been worse. Security could have made me leave immediately.
I find it weird that on a day that we are to give thanks, we eat food until we are uncomfortable. I saw a posting on the web today from Mark Hendricks asking “Do we get a pass on that whole, ‘Gluttony’ thing on Thanksgiving?”
My ex-wife and I have no family in the area, and travelling wasn’t in the plans for this year, so I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my daughter and ex-wife. Spending time with family is the good part of Thanksgiving.
About the food thing… I’m going to overeat today. I’ve eaten well over the last two days, and I don’t intend to have a huge Christmas dinner next month, so I will probably be eating well for the rest of the year.
There is some beautiful weather today, so I’m hoping to squeeze in a short bike ride.
Oh, and my ex-wife doesn’t care for turkey… so we are having ham.
It hasn’t just changed my physical condition, that’s still a work in progress. It has changed how I feel about a variety of things. It has helped me to realize that I don’t have to be “the out of shape fat guy”. I can ride 60 miles in a day. I realize that when properly prepared, a little weather is not a big deal.
I am working toward being car-free. It will be a few years, but I will get there. However, the way that I drivenow has been affected by bicycling. I’m more cautious. I drive under the speed limit most of the time. I’m never in a hurry when behind the wheel anymore. It’s not worth the stress or the risk.
There are a number of ideas thrown around by bicyclists to get laws changed, from the good ideas, to unworkable ideas such as banning cars.
I have an idea. It’s unworkable, but let’s pretend it’s not.
Maximum speed limit: 35 MPH (other than interstates)
Residential speed limit: 20 MPH
Speeding – first offense: large fine
Speeding – second offense: loss of driving privileges for 5 years
Reckless driving or driving without a license – jail and loss of driving privileges for life
I would assume that most people reading this think I’m off of my rocker. That’s not true. This idea will not happen. I don’t even think the level of federal government control required to pull it off nationwide would be a good idea, but think of the benefits.
Fewer traffic deaths
Better gas mileage
Less stress while driving
Traffic control becomes less about revenue, and more about saving lives
Everyone I’ve talked to about this thinks it’s a bad idea. Most people get angry. Between my house and work, there is a nine-mile stretch of road with a 55 MPH speed limit. If that stretch of road had a 35 MPH speed limit it would take less than five additional minutes to get to work. If I average 25 MPH (including the stops through town) I can go the 16 miles to work in just over 38 minutes.
I do drive slower now. I don’t drive 35 in a 55, that might be a bit extreme. I drive 50 in a 55. People pass me recklessly. This is on a four-lane divided highway where passing is easy. They get angry because I’m not “going the speed limit”. Everyone seems to forget that it’s an upper limit, not a lower limit.
When I’m on a bike, travelling between 12 and 20 MPH they really get angry, even when I get out of the way when it’s safe to do so.
Last night before I went to bed, the weather forecast was calling for light rain, and temperatures in the mid-40s for my morning commute. I figured that was perfect weather to try out my rain gear.
When I woke up this morning, there was much more than light rain going on. It was less than a downpour, but heavier than I intended to ride in. I rode anyway.
It was a slow ride. My raingear does not breathe well, and I didn’t want to work up a sweat inside it. I had also worn plastic bags over my wool socks to keep the feet warm and dry. Overall it worked pretty well. I got to work without getting too wet or cold.
This was my first commute by bicycle to the new job. So, my third day on the job, and now they know I’m crazy.
The ride home didn’t work out so well. The rain had stopped, but the temperature had dropped. My rain pants had ripped badly, and too much cold wind was getting in. I needed another layer, and didn’t have it. After four miles, I called for a ride.
Putting wet gloves in the server room in front of the air-conditioning vent will dry them quickly.
This is too common of a theme. I have not met many of my own goals. I have not ridden nearly as much as I intended. I drove my car to work twice this week. I’ve not eaten well. I didn’t even weigh myself this morning.
My new job has great facilities for showering and changing clothes though. There are entire locker rooms. It’s pretty cool. Maybe I’ll get to try them out next week.
I attended the Bicycling for Louisville Open House tonight. I met quite a few interesting people, including several other recumbent riders. Executive Director Barry Zalph is an incredibly nice guy with a challenging job.
Many of the people that showed up were bike commuters. I had intended to ride to work today so that I could bike to the open house, but a number of things prevented that. I did walk the short distance from work though.
Today is day 2 of my one-hundred push-ups plan. I’ve decided to do all my other exercises (other than biking) on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays along with my push-up schedule. The days are flexible, but I do want to do it three days a week.
Set 1: 3
Set 2: 4
Set 3: 2
Set 4: 3
Set 5: max (did 10)
Arm curls – 20 lb dumbbells:
2 sets of 10
I feel weak with the curls and sit-ups. I’ve done more than that fairly recently, but that’s all I could do tonight. I’ll give it another go on Friday.
I rode all the way to work and back on Monday. I rode into work on Tuesday, but called for a ride after riding part of the way home. My legs couldn’t do it anymore. I seem to have more muscle issues in cold weather.
Last night I went out to dinner with my ex-wife and daughter, and my car broke down. It’s in the shop now, but I still didn’t ride to work. I got a ride from my ex-wife.
So, I’m three days into what was supposed to be a car-free week. I drove my car briefly yesterday, and mooched rides from other people today. I may take the bus from work to within nine miles of home tonight, then get a ride from there.
I should have my car tonight. Tomorrow is my first day at a new job, so I’m going to drive. I will ride to work and back on Friday though.
Earlier this year, I considered not driving at all for the month of September. I ended up not doing that. Now, I’ve decided to not drive for a week. One week seems possible.
I haven’t driven since Friday, and I won’t drive again until at least after work this coming Friday. There is supposed to be very little precipitation this week, so the weather is cooperating.
I do have a full work week this week, so I’m not “cheating”. In fact, the first three days of this week are the last three days at my current employer, and Thursday and Friday will be my first two days at my new employer.
That should make for some interesting bike commuting.
Most electronic products for bicycles can handle some water. Even my cheap bicycle computer can handle water, but unfortunately the water does short-circuit the weak signal from the sensor, and my speed reads zero.Since I do ride in the rain, and I like to track my mileage, this was a problem.
The friendly people over at BikeForums had several suggestions. The idea that I used was to wrap a sandwich bag around the computer, then use several zip-ties to hold it in place. It’s not pretty, but it’s functional, and it was free.
I’ve done this with both of my bikes now, but here’s a picture of it on my recumbent.
It does have some drawbacks. I can’t take the computer off without cutting the zip-ties. There is a layer of plastic to look through to see the display. Overall, it seems worth it though.
My average weight for the week ending 11/15/2008: 228.6 lbs
Down from last week: 1.3 lbs
Down since I started on 10/31/2007: 67.8 lbs
My average loss per 30 days since 10/31/2007: 5.34 lbs
Weight until goal: 53.6 lbs
Despite my whining about not doing well enough, I’m still losing weight. I hope to get some new progress pictures taken tomorrow. I’ve been called “the incredible shrinking man” recently at work. It’s kind of cool.
I went for a four mile ride today. It was about 40 degrees, and raining. I wanted to ride my hybrid with new fenders, and try out my cheap raingear from Wal-Mart. I ran a few errands while I was out.
I did stay dry, but the raingear doesn’t breathe. A slow-paced ride without too much exertion was fine though. If I had really been working harder, I would have been soaking wet from sweat. I was also wearing my new wool socks, and my feet were plenty warm.
It was actually fun to run through shallow puddles at 12 mph or so. I could hear the water sloshing under the fenders, and see some spray come out the sides. My shoes were relatively dry despite not being covered.
I did have someone yell at me to get on the sidewalk. Well, I don’t ride on sidewalks, it’s illegal in some places, and there was no sidewalk along that part of the road. I was taking the lane, but this was a five-lane road (including left turn lane), and the speed limit varied from 25 mph to 40 mph. I’ve always felt fairly safe on this road. I was mostly just amused.
I found the site One Hundred Push-ups that is a six-week program to be able to do one hundred push-ups. The first part is a test to find out what you can do now. I did five. I was humbled by the pushup.
Anyway, I plan on working on the push-up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I also did arm-curls with a 20 lb dumbbell (two sets of 15 per arm), and sit-ups (25 before I gave up). I haven’t yet made a plan for the other exercises, but I’ll squeeze them in on the same three days, and have four days of rest.
I get plenty of leg exercise and cardio from the bicycles.
I started my weight-loss for health reasons. Building muscle will help with my health, and with burning fat by keeping my metabolism ticking along nicely. Also, burning the fat from behind the skin, will allow what little loose skin I develop to begin to shrink back closer to normal.
Also, being able to “drop and give 100” sounds cool. 🙂
I did the partial-commute thing today. I parked about 3.5 miles from work, and rode my hybrid bike the rest of the way.
The weather forecast called for a chance of rain in the morning, and a greater chance in the afternoon.
The ride in was nice, except a mild headwind. No rain, warmer temperatures. The ride back to the car was slightly nicer, the wind was at my back.
I’ve been beating myself up a bit over not riding enough. I guess if I can just manage to get on the bike some November through March, then it’ll be fine. I’m not going to buy studded snow tires for the rare occasion I’d need them, I’ll just drive. I’ll try to avoid riding in the rain when it’s cold. I do have raingear, in case I get caught in it.
I have wanted to do more upper body workout stuff, and core strengthening, so less riding should mean more time and energy to work on that.