January Miles and (Lack of) Progress

Between my car-rental drive to Bowling Green and driving Robin’s car for us to do stuff together, I drove 356 miles for the month.  It would normally not be difficult to ride my bike more than that in a month, but I’ve had a really off month.

I only rode my bike 160.6 miles.  My neck and shoulder have conspired to keep me off the bike much of the time.  I made good use of carpooling, the bus, and the occasional cab ride to get to work.  I’ve even walked the 3.5 miles home from downtown once.

I quit weighing myself recently, but I’ll be doing that again now.  I had quit posting my weight a while before that, but I’ll get that caught up soon.

Now that I have an iPhone I downloaded the  MyFitnessPal app to track what I eat.  I’ve also downloaded the EEBA app to help me budget my money using virtual envelopes.  We’ll see how that works out.

The last two days have been much less painful than before.  I feel like I can function normally.  I didn’t ride my bike yesterday, because I had to return the rental car and walk to work from there.  I took the bus home.  Today, I rode the single-speed and it felt wonderful.  I’ll be on it again tomorrow.

I still have an appointment with a neurosurgeon on Monday.  I’d like to avoid surgery, so I’ll get a second opinion if he immediately suggests it.  If two doctors suggest it, I’ll go through with it.

Things are going well between Robin and I.  I like the fact that we’re both comfortable living where we do… two blocks apart.  Seriously, I just know I need to avoid pushing things faster (or further) than they need to go.  We are seeing each other exclusively, but I really don’t feel comfortable discussing much more here.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) is also the Car-Free Happy Hour.  This is technically January’s event as it was delayed a week.  Will you join us at 5:30pm at Four Pegs at 1053 Goss Ave 40217.  I may ride my bike there, or just walk.  It’s very close to my house.

Weight?  Weight!  Wait?  No, don’t wait.  I still need to lose about 55lbs to make it to my goal weight.  A reasonable goal is one pound per week, giving me about a year to do this.  So 175lbs by 2013.  Could the iPhone be the tool I need to do this?

With my new phone comes a new phone number.  I used to publish my old one pretty openly, but I’m not doing that any more.  That’s why I didn’t port the number to the new phone.  If you need my number, send me an email, and I’ll get back to you.

New Toy

I want a simpler life, but I also like gadgets. Yesterday the gadgets won. I now have an iPhone 4S. I’m writing this post from it.

In addition to browsing and writing from this thing I’ll play with some food tracking apps. What are your favorite ones?

Car-Free Musings

Robin has been working in Bowling Green KY and coming home for the weekends.  For reasons I won’t go into here, she is working today, Saturday, and staying the weekend.  I made a last-minute decision to join her for the weekend.

I rented a car, which by the way, if you don’t have a credit card, it’s a little more hassle.  I don’t have car insurance anymore, so I also paid extra for the insurance from the rental place.

I drove down after work yesterday.  Driving (mostly) the speed limit, I got here in about two hours.

I know I said I was “off the bike”, but that’s only partially true.  I’ve ridden to work once this past week.  The only bike riding I’m doing is transportation related.

I’ve ridden the bus some, and I don’t like it.  My bus route is rather crowded.  I’ve car-pooled with a co-worker, and Robin has taken me to work a couple of times when she was home during the week.  I’ve even considered walking to work.  I have walked home from downtown, but it wasn’t a work day, and I wasn’t carrying a laptop.

I’m still waiting to know the long-term plan for my neck issue.  I may end up riding the bikes as they are, stick to recumbents only, or go with higher handlebars on my existing bikes.  It’s too early to know right now.

Off The Bike

My neck issue is pushing me off the bike for a while.  I’m tired of fighting the pain.  I see a neurosurgeon in two weeks.  Then it’ll be time for more decisions.  In the meantime I’m staying off the bike.  Even the recumbent hurts me on bad days.

My eating habits are only slightly better than before.  I have purchased a new hot-air popcorn popper.  I used it tonight.  Plain popcorn used to be a comfort food for me, but I had thrown away the old popper.  Now I can go back to this filling, low-calorie, snack that I used to enjoy.

In spite of the challenges, I’m in a good mood.  I’m not trying too hard to lose weight, just trying to prevent myself from gaining for a while.  Things are working well with Robin.  We’re now going out and doing something besides eating.  We saw a concert on Friday and a movie on Sunday.  We met with my daughter and her boyfriend on Saturday, but we did go out to eat then.

I feel more motivated to take care of housework and other related duties than I have in a while.

I probably won’t see Robin next weekend, but that will give me time to thoroughly clean house and catch up on other duties that need to be done.

I’ll take the bus to work most days now that I’m not riding my bike.  I’m considering walking a couple of days a week though, including tomorrow.  At least it’s still exercise and it doesn’t seem to hurt.

Wake Up?

It’s fitting that I’m writing a post titled “Wake Up?” at 3:00am somehow…  It is interesting laying in bed on a January night with the window open listening to a thunderstorm.  A few days ago temperatures were in the teens.  Tonight it’s 55F.

I didn’t ride the recumbent today (yesterday?).  This became important later.

I rode the Big Dummy.  I had my doctor appointment with my new family doctor.  I like my new doctor.  He’s nice, competent, and is honest.  He pointed out that my overeating and drinking are not only working against my weight loss effort (what weight loss effort?), but are adding to my depression.

So anyway, I met up with Tim again after work for our hour-long spin that we often do on Mondays.  As we rode more, my neck hurt worse.  It probably wouldn’t have been an issue on the ‘bent.  When we were nearing the end, I headed back on Payne St rather than following him back to his car on Mellwood Ave.  I wanted to cut the ride short.

I could have/should have went home.  Instead I stopped for food and beer.  I had my laptop with me so I made use of the free wi-fi and posted about my gastronomical disaster on BikeForums.

I went to bed after getting home.  I woke up in the middle of the night and looked at my post on BikeForums.  Apparently many people are supporting me and want me to continue the weight loss.  There’s a bit of “tough love” including from some strangers.  🙂

The BikeForums post, the discussion with Tim while riding, and my doctor’s advice are all ganging up on me.  It is time to make a change.  Sure I lost 100lbs in 2007-2008.  Since then I’ve either held steady or gained.  I’m up 30lbs from my lowest weight.  I don’t want to be The Fat Guy anymore.

The neck pain has mostly ended long rides, but I can change that by riding the recumbent.  I just have to push myself out there and I will ride.  I miss disappearing for a day with the bike and a camera.  I can still do it.

I’m not spending any large amounts of money on bike stuff for a bit.  Long-term, I don’t know what bike(s) I’ll be riding.  I have one bike that I can ride a lot now, even with my neck issue.  It really doesn’t need anything other than maybe better lights, but I’ll use what I have for now.  The last time I spent money on that bike (upgraded brakes) I barely rode it for months because my neck improved.  Not that I’m complaining

I need to make some major dietary changes, but I’m not writing out new rules here right now.  I’ve done that a few times recently and failed each time.  I’m going to make some changes now, but the changes are more minor and less strict.  I’ll figure out more later.  I will start riding more immediately also.

There’s also the issue of Robin.  We tend to go out to eat every day.  She wants to make changes too, so maybe it’s time.  Overall, I think she eats better than I do.  We’ll need to figure out social activities that don’t involve copious consumption of calories.


I’m barely riding the bike.  I’m gaining weight.  My neck has been, well, a pain in the neck.  I missed another day of work on Thursday due to it.

I don’t mean to sound too negative.  A lot of good stuff is going on.  I bought a new laptop on Friday to replace the one that died a few months ago.  I’ve been spending my weekends with Robin.  I have a doctor appointment tomorrow and will figure out what to do next for treatment of my neck.

Robin bought me a heating pad, mostly because I’m too stubborn to buy one myself.  I’ve been enjoying good company, good food, and good beer.

I bought some new clothing and a stand for my new laptop, so I can sit in a more comfortable chair and still use it.

I’ll be riding the recumbent to the doctor then to work tomorrow.  There’s a good chance of rain, so I’ll be carrying dry clothes with me.  At least the rain will finish melting the little bit of snow off the ground.

Getting Bent Again

I rode the recumbent (‘bent) to work today.  Then I met up with Tim for an hour-long loop while one of his children was involved in soccer.

Tim and I had done some “training” rides on Monday nights last year.  No training today.  We’re both out of shape, and I’m slower on the recumbent due to not riding much in the last 18 months.

We meandered around town for an hour, then I headed toward home.  I stopped at Four Pegs to talk to the owner about Car-Free Happy Hour, and I had to have a couple of beers while I was there.  Their kitchen isn’t open on Monday’s, and I hadn’t eaten since lunch.  The last time I did this on a Monday, I went to Hammerheads and didn’t remember the rest of the night.  So, today, I went home.

I called Danny Mac’s Pizza for delivery, but they recently cut the days they are delivering.  Bummer.  I ordered anyway, and rode the ‘bent up to pick it up.

I ate well and rode a total of about 28 miles for the day.  That’s the best mileage day for the year.  It certainly was too many calories, but maybe I’ll get that under control tomorrow.

I’ve Got To Deal With It

I’ve bitched and moaned about my neck issue.  I’ve talked about riding the recumbent, but haven’t done it much.

I’m riding the recumbent to work tomorrow.  It’s set up and ready to go.  It would be more work to NOT ride it.

On Friday, I took Robin down to Za’s Pizza on the Big Dummy.  It was a blast, but she wants a cushion to sit on next time.  I rode the recumbent to her house today, and she rode it through the alley.  She’s interested in trying out a tandem recumbent now… so I’ve got to find one available for a test ride.

My eating habits have been bad.  I’m drinking too much.  My bike riding is way down due to the neck issue.  I guess the recumbent becomes my go-to bike so I can get more miles in.  I’ll ride the LHT in winter weather, as it’s better equipped.  I’ll ride the Big Dummy for hauling loads or people, as it does it well.  The ‘bent is for everything else.

I’ve driven too much this year (Robin’s car).  It all involved us going out for something, but I didn’t think the first calendar year of being car-free would involve so much driving.  I’ve driven almost as many miles as I’ve ridden a bike.  Granted, I’m low on bike miles due to my neck issue, but it’s still frustrating.

I have tentative plans to meet up with Tim after work tomorrow for a one-hour ride.  We’ll see.

For the rest of the week I need to eat healthier and ride more.


Blogging under the influence….

I just got back from Four Pegs, where I had food and too much beer.  I walked, so no drunk cycling involved.

I called a cab to get to work this morning.  My neck pain made riding a bike pretty much impossible.  A co-worker gave me a ride home.

Patrick noted in a text message to me that I’m probably going to have a weekend without much cycling.  He was referring to “Robin the Redhead”.  🙂  Although it’s probably true, it’s more to do with my neck pain.

I intend to ride the recumbent tomorrow.  We’ll see how that goes.  The pain was bad enough today that even that wouldn’t have worked well.  Even driving would have been problematic.

Unless my neck settles down, 2012 will be the year of neck surgery.  I’m not looking forward to such things, but if this is the alternative, I’ll take the surgery.

It’s strange, I’ve been slightly depressed all day, yet really looking forward to when Robin gets back in town tomorrow.  That won’t fix my neck issue, but will make me feel better anyway.

A Bad Day On The Bike…

… is still better than a good day in the car.

The holidays are over.  The new year is here.  Most of us are back at work.  Even with the cold weather we’ve had this week (until this afternoon) I’ve seen quite a few bicycle commuters.  I’ve also had interactions with rude and clueless drivers.

I’ve had at least one near-miss every day this week.  It normally takes months to get that many.  I’m wearing a lime-green reflective vest, I’m well lit, and I take the lane.  What gives?

This afternoon two cars cut me off within five minutes of each other.  Both times I was downtown on one-way streets with multiple lanes.  The second time, the car braked directly in front of me because another car was stopped at a red light.  I had to brake hard to avoid running into him.  I rolled along side of his car and rapped on his window.  I didn’t expect him to roll it down, but he did.

He was a clean-cut middle-aged man with a foreign accent (Indian?).  He was actually quite apologetic.  He actually SAW ME, he had changed lanes and went around me long enough to swerve back in front of me while braking.  After our (polite) words were exchanged, I rolled in front of him and waited for the light.  I think he got the message.

I rode my LHT in it’s “winter trim” yesterday and today.  We didn’t have any snow or ice, but I knew there was the possibility yesterday.  Pondero wanted some pictures, so I took the camera to work with me and grabbed a few pictures in front of the building.

Long Haul Trucker - Winter trim
Long Haul Trucker - Winter trim

The new front wheel has a dynohub, but haven’t bought a light for it yet.  I will soon.

Shimano Alfine Dynohub
Shimano Alfine Dynohub

The new Tektro CR720 wide-profile cantilever brakes feel better and are quieter, but they don’t seem much stronger.  Maybe some adjustments can fix that.

The Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires I bought almost two years ago will keep me upright on icy roads.

Tires and Brakes
Tires and Brakes

I’ve run the shift cables along the bars, allowing me to install the BarMitts.  I’ll eventually buy some more bar tape and re-wrap the bars.

Bars and Mitts
Bars and Mitts

I haven’t ridden the recumbent this week, but I probably should.  My neck hurts, my shoulder hurts, my upper back hurts, and my right hand is tingly.

It is nice to have all the bikes functional again.  No more worries about bad weather without the appropriate bike.

A Bit Late, But Ready For Winter

We’ve had a mild winter so far.  Yesterday was the first snow accumulation we’ve had, and it was just a trace.

My Surly Long Haul Trucker is my winter bike because I have studded tires to fit it.  First it had a front derailleur issue, then it needed new cables run.  I didn’t like the brakes and it needed new wheels.

So, I replaced the brakes, recabled brakes and shifters – moving the shifters to the downtube bosses, and swapped the new wheels into place.  I hated the shifters.  With my neck flare up I couldn’t actually ride the bike.

Last night’s weather forecast was ugly.  We were under a winter weather advisory, so I figured I’d better get the studded tires out.

I moved the shifters back to the bar-ends, re-cabled them (again!) and routed the cable up the bars so my BarMitts would fit.  I swapped out tires for the studded Marathon Winter tires.  I ended up staying up late to get this done.

So, this morning the roads were completely clear.  What little snow we had gotten had disappeared (did it sublimate?).  It was cold, so the BarMitts were great.  I enjoyed the “electronic bacon” sound of the studded tires, even if they did slow me down a bit.

My cabling job works.  Everything works.  The new brakes are silent even if not as powerful as I’d like.  I never did use a fork-crown mount cable hanger, but that may not be needed.  That’s good as it’ll leave a better mounting spot for a dyno-powered headlight once I get around to buying it.

I didn’t re-wrap the bars.  I need more bar-tape, and I want to make sure my cabling job is good before covering it.

All four of the bikes in the house (#5 – the folding bike is still with my daughter) are ready for commute duty should they be needed.

Goodbye 2011. What’s In Store Now?

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  When it’s time for a change, you should work at it immediately.  I do, however, believe in looking back at things.  I’m looking back at 2011.

Bike Miles

I rode 5502.9 miles in 2011.  That’s more than 400 miles over 2010’s 5087.2.  By comparison, 2009 was only 3860 miles.  November 2011 was a new personal record month.  I had 697.7 miles.  December is my best December yet, but nothing exceptional at 444.9 miles.

I hope to surpass 6000 miles in 2012, and have a one-month best of 750 miles.


I sold my truck and became car-free on November 4th.  I’m still adjusting to living without a car, but it’s not a difficult adjustment after living most of the year as if I were already car-free.


I bought the Big Dummy as my car truck replacement once I knew I actually would sell the truck.  I still have some fit issues to get dialed in, but the bike has been great at hauling things (and people!).

I’ve spent a lot of money on bikes this year.  In addition to buying the Big Dummy, I bought a SON dynohub and lighting system for the LHT in April.  I later moved the wheel and lights to the single-speed.

In March, I bought a used kid-trailer as an affordable cargo hauler.  I haven’t used it since buying the Big Dummy, but it could be useful to tow it with the Big Dummy if I really need to haul a lot.

In December I bought new wheels (including Shimano dynohub) for the LHT.  I also bought new brakes.  Now, January 1st, the bike is still partially assembled in my kitchen.


2011 has been a challenging year due to health issues.

In June I had a horrible neck pain problem.  It kept me off the bike briefly.  It made me miss some longer pleasure rides that I wanted to do.  With some treatment and strength training it was resolved to the point that I can function normally, but it never went away.

In September I was hospitalized due to a bowel obstruction.  Luckily it resolved without surgery, but it was scary.  I only missed one important ride, and had no lasting effects.

On the day after Christmas my neck issue returned.  I’m still struggling with it, and I see myself riding the recumbent more often now.  I wasn’t car-free last time, so my options are a bit more limited now.

The various doctor visits may have actually added to my overall mileage for the year.  I had doctor visits in New Albany and east of Lyndon that took me a bit farther for transportation cycling than I normally go.


Ah, the elephant in the room.  First let’s look at my monthly average weight since I started tracking it in 10/2007.  Up until July 2009, things look great, then a bit of a bump, lost again, then steady increase since March 2010.

Now let’s look at the same values beginning January 2009.  You’ll notice that most of it is between 200 and 220lbs.  That changes when it goes above 230 in July 2011.  It stays above 230 until the last two month of the year.

It’s a little bit depressing, but not all that surprising.  I’ve been treating myself to good food and beer as if I don’t have a weight problem.  I not going to give these things up, but I need to make better decisions on how much and how often to consume these things.

2011 was not a good year for weight loss.  I ended the year 13lbs heavier than I started it.  Ugh.  As Tim would say, I have an “intake valve problem”.


Other than cycling I’ve done little exercising.  I had my push-up plan back in 2008 that I abandoned after suffer shoulder pain.  I’m supposed to be using some dumbbells to strengthen my upper body to help with the neck and shoulder issues, but I’ve not been using them as much as I should.

I was training for a triathlon early in the year, but ditched that after suffering problems in the swim portion of the training.  I did not enjoy the running, but I was capable of performing what was needed.

I did race my first bicycle race in November, the Gravel Grovel.  I met my goal of less that 6.5 hrs (just over 6 hours).

My biggest problem right now, is that my most common exercise other than cycling is the 12 ounce lift (lifting the beer to my lips).


Okay, where to begin?

When I started this blog in November of 2007, my 13-year marriage was ending.  I didn’t talk about it publicly for months, but it was happening.

I married Kristy in 2009.  It was a much different marriage than the first, but didn’t work out for much different reasons.  We are now officially divorced.

Interesting tidbit.  I met an interesting woman, Robin, a few days ago.  My desires in a relationship are a bit different now.  I’m not ready to rush in to living together or marriage (eek!  I said the M word!), but she lives nearby (walking distance, no bike even needed!) and we have some common interests.  We rang in the new year together.  I’m not going to talk much more about her for the time being.


Most goals stay the same.  Goal weight of 175lbs.  Stay sane.  Be happy.

Some goals have changed.  Ride 6000 miles for the year.  Ride 750 miles or more in at least one month.  Save more money.

All of this is for nothing if the Mayans were right.

Happy New Year everyone!