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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s nice to go out and do things again. We walked around during the Balloon Glimmer (as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival).
We watched the Great Steamboat Race – and had a few drinks and some food.
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.
My May 1st weight was down a little from April. I’m sitting at 235.8 lbs. This means I now need to lose 7.5 lbs per month to make my goal. When I started this time around, it was only 5.0 lbs per month.
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.
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.
We cooked sausage over the campfire. I warmed baked beans on my Esbit camp stove. We had a small amount of beer and wine.
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.
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.