Keeping on Pedaling

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

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

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

More later.

Day Two

This is my second day with no beer.  I only miss it when I’m operating on habit.  I do a lot of things out of habit.  Eating too much is another one.  I’m just concentrating on the beer for now.

Alcohol helps me sleep, but so do 50-mile bike rides.  I’ll try more of the rides.

Good Ride, but Damn, I’m Out of Shape

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New Toys!

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

Gadgets

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

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

Cousins in the GPS family
Cousins in the GPS family

Rebirth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Future?

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

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

Goals

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

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

Cold Turkey

I started writing here to document my weight loss.  I lost 100 lbs.  That seems so long ago (2007-2009).  I got into riding a bike in April of 2008.  I started thinking about living car-free.

In 2010, while married to Kristy, we moved out of Charlestown, and into Louisville.  I’m still living in that house.  This allowed me to not drive.  I kept my truck, as Kristy liked it, and we took trips in it.  When Kristy and I split in 2011, I sold the truck and I’ve lived without a car since.

Living in Loo-evil has meant I’m too close to bars, restaurants, and coffee shops for my own good.  I can quickly ride from work or home, in normal clothes, to a bar.  I can stumble home drunk from a bar.  While convenient, my beer consumption skyrocketed.

I’ve gained 60 lbs since moving into town.  My transportation rides were immediately shorter.  I still did a lot of long pleasure rides, but those tailed off as my neck flared up again, then even more as I gained weight and lost fitness.  In January I had planned to severely limit my beer, but then I tore my achilles and spent a lot of time stuck at home.

I’ve suffered depression for a long time.  The initial weight loss helped with that tremendously.  Gaining back a good portion of that weight does not help.  Alcohol does not help.

I made up my mind to give up drinking a few days ago.  That takes effect today.

Diane and I went out to two bars last night as a “last hurrah”.  I didn’t get drunk, but I certainly drank enough beer to add to depression and weight gain.

There’s no more beer in the house.  There are two bottles of wine, but I’m not tempted by that, and they’re Diane’s anyway.

So, things are re-starting.  I’ve already been tracking my consumption with MyFitnessPal.  The mobile app is rather handy.  My food consumption is a little high right now, but cutting out the beer should lead to weight loss.  Once I’ve got “not drinking” as a habit, I’ll work harder on the food. (I say as I munch on some cookies).

I’ve got happier days on this blog to look back at.  I have a wonderfully researched email from Simon on Google+ about depression issues and how he’s fought them.

I want to do 60-80 mile gravel rides again.  I want to pound up and down the hills on Eastern Parkway on my single-speed again.  I want to feel like a cyclist again.

Will I change my goals?  My main goals have been to be happier, healthier, and 175 lbs.  The lowest weight I’ve managed since starting this has been about 197.  That would be much better than the 260 I’m at today.  I’m still going to aim for 175, even if it’s un-achievable.  This will hopefully prevent me from getting complacent again.

If I can be more active, not drink, and weigh less, that will go a long way toward happier and healthier.

Although they won’t work by themselves, I have spent some money on “incentives” to ride more nice rides.  I also have a plan for a bigger incentive for when I’ve lost some weight (and when I can afford it).

More later.

Still on a Bike

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

Camping!

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

Big and dumb

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

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

World’s smallest campfire

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

Family Riding

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

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

Heron!

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

Volleyball

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

Diane and I rode the tandem

The motorcycle belonged to our group too.

Look carefully, there are four more bikes

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

Robin’s bike looks neat with a basket

Fourth of July

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

Turnout was good, probably 100+ people.  The mayor was there.  The news crews were there.  There were four highwheel bicycles there, which is more than I’ve ever seen in one place.

A few of the crew

We didn’t take many pictures.  This one was at the end, before everyone returned.  Diane is off to the left in hi-vis yellow.  There’s a highwheeler hiding behind the tree.

Tim rode with us most of the way.  We ran into a number of people we knew, including Ben and Marcus.  After the ride, Ben, Tim, Diane and I went to Cumberland for beer and to watch the soccer game.

Ben invited us to a party at his house.  We went home, and packed up the tandem with beer.  Ben is much younger than we are.  He lives in an apartment with a roommate.  There’s a nice back yard.  He had quite a few people show up, most on bikes.  You know it’s a party when the police show up.

Yes, one person was arrested.  Almost nobody there knew her.  She was arrested for DUI.  She had driven there (drunk) and ran into a parked car in front of it’s owner.  Sigh.  The police are never in a good mood when responding to incidents like this on the Fourth.

Louisville’s main fireworks show, at the Riverfront, was cancelled this year.  Diane and I went home early and watched a few neighborhood fireworks from our front porch.

More?

Yes.  More.  I’ll have more posts today.  Things are a-changing.