Great Labor Day Riding

It’s Labor Day, so I didn’t have to work.  My daughter came over this morning, and we headed to Louisville for the Mayor’s Hike and Bike.

Lotsa bikes
Lotsa bikes

We only rode the short route, about 16 miles.  I saw several recumbent bikes, unfortunately, I was on my hybrid.

Lotsa people
Lotsa people

We rode with the last group.  It is the new & family group, the slowest, and the largest group.  I could have went with a faster group, but my daughter would have had trouble keeping up.  It was interesting to ride in this large of a group.  I did have to watch out for young ones weaving around though.  It was crowded.

After I got home, I really wanted to ride more.  So I hopped on my recumbent, and took a 14 mile ride in the country.   It was hilly, and the temperature is in the mid-90s, but I enjoyed the ride.

So I rode a total of 30 miles today.  That’s just a little less than when I commute to work.


Over 1000 Miles

It’s hard to believe it, but I’ve ridden my two bikes a total of 1044 miles since I bought the first one in late April.  When I first got the hybrid bike in April, several miles was a ride.  a dozen miles was downright painful.  Today, I rode about 18 miles, including some killer hills, and I feel great.  The 18 mile ride is a short ride, I have ridden a 50 mile ride.

Of those miles, about 650 was on the recumbent.  The rest was on the hybrid.

I’m still pushing myself to go farther and faster.  I’d like to measure my rides in hundreds of miles.  I’ll need to be in better shape, and have some time off of work for that though.

I Guess I’m Staying Under 240

Three days in a row now, my weight has been under 240 lbs.  Tonight’s weight was 238.6.  I only have 63.6 lbs to go.  I’ve already lost 57.8 lbs, so I’m nearing the half-way point (60.7).

I only rode my bike to work two days this week.  I don’t really have any good reasons for that.  I need to buckle down and ride more.  I still rode almost 100 miles this week though, due to other rides I went on.

I’ve been doing some minor weight lifting with dumbbells.  I’ve found that light lifting actually helps my neck/shoulder/back/arm pain I’ve been dealing with for months.  I don’t know if it’s due to strengthening the muscles, or keeping everything flexible, or both.

I’m also moving the progress pictures to their own page, and linking to it on the right.

Gotta Work to Make Progress…

I’ve been meaning to do some exercise besides bike riding.  I still haven’t done much.  I also didn’t ride my bike very much this week so far, until today.

I rode to work and back on my recumbent with the clipless pedals today.  The ride in was great, the ride home was windy and slow.

After getting home, I rode my hybrid bike to the grocery store.  There was another guy there with a similar bike buying groceries, but he didn’t have a rear-rack or bags, so he was tying the plastic grocery bags to his handlebars.

My weight tonight was 239.2!  Under 240!  It was just July 27th when I dropped below 250.  I don’t know if I’ll gain a little, and have to wait a little longer to stay under 240 or not.

175 — here I come!

A Little Exposure at Work

I started this blog to document my weight loss, and publicly embarrass myself.  I knew people from work would see it.  Other than comments that I should wear more in the progress pictures, the comments at work have been positive.

A few weeks ago, I had a little media exposure, and that really got people at work talking.  Today, my company blogged about the TV spot featuring me.

I really feel bad now…. I didn’t ride my bike to work today.  I haven’t ridden to work yet this week.  Oh well, there are still three more days in the week.

I Salvaged the Day

I was pretty bummed that I didn’t ride to work today.  I planned on taking a quick 11-mile ride after work, but first, I wanted to fix the flat on my hybrid bike.

After removing the tire, and inspecting it for debris, I discovered a large tear in the sidewall.  Well, I had a spare tube, but not a tire.

So, instead of an 11 mile quick ride, I went on a 28-mile round trip ride to the bike shop to buy a tire.  It’s also the first real ride on the recumbent since putting on the clipless pedals.  I did great all of the way to the bike shop.  I pulled up out front of the building, stopped, and with a sinking feeling, realized I hadn’t unclipped.  I fell to the right.  I scraped my elbow a little, but nothing serious.  I actually started laughing at my timing.  The whole shop had seen it happen.

I bought a tire, and headed for home.  I’m glad I have good lights, as it got dark before I got home.  I’ve ridden around town at night before, but this was the first time on the highway at night.

In all, it was a good day, and I still got my exercise.  Now I need to make sure I can get myself on the bike in the morning…

Best Laid Plans…

I fully intended to ride my bike to work all five days this week.

I installed clipless pedals on my recumbent, but haven’t got around to riding it yet, and I’m not ready to ride it in traffic until I get used to them.  So I got on my hybrid bike this morning, and headed for work.

I got about 1/2 mile away from home when my rear tire blew out.  I could have fixed it in about 30 minutes, but I went home, and drove to work instead.

At least I know what I’ll be doing after work today.

A Tandem Bike in My Future?

My daughter and I rode our bikes along the Louisville Riverwalk on Sunday.  It was a beautiful day, and she is a bit of a stronger rider than she was last time.

Dawn & Ohio River
Dawn & Ohio River

We had a picnic lunch, enjoyed the ride, and saw other cyclists.  We even saw a guy on a recumbent.  I wasn’t riding my recumbent at the time though.

When we returned back to the Waterfront Park area, we noticed the bike rental shop had tandems.  I have never ridden a tandem, so we decided to give it a try.

The bike was a single-speed, coaster-brake, cruiser style, and needed a little maintenance, but we were able to ride it without too much difficulty.  It was a blast.

So, maybe next year, I will buy a tandem for my daughter and I to ride together on.  It will also be handy if I meet “that special someone” who’s into biking.

No Car-Free Month This Year

I mentioned before about making September a car-free month.  It’s not going to happen this year.

I was unable to convince myself to ride to work on Friday.  I was really sore.  On the bright side, the rest on Friday allowed me to ride over 50 miles on Saturday.  I’m also not riding today (Sunday).  I do intend to be back on the bike first thing tomorrow to ride to work.

My First Group Ride

Saturday morning, I got up early, and rode to Sellersburg to meet up for the “slowspokes” ride.  They are organized by the Southern Indiana Wheelmen for slower riders.

I met some friendly people, got some tips for my commute to work, then we were off.

The “fast pack” quickly lost me.  I tried to keep up with them, but it didn’t happen.  The slower riders fell far enough behind that I didn’t see them anymore.  I was riding alone.

There was a truck stop along the route that I thought was a regroup area, there was nobody there.

I finished the 28 mile ride without seeing anyone.  The cars for the faster riders were already gone.  Still no sign of the slower riders.

I waited 30 minutes, and with no sign of the slower riders, I rode back home.

I was a bit disappointed that the ride turned out this way, but I still had fun, and enjoyed the route.  The cue sheet was easy to follow, and the route was scenic, if a bit hilly.

Donuts, Bike Fuel, Dog Food, and Wedgies

Car-free weekdays are getting a lot more common for me. Most days that I ride to work, I’m too tired to do anything else. If I have to make a grocery run, I do it on the bike, as the store is less than two miles away.

When the weekend comes, then I end up using the car. I (obviously) use the car when I decide not to ride to work. However, I rode four days last week, and I’m still on track to ride all five this week.

My food is my fuel for most of my travel now. After a healthy breakfast this morning, I rode to work, and was famished. There was a package of donut holes in the kitchen. A serving (four holes) is 260 calories, so I grabbed a single hole, and ate it. It’s not the highest quality fuel, but it was only 65 calories.

My two dogs eat a fair amount of dog food. I usually buy a 40 lb bag to limit the number of trips to the pet store. A 40 lb bag of dog good is large, yet I’ve lost more weight than that. It still surprises me. Based on the progress pictures, human fat is denser than dog food.

I rode my “wedgie” bike yesterday. It has fenders, and the weather forecast was calling for rain. On the bright side, I didn’t get caught in the rain. On the not so bright side, I rode that bike for no real reason. I’m 2-3 mph slower on it, and the seat hurts me. I never wanted to be one of those recumbent riders who swears off traditional bikes, but I can’t imagine taking a long ride on a traditional bike.

Car-Free Month?

I’m considering making September of this year car-free.  I haven’t yet committed to doing it, I’m trying to determine if it is feasible for me yet.

If I do it, and it goes well, I may do it for September of every year.

Media Attention

The “exciting news” I alluded to in my last post is obvious now.  WAVE3 wanted to do a story on bicycle commuters, and they found me.  I really hate seeing myself in video, but I have to admit that this is cool.  I’m just glad that I’m in touch with my geek side, as this news piece really shows it.

Read the story.

See the video below.

Thank you for the comments and email that I’m still receiving.  I just got back home, and it will take me a while to read all of my email.

Damon asked what the bike costs.  That bike retails for $1300-$1400.  I’ve got quite a bit into accessories also.  However, a recumbent bike isn’t necessary for commuting.  I like it, but it’s probably not for everyone.  The bike I originally started commuting on was a $225 hybrid bike.

Whatever bike you use, I recommend a helmet and lights.

Getting Better, but Not Ready to Hang Out with the Big Boys

I’ve now ridden my new recumbent to work for the third day in a row, and I intend to do it again tomorrow.  It’s a great bike, and it’s comfortable.

I had planned to attend a group ride tonight, to get to know more people and get some extra riding in.  However, that would bring my total riding for the day to over 60 miles.  I’m not ready for that.  I canceled my plans for the group ride.

I still want to attend some slower-paced group rides.  I’ll probably find some on the weekends, to avoid having to commute to work, and ride again.

I fully intend to ride to work again tomorrow.  That means I’ll have put about 150 miles on my bike in a week (commuting and other riding).  I’d like to get to commuting five days a week, plus a nice weekend ride.  That would get me about 200 miles per week.

It is kind of cool, that it is Thursday, and I haven’t even started my car since Monday.

2000 Calorie Meal

I rode to work to back on the recumbent yesterday.  The ride in was great.  The ride home just seemed harder.  Part of it may have been the heat.

By the time I got back to Charlestown I was extremely hungry, and I was too tired to cook.  I stopped at Domino’s at grabbed a pizza.  I strapped it to my rear-rack and went home.

I only intended to eat half of it.  It was only a 12″ medium.  It was gone within ten minutes of getting home.  I looked up the calorie content on calorieking, and found that it was 2000 calories.  So I ate 3320 calories yesterday.

I rode my bike to work again today, determined to burn some of those calories.  I’m planning on riding the rest of this week, plus a group ride tomorrow night.

It’s Official. I’m Weird.

I’m getting stared at by the neighbors.  Passing motorists point and laugh.  It’s all fun though.

I bought a new bicycle.  It’s a Bacchetta Agio.  It’s a very strange looking bike.  People who ride these are considered weird by other cyclists.  I love it.

The balance is much different on a recumbent bike.  I’m still getting used to it.  I will start commuting to it once I’m not so wobbly at low speed.  I’m still riding my hybrid bike, but have been taking the new bike out in low traffic areas to get used to it.

It has a few drawbacks:

  • Harder climb hills
  • More difficult to haul on my car
  • Larger turning radius
  • Instability at low speed
  • You can’t “bunny hop” it over curbs

On the plus side:

  • A recumbent is faster
  • It’s much more comfortable
  • It’s very attention-getting

This particular bike has disc brakes.  They don’t feel nearly as strong as I thought they would.  They are just different, and shouldn’t be affected by getting wet.

The bike is currently back in the shop getting a rear rack installed, so I can use my panniers on it for commuting.

This is fun!
This is fun!

Strange Vacation

I’m traveling to Niles, Michigan (in the southwest corner of the state) for the weekend.  I’m going to my oldest daughters graduation party.  I’m traveling with my wife, even though we don’t live together anymore.  We’re taking her van, and I want transportation while I’m there, so I’m bringing my bicycle.

The interesting thing is, I know all of the streets in that town.  I used to deliver pizza there for Pizza Transit, and Milano’s.  I’ll be staying alone in a hotel, and riding my bike around town just to kill time.  I’m hoping I can find enough to do to avoid getting bored.

It’s a small town, so I can ride anywhere in town in a reasonable amount of time.  I may have to get re-acquainted with some of the popular hang-outs.

I used to have quite a few friends in Niles, but most of them have moved away, died, or lost touch.  It’s strange, I’ve only been away for eight years.

Got Rid of the Elliptical

I haven’t used the elliptical since April.  Maybe is was a mistake to buy it, but I didn’t know at the time that I would be replacing it with a bicycle.  I will be riding the bicycle year-round, so I don’t need the elliptical.

I’ve been needing a second car.  My current car is in pretty bad shape.  I traded the elliptical for a ’97 Thunderbird.  Now I have two cars, and no car payment.  I’ll also have more room in the livingroom for an exercise mat.

Commuting Update

I really wanted to commute by bicycle all four days that I’m working this week.  (I have Friday off).  I did commute today, and on the way home, pushed myself harder and improved my time by ten minutes.  Pushing myself might have been a bad idea.  My legs are toast.  I’m going to drive tomorrow.

It was fun though.  On one flat stretch of about 2 miles, I was able to keep a steady speed of 20 mph.  My usual pace is 13-14 mph.  My legs and lungs were burning though.

I went for an 11 mile ride on Saturday, and did about 14 miles of riding on Sunday.  It wasn’t enough to prepare for my 32 mile round-trip commute, especially pushing for better time.

I also noticed that I ate more today (2255 calories).  Is it just bad habits returning?, or the fact that I burned more calories?

In either case, today’s weigh-in was at a new low of 253.8 lbs, which means I’ve lost 42.6 lbs.  I expect that some of that is dehydration from the ride home.

Nice 11 Mile Ride

I’ve been a bit angry with myself. I haven’t done much bike rding since Monday. Actually, the only riding I’ve done since then was a few around town trips.

So, today, I went for a nice ride in the country.

It was only eleven miles, but it was hillier than I’m used to. There were very few cars, and it was peaceful.

There was a steep downhill near the beginning of the ride, and I hit a new top speed of 35.1 mph. That was exhilarating.

Map here:

The (Short) Week in Review

Due to tomorrow being a holiday, this was a four-day work-week.  I only biked to work on one of those days.  I had intended to bike all four days.  There were various reasons for not biking, none of them very good.

On the other hand, I have been tracking my calories, and controlling my eating.  I had been eating too much, especially carbohydrates, and I had not lost weight.

On June 30 my weight was down over 4 lbs to 260.2.  I assumed this was just a fluctuation, but it has continued.  My weight today is 256.2.  This is the lowest weight I’ve been at since starting this.  My last “big” weight loss was April 30, and I’m 3.2 lbs less than that.

I feel good that this is partly due to just the calorie tracking (averaged 1826 calories per day since June 30), and partially a fluctuation.  The bike had little to do with it, because I’ve barely ridden it since Monday.  I will be back on it this weekend, and commuting next week.

Counting Things

This is my life right now:

  • Counting calories
  • Counting every penny spent
  • Counting pounds lost
  • Counting miles ridden

I’m counting calories again, because my eating habits got out of control.  It is enlightening to see how much you really eat.  It’s also helpful to know that if you eat it, you’ve got to count it, no cheating.  I ate 1685 calories yesterday, and 1595 today.

I’m counting money spent, everything, even small cash purchases.  Like my eating, my spending is a little out of control.  Forcing myself to see where it all goes should help.  I just started this today.  I won’t be putting numbers about this on the blog though.

The daily weigh-in needs to be daily.  I’m trying to get back to doing that everyday again.  I was pleasantly surprised with my weight tonight.  I weighed in at 256.8 lbs.  That is the lowest since I started.  I realize it’s just a fluctuation, but I’m going to do my best to keep it there, or below.

My bike has had an odometer since June 17th (two weeks now), and I’ve put 148.7 miles on it.  I’m tracking the mileage on a weekly basis, but I don’t yet have any plans to post that here.  I didn’t ride today.  My legs needed the rest after yesterdays hellish headwind on the way home

I do sometimes feel like I’m spending more time counting things than doing them, but If that’s what I have to do to get my life in order, then it’s worth it.