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.

I Feel Great!

I rode home in 90 minutes.  Nothing broke.  There was a gentle breeze coming from behind me, and it didn’t rain.  I took about an eight minute break and drank some Gatorade.  I couldn’t have asked for a better commute.

When I got home, my dogs were very excited to see me.  After I took them out, I got out of my sweaty clothes, and laid down in front of the fan for a few minutes to cool off.  I’m cooled off now, but I really need a shower.

I’m hoping to ride to Deam Lake this weekend.  It’ll feel good to go swimming after biking there.  I found a route on back roads that is about 15 miles.

The Bike’s Condition Upgraded to “Rideable”

I found a new bike shop in downtown Louisville today.  It’s a short walk (or bike ride) from my office.  I brought my bike there, and got a new rear wheel installed.  If this doesn’t fix the spoke breaking issue, I’ll get very angry.

After driving home, I made a quick trip to the grocery store on the bike, in the rain.  I didn’t mind getting wet, and the fenders prevented dirty road-water from flying into my face.

I’ll be riding to work in the morning, barring anything else breaking.  There is the potential for some nasty weather, I don’t mind rain and lightning, but I hope the wind isn’t too strong.

Frustrated by the Bike

I hopped on my bike to head to work less than a half-hour ago.  Less than a mile into the ride, another rear spoke broke.  This is the same wheel I just had repaired.

I would have just kept riding it, but the wheel began rubbing against the brakes and the fender.  I rode back home.  I don’t know if I should buy new wheels, a whole new bike, or give up biking.

More About the Commute

I’m preparing to ride all the way to work again tomorrow.  I’ve got my bike fixed, and my legs have had time to rest.  I’ve also re-adjusted my seat for comfort.

This is the route I’ll be riding to work.  The worst traffic part of it is the interchange with 265.  I handle that by riding on the inside lane.  It’s a divided highway, so that is the safest way to handle it.

On Friday, I have to take my car in for some repairs, so I’ll have to go without it for a while.  I hope my bike doesn’t break during that time.

32 Mile Commute

My round-trip commute is 32 miles.  I decided to do the whole thing by bicycle yesterday.  The ride in was pleasant, and took about 85 minutes.

The ride home had a brutal headwind, and it’s a bit more uphill.  I got home in about 105 minutes.  I also had a spoke break on my rear wheel.  I kept riding anyway.

After arriving at home, I removed the rear wheel, threw it in the car, and drove to the bike shop.  It’s $2.00 for a spoke, and $20.00 to “true” the wheel, and it won’t be ready until Wednesday.

I got a nice amount of exercise, but unless this bike quits breaking, it won’t save me any money.  I had planned on riding today also, but I’m almost glad for the break.  I’m rather sore.

Shopping Ride!

I rode 12.3 miles in 55 minutes.  I rode to Target to buy some socks.  I met my wife there, so I wouldn’t have to ride both ways.  Yes, I am lazy.  After buying my socks, we did a little shopping at some other nearby stores, then went to a good Mexican restaurant.

I felt really good about the ride.   Too bad I overate later.

I’m planning on riding the full way to work on Monday.  It’s 16 or 17 miles.

New Fenders, and a New Bike Shop

I bought my bike from a small bike shop nearby.  They were busy, yet everyone was friendly.  I did feel like they didn’t take me completely seriously though.  There was nothing bad about the service, just nothing great either.  I didn’t really get a bad feeling about them until later.

I returned once for a tire repair, derailleur adjustment, and some accessories.  I wanted fenders, but their only response was “We don’t have any in stock to fit”.  They didn’t offer to order any, or offer any solution whatsoever.

I tried another bike shop.  A local chain of four or five stores.  They have some really high-end bikes there, so I didn’t expect to get treated as a first-class customer, but I figured I’d at least have a chance at getting some fenders.

As it turns out, the bike mechanic at this shop is big into “utility bikes” such as mine, rather than having the road-racer attitude.  We talked for quite a while.  They didn’t have fenders in stock to fit, but ordered some.

Today, I brought my bike in to have them installed.  I also had them look at the front derailleur that I was having some minor problems with.  The first bike shop had apparently damaged my derailleur cable.  Also, I managed to damage the rear axle (jumping a curb), which caused a slight loosening of the bearings.  This happened before the visit to the first bike shop, and they didn’t bother to look at it.

The damaged axle doesn’t need to be replaced at this time, just needed the bearings tightened.  The mechanic was extremely friendly, helpful, and tried to show me everything he did, so I can learn more about repairing my bike on my own.

I’m extremely impressed with the level of service and attention I got at this shop.  I’ll be going there from now on.

New Bike Toy

I ordered a Cateye Velo 8 bicycle computer from  It arrived today at work, so I installed it before my ride back to my car.

I had estimated the distance to 6 miles, and the Cateye measured it as 5.91 miles.  I rode that distance in 32 minutes.  It’ll be neat to compare different routes, and my average speeds.

Don’t take this as an endorsement of the product.  The last time I saw a speedometer on a bike it was mechanical.  I haven’t kept up on bicycle technology, and even the lowest-end stuff seems cool to me.

More Biking Adventures

I parked my car six miles from work again today, and rode my bike the rest of the way.  This wouldn’t normally be noteworthy, but this morning we were having a thunderstorm.

I actually enjoyed the rain, and I like thunder, so it was a nice ride.  I had a change of clothes tucked safely away in the saddlebags.

This afternoon, the weather had cleared, and I was going to attempt to ride the entire 16 or 17 miles home, then catch a ride later to get my car.

I had a good pace going for the first nine miles, then I had a flat tire.  The shoulder of the road had a lot of debris, and roadkill.  I did my best to avoid it.  After inspecting my flat tire, I found what appeared to be a small piece of bone.

I did replace the tube, and air up the tire on the side of the road, but I had already called for a ride, and was ready to go home.

I may try it again tomorrow.

Weekend Roundup

Well, I rode more distance on Monday… the nothing until Friday.  I overslept three days through the week.  That’s bad.  I actually overslept Friday also, just not as late.  I rode in on Friday, but only from the 3.5 mile point.

I bought a headlight earlier in the week, and I bought a backpack for my laptop today.  I went for a quick nighttime ride around my neighborhood a few minutes ago (with the backpack on) to check out my new setup.  The headlight works better than I expected.  It’s a six-LED light, and it does a decent job.  It can also be set to flash for better visibility in the daytime.

The weather forecast is calling for a high tomorrow of 95.  I’ll be outside most of the day.  I need to mow the lawn, and I intend to take a ride (without the backpack).  I’ll be sure to drink a lot of water.

More Mileage

I parked a bit further from work today.  My ride was 6.5 miles one way, so I rode 13 miles round trip for my commute.  I don’t really feel any worse than I did when I was doing a 7 mile round trip, but some of the road is scarier.

Part of the ride has an extremely narrow shoulder, and large potholes.  I’m glad I have my mirror so I can make the decision to swerve around the hole, or hit the brakes.

I’m not one of those cyclists who bashes car drivers.  I drive a car.  I obey the law, try to be seen, and do my best to be courteous.  I am, after all, outweighed by the big metal beasts.  🙂

I did have a guy driving a dump truck screaming obscenities at me.  I’m sorry I delayed him by about five seconds.

A Nice Saturday Ride

I convinced my daughter to take a ride with me on Saturday.  We bought her a helmet, and I got a mirror and panniers for my bike.

Now with panniers
Now with panniers

We rode the Louisville Riverwalk, a (mostly) paved trail running along the Ohio River.

Dawn likes her bike
Dawn likes her bike

Our total round-trip ride was about 11 miles. My daughter hasn’t ridden much, and has mild asthma, so it was a leisurely pace. We both enjoyed the trip.

Two similar bikes
Two similar bikes

Ghost Bikes

While walking across the Second Street Bridge this afternoon, I noticed a bicycle painted white, locked to the bridge.  I took a picture with my phone:

Ghost Bike
Ghost Bike

You can’t make it out in the picture, but the sign mentions the cyclist who was hit and killed last year, and a website,

Personally, I never ride in the road on the bridge. The lanes are too narrow, and traffic moves too fast, much faster than the 35mph speed limit.

I Was Not Prepared

I had planned to ride to work four days this week. My lack of planning is preventing me from riding tomorrow.

I had a flat tire on the way back to my car today. I don’t have any bike tools, nor do I have a spare tube. I walked my bike three miles back to my car. It really drove the point home about how much faster a bike is than walking.

I’ve wanted to get fenders and a rack put on my bike, so I dropped the bike off at the shop, and, hopefully, I can pick it up tomorrow, fixed, and improved. I’ll also have a few tools, and a spare tube.

Double the Riding for One Week?

I didn’t ride today.  I had plans after work, and the weather didn’t look good.

Well, the weather looks much better for the rest of the week, and as of yet I don’t have any after-work plans. Maybe I’ll do my partial commute to work four days this week.

Indiana Silliness in Kentucky… Over the Ohio River

Today was the Democratic Primary here in Indiana. Apparently the Clinton campaigners decided that standing around on the bridge over the Ohio River (technically in Kentucky), would be a good way to get the attention of Indiana residents who commute to Louisville.

They were waving and yelling out to people stuck in traffic. I rode by on my bicycle and waved back at a couple of them. As I neared the end of the bridge, right at Main Street, an older woman yelled out “Hillary loves men on bicycles… and so do I!” I told myself “Pedal faster, fat man, pedal faster”.

Other Benefits

I’m really beginning to enjoy my partial commute to work. I’ve done it both yesterday and today. I also did two days last week. That’s 28 miles of riding just for my partial commute. I won’t be doing it tomorrow, the weather isn’t cooperating, and my legs need a rest.

I also track my gas mileage, and the bicycle has made a difference. My average mileage is up because the part of my commute that I ride is the most congested part. I also have driven fewer miles per day with the partial commute, and made a few short trips around town on the bicycle.

Overall, my cost per day (in gasoline expenses only) went from $4.63 to $2.71. In addition, I don’t have to pay for parking when I ride.

I drive a small car that gets good mileage (currently averaging 33mpg), and I’ve cut my daily fuel expenses by around 40%. I find that amazing considering I’m not riding the whole way to work yet. We’ll see if the trend continues.

A Better Day

The day is young, yet it’s already much better than yesterday.
I intended to do a twelve mile ride. I didn’t quite accomplish that, but I did ride for nine miles. I did it in 58 minutes, so I won’t be breaking any records. I am still out of shape, but improving.
The ride was up Highway 3 from my house. Most of it is two-lane with narrow shoulders. I tried not to think about the cars coming up behind me.
Yesterday’s short ride wasn’t the last for the day. I did end up taking another ride. I didn’t measure the distance, but it was probably less than three miles.
I seem to ride better when I have an actual destination. Today’s destination was the town of Otisco. I didn’t quite make it, but I was close. The next time I go to the park to ride, I need to plan my destination ahead of time.
I’ve had too much beer over the last week. Not too much, as in a drinking problem, but too much that it interferes with weight loss. I think I’m going to go without for a while. I promised myself that I wasn’t going to quit drinking entirely; I enjoy it too much for that. I do need a little more self control though.

It Should Have Been a Beautiful Day for a Ride

Today started wonderfully.  I woke up in a good mood.  The weather is perfect for a bike ride.  I had a few things to do first.

I went to the bike shop, and bought a helmet.  I’m old enough to know I’m not indestructible.  The guy at the shop was helpful, and understood that I had never worn a bike helmet before.

I also bought a stereo receiver and speakers for my living room.  I guess I’m an old fart.  I just want good stereo speakers.  I don’t want a surround sound thing.  I got a decent receiver, and settled (temporarily) on some bookshelf speakers.  I’ll probably replace them later with some big Cerwin-Vega speakers.

I got home, tested out the new electronics, then took my bike to the state park for a (mostly) traffic-free ride.  The helmet didn’t bother me, but for some reason, I just couldn’t get into the ride.  I only rode about 30 minutes before packing up and heading home.

Now I’m at home bored and somewhat depressed.  I really don’t know why.

I may go out for another ride today.  I will go out tomorrow.  I will also do my partial commute at least three times next week.

11 Miles on the Bike Today

I found a place to park that is 3.5 miles from work.  The commute round-trip is now 7 miles.  I also took a leisurely ride of 4 miles during my lunch break.  I won’t be riding again until this weekend.  My legs need a break.

I also really need a helmet, so I’ll buy one this weekend.  I’m also planning a long ride this weekend.  I’m going to explore the bike trails in Louisville.

I’m not sure how much of it is due to the riding, but my weight is down under 260.  I weighed-in at 259.4lbs tonight.  That’s a loss of 37lbs.  I extremely pleased with that.

If you 100lbs or more overweight, you can do it too!  Less than a year ago, I viewed this as impossible.  Just set some realistic goals, and get busy.