Frigid Mountain Biking

I have a fancy new dual-suspension mountain bike.  I should damn well ride it already.

Tim and I headed out to the Parklands to ride some trails.  It was 11 degrees.

The bike was in it’s element.  The bumps are soaked up the suspension.  I just need a stronger motor.

The creek crossings were a frozen mess, but we both managed them without falling, or breaking through the ice.

It only warmed a little, but is was a pleasant day.

It was only about seven miles, but it took us about 90 minutes.  That’s mostly because of how unfit I currently am.  I’m working on fixing that.

Afterward, we warmed up with a cup of coffee.

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Gout Sucks

As part of my weight gain, I’ve become acquainted with gout.  It’s an extremely painful inflammation of a joint (usually a big toe) due to uric acid build-up.

I seem to suffer from (usually) brief flare-ups that keep me off my feet as much as possible.  My doctor prescribed a medicine to take for the next flare-up, but I decided against filling it due to cost.  Much to my disappointment, I immediately had another flare-up.

I’m fighting this flare-up with a large dose of Naproxen (cheap!), lots of water, and less beer.  I also found that one of those vibrating massagers placed on my foot can help.  This might be the shortest flare-up yet.  It kept me awake for most of one night, but has been much better since.

Prevention is still best.  I’m taking a supplement that is supposed to keep uric acid levels lower.  I’m drinking more water.  I’ve cut back on beer, sugar, and a few other things that are known to cause gout flare-ups.  Also, I’ll be giving up alcohol for the month of January.  Losing 40 or more pounds would also be extremely helpful.

I am going out drinking tonight.  I’ll be safe, and try to stay hydrated.  I’m going to spend the next two nights celebrating the end of the messed-up year.

Eight Days Later…

I’m still not writing when I want.

I had an interesting week.  I worked from home on Monday and Tuesday.  Those would have been the best days temperature-wide to ride my bike to work, but I sat around in my robe instead.

Wednesday morning was cold, but rode my bike six miles to the bus stop and took TARC the rest of the way.  The afternoon commute was warmer and pleasant.  I took the long-ish way (16 miles) and enjoyed myself.

Thursday was brutally cold.  I drove my car.  Today was like Wednesday, but I woke late and drove again.

want to be a cyclist again, but I have an issue with laziness.

Updates – I’m Alive!

Nine months without a post?  Did I die?  No.

I’ve been focused on the wrong things in life.  I’m tied up with food, beer, work, computers, gadgets, etc.  I’ve even been dreaming of motorcycles for Dog’s sake!

Bikes

I did buy a full-suspension mountain bike in October.  You can see it on the my bikes page.  It’s a blast.  I’m write more about that later.

I rarely ride to work anymore.  The new office is a bit further, and the route is not very bike friendly.  I’m also fatter and out of shape.

I still try to get out on weekend rides, usually with Tim.  The issue is that I’ve lost so much fitness that either I can’t keep up, or I can’t even finish the ride.  I’m working on it.

Dogs

I lost three dogs in three years.  Candy died in 2014.  Sandy died in 2015.  In late 2015, my mother-in-law fell and broke her hip.  We took in her dog, Stormy, and elderly boxer, while her owner healed.  My mother-in-law passed away in June.  Stormy became our dog.  Stormy passed away last month.

That’s okay, we still have Diamond and Baxter.  That’s enough dogs.

Medical Crap

I have a doctor appointment in the morning.  I’m probably going to get put on cholesterol medicine.  This is my fault for letting my weight, health, diet, and fitness go to shit.

This is part of the reason for posting again.  I started this blog mostly for myself – to keep me focused and on-target.  I’ve been anything but recently.

My crappy recent eating habits led to a pretty bad flare-up of gout.  That sucks, and it kept me from bike riding for a while.  It’s better now.  I’m working to prevent another flare-up.

Beer

I love beer.  I’ve given it up a few times.  I cut back.  I eventually drink too much of it.

I wasn’t much of a beer drinker for most of my life.  I’d very occasionally buy liquor and get drunk, but beer, meh, whatever.

Sometime after losing a bunch of weight (2009-ish?) I got hooked on good beer.  Local craft brews are my favorite.  When I went car-free in 2011, I no longer had to worry about driving home after drinking.  That became a problem.

From 2011 – 2013 was bad.  I got better for a while.  Then I got bad again.  I’ve since got a bit better.  End result: gained back 80 pounds of the 100 I lost.  Years of work was lost.

Don’t misunderstand, I almost never get drunk.  I can spread out five beers over six hours and not even get a buzz.  It’s not about that.  It’s the same as when I drink my mug of coffee early in the day.  It’s a habit.  It’s soothing.  I need a less harmful habit.

Relationships

I still find personal relationships very difficult.  My marriage is mostly good, but our bad habits feed off of one another.  I have very little to do with my adult daughters any more.  One of them is coming over for Christmas though.

I have a job that I mostly enjoy, which is a big switch from the previous eight-or-so years.  Yay!  Something that doesn’t suck!

What Next?

I need a solo bike adventure this weekend.  I can’t put it off.  It doesn’t have to anything epic, just a 50-mile jaunt would be nice.  We’ll see what the weather does.

New Food Ideas

I don’t do well with calorie counting.  I found low-carb to be weird, when having to put some miles on the bike.  Giving up beer hurts.

I needed something different.  I cooked dinner tonight. I used what we already had in the house:

  • 2 cups white rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup beer (Dale’s Pale Ale, if it matters)
  • 1 can black-eyed peas
  • 1 can mushrooms
  • 1 bag frozen spinach
  • Hot sauce
  • Garlic (copious amounts)
  • Salt

I had planned on something fancier, but I didn’t want another grocery trip.  This is pretty good, and mostly healthy.  The beer I drank… not so much.

There are plenty of leftovers for later.

My longer term plans are to eat meat-lite.  Diane isn’t totally on board with this.  I guess I’ll be doing a lot more cooking.

I rode the new bike to work today.  I’m going to again tomorrow.

New Bike and Other Changes

I sold my much-loved LHT in 2012.  I shouldn’t have sold it, but it did allow me to replace it with the disc-brake equipped Disc Trucker.

I called On Your Left Cycles to order the bike.  I had them replace the saddle, seatpost, handlebar tape, and handlebars with parts better for me.  They also applied framesaver inside the frame.

I went with a Thompson seatpost, Brooks C17 saddle, FSA compact drop bars, and grippy bar tape.

So far, the steer tube is uncut, but I did lower the handlebars a bit after this picture.

Home from the shop
Home from the shop

I took the bike out for a shakedown spin on Friday night with Tim.  We stopped for beer along the way.

I added racks and fenders
I added racks and fenders

I ordered Planet Bike ALX fenders.  They’re aluminum, rather than the typical plastic ones.  They were a tad harder to install.

I moved over my Tubus rear rack and Ortlieb rear panniers from my rSogn, which will see more light-duty road use now that I have this bike.

Bags to carry stuff
Bags to carry stuff

I ordered a Tubus front rack and Ortlieb front bags from Wayne at The Touring Store.  The Touring Store is neat.  They have an online presence, but you order by calling.  This is my third order.  It’s been Wayne every time I call. He remembered me.  Included when the package arrived were instructions with hand-drawn notes on how to install the rack on the Disc Trucker.  Wayne is very thorough.

Top tube protection
Top tube protection

The high handlebars on my Disc Trucker means the bar-end shifters will hit the top tube.  I used some bar tape to protect that part of frame.

Ready for adventure!
Ready for adventure!

Earlier in the week, there was an after-work get together organized by my co-workers.  It was at a bar with a bowling alley at Fourth Street Live, which is really the “tourist” area of Louisville.  Not my favorite place, but close enough.

I drove home, grabbed the bike, and rode there.

Fourth Street Live
Fourth Street Live

Diane and I planned to go out to dinner late, but I spent too long there, bowled poorly, and eventually Diane tired of waiting for me, and pedaled her bike up to meet me.

Lousy bike parking
Lousy bike parking

We left shortly thereafter, and rode to a nearby restaurant for dinner, then enjoyed an after-dark ride home behind our dyno-powered headlights.

Blurry headlight
Blurry headlight

As is probably obvious from all this, my weight loss is off track again.  I’m eating out, drinking beer, but having fun.  Yesterday was the Louisville St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  We attended on the tandem, carrying beer with us.

I’m refocusing on riding more.  I would ride to work tomorrow, but I have to be at volleyball at 6:30 and I work 30 miles from there.  Nope.  Tuesday, however, I will ride the new bike to work.

Brrrrr

I’ve barely moved all week.  I worked from home four days, and drove the fifth.

I’ve been drinking beer and eating too much.  I haven’t looked at my scale.

But that’s okay.  I’m going for a bike ride in the morning.  It’ll be 15F if I’m lucky.

Monthly Averages

The average of my daily weigh-ins for the month of January is 269.0 pounds.  I started the year at 275.4.  I’m down 6.4 pounds.  Although I’d be happy to consistently lose only 4 pounds a month, I’m concerned that I’m currently not losing weight.

Back to it.  I’ve got to remind myself to eat better.  I need to quit going out to eat and drinking beer.  Yes, I had beer again yesterday.  I also had a huge serving of fish and chips.

Weekly Average Weight for January 30, 2016

Yes, I messed up my numbers for the year, then I skipped a weekly update.

This week, I gained a little.

My average weight for the week ending 1/30/2016:
268.3 lbs

Up from last week:
0.3 lbs

Down since I re-started on 1/1/2016:
6.5 lbs

The Bearded Bike Commuter

I went two weeks without riding the bike to work.  That sucks.  I’ve also been attempting to grow a beard.  Yesterday, I forced myself out the door on two wheels for the trip to work.

I’m glad I did, even if the scraggly beard did little to keep me warm.




All Kinds of Stupid

My weight spreadsheet had an error.  I haven’t lost as much weight as I thought.  You can see the correct numbers on my weight page.

In addition, I haven’t weighed since Saturday.  I also quite tracking food for a few days.  I’ve been terribly lazy.  I had four days of beer drinking.

Meh.

I’ll kick it back into gear tomorrow.

Cheating

I’ve been doing well.  I’ve lost weight, eaten better, and had no beer.  The only weak spot is riding.  I haven’t been on the bike much.

On the way home from work today, I stopped at the store to pick up a few things and grabbed a six-pack of beer.  I couldn’t help it.  I’m enjoying one of the bottles now.  I’m considering it a “mental health break”.

I won’t be riding to work tomorrow, as I’ll be working from home.  Friday may be the one day I do that this week.

Sometimes I’m slow

Tim and I met for a ride out to the Long Run / Floyd’s Fork area.  This is series of parks being connected by new sections of the Louisville Loop.

Unfortunately, being at the eastern edge of the Metro means it’s a rather urban ride to get there.

I met Tim for coffee to start our trip.  Within ten miles I was feeling weak.  I considered bailing on the ride.  Tim cajoled me, and we continued.  I tried to keep my whining to a minimum.

Once we arrived and rode some of the paths, we took a short excursion on foot through the brush to enjoy a view of the creek.

We looped around and headed to the southern end of the finished section of path.  There’s a fence up, but I figured we’d get around that, and check out the new construction.  Unfortunately, a park ranger was there (on his bike), locking the gate.

We eventually headed back, and again I struggled on every hill.  At one point Tim told me he couldn’t ride back at 10 mph, but that 13 mph would be okay.  We almost immediately came to a hill that brought me to 6 mph.  Ugh.  I was not strong today.

Tim didn’t leave me far behind, so I struggled on.  Eventually, once back on the busier roads, my speed went back up (adrenaline from traffic?).  We finished up the ride with another coffee.

I got 45 miles in, but never felt like a cyclist today.  Some days are good, some are not.  I’m still glad I got out and exercised.  I’ve been using Google Fit on my phone recently.  It thought I was walking for 70 minutes of today’s ride due to my slow pace.  Yikes.

My wife met me at The Post, a local pizza place, where I had a sandwich and iced tea to drink.  It was difficult to not order a beer.

Now that I’ve showered, I’m finding all of the sore spots from today’s ride.  Ugh, again.

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Yes, I *Do* Ride a Bike

I haven’t been posting about my rides, and I’ve complained about not riding nearly as much, but I do ride.  Here’s a quick rundown of some recent, memorable rides.

Cold Camping

On November 13th, Tim and I headed to Shelby Lake outside of Shelbyville for a lakeside camping spot.  The ride was pleasant, if a bit windy.  We had a cold, windy night to contend with.  I was uncomfortable for much of the night, even though I was able to get a fire started.  The return trip brought us a good breakfast.  80+ miles over two days and a beautiful campsite – not bad.

Lakeside view
Lakeside view
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November GAR

On November 22nd, Timothy put on another GAR (Gravel Adventure Ride).  This one left out of New Washington Indiana.  I rode my rSogn, as my Fargo, which is usually my gravel bike has some drivetrain issues.

rSogn
rSogn

I felt like an actual cyclist during the first half of the ride… then the wheels feel off and I struggled.  Still, I pulled myself through under my own power for 57 miles.

Fellow riders
Fellow riders
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Christmas Ride

My wife and I drove to Crestwood to visit her brother.  We had a nice brunch.  I had brought my bike with me to ride home.  It was appropriately decorated.

Christmas Cheer
Christmas Cheer

It was only 29 miles, but it felt good to get out.  After getting home, Tim and I went to one of the few bars open on Christmas for a couple of beers.

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Rainy!

Tim and I headed out on the Sunday after Christmas for a 50-mile road ride.  The day started with 70-degree temperatures, rain, and wind.  I was wearing shorts – a decision I later regretted.

Tim in the distance
Tim in the distance

The first 30 miles weren’t bad.  It did rain hard, but I don’t mind getting wet.

Wet rSogn
Wet rSogn

The return trip was supposed to have a tailwind, but at our mile-30 store stop, the front came through, the wind changed direction, and it got cooler.

I'm a little moist
I’m a little moist

If you look at the elevation profile on the GPS track below, you’ll notice it gets crazy after mile 30.  That’s not reality.  The pressure-based altimeter couldn’t handle the weather change.  In reality it was dead-flat.

The temperature had dropped into the low 40s, we had a stiff headwind, and I was still wearing shorts.  Brrrrrr.

Tim asked me where the ride registered on my fun-meter.  I told him that some rides are more fun in retrospect.

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Today

Although I didn’t get out for a New Years Day ride, which I did a few years back with Tim, when it was 9 degrees, I did get out today.  It’s starting to feel like winter.  I think it was low 40s.  I’m meeting up with him in the morning for another ride.

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I’ve done other rides besides these.  I just wanted to get a sampling out there.  Tim, Timothy, and I did an overnight camping trip to Jefferson Forest in the rain.  That was memorable.

I’m trying to really ramp up my riding this year.  Wish me luck!

It’s 2016 – Time To Change Things

I did pretty well losing weight from 2007 to 2011.  How?  Mostly through tracking everything I ate, and exercise.  The bicycle was only part of the exercise.

Since 2012, I’ve been horrible about my food and beer consumption.  I’ve done short-lived half-measures to attempt to get back on track.  This morning, January 1st, 2016, I weighed-in at 275.4 pounds.  That’s unacceptable.

I’ve also wasted a ton of money on beer, and dining out.  I need to be more responsible with everything I do.

2015 was a terrible year for my diet, exercise, and cycling.  I rode my bike only 2,424.3 miles for the entire year.  In comparison, I rode 5,502 miles in 2011.  I haven’t regularly tracked my calories in years.  I haven’t weighed regularly in months.

It’s a new year.  This changes today.  I will not drink beer at all during 2016.  I will track everything I consume.  I will track not just bike rides, but other exercise.  I’ll make it a point to do “training rides” where I push myself faster, even if they are short rides.

My goals?  Same as always.  I want to lose 5 lbs a month until I reach a weight of 175.   I want to ride longer rides (like I did in 2009-2011) without suffering.  I want to get faster, fitter, and thinner.

I’ve almost spent as much time working on bikes in 2015 and riding them.  I need to simplify.

I attempted to sell my Big Dummy, but I didn’t get any buyers.  I’ve since disassembled it, to part it out – again no buyers.  It’ll remain in pieces for the time being.  It’s put away out of my way.

The recumbent needs work, and I really don’t enjoy riding it much anymore.  It’s also put away in a non-rideable way.

The rSogn (now with drop bars again) is my primary bike.  It has rack, fenders, dynohub lights, and can do nearly anything.  My Space Horse is a fun lightweight single-speed.  I may use this for the flatter training rides.

The Fargo has some drivetrain issues currently, but I intend to get it fixed when I have the money.  The Fargo comes in handy for the awesome “middle of nowhere” rides we sometimes do.

The tandem is rideable, and I won’t be changing anything for a while.  It’s almost never used now.  I am a bit disappointed in Diane since she pretty much gave up on bicycles.

I still want something like a Disc Trucker, but I don’t have the funds for it.

Why haven’t I written since August?  Good question.  I’ve spent most of my online time on Google+.  I’m cutting back there.  I’ve also spent too much time on the couch with Netflix.  I’m cutting back there too.  Tim has complained that the bike blogs we follow have been going dark.  I’m going to try and write more to fight the trend.

Physically, my body has been weird.  My neck was better for quite a while, but I have other, new pains.  In just the last week, the neck pain seems to be coming back, but I’ve decided to ignore it for a while.  I want to wait at least five years before getting surgery.  I’m hoping that a better diet, weight loss, and exercise can help the neck this time.

Stick around for more.  I’ll be here.

More Trail Riding – I Needed That

Tim convinced me to ride with him at Waverly Park this morning.  The last few times I’ve been there, it was a sufferfest.  I’m out of shape and overweight.

I’ve not been on the bike much recently.  I haven’t ridden the Fargo in months.  I prepared the Fargo last night, and Tim picked me up this morning.

Tim and I agreed that he’d ride ahead, and turn back and meet me again.  He’s currently a stronger ride than I, and he’s better on the technical stuff.

Early on, I had shifter issues.  I realized that if I stayed in the three lowest gears it would be fine.  That’s enough for Waverly, which is rather hilly.  I struggled soon into the ride.  I wasn’t even sure I was on the right path for a while, but I was.

When we got to my favorite stretch of trail, Tim calls it “flowy”, I was able to increase my speed and enjoy it more.  Tim still pulled away into the distance.

Once I was alone again, something happened.  My mind went somewhere else. I lost track of time. There was no thought, no me after a while. Just flowing stretches of trail.  I’ve experienced this before on a ride, but it was a number of years ago.  I had forgotten it.  I don’t think I was like that long.  Tim had turned around to find me, and the skidding of his tires on dirt in front of me brought me back to reality.

Later in the ride, I managed to drop the chain off the bike twice.  It was still a great ride.

We stopped for coffee on the way back.  That was a good start to the day.

I have other, big, changes coming in my life.  More later.

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Too Little Riding

Buying a car has been bad for my bike commuting.  I’ve driven most days since buying it.

I did get back on the bike yesterday, and I wore my “Zombie Raccoon” Bike Commuter Cabal jersey for a 30-mile round trip yesterday (errands along the way).

Today, I was back in the car, mostly due to a poor night’s sleep.

The Big Dummy is prepped for tomorrow.

Weekly Average Weight for July 25, 2015

My average weight for the week ending 7/25/2015:
263.3 lbs

Down from last week:
1.5 lbs

Down since I re-started on 6/1/2015:
11.3 lbs

I’m back down, but still not riding enough.  This morning’s weigh-in was 259.6, the first I’ve been under 260 in a while.  That’s kind of scary.

Weekly Average Weight for July 18, 2015

My average weight for the week ending 7/18/2015:
264.7 lbs

Up from last week:
0.5 lbs

Down since I re-started on 6/1/2015:
9.9 lbs

I went too long without posting.  I’ve been driving to work too often.  I gained a little weight.

Weekly Average Weight for July 11, 2015

My average weight for the week ending 7/11/2015:
264.3 lbs

Down from last week:
0.5 lbs

Down since I re-started on 6/1/2015:
10.3 lbs

Weight until goal:
89.3 lbs

I mentioned I was going to start posting my weekly average weight posts again… well, here we are.  My new start was 6/1, when I weighed 274.6 lbs.

This round of weight loss is mostly due to less beer consumption and a bit of self-control on what I eat.

Space Horse
Space Horse

Yesterday, I rode the single-speed Space Horse up to the coffee shop to meet with my daughter.  We hung out a bit before I rode home.  Later I met up with Tim for a single-speed ride around the parks before we stopped for a couple of beers.

When it was time to head home, I had a flat.  Boo!  After getting a bit dirty, the flat was changed and I rolled on… and stopped at another bar for another couple of beer.  Oops.

Writing these weekly updates will hopefully keep me focused on the goal, rather than the beer.

Bike Commuting and Road Treasure

After buying a car on Monday, my bike commuting took a hit.  I drove the car everyday until yesterday (Friday).  On Friday, I rode the bike.  I did it partially because I like riding my bike, and partially because Diane wanted to take the car to check it out.  She hadn’t driven it yet.

The ride in was pleasant, if a bit cloudy.  Along the way on Camp Ground Rd, I saw some “road treasure.”  Road treasure it rare on my commute, but often times you’ll find something interesting.  A number of years ago, I found a slightly scuffed, but functional iPhone.  I returned it to it’s owner.  Friday, I found a cheap screwdriver.  I’ll keep it.

I can park indoors at my job - just not at my desk
I can park indoors at my job – just not at my desk

Shortly after arriving at work we had torrential rains.  I’m glad I made it in first.  The rain came and went all day.  I’m glad Diane didn’t leave the sunroof open on my car.

Road Treasure - Made in China
Road Treasure – Made in China

The rain stopped about ten minutes before I left work.  There were plenty of puddles on the way home, but I never got rained on.  The fenders kept my bike mostly clean.

I changed my commute route slightly.  There was a short stretch near home that was the most stressful.  Routing around that saves me stress, and adds 2.5 miles to my round-trip commute.  I’ll take it.  So the new round-trip commute is 28.5 miles.

Being a Grown-Up

After moving to the house I live in now and selling my truck, I started acting like a teenager.  I didn’t worry about money (let alone retirement).  I wasn’t responsible.  I drank too much beer.

Some of those issues have come home to roost.  I gained weight.  I have an old debt nagging me.  I have no retirement money.

The new job offers me a 401k with company match.  The salary is enough that I can work on the old debt even with a car loan I just took on.  I’m going to buckle down and be a grown-up.  <Sigh>  That’s not what I wanted to do with my life.   😀

I’m cutting way back on eating and drinking out at bars and restaurants.  I’ll sign up for the 401k as soon as I’m eligible.  I may have to put off buying any new bikes for a while.  I’m even considering selling the Big Dummy now that I have a car.

Diane has triggered some of this, but she didn’t ask me to change.  It just seemed to be the right thing to do.  She will probably outlive me.  I don’t want her suffering and broke after I’m gone.

This still isn’t the “simple living” I envisioned a few years ago.  Diane doesn’t live that way.  It’s hard to say that I do when I have five bicycles and two laptops.

Four Wheels Is Good Sometimes

After a few years of living car-free, things have changed.  My life changed.  I married Diane.  I got another dog that doesn’t easily fit on a bike.  My new job is farther from home.

Although Diane has her Explorer, it is hers.  It’s also older, and I wouldn’t trust it on a long trip.  The benefit is that it was paid for in cash.

Yesterday, I paid a visit to CarMax (where I bought my Nissan Frontier in 2009) and bought a 2012 Honda Civic.

After getting the car, I went to the grocery store and thought over the decision.  I’m still going to get around by bike for most things.  The car gives me an “out” for those days I just don’t feel up to riding.  It also gives me the ability to drive to Michigan to visit my mother without the hassle of a car rental, or the risk of the Explorer breaking down.

Although it’s an econo-car, it’s the nicest car I’ve owned.  It has only 21,000 miles on it.  It has more gadgets than I know what to do with.  It connects to my phone with bluetooth.  It has a sunroof. Fancy.

Diane and I took it for a drive last night, and brought both dogs with us.  Yes, my car got the “dog hair treatment” on the first day.

If I regret the purchase later, or if life changes again, I can sell the car, assuming I pay off enough of it by then.  I did with the Nissan.

I did drive the new car to work today, but I’ll be on the bike tomorrow.