Archive for December 2008

Checking the Patient

December 20, 2008

After yesterday’s adventure, I decided it might be good to make another unannounced visit over at Dad’s house this morning, and since Pam was tied up for the day, she encouraged me to just go ahead and ride on over.  According to the weather forecast, we could expect to be hammered with another cold front this afternoon, so I was hoping to at least get there before it hit and then let it push me home.  I didn’t quite make it!  Just before I got about to the downtown area, I felt a cold north wind pick up and had to fight it on out to Dad’s house near the Fairgrounds. 

I was concerned about what traffic might be like because of the Christmas shoppers, but except for crossing Highway 65 at Battlefield, my route was far enough from the mall that I needn’t have worried.  Since I’m used to commuting that direction during the work week, today’s Saturday traffic was really nice.

After visiting with Dad a while, I headed back home and didn’t take long to get cold.  My clothes and gloves were pretty sweaty from the trip over and were causing me to chill, even though the wind was at my back.  I stopped at the City Government Plaza and pulled my vest and mitts out of the bag and was more comfortable after making that adjustment.

I ended the day with 24 miles, which made a pretty nice ride on the commuter.  I almost took the road bike when I left, but decided that the Marin would be easier to deal with the extra vest and mitts instead of having to carry them in my pockets if I rode the Giant.  That was probably a good decision.

Based on last night’s weather and our plans for Christmas, the bikes may just hang in the garage for a while.  I’m hoping today isn’t my last ride of the year!

 

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Just hanging around waiting for a ride.

God bless…

TW

A different kind of day

December 20, 2008

After nearly a week of really cruddy weather, I wasn’t sure what to expect this morning, but based on last night’s newscast I had hope that it would be good enough to commute by bike instead of driving the truck.

When I got up this morning, the thermometer in the back yard read 55 degrees.  By the time I left to run my 5k, it had dropped to 53.  By the time I finished running, it was down to 48, and had dropped to 45 by the time I left for work on the bike.  I’m not sure how much it dropped on the way to work, but by 9:30 this morning the temperature had dropped to a whopping 36 degrees! 

As I was running up the last hill on the homeward stretch this morning, I was focused on give it a good effort before I topped out and finished the last downhill block to the house.  I wasn’t paying much attention to the pile of leaves and stick in the street gutter until I nearly stepped on it and it turned out to be an opossum!  The stupid thing just turned and gave me a look as my foot landed within inches of it’s tail. 

The dramatic temperature dip was accompanied by an equally dramatic wind from the west/northwest.  Unfortunately, that put it in my face the entire way to work, so I can attest to the fact that it was a cold wind as well.   I think this morning was just about the slowest commute I’ve ever made….there were times that 10 mph was all I could muster on relatively flat streets.

I decided at the last minute that I should maybe take a trip over to Dad’s and check on him.  I’m not sure what sixth sense kicked in about that…I’m usually pretty clueless about stuff like that, but in this case it’s probably a good thing I did.  The good news about that excursion is that the wind had calmed a little and the temperature seemed to be trying to creep upward.  It was much nicer than the ride to work this morning, and glory be– What’s that blue stuff in the sky all about?

 

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The patient at lunch

The trip home was crisp, but otherwise pleasant for riding.  I did stop at the top of Sherman Street to put my mask on, and while I was stopped tried to grab a sunset picture, but it wasn’t very impressive. 

As I was heading east on Catalpa, I noticed a lady out walking her child in a stroller, followed by two other young boys.  As I passed, I heard their shouts of appreciation for all my lights.  I suppose they were impressed by the spoke lights!

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Sunset at Hammons Tower

God bless…

TW

Changing Seasons……

December 16, 2008

You know, the cycle of life takes some interesting twists.  Some are good and expected, but others seem to come from out of nowhere.  Some are slow in their approach, yet others pounce on you in a moment that you least expect it.  One of those has hit us in the last week with my dad.

I’m no longer the child.  I’m now the parent…….

God bless.

TW

It’s Friday!

December 13, 2008

After missing Wednesday’s commute, I was anxious to get my tail on the bike this morning.  The temperature in the back yard was 30 degrees when I left to run, but it may have dropped one or two by the time I actually left for work.  At any rate, it seemed pretty brisk to me, but after thinking about it a while, I decided that might have been because I didn’t change my sweaty clothes after running.  

I’m blessed to have a small locker room at work where I keep a pair of shoes, a belt, a towel and the minimal toilitries I need to wash the stink off after riding in.  During the day, I leave stuff hanging out as best I can so it will dry out and not smell as bad when I have to put it back on in the evening.  Because I work out with weights at the fitness center a couple of times a week,  I use those days to replenish clean towels and anything else I don’t want to carry in on the bike.  That allows me to just commute with a relatively small trunk bag that holds my clothes for the day and my lunch.  If I’m careful about the way I fold and roll my clothes, they make it to work looking halfway decent….not that it really matters because I live out of a gym bag 90% of the time anyway so there are really very few days that I end up totally wrinkle free.

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My locker at work

 

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Dirty laundry

We have an enclosed courtyard just outside the locker room where my bike is safely out of the eyes of anyone who might decide they want it, so I don’t even bother with carrying a lock when I’m just going to work.

On the way home tonight, I noticed that the moon was nearly full and really looking nice.  I looked for a nice place to stop and take a picture, but no opportunity afforded itself before it got too high in the sky.

I’m hoping for a chance to ride tomorrow, but the wind is supposed to be howling again so I may decide it’s not worth it.  We’ll see…..

God bless…

TW

This made me laugh

December 10, 2008

When our daughter Libby was about 5 or 6, we got her a little pink and white bicycle.  She eventually learned to ride it without training wheels, but she never really got good at riding it.  She wobbled all over the street.  We lived in Kirkwood near St. Louis at the time, and liked to take an evening walk, encouraging Libby to ride her bicycle while we pushed her brother in the stroller.  The big thing we had to watch out for was parked cars!  It seemed like we absolutely couldn’t pass a parked car on the street without her wobbling out of control and running smack into the front or back of it!  It didn’t take long before she literally refused to ride her bike.

Throughout childhood, we kept buying Libby bicycles like every good parent should do for their child.   By the time she outgrew them, most were in almost pristine condition because she wouldn’t ride them.

We had a chance this fall to grab a ladies hybrid bike from our friends Sam and Barbara that just fit both Pam and Libby.  I took it under the hope that Libby might eventually ride it and if she didn’t, then Pam might ride it with me once in a while on the Greenway trail.  After we got it, I gently encouraged Libby to go with me on the trail, so I could show her how to shift gears.  We did an easy 9 or so miles the first time, and she seemed to enjoy it.  When we got home, she asked how she could get the bike to the trail on her own, so we experimented a little and managed to get it in the trunk of her car after taking the front wheel off.

Imagine my pleasure when my 23 year-old daughter started riding that same loop one or two days a week on her own, and pretty much continued doing that until the weather shut her down around Thanksgiving. 

Christmas is approaching, and last weekend was “decoration week” at the Wilkins’ house.  One tradition that Pam and Libby have kept every year is to go out and by nice Hallmark ornaments that represent or remind them of something significant that happened during the year in Libby’s, Ben’s and Pam and my lives.  Imagine my surprise when Libby told Pam that she thought she would look for a bicycling related ornament this year!  Who would have thought that our little angel who kept crashing into parked cars might consider getting a hand-me down bicycle significant enough to warrant commemorating with a Christmas ornament!

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A former parked-car crashing bicyclist....

God bless…

TW


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