Archive for December 2009

The End….

December 29, 2009

004

Of the year, that is!

If the weather forecast for tomorrow is correct, and from all indications, it will be….today was my last bike ride of the year.  As bike commutes go, it was just another day.  Kind of cold, kind of gray, not a lot of traffic, not a lot that stood out.

I  did, however, take the time to calculate my mileage for the year.  The grand total is 5, 342 miles.  That’s a record for me.  Last year was my previous high total at 4,855 miles.  The breakdown is as follows:

  • Tandem – 1,100 miles
  • Road Bike – 2,926 miles
  • Surly Commuter – 398 miles
  • Marin MTB (old commuter) – 918

By using my Giant road bike for a commuter much of the year, it has finally passed the tandem in mileage.  Both bikes showed up at the same time, and until this year, the tandem had accumulated a few more miles than my single.  Not this year, however.  As of today, the tandem has a total of 7,676 miles on it and the Giant now has 9,268.   This time last year, the tandem had 6,576 miles and the single had been ridden 6,343 miles.  Maybe next year, we can catch the tandem back up to the Giant!  It would be pretty cool to roll both bikes over the 10k mark next year but that might be a stretch for us on the long bike!

God bless….

TW

 

 

Normalcy…..

December 28, 2009

After four days of disrupted life, it’s good to get back into something of a routine.  Not that four days of disrupted life was bad, mind you, but after that long with only sporadic activity, horrific eating and several naps along the way, I was more than ready to get back into my daily routine of exercise and reasonable diet (if you can call it that!).

Monday is weights day, so I took advantage of our home workout room (which, by the way will soon have new art on it’s bare walls…thank you Dad and Bonnie!) to lift.  I hadn’t done that since last Wednesday, so that part of my morning felt pretty good.

It was 25 degrees outside when I changed for my bike commute, so I layered up and headed out, anticipating my first bike ride since last Tuesday.  And made a startling discovery…..

First, it was windy!  From the west, northwest, which meant that I was bucking it all the way to work.  Darn it, I hate it when that happens.  Second, my legs were heavy!  How did that happen?  Oh….I know.  It was probably that six miles Pam and I ran on Saturday.  I knew my legs were shot on Saturday afternoon, but I thought I would have adequately recovered yesterday.  I guess when I’m out of my normal routine, my body just doesn’t behave the same as it usually does….

So, to summarize my bike commute to work…it was cold, windy, and my legs were tired.  Nothing to do but adjust my expectations and just get to work.  Keeping my fingers crossed all the while that the wind will hold for the trip home tonight!

I did have one self-inflicted incident as I crossed Chestnut Expressway…. as I started to clip in with my left foot, I missed the clip and my foot slipped off the pedal, banging my ankle pretty hard on the crank.  I knew I wacked it pretty good, and by the time I got to work, it looked like this:

Ouch!

It’s a good thing I had my booties on, because without them I might have drawn blood…

God bless…

TW

Merry Chrismas

December 25, 2009

angel I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

 

Blessings to you!  In a departure from cycling related content, let’s focus on what’s important today! 

Oh!  And to top it off, we got something of a white Christmas for once!

DSC04926

God bless…

TW

Springfield drivers

December 23, 2009

One of the things I really enjoy about this good ole’ internet is reading other cyclist’s perspectives through their blogs and a couple of forum sites I visit.  Over time, I’ve noticed a particular trend, especially among some of those who are “advocates” of a cycling lifestyle.  That trend is somewhat loosely summarized by this statement: 

Drivers of cars are scumball idiots who are out to get us.

I don’t agree with that attitude.  In general, I find that drivers in Springfield, MO treat me safely and courteously when I’m riding our fair city’s streets on my bicycle. Oh sure, there are a few morons out there who will buzz you too closely or feel the need to lay on their horn as they pass, but you know what?  I encounter those same morons when I’m driving.

In my experience, the way you ride has as much to do with the way drivers treat you as anything.  It’s kind of like you have to earn their respect.  Here are my guidelines for “earning respect”.

1)  Obey the rules of the road just like you were in a vehicle!  That means not running red lights, not cutting across traffic, not riding on the sidewalk or using the sidewalk to get to the front of a line of traffic at a stop light, not cutting across parking lots.  To me, a sure sign of a cyclist who doesn’t know what he’s doing on the streets is someone who does stuff like this.

2)  Signal your intentions!  You expect it from other drivers, why shouldn’t they expect it from you?

3)  Be courteous!  Quite often, I’ll wave a driver through a 4-way stop in front of me even though I should have the right of way.  I especially do this, if I’m making a turn and the driver is coming my or if he/she is crossing in the direction I will be heading.  If that driver is going my way, they’re just going to pass me anyway, so I might as well let them go first.

4)  Ride assertively!  I really believe the attitude you project has a lot do do with the way drivers perceive you.  When I’m riding on the streets, I ride briskly.  In a lot of cases, I ride almost 20 mph on streets with speed limits of 30 mph.  I also ride far enough to the left to stake my rightful claim to the road.  By doing that, you can pretty much ensure that the driver will need to wait for an appropriate opportunity to pass, and will pass you with room to spare.

5)  Be visible!  Common sense tells me that if I’m riding at dawn, dusk, or after dark, I need to have appropriate lights.  My personal preference is to go overboard.  I use two blinking tail lights, two blinking headlights and two awesome spoke lights.  I’m currently searching for reflective tape for the back of my black jacket to add some passive visibility.

6)  Be responsible for your own safety!  I’m not shy about taking a lane or motioning for a car to stay behind me when the conditions warrant.  There has only been one driver that I recall who reacted adversely to me doing so.  I decided a while ago that I’m better off to tick off some impatient person and delay them by ten or fifteen seconds than to put myself in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation.

I often tell people who ask that I feel relatively safe riding the streets of Springfield.  It’s not an accident that I feel that way.

God bless….

TW

My Tuesday ramblings

December 22, 2009

The last week or so, I’ve been hearing a lot of wildlife in the morning as I get my bike out of the garage and get mounted up to leave.   Coyote’s are pretty common, with an occasional appearance of the great horned owl that lives over on the ridge.  The other morning, though, the turkeys were making quite a bit of noise.  Not just the scratches and clucks that we usually hear, but lots of outright gobbling.  I knew there was a pretty good flock out in the woods behind the subdivision, but we hadn’t seen more than one or two at a time lately.  That is, until Sunday morning….when we saw ten of them up in the subdivision!

Wild Turkeys

Pam and I had a real good run this morning.  About half-way through our 5K, I commented to Pam that it was really nice to be out running and not being overly cold.  It seems like it’s been abnormally cold for this time of year, so to get a morning above freezing was nice. 

After running, I ended up making some adjustments to what I had planned to wear on the bike this morning.  When I looked at the temperature on Weather.com’s mobile edition, it said 32 degrees.  Based on that, I had originally planned to wear my cycling tights and a pair of outer pants.  Our backyard thermometer read 36 degrees, and it felt at least that warm if not warmer while we were running so I decided to forgo the outer layer.  Not a good move….I was kind of chilly most of the way to work, and my feet got cold through my booties.  I think my feet would have been warmer had I keep my core warmer with that second pair of pants.  Oh well.  You win some and lose some.

The little traffic I did see.....

I did notice that there was hardly any traffic this morning.  I guess enough people are already taking off for Christmas that I almost felt like I had the roads to myself.  It’s a shame I had to drive yesterday for an appointment.  It was probably about the same then.  Hopefully the storms they’re predicting will hold off and let me get in another commute by bike tomorrow. 

God bless….

TW

 


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