Archive for the Cycling Category

East Bay Bike Path

February 23nd, 2017 – Thursday

Whatever is going on, I LIKE IT! 60 degrees today, I headed to the bike path. Another wait for the repair guys to fix the fridge, ugh. They showed up as I was putting the bike rack on the car. They slowed me down a little, but not much. I was taking Roadie out, so I had to put air in tires, and gather different shoes and gloves, helmet, sunglasses, jacket and put it all on me, or in the car. Normally I would ride to the bike path, it’s only about 3.3 miles. Today I just wanted to do the path. I could ride and drive to the barn without having to worry about all my barn clothes this time. The ride started off pretty rocky, well bumpy. The tree roots have been getting worse every year. In certain spots, you can see them coming, so you veer left and right as you stand on the pedals, navigating the vengeance of the trees! There are a couple of spots that you just know there is no avoiding them, so you hold the handlebars firm but with some give, keep standing, and take the teeth chattering bumps as they come. I was contemplating turning around it was so bad. It evened out and most of the path ahead was bump free. The wind was at my back, so of course, you know what that meant, I’d have the wind in my face all the way back. I did an 8 mile out and back ride.

The little gem of this ride? … a ‘new to me’ coffee shop right on the bike path. In fact, is was right next to our ‘family favorite destination ride’; that’s where we ride, eat pizza, and ride back! The coffee shop is in a brick building and the aroma draws you in. We are coffee drinkers and even in the summer, we like it HOT! This will be a favorite stop of ours.

Of course, the other gem of this ride is always the scenery.

East Bay Bike Path scenery

Beautiful ocean view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East Bay Bike Path scenery

City life in the distance

 

The East Bay Bike Path goes along some of the-most-gorgeous ocean views in the area. And here, you can see all the way to Providence.

 

 

 

 

There are also many inlets where birds flock and fishers fish. Two of the bridges that I’ve always thought were quite ‘hairy’ to ride over, usually have fishermen on them. Worrying about a stray hook and the wooden boards having splinters, keeps me going right down the middle, and I stand, though I’m not sure why I do that. It just makes me feel better. Under both bridges though, the water flows fiercely and has boats on moorings, or tied at the docks, always rocking with the waves.

 

East Bay Bike Path scenery

A bridge to cross

I stop to put on my headband to protect my ears and my gloves for my fingers just after the coffee stop.

East Bay Bike Path scenery

So this is winter?

My usual bathroom stop is not open (I bet they had a restroom at the coffee shop!), so I pedal a bit harder as I churn my legs faster on my journey back to the car.

My own ‘backyard’

February 22nd, 2017 – Wednesday

Can you believe today was 54 degrees? I was running around frantically getting ready to ride, as I waited for a repairman to fix the refrigerator. I don’t quite have my gear and routine of going for a ride streamlined, so I’ll be frantic for a while in my quest to make it normal. The weather is still erratic so dressing and planning is a challenge. Many of my rides are centered around feeding the horses, so my routes as of now are in one general area. I usually start out with a plan, but along the way other roads present themselves and if I have time I stretch my ride as much as I can. I did that today and found myself just stopping to take in the moments. I think sometimes we all take our hometown for granted and don’t appreciate what it has to offer. How I ever did that here is beyond me.

Whenever I spend time near the ocean I feel like I’m on vacation. Well, we live on the edge of a huge bay. I never really thought about that because our house is not on the water. On this day I went on one of the ocean roads and I just stopped to think about where we live. I normally ride away from the water because there is less traffic. But our little town has gorgeous water views everywhere you look. I stopped to take it all in, with one foot clipped in and one foot on the ground, always ready to go, when I realized that I was not in a hurry. Why do I always ride as if I’m late for something? Here I was on this beautiful road on the side of the water

Riding in my backyard

And I couldn’t relax enough to enjoy it? So I clipped out of the pedal and got off the bike to smell and just be…

I was reveling in that moment, sipping coffee and pondering the water. After about 10 minutes I was on the bike again. I had just gotten up to speed when this ‘fast(er)’ rider whizzed by me as I huffed up a small hill (by the way: most of them are faster than me, I could blame that on my Townie for now, but truth be told, I am slow on Roadie also). Not expecting more, another rider went by. Now it’s normal to speed up when getting passed, and I had with the first rider, so after the second guy I caught them both, and for just under a minute, I stayed in their mini-peloton. The road inclined up at that point, so I uh … dropped back 🙂 Huffing and puffing, my little engine slowly lifted and pushed those pedals around and around, until finally cresting the hill, having totally lost sight of those riders, oh well 🙂

**  Peloton is a group of riders and usually refers to the main group in a race. With more riders, the peloton is very fast because riders take turns being up front and ‘pulling’ the rest. As they get tired they do some type of signal that they are dropping back. Then they go to the rear and take advantage of the draft, while they slowly make their way to the front again, by way of others dropping to the back. It’s kind of like a Ferris wheel.

Saturday ride ‘to the soup market’

February 18th, 2017 – Saturday

At 47 degrees I chose to wear shorts today. The 14 mph wind almost had me change my mind, but I usually will go with shorts if it’s a toss up. I could have gone either way with the wind. My ride took me 13.3 miles. I meandered over country roads to a busier street and to the market to get some soup. Since I still had my ‘bungie fix’ on the basket, at one point I started to have a tire rub. It was not really rubbing, so I pushed on and didn’t take any shortcuts, in fact a added a leg because I could! As this was just a ride, no stop to feed the horses, I stretched the ride out a little, stopping a few times to finish my coffee. I really like the idea of bringing hot coffee with me, I read it somewhere and so glad I did. The only thing is that you have to check the top before drinking. Because of the placement, it does get sand and/or salt on it. It’s not coated with salt, but the first time I drank I had one or two pieces in my mouth and well, that’s probably not a good idea to ingest! It’s the little things you learn that can make or break a ride.

You’ll be happy to know that I DID wash and lube her when I finished this ride. And look…

‘New’ seat on Townie

A better seat. If you’ve been riding for a while, as with many other hobbies, you tend to collect extras of certain things. Bike seats are easy to collect because although they may be ‘worn out’ usually they don’t look worn out. So, for us, we feel bad throwing something away that looks perfectly fine! We had 3 extra bike seats in our collection. This one was mine I think. You can usually tell a men’s bike seat because they tend to have a longer front, I don’t know why, like other things, bigger is better ?! I’ll be testing this seat today and will let you know how it went.

My hubby was just coming home when I was putting the seat on, and fix-it guy that he is, he immediately got to fixing my basket. 

If it works …

Unfortunately, that meant we had to go to Home Depot to get some screws and we also used “lock-tite’ so they wouldn’t come loose again. Look Ma, no bungies 🙂

No more bungie

Riding after a snow storm

February 14th, 2017 – Tuesday

This may be the first time I’ve ever ridden a bike with snow on the ground. 35 degrees is probably my limit as far as toes go. Oh I rode with all the accoutrements of cold weather riding, but my toes were feeling it. I was also armed with an insulated coffee cup, with hot coffee!!

I just had to stop for a selfie along the way.

Coffee cup ride

Snow bike ride anyone?

I rode to Tom’s market for some groceries. Riding on my townie through town, doing errands and just riding, I felt like the odd and weird cat lady, who rides along, oblivious to the strange looks and nods. But ya know what? What I have noticed is more smiles and comments about the weather, or my bike. Coming out of Tom’s there was a gentlemen who recognized that my bike was probably an older model; they REALLY don’t make them like they used to. I told him she was about 30 years old and he said that’s what he thought, and it was in great condition. Yes, except for the tires, and a few additions, she is the same ‘mountain bike’ she used to be. She’s the same color, frame and same handlebars. 

Do you think there is something that I may want to replace? As that guy walked away I looked at her again and something was sticking out like a sore thumb. I suddenly became very embarrassed! I guess because my best ASSet resides there, I haven’t given it much thought!! (so much for not caring what others think.)

Help me

This would have to be rectified before my next ride. But if you check out my first post, it didn’t look at all like this. Not being used left it just fine, as soon as I started putting my you-know-what on it, this is what happens. YIKES, that is HORRIBLE :/

And how about my ‘bungie’ fix on the basket? Well, I’m not exactly the quickest girl to get things fixed. Hey if it does the job(?) why go out and get a $2 screw?

If it works …

Besides my toes, not freezing, but just starting to feel the cold, my ride was great. Occasionally stopping for coffee, I felt free and alive as I meandered a longer way to the barn to feed. I think my next big thing will be to wash her. All this sand and salt can’t be good if left on for days at a time.

Cycling in February – IN SHORTS

February 8th, 2017
The ever changing New England weather allowed me to ride in shorts today! It was 55 degrees when I started and I was able to do an actual ride before heading over to the barn. Cycling shoes adorned my feet, as well as bike shorts and biking gloves. My route meandered through the outskirts of Warren and looped back to the barn. I was rolling along pretty well when my legs started feeling like lead, as if I were knee deep in mud. (In the past, I have unknowingly ridden with the brake on. It was in Kentucky on a tandem with my mother, and we were looking at each other like; is she pedaling (?), why is she slacking off so much(?)) But on this day, I dismounted and as I hunched over my bike, I checked the brakes, the fender, the chain and the kickstand. Finding nothing, I circled the machine, hoping for a clue. There had to be something. As I checked the spin of the rear tire once more, the basket freely lifted up as I used it to raise  the tire off the ground, aha. (I won’t be using the basket to raise the bike up any more!) Okay, the basket was loose and bearing down on the rear fender, which of course was very close to resting on the tire. A bolt had worked it’s way loose and fallen out. Searching through my bag of clothes, hats, keys and such, I found nothing, but the bungy cord holding my ‘just in case’ stash was just what I needed. I used it to secure the braces of the basket to the seat post. We humans are awesome how we can use a little ingenuity to figure things out. Usually I don’t have to because I’m with someone else. That someone else knows how to fix things, I am not in that category. But on this 55 degree ‘winter’ day, in my bike shorts, on the side of a busy -Rte. 6-type- of road, I conquered a pesky problem and was able to enjoy the free wheeling ride over to the barn to feed our waiting beasts.

 

Cycling Journey

Cycling Chronology Introduction

I quote my ‘leetle seester’ Cori, when I say I have gotten ‘fluffy’ over the past 6 months. Fluffy does not begin to describe how I actually feel I have gotten. It didn’t happen without my knowledge, I knew exactly what was happening. So I am now at the point that I only have one pair of jeans to wear, and those have been desecrated trying to fix them. In the first place, they are way too thin to be my main pair for the winter. In the second place, there had been something stuck to the leg of the jeans, so in my ‘logical’ thinking I was going to ‘melt’ it off. Using a candle lighter, I tried to melt whatever it was and then I could just scrape it off. When I smelled burning, I didn’t stop, because it wasn’t coming off. So my one pair of jeans, that are too thin for the winter, also have a small hole in the leg. My one pair of jeans can only go to the barn, home and Walmart!

I can’t seem to get eating right or exercise consistent and good. Sometimes I wonder why it takes me so long to be sick and tired of being sick and tired. Will it be when I hit that round number this time? I haven’t hit that number since being pregnant, so Lordy Lord I hope it doesn’t take that to get me out of this funk.

Send in the Bicycling magazine. I have been having thoughts of riding, since this winter is no winter at all. So I looked at the weather for the next few weeks, and of course it’s heading toward colder temperatures. But I don’t have to go to extremes to get something accomplished. I’m not going to vow to ride everyday. I’m not going to ride in snow storms, downpours of rain, or heavy wind. I’m just going to ride most days and play it by ear as far as the weather. I’m also not the type to have to wait until ‘Monday’ to start a diet or anything new, when I decide to do it, it’s right then and there.

So with erratic weather on the way, I started cycling today. My 30 something year old mountain bike has been converted into a ‘townie’, as I like to call it. It has a huge basket on the back, fenders and large smoother tires. It spends most of it’s time in the horse trailer, which resides in our driveway. I dragged it out and put air in the tires, (it only takes 40-65 lbs. of pressure).

My townie

Mountain bike turned Townie

After about 30 minutes gathering everything I would wear and starting to sweat, I was ready. Now 4 ½ miles is not exactly my idea of ‘cycling’, but I was on my ‘townie’, riding in jeans and work boots. (I wore those boots because I was going to the barn, and I wanted my feet to be warm.) But it was a start. It was about 37 degrees with a 6 mph wind. I wore my barn boots, jeans, 2 long sleeve technical wicking shirts, a vest and my cycling/running jacket. A neck warmer and actual mittens rounded out my attire. Oh, and I used those thingies that wrap around your pants so they don’t get caught in the chain.  

The ride itself was great. I didn’t need to cover my face, just my neck and ears. I must have been quite the sight, riding my 30 year old yellow townie, with a huge basket on the back, in jeans, work boots, mittens and a blue jacket. I always wear a helmet and this time I had a thin black balaclava covering my neck, over my ears and head, making my face appear as a bright oval under my helmet. My pace was very slow as I teetered back and forth trying to keep my work boots from hitting my kickstand. My first stop was the Post Office, and that required me to slowly meander up Rte. 6, something try to I avoid at all costs. But this day I ventured up that fast and precarious stretch of road, with cars whizzing by at speeds that kept the icy wind howling at me from behind. My next stop was to feed the horses and get home before dark. The road to the barn was even more dangerous to me, because it has no shoulder at all and connects Rte. 6 with the other major road in town, so it’s also very busy. Being on my townie with wider wheels allows me to go over holes and junk that I normally wouldn’t on my road bike, so I hold my ground as I slowly pedal along, all the while with a grin/grimace on my face. I grin because I’m doing what I said I would do, getting exercise, and feeling good. I grimace because I feel the need to work harder on my townie, going only 4 ½ miles total. The bike is harder and slower to move and I’m in my heavy work boots, so speed is never the goal, getting a better workout is the goal, and it hurts so good! So after feeding the horses I am able to take a longer way home and pedal into the driveway just before I would need to use lights.