Sunday, December 20, 2009

So we had quite a bit of snow yesterday; I think the total was 11 inches. I tried to go out for just a quick ride around the neighborhood but it was far too slippery and I couldn't get any traction.

That didn't stop me from going out today, though! I rode to the Rec to work out, and that trip was mostly fine. Mostly-- I had to ride through so much slush that my butt was soaking wet and totally numb by the time I got there! But there were very few slippery patches.

I decided to go my usual back way home and that's where the trouble started. As you can see in the picture above, the back roads were still pretty snowy. It wasn't deep, but it could be slippery and I fishtailed around a little bit. One of the great things about crank forward bikes is that their configuration allows you to put your feet flat on the ground while still sitting on the seat. That was a tremendous help in keeping the bike steady.

The other problem was that the wind was blowing, and it was blowing hard enough to make it difficult for me to stay upright. Plus the snow was stinging my face! I really need to get a pair of goggles. I tried to get a picture of the snow blowing across the fields and roads-- it looked more like water flowing over rocks than snow blowing across the landscape-- but none of the pictures I got came out. Here's a picture of me, though, looking kind of chilly!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My mom is decorating her house for Christmas and I rode over to help her. My mom LOVES Christmas-- or maybe it's that she loves SANTA. She has probably like 700 Santas displayed throughout her house. No, that's not a typo; I really mean 700 Santas!

Her Santa collection deserves its own blog (and we're working on it!) but I took a few pictures of the first bearded ones coming out of their warm weather hibernation and decided to post them here. Above you can see the fireplace mantel and some other Santas on the floor. You never know where one is going to pop up, really.

Grumpy Santa and his strange yarn friend:

Patiently waiting to be uprighted and placed in just the right spot:

In bike news, I had a flat tire when I went to get my bike out for my Sunday ride to breakfast and it really put me in a grouchy mood for most of the morning. I had wanted to get a ride in before the rain/sleet/snow started and of course that went out the window. I bought some "fix a flat" foaming stuff and at first it didn't seem to work correctly, but now my tire seems ok-- knock wood. It's held air for almost eight hours now but tomorrow I'll know for sure if it sealed the hole. If not I have a new tube, but I've never changed a tube before and I don't want to test out my skills tomorrow-- I want to go for a ride!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It's cold outside! I'm not sure how cold, but enough to make my cheeks burn. Still, once I got going I warmed up-- except my cheeks!

I went downtown for breakfast, then off to the gym for a workout. After that I rode down to my mom's to see how her Christmas decorating was coming along, then off to Starbucks for a hot chocolate and finally, home. About 15 miles overall.

Often when I'm out and about on my bike people like to talk to me about it-- it looks different than a "regular" bike but it's not always clear ~how~ it looks different. I've even seen people putting their kids on it when it's parked outside the coffee shop. It doesn't bother me when that happens; I think it's kind of funny!

Hopefully I'll be able to get another long ride in tomorrow.

Friday, November 20, 2009

So I've been riding my bike every day but haven't been doing much picture taking. Part of the reason is that my biking has become more utilitarian rather than leisurely. I still ride for fun, but much of my biking time is spent going to and from work, the gym or downtown for errands. I do try and add in some extra miles throughout the day, but I don't seem to have as much time for stopping to take pictures.

I did have a scary experience earlier this week. Not every road has a large shoulder-- in fact many of these country roads have no shoulder at all. I was riding down a road with a small shoulder when a tractor trailer drove by-- this isn't a busy thoroughfare by any means but big trucks and farm equipment travel down it frequently.

Anyway, the trucker didn't see fit to move over even one foot and practically sucked me under the wheels. As it first came alongside, the air pushed me out to the right but as the truck pulled away the air sucked me towards the trailer. I got a first hand experience in drafting! Very scary and also eye-opening in terms of how oblivious some drivers can be about bicyclists.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

16 miles

It was kind of dreary when I went out this morning-- and cold. The sun was trying to break through the clouds, though.

I prefer grey, rainy days myself. Then I can indulge my morose side without having to listen to people constantly tell me to cheer up-- they just chalk my gloominess up to the weather!

These kinds of days make me feel creative. Note I said make me feel creative not actually be creative. Someday, though!

I rode downtown for breakfast and then on to the countryside around Lititz. Nothing particularly exciting happened, no kissing teens sitting in the middle of the road or Amish kids driving buggies while texting on their cell phones, but life around here can't always be that thrilling!

After riding to work in the afternoon my total mileage for the day is 16. Not bad!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hello again!

Here I am! I'm back!

I stopped biking over the summer due to health issues but am finally back on the road. Actually I've been riding practically every day for almost the past six weeks. I hope to update my blog regularly, but it probably won't be daily as it was before.

As you can see above, I got a new bike! It's a Trek Sole Ride 300, a crank-forward (or semi-recumbent) bike. The seat is lower and the pedals are farther forward than on a traditional bike, allowing me to sit on the seat rather than straddle it, making for a MUCH more comfortable ride! The handle bars come farther back, too, so there's not so much straining to keep hold of them-- no more numb hands or arms.

This bike is so easy and fun to ride that I could ride up to twenty miles almost immediately after purchasing it, even though the farthest I ever made it on my hybrid was 12 miles. Currently I'm riding anywhere from three to twenty miles every single day.

The bike is kind of heavy, though, and I wish I had been more patient when looking for a semi-recumbent. There are lighter models available-- although they're not lighter on your pocketbook. Still, as soon as I took this one for a test spin I didn't want to look any further. I was completely won over by how comfortable it is!

Here's a picture from a recent ride; this was just at the top of a big downhill segment:

See you soon!

Monday, April 27, 2009

It was 96 degrees today-- it's like we went right from winter to summer. I hate summer! Well, I don't really hate summer, just hot weather. Ok, I guess that means I do hate summer.

Anyway, I only went for a short ride to the Mennonite church and back. I didn't stop to take pictures; it was just too hot and I wanted to get back home. So here are a few pictures that I took yesterday-- dried up stalks of daisies or coneflowers, I'm not exactly sure.

They look pretty much like I felt riding out there today: parched and dusty.

Miles today: 4 Total miles: 19

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ok, let's try this again...

Last year I had the brilliant idea that I should try and ride my bike every day of the year-- even in the rain and the snow. It wasn't a particularly well thought out plan, but I had some success, riding my bike for about 50 days straight before I missed a day.

Now that the weather's turned pleasant again (Thanks, Jay!) I'm itching to try it again. So here we go...

I've been riding now for three days in a row. The first two days I went four miles each and today I went for seven. If you've read my blog before (or if you've seen me recently) you know that I'm out of shape and also kind of a whiny baby about feeling tired, sore or just plain crummy. Well, that hasn't changed! Still, these first rides have been relatively easy-- I definitely didn't expect to hold on to the small amount of stamina I built up last year, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how good I feel.

Now I have to remember how to upload and organize any pictures I take... I still have lots of flower and bug pictures from last year to be identified, and I've taken about 70 new pictures in the past three days. Lots to identify there! But here's a roadside daffodil-- it's a sweet little thing even though it's kind of wilting away here. It made me smile to see it, anyway.

The top picture speaks for itself, I think, even though it's grainy (I told you my camera was junky!). It was just luck that I was riding by as the horses and tractor were close enough to be in the same frame. The horses are obviously working the field with an Amish farmer, while the farmer on the tractor is Mennonite. How do I know he's Mennonite? I've seen him with his family and the women's clothes are a dead give away. Their farms are a little less than a mile from my house.

Well, here's to a successful year of bike riding!

Miles today: 7 Total miles: 15