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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

From Cycle-licious
THis is a scrumptious article that rolls off the tongue

"In the past five years, the number of people cycling in London has risen by almost 50 per cent. These people are not the mad, bearded loons of popular myth, their coat-tails flapping crazily as they pedal round the Elephant and Castle. The modern cyclist is making an elegant and intelligent response to pollution and traffic congestion."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Emotional slurpee

Saturday nature slobbered a slurpee all over the roads and paths. It was 32 degrees and the slush could not decide which way to go. Wasn't cold enough to be frozen, but it wasn't warm enough for that energy-requiring change of state. Not dormant... not alive.

Wake up and flow, already!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Okay, time for some honesty: here's what it was like riding *tonight.*

View Wednesday Morning of my back yard and my driveway view from the garage. Yes, I get that much sun. One of these years I'll go on gardening adventures. Yes, I shoveled that all by myself. Yes, it was really light, fluffy snow. No, it doesn't look like that now - it takes me that long to get the pics online ;)

Another little site about scaling down a bit: "Demotorize your soul: wean yourself."

More weenie than weany here. Fell asleep in the chair here at hte Main Compound last night and toddled hom at 5:30, slept 'til 11, came back, and now the ice is here. The roads sound wet from here, and as "storms" go, I don't have that feeling of being attacked, but if the ice starts piling up, it'll be truly "silent but deadly."

Friday, February 23, 2007

27 degrees this morning, which meant slick *and* slippery, though simply less quantity than Wednesday. (Yesterday was above freezing so it was mostly wet.) No excitement, but several 20-foot-ish stretches of "okay, nice gyroscopic bicycle, I *know* this is ice we're rolling over, kindly stay true and straight and I won't touch steering or brakes!" It worked ;)
Two more inside rides. Last night's was one of my two fav's: five minutes harder-than-you-want, five off three times, then 8 or 10 solid minutes of pretty hard, alternating fast & slow cadence (adjusting gears to stabilize effort) every two minutes. Of course I like 'em better when I remember the heart rate monitor and the shorts & t-shirt, which I did... got up to 167 as my "goal for working hard" four or five times. Didn't have water bottle... I've "done the trifecta" (clothes, HRM, *and* water) only once. Hopping off and hitting the faucet ain't bad, though.
Got the map ready to hand off to LIB at our next meeting next week. It'll be like the one they have for Rockford already. We'd like to include 'nasty spots' like every time you have to try to get over an interstate and the road shrinks, or all those chunks north of town where ... it just stinks because malls don't need bicyclists as customers. (It's where one of my students got struck from her wheelchair by a drunk driver last semester - not good for anybody not in a cage.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

WHew, back on the bike this week! Monday was pretty uneventful because it was warm and wet. Today... whew!! Back East, we always *heard* about "well, the snow will melt and then freeze so it will be icy" and we would hope in vain that this would cause anothe rday off of school. "Freeze," though, meant dipping to 30 at night there. Here, it got to 22 and there was a *lot* of meltage to freeze.
I've been applying the "don't make 'em pass you twice" rule to busses and the karma has come back on me. Corner of Country Fair and Round Barn was totally nasty; I skidded around and successfully aimed my foot at the one little dry spot on the corner, & waved the car beside me around in the "okay, wait 'til the traffic's gone and then figure out how to get out of here" mode, except that the next vehicle was a bus. THe bus driver tooted a little and waited for me, so with gratitude towards my step-through frame I stepped off and daintily picked my way across the ice to a safe spot. IT would have been really easy for a car to hit the ice, too, and take me out; I was glad to be out of that spot. For that particular hundred yards of Roudn Barn, lots of cars were doing lots of spinning.
It's Ash Wednesday... the forty-day (plus Sundays... now why did my fingers type Sindays? :)) journey... click to the left for "bicycling as a lenten practice," which wretchedly still rings too true.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Mr. Clean Strikes Again:)

We are under a blizzard warning, which, unlike a severe storm warning, they don't make unless it is really happening.

Okay, I have decided to go ahead and order studded tyres, because clearly we are going to keep getting snow until I'm prepared for it.

Fortunately I don't have to go to work tomorrow (or today). Going to inquire of bikejournal as to ... well... maybe the bike would almost be easier than the car right now, since it's a HECK OF A LOT easier to get unstuck!!

swiped therefrom:

( bj where - heaven forfend!! - there is another "italics instead of a cuss word" live and in print up there! I'd htink we were wearing the Moderator Police down but I think they still sporadically just delete a post for some bizarre interpretations of "policy," and then get all defensive when somebody calls 'em Police...)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Compulsively positive attitude: So I realize I'm out of breath, big time, in no time, getting that Gazelle rolling. Hey, I've had a week off the bike. A fleeting "Oh, *rats,* so much for mopping up the folks at the time trial next week!" but that was steamrolled by PollyAnna who said, "Isn't this amazing!! You get your endorphins so much faster when you are out of shape!!" (I suppose it was, in fact, those endorphins speaking.) I had a little trouble getting into the "training" mode - hard to do taht and watch out for snow clumps. The delusions of grandma are telling me that until I get studded tyres, we'll keep getting snow. Of course, once I'm prepared, things will clear up.
On the way back from town Saturday, I finally had enough of a head of steam to shift into gears four and five... and something else shifted and suddenly things seemed a lot easier. So, maybe I'm not **that** out of shape.
Today it's in the 20's... one less layer but my hands still got cold on the way to church.
Things to wipe down on the Gazelle: the nuts on the wheels. Alas, they're getting rusty. Heavens, I just may get out the steel wool.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Riding has taught me to read faces and even minds. I stopped at the 4-way at JOhn and ...?... where Westview school is. There was a van 90 degrees to my right, just preceding me. He didn't expect me to stop, but when I did, he proceeded through, and I watched his face brighten. It wasn't at me. (I know this; I can read minds :)) It was the way your face brightens when you see somebody do something that you didn't think people did any more... when you think that yes, sometimes people do the right thing, Amen, there's still hope.
Okay, it doesn't take much to send me :)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Wanna go to Oregon, I wanna go to oregon!!

I was a full, solid WEEK off of my bike, tho' I did get a couple of sweat sessions in on bike in the Hyatt's teeny little fitness center.

Came back Sunday hoping to ride Monday, to try out the nifty keeno cool ski goggles Bob left at my door Wednesday morning (how much of my gear is scrounged from other folks who hand it down to me? From the toe clips to teh Gore-Tex to teh goggles... ) Thanks BOb!!!

but the temp was six below zero, wind chill 20+ below, and the weather guys were talking about how quickly exposed skin would freeze, as in less than a minute, and I would be out in it for 40+ minutes, and I don't like trying out new equipment when failure would mean minor disaster. Bottom line was that if I got a flat I couldn't fix it, since the Gazelle is the ride of choice and it's not a simple enterprise (see Jan. 7) and I'd have to call somebody to pick me up and somebody else would be inconveniened because I didn't use my car.
Especially hard to do, though, because of the forecast for snow Tuesday - which my celestial intuition said would be at the high end of the 2-4 inches predicted. I don't have studded tires (yet) or a suicide wish or even a bruise wish. Drove M, Tu, and it was slimy and nasty enough Tuesday night so I drove Wednesday, too. Tuesday's inside ride was canceled.
Wednesday morning it was tough to wake up and get rolling, and tea didnt' really do the trick, and I realized that indeed, I used to feel that way all the time, Before Exercise. Thursday I would just act as if I had to be at work at 8, not nine, and if I had a flat tire, I'd jog to home or work, whichever was closer. I had enough layers so if I fell, I'd bounce.
Went to the store Wednesday night with the ski goggles, armed with advice from BikeJOurnal. Didn't put them on for the return trip, and my face hurt. ("Is your face hurting you? 'cause it's killing me!") The headlamp had to be just right to keep the mirror in range, which I need because peripheral vision is pretty much gone with the goggles, and I need the headlamp 'cause those silly wires on the Gazelle don't always connect and if there's enough slush on the tire, or somethign like that, it makes a wonderful squealing sound but no light.
I'm inquiring about generator lights for the Xtra... but on the hub for exactly that reason.
Thursday's ride in was breathtaking but uneventful. I still ended up dropping the balaclava below the jaw when it got too warm and I couldn't *stand* not smiling at people any more, so at one below with a headwind there was some windburn. Return trip was not as bad as I feared - the roads were just enough better and drivers weren't in that much of a hurry at 6:20. We'll see how they are at 5:00 today, though. I got a little chilly around the neck and chin.
Today it sas six above. COuldn't find balaclava but there was a scarf. I was able to get up at 5:40 because today *was* an 8:00 day and I still needed the extra time. Between all the straps and things I'm almost bruised at the collarbone but I was warm. However, I didn't do jumping jacks before I left, and I *did* have that between-Coler-and-Neil time period when my hands were chilled and my pinky got numb. That didn't happen at all Thursday. I was still plenty warm when I got here, though.
Have resisted the urge to get $67 winter pants from Steep and Cheap. It was close... but tights, long johns, sweats and Gore-tex worked and if I'm going to toss that much money out it's gonna be for studded tyres :)

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