Braving the elements

After living in Southern California for many years, 50 degrees feels pretty cold. But it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t windy, so I decided to brave it. I had a good 16 mile ride, but it really was cold! The breeze you create on a bicycle makes quite a wind chill factor.

On Tuesday, it was nice and sunny and the view of the snow-covered mountain near my home was beautiful:

snowymtnJan16

Today it was quite a different view:

foggymtnJan16

One day these areas will probably be filled up with houses, but for now, we have a little bit of wilderness within riding distance. Reason #3 to love riding: getting out – even on a cold day – to enjoy all kinds of weather!

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I squeaked in one more ride

The big storm we’re supposed to get seems to have decided to wait until tomorrow, so I got a ride in this morning. The sun was even shining! It was a good 20 mile ride, which makes a total of about 50 miles in the last three days. I know to some of you, these are short rides, but for me, they are just perfect. I’m not trying to keep up with anyone or prove anything. Any ride is a good ride and I do it because I love it.

Whenever I see a jogger, I wonder why? Joggers always look like they’re in pain. Cyclists can’t completely avoid pain, but for the most part, we are a happy bunch. How can you not be happy when you’re on a bike? Which brings me to reason #2 for why I love to ride: it’s fun! It’s so much fun it doesn’t even seem like exercise. And you know what they say – if you enjoy it, you’ll keep doing it. I don’t have to drag myself out to ride- I can’t wait to get on my bike, every day if I could.

Tomorrow I’ll be on the mini-trampoline and the rowing machine. Not as much fun, but I have to stay ready for the next ride!

happycyclist

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Riding before the rain

I got my first two rides of the new year in before the big rain forecast for the rest of the week. El Nino is finally upon us! We sure do need the rain here in California, but it’s not good weather for riding.

The October issue of Bicycling magazine ran an article on 100 reasons to ride. Before that issue came out, I started a list of the reasons I love to ride. Since I won’t be riding, I’ll just have to dream about it – and restart my list. Mine will be a little different from the reasons in the magazine, but they are my reasons and maybe you’ll be able to relate.

Why I love to ride (repeating number one to get things going again): cycling gets the endorphins going and makes me happy! I’m happy thinking about riding, I’m happy while riding, I’m happy after I ride and I feel happy thinking about riding the next day.

EatSleepBike2

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I stop for shiny things

When riding a bike, it’s important to watch for hazards on the road (see previous post). Sometimes I find things other than nails, glass and pine cones. I’ve found a checkbook, a driver’s license, coins of course, tools and car keys, just to name a few. I took the checkbook to the bank and I found the owner of the license. The keys I took to the police station. The other day I found this:

ScaryKnife

I didn’t want to leave it there in case it might fall into the wrong hands and possibly be used for nefarious (what a good word) purposes, so I called the police. I waited around for half an hour then decided I was getting too hot and thirsty to stick around any longer. I know they picked up the knife because the policewoman had to call me for help finding the intersection.

I’m sort of on watch in the community – I also call on dead animals, give directions and tell bike riders when they’re on the wrong side of the road. I don’t know if they appreciate that, but for some reason, these people (not real cyclists) don’t understand how dangerous that can be. Real cyclists know the rules of the road and that when on a bike, you’re a moving vehicle, subject to the same rules as cars. Just doing my part!

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Staples, glass, thorns and bolts, oh my!

It’s a jungle out there. A few weeks ago, I had a close encounter with a 2 inch bolt:

BigBolt

It tore up the tube, left a big hole in the tire and scratched the rim. The hole in the tire eventually (about three weeks later) poked a hole in the new tube. My husband wanted to know why I didn’t see it. Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t.

Monday, I ran over a metal staple. I took it out and started to change the tire – the first road change for me. A deputy sheriff from the next town over happened to be riding by on his bike and stopped to help. He showed me (according to him) a faster way to change the tube: just pull the tire off one side of the rim, pull out the tube and insert the new tube. Well, I don’t know if this shortcut prevented me from finding more debris in my tire or if I picked up two thorns and two pieces of glass afterward, but the same tire went flat only about a mile and a half down the road. So I ended up walking anyway. The good news is I was only about another mile and a half from home. But it was hot.

Do I still love cycling? Of course! Learning to change my own tires and perform other minor maintenance on my bike has made me more independent and self-sufficient. I don’t have to feel helpless when something happens, and it will, if you put in any time on your bike. Just another reason I love to ride – bicycle grease under my fingernails!

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It never gets old

Another crummy day in paradise – more June Gloom to enjoy, another tunnel ride and an exhilarating time on my bike!

EatSleepBike

A friend who doesn’t ride asked me what I like about cycling. My quick answer was, “Everything!” But I think the answer to that question deserves a lot of enthusiastic elaboration. Here’s the first reason: cycling gets the endorphins going and makes me happy! I’m happy thinking about riding, I’m happy while riding, I’m happy after I ride and I feel happy thinking about riding the next day. Stay tuned – lots more reasons to come.

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A little rain never hurt

We’ve had some weird weather! Last week I wore my long riding pants and came back from a ride chilled to the bone. Yesterday it was over 100 degrees F. and as hot as… Phoenix, Arizona on a cool day. Not a hint of June Gloom anywhere. Today it rained on me and I had to stop twice to clean the rain off my glasses, but the temperature was perfect for riding. I’m glad I didn’t let the rain stop me. It was a great ride. I went back to the area where I rode with the group on Saturday. Victoria Park Lane is a beautiful divided road with a 6-foot wide bike lane and a tunnel!

VictoriaTunnel

I went through the tunnel twice and along the Pacific Electric Trail for part of the ride. I put in 21.6 miles and even though it wasn’t strenuous, it gave me a good workout. I know some cyclists might consider a ride like that junk miles. To me, there’s no such thing. Any day on a bike is a good day and any mile on a bike is a good mile. Those who are training hard for racing or really long rides might consider any less-than-grueling, hard-grinding ride as a junk one, but hey, I’m on the bike, riding about 20 miles almost every day. I’m not sitting on the couch! If everyone put in that many so-called junk miles, the world would be a happier place!

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