Since July, I have been unable to ride. Well, I rode practically everyday to the train station during the month of August, but that’s only a two mile round trip, hardly a bike ride, if you ask me.
I found a job as a systems administrator with a small software design team in Morristown, NJ. The building has a parking garage, so I’ll probably drive in the first few days to get used to the commute time via a car, and to get my parking pass, but as soon as possible, I will be riding my bike in. I realize that while I’ve lost 40 pounds from eating right, my body still needs that regular exercise. My mind needs it too. My wife needs it too, as I’m more sane with proper exercise.
As my old job has taken a turn for the worse (well, as I gained more responsibility, which requires client visits all over the NY Metro), I was tempted to look for a new position. This one seemed to just fall into my lap, and I while I’m nervous about the new responsibilities, and being the new guy, I am very excited about a daily commute via the bike, and the opportunity to grow. Also, the paycheck is nothing to cry about.
I hope to update this blog more often as I go along.
So, for the past few days, my little detour, the short trail I take that cuts between routes 53 and 202, I have had near death experiences due to the local inhabitants of that field. Yesterday a tiny little furball of a rabbit jumped in front of my tire just missing becoming dinner for the turkey vultures by a few inches. Today, a grown white tailed deer jumped out of the field and into my path. I was probably a good ten yards away from Bambi, but I was bombing a hill at the time. Instinctively I clamped down onto my brakes causing a fishtail of dust. I think I’d rather bail then smash into a 150 pound beast. My heart skipped a few hundred beats, but the deer jetted out of my way before an accident report was necessary.
I stepped out of the office and hopped on my bike (which I store in the loading dock of my office building) at about 6:10. The day was hot for the most part, but there was a dark cloud growing and the wind was kicking in.
A maintenance guy was loading up his cart, and I mentioned to him that I was going to get slammed with rain.
I rode off with a sensation of anticipation. I was not going to take the long route home (1 hour), but instead, decided it would be best to take the shorter route (30 mins). This meant more traffic, but more options for ducking for cover in case the skies opened up on me.
About ten minutes into the ride, the wind was going very fast (the wrong way). A strong headwind can be demoralizing when you fear a thunderstorm. Then it rained. Then it poured. Then I started getting socked with tiny bits of hail. Those bits of hail grew larger. Here I was, riding against the wind, getting smacked with largish pebble sized pieces of hail. One smacked me in my eye.
I took cover under a corporate parking garage while the storm let loose. And as quickly as that storm came, it disappeared. Well, the clouds were still present, but the hail stopped.
So, there you have it. My first time getting caught in a hail storm.
So, good for work, but possibly bad for bicycle commuting, but my company recently scheduled me out on a two month project in Short Hills, NJ on the JFK parkway.
Not a very good road for bicycle commuting, and I have no desire of showing up at a client sweaty.
I’ll have to see what I can do about riding, hopefully some early morning rides/late night rides will be in order, but kind of bummed to think that I’ll miss the majority of summer on the commute.
The last month I’ve lost about 20 pounds just from healthy eating, but I finally got my bike out of the shop last week, and I think I’ve been on the bike practically every day since then.
I’m hoping to lose another 25 to 30 pounds. Amazing what eating right will do for you.
Anyway, I’m not sure how often this site will be updated, but I do have some pictures from a recent ride that I’m meaning to upload.
On Sunday, a friend of mine and I both decided to ride our bikes to a BBQ we were both invited to that evening. So, I met him at his house and we rode through Rainbow Lakes, Mountain Lakes, and took a detour into the Tourne. We rode around the trails for some time without any issues, having a good time, though at one point, we had to haul our bikes up a certain, rocky and rooted hill.
No issues, that is, until I had the following three experiences within 10 yards of each other. First, I came around a corner too fast and squared my handle bars into a tree. It was a small tree, and both hands missed the tree, but it was a sudden stop. My friend remarked that my bike left a nice mark on the tree bark. A moment later, incident number two occurs. Still being shaken up by the tree incident, I wasn’t too focused, and I ran over a loose boulder which kicked out enough to put me head over handle bars, face in the dirt, with my glasses flying away. So, there I was a tangled mess with my bike, but no real pain. A few seconds later, in my efforts to get off of the ground, the bike I was still tangled up with decided to move it’s wheels away from me, which caused me to slip, go running a couple steps, and come crashing down, left knee first, on a boulder. I lay there for a few seconds, quietly contemplating the stupidity of it all, and hoping I didn’t break my knee cap.
I got up, brushed myself off, and decided to walk the rest of this short run on the trail. Eventually, I got back on the bike and we headed out of the Tourne over to the BBQ with my pride being more hurt than my knee.
The next day, I’ve got a swollen knee, swollen elbow, and a swollen lip. Still, I think all of my body parts are together.
We are a one car family, and have been for sometime. Usually the spring, summer, and fall have been fine for me to ride my bicycle into work.
Unfortunately, due to job responsibilities, I am required to drive my car into work. This is fine, except, my wife also needs that car to run errands, and to get away from the house when things are crazy.
As a result, I’m looking at the prospect of either spending money I don’t have on a second car (which I would be able to leave parked at the company overnight), or ride less when I know that I won’t be scheduled to go fix a client issue.
If I had the money, I’d buy a cheap used car and keep it parked at the company parking lot. However, it looks like I will be left to drive into work for the foreseeable future and try to get my riding in during the early mornings.
When life throws you a curve, you have to adjust.
I have my bike on the trainer. Rode it hard for about 15 minutes before I had to perform some upgrade work on a client’s Exchange server. As indicated in my most recent post, I’m not much for winter riding.
Since I’ve been off the bike for most of November and December, I’m definitely getting soft. I don’t know if a trainer is a good replacement for the streets, but it is better than just sitting around all winter.
So, while I’ll be safe from inattentive drivers, I’ll have to overcome the sheer boredom of staring at a wall.
Second year in a row where I hung the bike up for the winter. Unlike some who thrive in the cold, dark winter, I don’t.
I did get a ride in last Saturday before the snowstorm hit.
Oh well, 6 or 7 months out of the year is better than none.
A few hours ago, I was out on the roads when God frowned upon me and opened up the clouds. My glasses were useless after a few minutes, so I tossed them in the saddle bag, and instead of heading back home like a fellow with common sense, I continued on with my intended route.
Dark clothes. No lights. Rear reflector gone. This should be interesting. These are the things I think about only when I need them. I never said I was the most sensible person, did I?
Actually, I had no problems. I found most drivers actually slowed down and moved to the left. Maybe it’s because it’s a Saturday and no one is in a hurry to get back into the day to day routine of work. Maybe they are afraid that anyone willing to ride a bicycle in a torrential rainstorm must have escaped from the Greystone Asylum a few hours ago. Despite the schizophrenic cyclist, a couple drivers actually thought I could provide them with direction to their destination. Sorry, never heard of that lake. Umm, you should see signs for downtown Boonton up ahead, I think. While I likely succeeded in misdirecting them, I continued on with my damp pursuit of riding the large circle around the back roads of Morris County.
I saw a few other schizophrenic riders while out. I think they too were confused with the weather. Rain does not equate into the ideal climate for cycling on your cycle. Perhaps they too got stuck in the storm, but not being as hefty as myself, they were farther away from their starting point, and immediately turned around when the sky began falling. Despite the lack of specs on my face, I tried not to laugh at one gentleman riding as I noticed his expensive attire and bicycle. He must have spent hundreds on his jersey, and looked really annoyed that he was getting his $2500.00 bike wet. He looked at me as if I belonged on the Pulaski Skyway selling stolen bottles of water to weary commuters. Obviously a character like me does not belong in Mountain Lakes, NJ.
Heading back home, I had a heart attack when an ambulance blasted me with its siren. I was the only person around that lonely stretch of road with like 20 feet of shoulder. The surprise practically pulled me into the ditch, but I survived. Just seemed kind of unnecessary. Perhaps they thought I was another escapee, but then, they’d have pulled me off of my sopping bicycle, and onto the stretcher, straps and all. Moments after, I noticed the ambulance pull into the hospital. Ok, it was a real emergency and I can stop being annoyed.
I finally pulled into my driveway. Tired even though I only spun out 13.5 miles according to my cyclometer. What an adventure. Actually, I don’t mind riding in the rain. I might try that again. Next time I’ll bring my lights. And a rain poncho. Stay dry.