Happy Columbus Day and more!
Monday, October 10, 2011
I have the day off from work today. In addition to being Columbus Day, it is also my 18th Anniversary. My husband and I are still arguing - in fun, of course - over which one of us was luckier to meet the other, and we still haven't resolved it. But we're still celebrating the day, and that's what counts.
On to other favorite subjects, like biking. I have 3 related topics today: (1) It has been cold!; (2) what to do as the day length gets shorter; and (3) my recent accomplishments. Here goes.
Last week the nighttime temperature dipped into the mid '40s. I got up in the dark and put on 3 layers: long spandex bicycle pants; a warm layer, and a windproof layer. That part worked really well. I received a free cap to wear under my helmet as a result of one of my online orders (I bought Under Armour closeouts), and I wore that too. I definitely needed gloves for my hands too. The one I wore, which were made for cycling, were okay for this time of the year, but they definitely won't be warm enough when we get down to real winter temperatures. For winter, I'll probably need something for my face too. I was a little chilly on the first part of the trip, when I was going downhill, but I warmed up soon after I had to really start pedaling. I had a light on my helmet and one on the bike (front and back), and those worked well too. I would have liked to see a little farther ahead of me, although I can get by with what I have. I'm going to try a flashlight-type light on a swivel mount tomorrow, in addition to the one on my helmet . (I got the swivel mount from Amazon.)
As day length gets shorter
I've been pondering what to do as daylight-savings time nears its end for this year. The darkness in the morning doesn't bother me much, because it gets lighter with each minute I'm out. It has mostly been daylight on my way home, but I was delayed leaving one afternoon last week, so I had about 15 minutes of darkness at the end. There are no lights on the trail, but there were still enough people out exercising ( bikers, runners, and walkers) to make it feel populated and safe. Some of the runners and walkers weren't even wearing lights or reflective gear; fortunately I was able to see them early enough, thanks to my lights, to stay out of their way.
Even though it feels safe, I'm contemplating moving my ride to the sidewalk of a well-lit street for the darkest winter months. If I had a fall (or a mechanical problem), and I needed someone to pick me up, it would be much quicker and easier for them to locate me and reach me on a well-traveled automobile route instead of 1/2 mile from the nearest car. The traffic lights will probably be a bit of a nuisance, but putting up with them would be better than having a breakdown and waiting for someone to find me out on a trail in bone-chilling weather. Have you ever had to do this?
My recent accomplishments: stronger, faster, and completely pain free
A few weeks ago, I was experiencing a little bit of pain in my left knee when biking uphill. I asked my physical therapist about it, and she gave me some tips. It took a couple of weeks to get the new seat and seat post that she recommended, along with a handlebar height adjustment. I needed a longer seat post to raise my seat higher than what my bike would otherwise allow, and it had to be special-ordered. My bike is apparently a women's small frame bike, and apparently it's not big enough for me, even though it is the size generally indicated for women of my height. Now that I am sitting at the right distance from the pedals, my knee no longer hurts, and I feel as if I can get more power into my legs. Either that, or it's just coincidence that my average speed just shot up 2-3 miles an hour, and I actually enjoy pedaling uphill now.
The other alternative would have been to get a larger bike, but that would cost more. The bike shop advised me not to waste my money on a $300 bike, telling me that I needed to spend about $700-$1000 to get something that would hold up over the long haul as a commuter bike, and I don't have the funds for that just now.
That's all for now.