I’ve settled on a birthday present

No books, no shoes. I want to get my bicycle fixed up so I can start riding again. If I do it right, it won’t be long at current gas prices before my birthday gift pays for itself. Plus, I would really like to start adding some more activity to my otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Driving our minivan around everywhere just isn’t a very economical choice, and I would like to start leaving it in the parking lot more, at least for my work commute.

One thing I think I will try and do differently is to make it more practical. That means no heroic efforts through 100 degree weather or the icy cold. Instead, I think my bike will just be the connection between the light rail stations and my home and work. I would really like to take the train all the way to my job, but the rail schedule just is not going to be accomodating for that (I would have to arrive almost an hour and a half early if I took it all the way to my job).

At the moment going back and forth from home to work costs me over $4. Being very conservative, that would come out to $20. I know that my DART pass would be paid for in less than two weeks for certain. I need to get my bicycle to a shop and have it assessed before I know how much that will be. Hopefully, I can do that sometime this week. Either way, I’m sure to recoup my expenses within a few months (especially if gas prices continue their upward trend).

I need to exercise

I have reached the point where it is no longer acceptable to do otherwise. My waist is showing the effects of this neglect and my health has most likely deteriorated (I know I have high blood pressure). I haven’t ridden my bicycle in about 10 months (I think) and I’m not getting any other form of exercise either.

This has to change, and it needs to change now, not later. I think I will try and make it family orientated, at least initially, and see if this works or not. There is a gym nearby run by the school whose housing we live in, as well as a large park within a minute or so drive from our home. Both of these ought to prove to be adequate to our needs (I hope). If it doesn’t work out, I’ll probably have to figure out something to do solo.

The rest of the story

The ride home was just as interesting, and much more fun, than the ride to work. The precipitation by this time had ended and now there was a thin layer of ice on the roads. I wasn’t too worried about this, having ridden on ice back in Washington, so I knew what to do; keep a straight line and a smooth motion. Thankfully, I only fell once and it was a controlled fall since I knew it was going to happen. I was coming up to an intersection when the light turned red. I knew if I tried to brake I was going to fall, but there was no question of going through the intersection since there were cars waiting to go through. So I decided to execute a controlled fall and went down. A little embarrassing in front of waiting cars, but nothing injured, so I just got back up and kept going.

Later on down the road, I came to some hills and took some evil pleasure in the fact that I was passing these cars up the hills (not hard to do when they were making zero progress). I know I should be more sympathetic, but it is fun to have an advantage over the cagers every once in a while. Overall, it is just plain fun to ride on ice, since it is a challenge to the skill of the bicyclist, and I love a challenge.

Today was a different story. The wind from the north wore me out (avg. 18 mph w/ gusts ~24). All of my winter gear isn’t helping either, since the outer layers just act like a human shaped parachute. This was probably one of the hardest rides I’ve had as far as energy output is concerned. I just hope it keeps blowing so I can take advantage of it on the ride home.

At the gates of madness…

…knocking to be let in.

I just finished riding through some very interesting weather:

Dallas Love Field
Last Update on Dec 7, 3:53 pm CST
26°F (-3°C)
Humidity: 81 %
Wind Speed: NW 17 MPH
Barometer: 30.36″ (1028.1 mb)
Dewpoint: 21°F (-6°C)
Wind Chill: 13°F (-11°C)
Visibility: 10.00 mi.

In addition to this, there is a light precipitation of freezing rain. Now, before you ask, I’ve been looking forward to riding in this kind of weather. I’ve slowly been building up my bicycling wardrobe in anticipation of this kind of cold. Today I felt completely confident that I would be comfortable on my ride in. My confidence was well founded, at least as far as those concerns that I had anticipated.

Of course, that just means that there are plenty of concerns that I hadn’t anticipated. Chief among them is that while I was perfectly fine, my bicycle was less that fully functional. Even before I started there was a slight layering of ice on the bicycle, but I didn’t worry about it, just knocking it off and then got on to ride. Now, about a third of the way there, I started noticing ice forming on the outer layers of my clothes and thought it was amusing. Half way there I’m noticing some difficulties shifting and a noticable increase in the effort to pedal. I stop to knock the ice off (I had been periodically breaking as well so as to melt the ice off my rims as well) and notice my spokes are three times their original diameter due to the ice freezing on them. A little ways further and I’m two thirds of the way there when I stop again to check my tires again as there was a rubbing sound. Apparently I hadn’t been breaking enough and ice was starting to build up. I pedal and break some more and melt it off again. By now, shifting is impossible as the mechanisms are completely frozen, as well as all of the gears except the one I’m now locked into. I keep pedalling as there isn’t much else left for me to do.

By the time I finally get to work, the bicycle is covered in ice and so am I. I had difficulty even untying my shoes because they were covered in a layer of ice. But the battle had ended, and I was the victor (a hobbled victor, but one nonetheless). Now I just have to ride home tonight, lol.

Bicycle down again

I am going to make this one a private entry, as I am sure that everyone is just as sick as I am of hearing about how my bicycle is down again. Anyway, it was the front tire, a very quick leak, and I suspect it is from a defective valve stem, as it occurred shortly after I pumped it up.

Anyway, drove again today. I’m impressed with my little van’s gas mileage this time around, as I’ve already gone 430 miles on a single tank, and the empty light hasn’t even come on today.

My Japanese test went ok, not great, but at least not the unmitigated disaster that the previous one was. I’m feeling weird today, well, actually after I visited Barnes & Noble after class. All systems are subdued, no explanation as to why though. I am glad I have a day off tomorrow. Well, not really, since now I’ve volunteered myself for four hours to help out a coworker. Oh well, four hours isn’t bad.

Finally rode again

Rode my bicycle today for the first time in over a week (the previous Sunday to be exact). Nothing special about it other than I felt a little rusty and there was some wind against me (can’t really distinguish where one ended and the other began). I’m just writing this to keep track of my riding days.

The bicycle is back…

at least temporarily. The drama is not over yet though. I have the new wheel for the front tire, but Raleigh sent the wrong rear wheel and so the bicycle shop has lent me a different (yet also new) one until my other wheel is in. So I’ll be riding again tomorrow. The front wheel looks very nice and I am so looking forward to finally getting back on again since last Sunday.

I’ll post photos when I finally get the backwheel.