Bicycle Stories Month | Week 1

 

Bicycle Stories Month Badge

Hello and welcome!

I hope you are here to participate in the Bicycle Stories Month Blogging Event, but there is a good chance at this point you might not know what that is so here is a short summary:

Bicycles Stories Month is an event I made up.

A Longer Summary

Here in America, May is National Bike Month. That got me thinking that I haven’t made an entry in My Bicycle Diary in months because of… reasons. OK, the reasons are that I haven’t spent much time on it over the wet and dreary winter and haven’t got up the gumption to start biking again, but I thought this would be a great time to get back to commuting with it as well as doing recreational rides with the missus. I also thought it might be a good month to put an event together to get other people telling their bicycle stories as well. So I did.

How Does this event work

  1. I’ll make an Event post each Thursday in May that I’ll stick to my home page for one week (Note this is the page for this week). It will be posted at 8:00am EST.
  2. You create a post for your bicycle story
  3. Use the tag Bicycle Stories Month and/ or include a Pingback to the weekly event post (again that’s this page)
  4.  On the following Tuesday, I’ll post a round-up of and/ or  reblog some of my favorites. (entries made after the round-up is posted will be eligible for the following week’s round-up)

How do I participate?

If you’d like to participate then starting Thursday May 1st,  just get out on your bike and then post about it. That’s it, no prompts no specific challenge to it just lets tell stories about bikes for a month. Your post can be in any format your comfortable with and just needs to be broadly about cycling.

  • A story or journal entry about your day out biking.
  • A photo essay showing places you visited on your bike (it’d be nice to include some pictures of your bikes).
  • A journalism piece about a bicycle event in your community.
  • The tale of teaching you child or sibling how to ride
  • When you got your first bike
  • Tell us why you hate riding a bike.
  • A how to on bike repairs
  • Anything you want just as long as it involves a bike, even a complete work of fiction.

Do we get a badge?

Absolutely, if you want a badge to include on your blog or in your post then feel free to grab a copy of the logo for the event, and stick it anywhere it makes you happy. Here it is again in case you missed it at the top of the page.

Bicycle Stories Month Semi-official Badge

Bicycle Stories Month Semi-official Badge

Don’t have a Blog? We got you covered.

If you want to participate without a blog you can make a short post or share your photos on this blogs Facebook page to share your biking stories this month. I’ll be sharing bike related links there all month.

I hope that you’ll join in and have some fun with this event.

 Have any questions, or need additional information?

Please leave a comment on the Event Page or Contact Me through the myriad of options available.

Happy biking, and happy blogging.

Bicycle Stories | A blogging event

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Here in America, May is National Bike Month. That got me thinking that I haven’t made an entry in My Bicycle Diary in months because of… reasons. OK, the reasons are that I haven’t spent much time on it over the winter wet and dreary winter and haven’t got up the gumption to start biking again, but I thought this would be a great time to get back to commuting with it as well as doing recreational rides with the missus. I also thought it might be a good month to get other people telling their bicycle stories as well. So, for the month of May I’d like to make an event of it.  So I am and here’s how it’s going to work.

  1. I’ll make an Event post each Thursday in May that I’ll stick to my home page for one week.
  2. You create a post for your bicycle story
  3. Use the tag Bicycle Stories Month and/ or include a Pingback to the weekly event post
  4.  On the following Tuesday, depending on the number of participants, I’ll either reblog and/ or post a round-up of some of my favorites.

If you’d like to participate then starting Thursday May 1st,  just get out on your bike and then post about it. That’s it, no prompts no specific challenge to it just lets tell stories about bikes for a month. Your post can be in any format your comfortable with and can just needs to be broadly about cycling.

  • A story or journal entry about your day out biking.
  • A photo essay showing places you visited on your bike (it’d be nice to include some pictures of your bikes).
  • A journalism piece about a bicycle event in your community.
  • The tale of teaching you child or sibling how to ride
  • When you got your first bike
  • Tell us why you hate riding a bike.
  • A how to on bike repairs
  • Anything you want just as long as it involves a bike.

If you have any questions or just want to talk about this event leave your comments on the Bicycle Stories Event Page.

 Don’t have a Blog? We got you covered.

If you want to participate without a blog you can enter a short post or share your photos on this blogs Facebook page to share your biking stories this month. I’ll be sharing bike related links there all month.

I hope that you’ll join in and have some fun with this event.

There might even be a badge.

Riding Out the Storm

“Did you ride your bike today?”

A casual and innocent question posed by my grill cook1, and I wonder where she’s going with this.  She had to know damn well I rode it here, she had to walk past it when she walked in the back door to the kitchen. Just a few minutes ago discussed the fact that she had just seen me riding my bike on my way in to town. She even teased me about wearing a helmet. “Why did you need a ride home?” I answer her suspiciously.

“No, I’m cut early tonight anyway,” she says, “I was just wondering because it’s supposed to rain.”

Not being much of a gambler, I am pretty much on top of the weather when I plan out my day. Today as always I checked right before I got on the bike and though rain was likely, I would be home by then. Given a margin for error  I pack extra clothes to keep off what ever light sprinkle might happen on the way. Confident in my preparations I strode to the back of the kitchen, kicked open the back door stepped out side and then, arms stretched out I spun around a few times, looking up at the sky.

There wasn’t a cloud to be seen.

I took this gift as an opportunity to ridicule my coworker for not riding her bike like she usually does because she was afraid of a little rain. Rain, what rain? Was she going to melt? After years of hanging out with her after work when I was still a hopeless drunk2, I know for a fact she was not made of sugar. Soon the dinner rush started and I was too busy pushing out plates to keep beating that particular horse.

After things settled down Jennie was free to clock out. While she was having a parting smoke with all the rest of the ne’er do wells out back I poked my head out of the door and taunted her some more. We exchanged a few sarcastic and caustic remarks before she went on her way.

You Call This Rain?

A fine mist covered everything as I left the kitchen that night. Nothing to worry about, it was mostly just a fog with a bit more vertical activity. I put in my ear buds, clicked on the tracking app, buckled my chin strap, turned on my lights and pedaled out of the back alley and into traffic.

Ten minutes into my ride I’m halfway home, the rain such as it is, begins to pick up as I pass the Walgreen’s that marks my last opportunity to take any kind of shelter until I get to the house. I pull off the road onto the sidewalk just long enough to transfer my phone from my front pocket to my shoulder bag and pressed on.

Two minutes later I begin a descent down the first of the many steep hills on my route when there is this bright flash and crack of thunder as the sky just opens up on me. Huge drops bounce of my helmet, as if someone upended a bag of Skittles on my head as I coast downward picking up speed, just ahead the traffic signal that some stupid, sadistic son of a bitch decided to install at the bottom of the hill turns red. Naturally at this point I attempt to brake.

Attempt is an accurate description because what really happened when I squeezed the lever and my brake pads managed to grab the rain slicked tires, is that said tires then skidded on the wet pavement turning me sideways. Careening at high speeds lengthwise down a hill towards an intersection in nearly blinding rain, while marginally preferred to a total wipe out, is a fairly scary proposition. I was barely maintaining balance, and could feel the bike trying to fall over forward down the hill, even if I dropped it there was little chance I could get clear of the damned thing,  I’d probably be dragged down the pavement several feet. I had my helmet on but that wouldn’t help my legs and ribs much either way.

Before I fell into a total panic I chanced dropping my foot off the pedal, the sole of my sneaker was just dry enough to make traction and I managed to right myself and stop, my front tire barely over the stop line as the light turned green again.

 I unclenched my sphincter, and took a deep breath. To hell with it, I thought, I’ve got this far I’m already wet, I’m riding this bastard home. I steadied my nerves pushed off on the left, and got my bike going again.

Up and down the hills I rode, the rain getting heavier. The harder it fell the more it sounded like someone laughing at me. I was thoroughly sodden and pushing my pedals with bleak resolve I trudged onward. Not being able to stop and remove them my ear buds became a new source of aggravation as my phone began to ring through them, this was obviously my wife calling me to tell me not to get hit by lightning3. Unable to get it out of the shoulder bag without getting it wet I was forced to let it ring through to voice mail. Adding to my irritation was the immediate text alert I received after I failed to pick up the phone.

Finally home my wife was waiting on the front porch to bring me a towel, and to admonish me for not stopping somewhere to wait out the storm. Pealing off my outer layer I manage to get in and change with minimal drippage. I empty my bag, which turned out to be considerably waterproof. I retrieve my phone and see that the text was not from my wife but from Jennie, my grill cook.

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Clearly the moral of this tale is,

I am a sarcastic ass that deserved to get rained on for making fun of my friend. Hopefully now I have learned that Karma is a bitch.

Except, I think that is utter nonsense because:

It takes me on average a little over twenty minutes to ride home.

That evening the floor manager lost his wine key. This particular wine opener isn’t one of these cheap convenience store items most people have banging around in the kitchen drawer. His wife bought this for him, it was expensive, he’d be in trouble if she found out he had mislaid it; so I spent about fifteen minutes helping him look for it.

The downpour started ten minutes into the ride, meaning that I should have been home almost a full five minutes before the storm had I not stayed and helped him.

And therefore it is really,

No good deed goes unpunished.


  1. Seldom is there a casual or innocent question in a kitchen. 
  2. I tried being a hopeful drunk for a while but I just wound up annoying myself.4 
  3. True story, she once called me during a storm to tell me not to get struck by lightning on the way home. Obviously I listened to her. 
  4.  Now I don’t bother with the drunk bit at all anymore and I just annoy everyone else. 

Accident at Second and Union

I was holding my daughter’s hand, waiting for the traffic lights to cycle, at the corner of Second Avenue and Union Street, downtown. It was a clear and all to sunny day, the reflecting light from the store windows making me squint and wish I was enough of a jerk to not have given my sunglasses to the little darling when she asked for them; still sacrifice is the cornerstone of good parenting, so I’m led to believe, and she looks more adorable than me in them. Accepting my fate I lifted my free hand to my forehead to shield my vision as I impatiently scanned east and west along  Union. There was a break in the traffic and I was debating to myself whether or not to continue being a good example or just cross the damned street, walk signal be damned. The rest seemed happen all at once.

A bicycle, complete with helmeted rider jumped the stop light and flew into the section. From my blind spot I heard the sharp blaring horn and I snapped around, instinctively and most likely futilely attempting to yank my child away from the side of the road as I did so. A pick up, wheels screaming through the intersection the burning of it’s brake pads filling the streets with the aroma of death, or something close to it. It was a dualie, an F350 extend cab, Wedgwood blue; covered with dents and scratches, like hash marks, tallying up its previous victims automotive and pedestrian alike. Today it was out for blood and claimed one more. My sunglasses clattered onto the sidewalk as I pulled her face into my stomach, trying to prevent her from seeing his inevitable doom.

A dull thunk, barely audible over the behemoth’s horn and skidding tires, was almost anticlimactic; or would have been if the cyclist, his red and black jersey pegging him as a deliver of sandwiches, had not flown up off the seat of his fixie and rotated ninety degrees; then, as if in a tribute to Gregg Louganis, folded in half, spun backwards before hitting his head on the hood of the truck before sliding sideways to bounce from the bumper to the pavement. With the last of his momentum his body rolled onto his back, moaning, his helmet cracked and scratched the plastic falling away along the rear right side  where he made impact with both vehicle and street, exposing the gray foam padding beneath.

The F350 veered left, skidded and came to a halt, and by some small miracle managed to avoid crushing the prone cyclist; thought I have doubts as to the fate of his bike, or the sandwiches. The door of the truck creaked open and a large woman with the type of build you get from dealing with livestock on a daily basis, half fell out of the driver seat. She was hanging onto the steering wheel with one hand to steady herself while the other clutched the cellphone, from its speaker could be heard another woman’s panicked voice, “Louise? Louise, y’all alright? Answer me girl.” Louise was too dumbfounded to answer, she just stared at the glowing screen on the device and making a slightly inquisitive whimpering noise. Her temple and the driver’s side window both had small smears of blood, the one on the side of her head getting slowly larger as the seconds ticked on.

It being middle of downtown, and lunch hour, there was no shortage of gawkers and rubberneckers gathering around for a good ogle at the carnage. A few of them, not clutching a six-year-old protectively while she tried to peek at what was happening, pulled out their phones; some of them even called 9-1-1 instead of instagraming the event. A few onlookers with quicker brains came to the apparent aid of the fallen bicyclist. “Don’t try to move man, don’t move.” chanted one dreadlocked African american youth, as he stood over the man. One budding paramedic was waving his hands in front of Louise’s face. “How many fingers am I holding up lady?” he kept asking of the stunned woman.

Soon the intersection was a tangle of emergency vehicles as, thankfully, the police arrived. Statements were taken, which confirmed the fact that none of the witnesses had seen the same accident happen and soon my daughter and I were on my way home. We walked a short distance to a bus stop where I sat down shakily. As I tried to steady myself to phone my wife and tell her what happened my daughter hugged me and asked, “Is the man dead?”

“No honey, they took the man to the hospital.”

“Is he going to die.”

“I don’t know Kate.” I replied still rattled

“He’s probably going to die.” She stated calmly, her eyes clear and innocent. She reached out and handed me my now extremely scratched sunglasses.

Sometimes kids are kind of creepy.

This fictional account was inspired by a Weekly Challenge.

It’s Just Like Riding a Bike…

Mostly because it is a bike.

I managed to get my ass up on the saddle for the first time in nearly a month, and don’t worry I have plenty of excuses for that; starting with the holidays, ending with the weather, with a whole bunch of B.S. in between them. But I woke up yesterday morning and while I was eating a rather too large breakfast that I took great enjoyment in1 I resolved that it was high time I start in on the cranks again. Quite frankly my attitude has been utter shite lately and it is mostly due to lack of exercise and recreation, two things that my bicycle was built for.

The devil car had other ideas. Oh no, wait, my wife needed me to drop her and my daughter off at the all-inclusive-super-mega-big box store so that she could do some shopping and to possibly get the girl’s hair cut; because despite her protests it is getting a bit shaggy in the front, and she can’t see things right in front of her face2. Which I agreed to because, well it’s what proper and responsible husbands do. Getting a six-year-old ready for a potential hair appointment tends to always take longer than expected, and what with driving there and getting myself back to the house nearly made me miss my time window for a comfortable riding experience.

Alright, getting on the bike was fine once I tracked down where my lock and cable ended up, and my helmet, and that pack of spare batteries for my lights; after all I wasn’t going to be riding home until late at night. About half way down the driveway, right before I mounted up, I remembered to check my tires.Sure enough, the front one was low and I had to stop and put air in it. On the plus side my frame pump was still where it was supposed to be, but it still took a while to get enough air in. After spending a moment fiddling with my phone to get it to track my ride I was off.

On the road I decided I wasn’t going to push myself to hard since it had been a while, this was a good idea. Soon I could feel the grinding of my knee, the one I fractured a few years ago, letting me know just how long it has been since it had a good work out. This caused me to change my route in favor of a slightly shorter one to lessen the impact on my aging and out of shape body. After about a mile and a half more I reached down between my legs and realized I forgot to fill my canteen. The change in routes cut off any option to stop for a bottle so I was just going to have to be parched until I got to the restaurant.

Once at work I checked my time and distance. A measly four miles but not that much slower than my normal pace. Rooting through my bag I realized that I had forgotten to transfer my Ibuprofen from my panniers, one of which had broken clips so I didn’t use them, to my shoulder bag. I sighed and went inside to find that the first aid kit we keep in the kitchen was woefully devoid of any analgesics. I poured myself a tall glass of water and set about my tasks.

I had forgotten how to ride a bike.

 


  1. I like big breakfasts and I can not lie, other eaters can’t deny… 
  2. Also you can’t see her face at all and she is far too cute to be hidden away behind her bangs, though she does have a nice early eighties mod look going on. 

New Year, Same Me.

The past year was slightly different for me, few changes and some milestones. For some reason, perhaps it was an attempt to come out of my shell a bit, I started a Twitter account last January. I do at times find great amusement in it, however I have yet to discover any real or practical use fo it; I’ll chalk that one up to just trying something new. In may I celebrated my first year since I was fourteen in which I did not smoke at all. The end of September marked my first full year off the booze, though the way I have felt for the past several weeks indicates I am not quite free from it entirely. October was a month full of changes as I began bicycling on a regular basis, a thing that I need to get back to as the holidays wind down and my daughter gets back to school and my schedule returns to normal; it was also the month in which I began my blog, which would be another thing that I feel my focus on slipping just a bit. I, once again, engaged in my unique habit of growing one year older on the day before Halloween, a tradition that I plan on continuing for many years to come; I am happy to report that my scheduled midlife crisis is in full swing and is going about as well as can be expected given my budget. Not an entirely bad year I’d say.

I think the only thing bad I have to say is that I have not read a single book in the past 365 days. I have read articles, blogs, and essays but I could not bring myself to read any work longer than a couple of thousand words. This has been a thing with me since I became sober. I got so in the habit of pouring over a book while I poured beer down my throat that it has become practically impossible for me to separate the two activities; sometimes it seems like my addictions last stand. This is something that I am determined to overcome, as it makes reading to my daughter more than just a little bit frustrating. I also was supposed to read a friends first novel earlier this year and I very quietly got derailed from that, I owe her an apology.

By the end of 2013 I was in a bit of a funk.  A waning amount of sunlight, dreary weather, hectic scheduling in my personal life, frustrations with my job and lack of exercise have all conspired to fill me with a strong desire to remain in bed as much as possible and eat nothing but breakfast meats and sugar. The holiday season has always gotten me down and this is only my second time through it sober in many more years than I can even recall, so I guess we can count me going through a pint of ice cream and a ton of cherry soda each day for the past week or so instead of a ton of beer and a pint of bourbon as a positive.

To assuage my recent depression a bit I started the year off right. First I took everything out of my spice cabinet and threw out most of the crap I found there. All the stale dried herbs, the duplicates of spices I wound up buying because I thought we were out, the half empty tin of Old Bay, the Montreal Steak Seasoning that I have no idea how it got there, those spice rubs and season salts and herb mixtures that have been gifted to the family over the years and never opened, the mysterious shaker of meat tenderizer because in the end it’s really just salt, and someone please explain to me what the hell Mrs. Dash is doing anywhere near my kitchen. I love throwing things out, it just makes me feel good like I just shed about a few metric tons of bullshit all at once. When I was done I neatly put the survivors of my purge back in the cabinet and proceeded to cook way too much food.

Living with my mother-in-law means learning to cook with at least one extra plate on the table and on New Year’s day my nieces were at the house while their mother worked her nursing job, a convenient excuse to make a rather large meal of rosemary and Dijon rubbed roast pork, black-eyed peas, collard greens and roasted potatoes. It was nice, the meal came out well, if a little later than I planned and preparing it reminded me what I like about cooking and I liked starting the year off with the family around the dinner table. It might even be nice to make this a new tradition.

Sometimes Things Go Well

About a week ago I wrote a post, about how I managed to lose one of the bags off the back of my bicycle while on my commute into town. There wasn’t anything of much importance in it; my bike tools and work shoes were in the pack that was on the other side of the rack. It did mean that I had to purchase a new lock and cable and reconfigure my gear a bit; nothing heart wrenching but, it was a bit annoying and it has made running errands slightly harder on the bike as my carrying capacity has been reduced. To be honest I hadn’t given it much thought since I wrote about it.

Until today.

I was going through the motions of opening the kitchen where I work, getting my ducks in a row. It was going to be another one of those rare nights that they decided to trust me enough to run the line. Everything was going semi-normal, I have yet another wicked head cold which is my lot in life since I am the father of child attending public elementary school and work in a restaurant full-time. Fortunately there weren’t any really large parties, but the book had a few reservations to deal with. Shortly after the rest of the kitchen staff had shown up and got settled into their daily paces. The owner came bursting in through the saloon style doors calling out, “Doug someone dropped this off for you.” He was holding up…

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My lost pannier returned by an anonymous stranger, who had located me by an errant pay stub crammed into its recesses giving the address of the restaurant where I worked. Everything was intact; the lock and cable, my brown long-sleeved shirt, ibuprofen, even the granola bar I had intended for a post ride snack the day I had lost it. The one of clips where it attaches to the cargo rack is still obviously in need of another adjustment to keep it from falling off again, but it’ll do.

Every once in a while something happens to let you know that not everyone in the world sucks. It is especially nice to be reminded of the kindness of strangers about an hour before you have to run a busy dinner shift with a rather debilitating head cold.

Unbalanced Load

Recently our mornings have been taken up by lawn mowing, weeding and other landscaping projects that involved the moving and expansion of a couple of beds. On Saturday these tasks made it necessary for me to spend a good part of the day digging up rocks with a potato rake and pitching them around the yard1. What I really wanted to do that day, was put in some serious miles in on the bike. Searching desperately for a way out of the onerous chore of yard work, it dawned on me that I had a minor financial errand to run that would be on the way to work and would provide me with ample excuse to leave the house early.

Setting aside the rake and work gloves I packed my panniers2, checked my tires and brought the bike around to the front of the house; I climbed up on the saddle turned on my tracking app and pedaled down the driveway. Soon I was leaving the residential circle I live on and entered into the traffic of the local highway. I was keeping a good pace and was engaged on the inadvisable practice of riding with my ear-buds in and listening to AC/DC3. By the time the first mile was complete I had my route planned out; providing me with several miles of pedaling with plenty of time to run my errands and make it to work on time. I shot past the street that would take me the direct route to my first stop, heading east to the next major intersection where I would turn and then double back after about two miles to stop and pay the couple of bills that I used as my rationale for getting out of the house thirty minutes early. When I finally reached my destination I hopped off, picked up my bike, set it next to the rack and went to reach into my bag for my lock.

That was when I noticed that the pannier that I keep my lock in had fallen off my bike. I must not have heard it hit the ground with the music playing and all the traffic noise.

Okay, don’t panic, take a deep breath. You’re already here. The bike will be clearly visible from the lobby of the store, you’ll only be in there for a minute. So, take care of your business and go back and look for the bag.

I entered the all-in-one financial services store, removing my helmet, ear-buds, and shades. I was happy to see that there is only one person in line in front of me, a tall, lean, dark-haired man who was trying to both cash a check and get a money order filled in the same transaction. Based on the expression on her face, the woman behind the counter seems to find his mannerisms somewhat rude; it is obvious that she is taking a deliberately inordinate amount of time dealing with him. I could tell that he was a discourteous fool because he still has his sunglasses on while indoors and attempting to do business with her4. I find myself getting angry with him and whatever he did to offend her prior to my arrival. I spend the time waiting behind him glancing over my shoulder to make sure my bicycle is safe.

That old homeless guy with the brace on his arm is eyeballing my ride. He’s walking towards it. Oh good, he sees me watching him. That’s right buddy keep walking. Look lady if you’re that mad at this guy just finish up and get rid of him.

I could hear a fictional clock ticking as the woman behind the bullet proof glass slowly tapped away at her computer screen, her fingers splayed to protect her acrylic nails; I could hear him getting frustrated as he repeated how much he wanted the money order made out for. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, she finished with the young man in front of me and asked me to step forward. We exchanged brief greetings and I quickly explained what I needed to do. Much to the previous customers added irritation we were done with our transaction before he could reach the door. After thanking her and hurried outside and back on to my bike.

I began to retrace my route, eyes peeled looking for the black nylon bag anywhere it might have come off of my bike. In my mind I felt off balance with only the one pack hanging off the cargo rack behind me.

Alright, it’s cool, it probably just came unhooked when I hopped the curb a couple of blocks back to hit the cross walk signal.

Maybe it fell off when I made the left turn off of twenty-third avenue.

When I came around the corner of that gas station.

I stopped at the bottom of that hill to fiddle with the fitness tracking app on my phone, maybe it got jostled off when I started cranking again.

Could have come off when I hit the bump at the end of the road out of my neighborhood.

Every time I was certain I would find it around the next bend or over the next hill I was disappointed but I kept searching. It just had to be there somewhere. I refused to give up hope. Eventually my path led me all the way back up my driveway. I unlatched the gate to my backyard and all the way back to the rear of the house where I keep my bicycle parked, in a disused flowerbed right up against the bedroom window. You know how people always say you’ll find something in the last place you look…5

I never did find it, not even after getting in the truck and driving back through the route one more time. I can only guess that someone saw it lying on the side of the road and grabbed it. That person is now the proud owner of a thirteen foot cable that is padlocked to itself in a tightly wound loop, a sweaty, brown button-down shirt, and a granola bar. I consider myself lucky that it was the bag with the twenty-dollar lock and cable and not the one that held the ninety-dollar set of kitchen clogs that I need for work. I have since replaced the cable with a more reasonable seven footer and bought a new padlock. The panniers have been temporarily replaced by a trunk bag mounted to the top of my cargo rack and by a very nice shoulder bag I got at a thrift shop on the cheap; I plan on replacing them sometime after the first of the year, hopefully.

So that was my weekend. How was yours?


  1. This is good upper body exercise and quite a lot of fun as it turns out. 
  2. It seems that when I say “panniers” to most people they just smile and nod in a polite, bewildered fashion. If you are one of these people please click here
  3. I mean I can’t in good conscience advise riding with ear-buds in, it’s too dangerous. By all means listen to AC/DC. 
  4. Seriously, you’re not that cool. Take your shades off when you are talking to someone. 
  5. Those people are idiots. 

Commuting and Fitness | December’s Horribly Lazy Start

Excuses, excuses, excuses

I know that I have gone over some of this in a previous post but, for the first several days of this month my job has required me to get in about 11 hours earlier than normal. This meant that I had to be up at three in the morning, which was not at all conducive to me making quality decisions about my mode of transportation for getting to work; in short I have been using the truck far too much this first week. When that was over with and my day off came I was supposed to go on a ride with the Missus, but I let the overall lack of sleep from the brief schedule change get the better of me and I was crashed out when it came time to do that. I planned to ride later that evening but, I then conveniently remembered a couple of maintenance issues I needed to address with the bike and was able to put it off once more. This allowed me to rack up a total of five days of being an absolute turd about being a cyclist so far this month.

I could also point out here that at the end of last month I decided that I was going to not take December all that seriously, and that I went into this month knowing how crazy things were going to get, but would be beside the point.

Back on the crank

I finally got back on the bike late Friday morning, after finally taking a pair of pliers to the quick release on my front brakes to keep them from flying open every third or fourth time I used them, as well as fixing the clips on my panniers to keep them from trying to bounce free from the cargo rack. It wasn’t much, just a four mile little errand to run with my wife but it felt good to be on the saddle again. The ride pointed out a small problem with my shifter and I think I got that sorted but I am not one hundred percent on that; I’ll find tomorrow as I plan to take a route in to town that has a few light hills to climb.

Since I have been so delinquent in my commitment to riding I decided not to take the short route into work today, even though it looked like it was going to be a little hairy trying to get there on time today. It worked out but I could definitely tell I had not been on the bike in nearly a week. My legs were very sore and the bum knee was griping at me just a little. Add a nine-hour shift of being on my feet in the mix and I was fairly tired by the end of the night, so I took it a bit easier on myself on the way home. Perhaps I can take that as lesson learned.

I am not going to beat myself up over being a bit lazy this week, I’m just not going to make it into a pattern.

Observations

I will say that there are two things that I have noticed this week. First is something that I already could have told you; If I don’t ride I generally find myself in a bad mood. I have been using the bike as a way of dealing with stress since I stopped drinking so if I spend too much time away from it I start to verge on being rotten to myself and others, thankfully I didn’t get much past the stage where I start to withdraw from everyone this week.

The other thing, I stopped writing all together. I didn’t just stop writing my bicycle journal but, I did not feel like writing a single damned word at all. Now this might have been exhaustion from my scheduling craziness, or burn out from attempting to write a post everyday in November; however, as shortly after I started pedaling I started to feel the urge again. Either way I think it is I good idea if I keep at the cranks.

Moving Forward

 I am not going to sit here and worry myself over weekly and monthly mileage right now; I am still keeping track on the app but I am just going wait and see how it goes if I don’t set concrete numbers for myself. Like I said this month is about having fun with the bike.

I still need to take some more time to help my little girl get riding without her training wheels and I think that is more of what I am going to focus on right now.

I would also like to thank Jean at Cycle Write Blog for pointing out last week that I might be getting a little to obsessed about my speed. After thinking about it she was definitely right. Her input helped me relax and not take my perceptions of lack of progress in stride this week

I Have Been a Bit Neglectful Lately

Since the beginning of this month I have been covering the shifts of our regular morning prep people at work while they are attending a memorial service for their father out-of-town; I am more than happy to do this for them. It has however forced into a work schedule that starts twelve hours earlier than my regular dinner shifts on the line. The time difference has made neglectful of other aspects of my life.

Obviously I haven’t written much since this began and even just taking less than a week away from doing that has made getting started again very difficult. Even my typing seems awkward and clumsy. My normal schedule for working on my blog is from about midnight to one or two in the morning, and then again at about nine a.m. for last edits and polishing, perhaps getting started on new ideas. The change of shifts has left me either at work or so exhausted that I couldn’t keep my eyes open once I got home and had some quality time with my wife and daughter, which quite frankly trumps just about everything in my life. I am behind on my desired timetable for publishing of certain material, and at this point writing about that seems trite and contrived to me.

Just as bad of an offense is, I have barely even looked at my bicycle in the last four days; I found that dragging myself out of bed at three in the morning does little for the quality of my decision making, so I have wound up using the truck more often than I would like to get back and forth to the restaurant. My tracking app on the phone as sent me a nasty notification telling me that it is very disappointed in me and that I’m being a lazy jerk, and that I need to get my butt in gear. To this end the wife and I are planning a ride for the morning after we drop the girl off at school. We don’t have a set route yet but the weather should be great for it provided we get an early start to avoid what chance of rain there is. Perhaps I’ll pack us a small picnic for the trip.

Perhaps it is good that I took a short break after the marathon of publishing that I did in November. I do return to my normal work schedule starting Friday so, hopefully, I will be back up to doing some serious writing soon.