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Probably boring bicycling stuff... [May. 17th, 2004|09:49 am]
Well, I learned quite a few lessons today.

I think it was Tuesday when I got my bike back from the bike shop, and I was really happy to have it again. There's something about bicycling that is much more pleasant than running, and I don't just mean that running is more difficult than bicycling.

I think it's the sheer speed difference. If I were able to run for an hour (and I certainly can't do that yet), if I was lighter, and in better shape than I am now, I might make between six and eight miles of distance. Bicycling for an hour, and I can probably more than double that... and the effort expended per mile travelled is much, much less.

With more than twice the distance covered, there are twice as many things to see. Plus, it's simply more exciting to be traveling that much more quickly. It's even better now, because I've been having problems with my knee, and bicycling isn't as bad on my knee as jogging is. So, Thursday I went riding on the interurban trail (a trail through multiple cities, along the power and train right-of-way), and went north. It looks like they've extended the interurban trail by a a a fair amount of distance ... probably a mile or more. I went out bicycling for about 40 minutes, and I felt pretty good.

So, today I decided I was going to go one of my very long bike ride. I even took some careful preparations. I made sure that my water bottle was full, and I brought along a couple of Atkins bars (these are high protein bars with minimal blood sugar impact), and a can of Fresca. I was hoping to go bicycling for about an hour, or maybe a little bit longer.

I guess I should have known that there were going to be problems when I set out, and realized that it was raining. It also was relatively cold, or, at least, it was a little bit too cold to be bicycling the way that I was. I was wearing a long sleeved T-shirt, and I was wearing relatively warm pants, at least for the late spring/summertime. It would've been fine, except for the rain...

Riding out wasn't that bad, and I was pretty excited that I managed to ride out for 30 minutes without any major difficulties, and I decided to keep going ... the further you ride out, the further you have to ride back, which forces you not to skimp on the second half of your exercise. So, in the end, I made it out about 44 minutes. I stopped, drank my Fresca, and ate some of the munchies I brought before turning around.

My eyes were already burning a little bit, and I suppose that should've been a warning, but there wasn't really much I could do at that point anyway.

Anyway, lesson #1: If you're going to be riding a bike in the rain, have some form of eye protection. This is goes doubly true if you have a bike that doesn't have a splash guard on the front wheel. My eyes were not happy with me yesterday, or today, but, as I had guessed, they're doing just fine now. It was just irritation from road spray, and from the rain.

Lesson #2: make sure you have some way of keeping some tissues try. You see, if you're riding in the rain, the rain is going to get into your eyes, and when your eyes water a lot, well, I'm sure that you can all fill in the blanks.

Lesson #3: Self, remember those wool gloves that you thought might be a good idea, just in case? Well, they would have been a good idea...

Lesson #4: when it's mildly cold, and rainy, the rule of "make sure you go out and as far from home as you can, to avoid skimping" doesn't apply. Stay close to home... if nothing else, you can go home and rinse your eyes out more quickly.

[User Picture]From: elimloth
2004-05-17 05:12 pm (UTC)
When I was riding down the interurban trail that starts in Renton (or is that Tukwilla), I thought of you, John. I recall you mentioned you live in Kent, so halfway down that trail I thought I might see you tooling along. I didn't quite make it down that far because I turned onto the GreenRiver trail heading north again.

Yes, rain can be a bother, but I keep an ultralight goretex rain jacket handy to deal with the soft days.

May we meet on the roads,
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2004-05-18 09:45 am (UTC)
Fenders are a very good thing. They come in very light plastic these days and aren't terribly expensive. Eye protection is a good thing, too, but something I don't think about because I always have my eye protection (that is to say, eyeglasses) with me.

I don't much mind being a little cold and wet -- especially since it helps with the overheating that I inevitably experience -- but keeping hands warm has always been very important to me. Your wool gloves are probably a very good idea.

Roy and I did my first "distance ride" of the season over the weekend. He's been out before but I've been tied to my community organization. We did 12-14 miles up to East Falls and back. I was pleasantly surprised, when I tried the ramp up to the Strawberry Mansion bridge, to find that a winter of walking to work and a little weight loss resulted in my taking the ramp almost with ease, although my knees are complaining a bit. Another couple of weeks and I'll be ready to take the hill up to Chamounix Mansion, which is as close to the Manayunk Wall as I ever expect to get.
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