Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Day Off and an Early Spring Bike Ride

Today, I had the day off from work.  The weather was lovely, so I decided to ignore housework (well, I got some laundry in, and put a load of dishes in the dishwasher... that counts, right?) and go out for a nice long bike ride.

I did about a 12 1/2 mile bike ride.  My app quit halfway through my ride, so I'm relying on Google Maps to tell me how long the ride was.  It took about an hour and a half.  I am so slow right now..

I've got an appointment to get Penelope a tune-up in two weeks.  There's a great little bike shop in town that specializes in Vintage bicycles.  There's a click when I'm pedaling.  I'm sure that she could use some good maintenance.  I'm not going to blame my lack of speed all on the need for a tune-up, though. 

I'm heavier than I was when I was at peak biking form.  Heavier = slower.  I'm hoping that biking again helps to lighten my load, so to speak.

Anyhow, I wasn't hurrying today.  I was just taking a little test ride. 

What a ride it was.
Spot the snake
Not only was the  weather perfect, but I saw some great nature.  There was a young garter snake slithering across the path.

There were some lovely wildflowers by the bike path.

The mountains across the lake were magnificent.

Possibly best of all, there was a nesting pair of ospey in a newly cleared lot, working on making a nest on a telephone pole.  They were so close, and simply majestic.  There were other birds along the way, too, but the osprey were the best.

I look forward to my next bike ride.  Will it be to work?  I don't know.. but it will be soon!

Penelope : My Happy Little 3-Speed

This is Penelope.  She is my sweet little 3-speed Vintage Raleigh.  I've had her for 3 years, and some of my most joyful times have been riding her.

When I first got her, I was able to bike to work nearly every day for 8 months. My work was about 11 miles away, via a beautiful bike path for most of the journey. I had a flexible schedule, so if my commute took longer than anticipated,  it wasn't a big deal. I was working in a lab, so if I didn't look great, that wasn't a big deal.

Since then, I have had two jobs before my current one. One job was 40 miles away,  so that wasn't bike-able. The other was 12 miles away, but via unpleasant roads with very little shoulder and no bike paths. Again,  not ideal.

Since my joyful biking time ended, my father passed away. I stopped exercising. I have gained 20 lbs. Obviously,  I'd love to get back into the shape I was in when I was biking.

My current job is only about a mile away from the job I was biking to so happily.  However,  though I have worked there for a year,  I have not biked to it yet. The schedule is not flexible, and in fact, I have to be there much earlier than my old job - most days by 7 AM. I am working with people all day, so it's important to arrive to work looking presentable, and it's a more physical job, so often, I am very tired in the evening,  even with no outside activity at all...

I love my new job. It leaves my grinning on a daily basis.  Spring has come,  and I find myself yearning for Penelope. 

The National Bike Challenge begins on May 1, and I really want to try biking to work. With some extra time and some dry shampoo, can I get to work without leaving at an insanely early time?  Will it tire me out too much before a full day of work? Will I fall asleep even earlier than I do currently?  
Or, will it leave me energized after a beautiful ride to work and an exhilarating ride home? I need to find out. Biking has been my favorite physical activity since I rediscovered it in adulthood, plus you can't beat the views on the commute...

(I also love hiking and yoga, but hiking is not an everyday thing, and I haven't worked up the gumption to do yoga - even at home - in far too long.)

If I can ride my happy little Penelope to my happy happy job, I may just become so happy that it's obnoxious. 

I need to find out.

This Saturday is the second day of the National Bike Challenge.  I happen to be working at 7:30 instead of 7. The weather looks lovely. I don't have to get the kids ready for school before work. I may just give it a go.