Sidelined

Thanks, trees.

As a lifelong allergy sufferer, I have had good springs and bad springs. This spring I barely even registered that things had started to bloom. Trees were almost fully leafed out and I was only sneezing a couple of times a day. I was only taking one medication. I could sense imminent freedom from Kleenex, eye drops, and that constant fuzzy feeling you get from taking too much Benadryl. So what did I do? Proclaim loudly and proudly to my husband that I might be “getting over” my allergies. I should have knocked on wood.

Friday, the trees decided that it was the ideal time to reproduce. Thanks, trees! I was looking forward to a nice spring full of warm, sunny days and gentle breezes as I cruised effortlessly down the river trail on my bike. I was thinking of all the restaurant patios I could sit on. I had dreams! I had hopes! Then the trees woke up and decided to rob me of that. I may go to work on Monday and throw some perfectly good computer paper into the trashcan just to get back at them. “See this trees? This is a stack of your brothers and sisters, and they won’t be recycled! What’s that? You hear something? Why yes, it does sound remarkably like a chainsaw, coming to cut you down to make more paper! Bwahahaha!” I need to work on my maniacal, evil-genius cackle.

Saturday morning, I defiantly rode my bike downtown to help the hubs staff an event for his business. Unfortunately, this event required me to be outside all morning, which meant that I was puffy-faced and unable to breathe by the time we got to Dilly Deli for brunch. The whole thing was especially sad because my new bike shorts arrived on Friday afternoon, and I was looking forward to going on my first training ride for El Tour de Tucson. Alas, it was not meant to be.

I think I may be sidelined from riding my bike for a few weeks… at least until the trees decide to stop “getting it on” with the intensity they have been this week. So in lieu of posts about riding my bike, I will probably post about commuting-related tips that I have learned so far. Cross your fingers that the trees stop mating soon.

Posted in Death by Pollen, Spandex Warriors, Weekender | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Cushy Butt Pads!

Coming to my house very soon!

 

These wonderful spandex creations and their cushy butt pads are coming to live with me very soon. I’m sort of excited! Maybe they will make me feel sleek and fast. Maybe they will make me feel like I’m in the “cool” kids’ club.

I’ll let you know what I discover.

 

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The Trouble With Spandex

My aunt has raised a question about my aversion to spandex clothing and “road cycling” in general. I think that perhaps it is time for me to explain my “spandex problem”.

I have an aversion to road cyclists because of their attitudes. For the most part (and I realize that no characterization applies to everyone), in my experience, they are rude, selfish, and a danger to pedestrians.

As a runner, I have experienced the worst that cycling culture has to offer. On the Riverside East trail, there are several places where the nice, new trail with separate paths for bikes and pedestrians gives way to the old trail, where everyone is forced to share a very narrow strip of asphalt. The area between 48th-ish and 58th-ish is the one I am most familiar with.

As a runner on that stretch of trail, I have been passed by dozens of cyclists who are too engrossed in their “training” to offer up a helpful and friendly, “On your left!” I have nearly been side-swiped on several occasions by cyclists who silently crept up on me at 25 mph and then passed within a foot of where I was running. I have even had someone give me a look like they were going to jump off their bike and start a fight with me when I had the audacity to challenge them with a, “You’re on my left!”

What is so hard about calling out, “On your left!”?? I do it all the time as a cyclist. I don’t want to hit someone because of something as stupid as not saying three words. I’m reluctant to even look like them, lest some poor jogger think I’m one of them. Get with the program, roadies. There’s a reason why joggers and pedestrians don’t like you. It’s not because of a stupid “rivalry” either. It’s because you’re dangerous.

All that being said, my lovely aunt and I are embarking on a challenge for this fall, and it will require me to purchase padded bike shorts. We’re doing the 66-mile version of  El Tour de Tucson. Bring it on!

Pedestrians, I’m on your left.

Posted in El Tour, Spandex Warriors | 2 Comments

A Week of No Commuting

Last Thursday was the last day that I biked to work – bad bike commuter! In my defense, I spent the weekend lazing around my grandmother’s house (no bike needed), and then returned home, only to develop a wicked sinus infection that has kept me sidelined for the past few days.

Today the hubs and I took our bikes out for a nice little 11 mile jaunt after work. I was feeling much better this afternoon and a ride was just what I needed. As it turned out, there were more cyclists out than you could throw a bottle at.We saw a very fine specimen of a tandem spandex warrior team, but unfortunately I did not have my phone with me, so I couldn’t get a picture. The hubs was quite impressed with their ability to pedal in complete unison. I detected a slight undercurrent of, “If only our marriage were like that!” Hah!

We also explored bits of the Katy Trail to Sand Springs and got to watch a kid have a complete meltdown at a street corner. “But Mommy, I WANT IT!!!” Priceless.

Hopefully I will be back to bike commuting tomorrow. I’m sending thoughts of good health to everyone (it seems like) struggling with sinus infections. There is clear breathing on the other side, I promise!

Posted in Just For Fun | Tagged , | 4 Comments

A Rough Day

Days Bike Commuting: 11

My bike came back from 918XC yesterday all shined up and purring like a cat, so Jon and I decided to take it and the Fuji out for a spin. We rode down the Riverside East trail to the 71st Street bridge, across and around the Turkey Mountain trail, back across the pedestrian bridge and home. It was nice to see a different part of Tulsa, even if the part we saw included a sewage treatment plant.

The Fuji and the Trek... best of friends!

Taking in the Tulsa skyline.

The PSO plant up close.

 

Today was a little different. I felt “off” all day. Pedaling felt like trying to push bricks around with my feet. Then, I went to meet a friend at Coffee House On Cherry Street (CHOCS) after work and almost got hit by a truck. One of those massive, Ford F-250, chrome-plated, stock-trailer hauling, cowboy-toting trucks. It was completely my fault for not being more cautious in crossing the street, but I still felt shaky the whole time I was at CHOCS. I dreaded my ride home, because I knew it would mean crossing 15th Street again. (Here is a tip that I usually follow, but didn’t this afternoon for some reason: There is no shame in walking your bike across a busy street. Sometimes you are just more comfortable on foot than on bike, and wheeling your bike through a crosswalk is often advisable when there is a lot of traffic.)

To really make my night wonderful, I got some unfortunate (non-bike related) news as I was leaving CHOCS. Let’s really emphasize wonderful. (Sarcasm, yes?)

This was also my first solo ride in the dark, late at night (OK, 9:30, but that is sort of late), so I was feeling a little iffy about that as well. I am definitely one of those women that has been freaked out by watching too many local newscasts and hearing “friend of a friend” stories about women being mugged/kidnapped/raped/etc. on their way home alone at night. Plus, living in New York has given me a complete and utter fear of being in parks at night. (When a creepy man appears out of the bushes in Central Park and tells you that no good girls should be in the park after dark, you take that message to heart.) I will let you know that my ride home was completely uneventful, with the exception of me almost running over a woman walking her dog while talking on her phone, and not paying attention to the wheeled vehicle with a headlight coming in her direction. It never hurts to be vigilant, but I’m hoping that my fear of being alone on my bike at night will subside as I get more used to it.

All this is to say that yes, there are rough days. I will be back on my bike again tomorrow though. Mornings that start with bike rides seem to be better for me, so here’s hoping that tomorrow is one of those.

Posted in Daily Commute | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Another Bike Date, Another Bike

We started out today with a lunch bike-date at one of my very favorite places: Mod’s Coffee and Crepes. I got to indulge my gelato addiction, and Jon (the hubs) got to savor a crepe for the first time in years.

Since we were downtown, we decided to run over to Lee’s Bikes to have them figure out what’s wrong with my cycle computer. Apparently, the sensor and the magnet just weren’t close enough to talk to each other. 10-second solution!

At this point, it was apparent that Jon’s bike was not up to snuff. He has had it since he was in college, and at one point, it lived outside for about three straight years. His chain kept popping off in the middle of intersections (yikes!) and his posterior was sore from the ancient, brick-like seat. We decided to ride over to 918XC, which is another bike store where we had a Groupon for a tune-up.

Upon discussing Jon’s bike with the store owner, we learned that even with a tune-up, it would cost at least $300 to repair the parts of his bike that were broken. Boo. However, they had an awesome Fuji Crosstown 4.0 that was on sale (last year’s floor model), and decided to take it home after a spin around the neighborhood. We left my bike there for the tune-up and brought Mr. Fuji home. We’re building our own stable! We may donate his old bike to Tulsa Hub, or we may use it as an experimental bike for testing out repairs on. We are mildly mechanically-inclined people, so having a project bike might be fun.

No pictures of the Fuji yet, but I will be sure to take some soon. It’s a very handsome specimen, and the hubs is immensely happier when riding it.

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TGIF!

Days Bike Commuting: 10

It was such a gorgeous day today…. a perfect day to bike to work!

A gorgeous Friday!

I decided to experiment today with biking to work in my “regular” clothes. We have casual Fridays at the office, so I headed off in jeans instead of my usual running clothes.

My attempt to photograph my clothing choices.

The hubs was nice enough to take a better picture of the clothes I decided to bike to work in today.

I was running a little later than usual today, so I had the pleasure of hearing the Lee Elementary School prinicpal leading the students in the Pledge of Allegiance over the intercom (which I guess is broadcast to the outside speakers too). I bet all of those kiddos are too cute reciting the pledge in that slow, sing-song voice that little kids have.

The wind was really flexing its muscles all day, and on the way home, I found a tree had fallen across my path.

Obstacle!

Later on, the hubs and I decided that we needed a date night, and because he loves me, we made it a bike date. I rocked some awesome 3.5 inch platform heels and my new favorite purple silky shirt as we rode over to the new Wolfgang Puck Bistro on Brookside.

Me in my bike-date night clothes.

 

These were the super-cute heels I wore on our date. The hubs questioned my wisdom, but they were very comfy biking shoes.

All in all, a wonderful Friday! I have to say that I am really loving riding my bike everywhere. It makes everything an adventure.

Posted in Daily Commute | Tagged , , | 1 Comment