Getting Back In Shape

bike path 2013

As part of my New Years Resolution to lose weight in 2013, I plan on adding an exercise routine that is sure to melt the fat away.  The plan is to get to the bike path here in Bakersfield from my house, then get on the bike path by turning left, and then just keep riding until the path ends which is 16.5 miles out.  At that point I will take about 5 minutes or so to rest before turning around and coming home.

I have done this in the past, but instead of turning left, I’ve always turned right.  That route was only 22 miles round trip.  I wanted to continue, but I’d have to ride in traffic, which I didn’t want to do, to get to Hart Park.  On the way back to the bike path from Hart Park, I’d have to ride uphill, which I did not want to do because I didn’t want to wreck my thigh and calf muscles with too much hard work.  I’m no spring chicken, I have to do what I can to keep my legs strong, but at the same time not ruin them by exercising too hard.

My weight loss coach app called “Noom” will help me this time.  In the past I have used a cheap bicycle computer that I bought at Target, but it didn’t have all of the functions that Noom has, the only thing it can’t do is map my progress.  I do plan on using my bicycle computer to let me know how many miles per hour I am riding and to see what time it is since my phone will be tucked away safely in my camelbak, but I won’t rely on it for anything else.  It’s still a useful tool.

I have tools for fixing my tires, but the one tool that I don’t have that I will need is a Co2 pump and cartridges.  I have a regular hand pump, but I have carpel tunnel syndrome and my hands are getting worse everyday.  I have fingerless gloves that are made for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, but they won’t help my hands when I pump the tire.  The Co2 pump will be a great asset.

I also need bicycle shorts.  They have gel in the butt of the shorts which will help keep my butt from hurting, trust me, I’ll need it lol.  Nashbar has a pair of “Gel Ride Bib Shorts” that I can actually afford.  I will buy that when I get some money later in the week along with the pump and Co2 cartridges.  I’m almost positive that those are the last things that I have always been missing in my bike rides.  I will especially need them if I plan to ride 33 miles per day.

Just like always, I won’t be riding 33 miles on the first day, I will start at 10 miles, then add 1 or 2 more miles everyday until I get to 33.  And I will ride every other day to give my body the rest that it deserves so I don’t overwork myself.

Oh boy, this is going to be a lot of fun.  I can’t wait!

Bike Safety 101: Riding the Roads

This morning I had planned on getting up at 4:30am as usual for my bike ride but because I went to bed at 11pm last night, I was still too groggy so I decided to sleep another hour.  I don’t have any place to be so why not right?  Darrin, thinking that I’m awake comes into my room at 4:45am to make me read an article in the newspaper about bicycle safety.

When I got up at 5:30 I read the article and thanked him for thinking of me.  Fortunately I already know everything that was in the article so I was already covered.  Luckily I don’t have to spend too much time on the road with cars to have to worry, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be reminded of the rules of the road every now and again.

I noticed that the article was written by the Chicago Tribune so I went online to find it and here it is.  Bike safety 101: Riding the roads – Chicago Tribune

That article has some good points but there are some things that they didn’t mention so I am here to add something to the list.

When you are riding with a helmet, and make sure you are, also buy a helmet mounted rear view mirror so you can see the cars and cyclists behind you.  This helps me see the cars behind me on the road and it also helps me see when there are a bunch of cyclists speeding towards me.  The article says that assume that there are drivers who are either drunk, texting or just not paying attention.  You can’t be looking behind you constantly so it’s a good thing to have that mirror.  And not handlebar mirrors because in some cases you can’t really look down, that would be too distracting.

Unfortunately, as with cars there are blind spots, even with helmet mounted mirrors.  This morning as I was coming home, I left the bike trail and got back on the street with traffic and there is a stretch of road that curves.  Well, in my mirror I can see behind me but there is a blind spot.  Unless I turn my head to look completely, I won’t see the cars that are driving directly behind me in the right lane, only the cars in the other lanes.

I had stopped because of all the traffic.  I usually go out into the left hand turning lane in the center of the road to get back into the neighborhoods and it’s usually safe in that spot but this morning after all the cars passed by I started to ride again and as I was picking up speed I noticed out of my peripheral vision a black SUV that swerved to stop before it hit me.  That was my fault because I shouldn’t just look in the mirror, especially when I stop like that.  I need to turn my head around so I can see to make sure there aren’t any cars still coming.  I was still looking in the mirror so that’s why it was puzzling that I didn’t see it.

As I was getting in the turning lane I looked over at him and waved saying “SORRY!” and he waved back at me as if to say “it’s ok”.  If I had gotten hit, it would’ve been my fault because I wasn’t paying attention to my blind spots.

So that is another tip to think about when you are riding in curved roads with cars.  Check your blind spots before going into the turning lane otherwise you might get killed.

The funny thing is, I was thinking about that article when that happened so my mind was elsewhere.  I was thinking about bicycle road safety when I was unsafe.  Oh sweet irony.

I learned a huge lesson today about safety.  I also learned that if I can’t leave the house as early as 5am then perhaps I need to just stay home because it’s much easier to get into that turning lane early in the morning when there are no cars on the road.  I would much rather be safe with no cars than get hit by a car because of a stupid blind spot.

DUI Check Point

It’s Friday and it’s also April fool’s day so you know people are going partying tonight to celebrate… er um… pranks?  We were on our way to Hometown Buffet tonight with a family friend of ours and we happened to get trapped in a DUI check point.

There were traffic cones in front of 2 of the neighborhoods so you couldn’t turn into them to get out of the trap, you were forced to go ahead.  It wasn’t clear that it was a DUI check point right away when there was opportunity to turn into the AM PM, Taco Bell parking lot or the freeway so from a distance it just looked like there was construction.

So there was just 1 lane and then all of a sudden it turns into 2 lanes, there is a police officer with a stop sign signaling for people to go into the right lane with another stop sign or allowing them to go on past the check point.  They were using the church parking lot as their mini police department and it was full of cars too.

We were lucky to have been let go and not be checked because that definitely would have ruined our night lol.  I guess they profiled us because Darrin didn’t look young and he was wearing a dress shirt and a tie.  I think if he were wearing a regular t-shirt like I was and if he were a bit disheveled he might have been chosen to get checked.

As we were passing we could see people in handcuffs, and that was only at 6:50pm.  Imagine what may have happened later tonight.  As we were coming home we saw that people were still being arrested and they were towing cars.

It’s funny, I have never in my life gone through a DUI check point, granted I don’t drive but still, even as a passenger I’ve never been through one.  In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever seen a DUI check point.  It was a shock to see there were so many people being stopped and how many cars that were sent to the church parking lot.  You know that if you got sent to the parking lot you are in trouble.

So is this a lesson for people?  Don’t drink and drive, and that’s not an April Fool’s joke either.

Memories Are Like A Puzzle

When I started writing my autobiography I thought it was going to be a breeze.  I just start typing and let the memories flow through and I would be finished in no time.  WRONG!

Having to remember what happened when so many things happened in a single year is like putting together a puzzle with pieces from 20 puzzles mixed together.  Before writing it out, I have to put down time lines on paper.  There are certain things that happened that are so wrong though.  I know they happened but how did they happen at all?

Example: I remember coming home drunk during my sisters birthday party in a specific apartment that we lived in.  I remember my bedroom was in a partitioned part of the living room and I remember plopping down on my bed drunk.  But, it’s impossible because during that time when my sister had that birthday party I wasn’t living with them anymore, I had been kicked out of the house.

That memory is impossible.  It couldn’t have happened during her birthday so I have to assume that it wasn’t her birthday but maybe a summer party instead.

I have to place the wrong puzzle piece in the wrong slot and hope that nobody notices that it’s wrong.  Does that make it fiction then if I make up what happened or is something I should just leave out entirely?  The problem is, it is an integral part of the story since I was 17 years old when it happened.  I’m trying to make a point about teenage alcohol abuse so I have to leave it in the story line.

Another example: I lived in so many different places in a few years but each memory seems like it took years to create but I now know that it was all during 1988-90.  The problem that I face is trying to figure out where I lived and worked and when.  If I watched tv during those times it would be so much easier to remember when I lived there because I could remember what happened in that season of the show.

I do remember living with my parents when the show Roseanne first aired and watching the series premiere with my mom and a few episodes after that but that was the only show I remember watching that was new.

Now I wish I had watched more tv when I was younger.  I wish I had carried a diary or made a resume.  At least if I had a resume I would know where I worked throughout my life, that way I could remember where I lived and what happened.  But nooo….

Oh well, I’m sure it will all come to me eventually.  It is not going to be easy to write this book and I know it’s going to take some time to do.

LATE!

ARGH!  I woke up and it’s 5:30am because I set the wrong alarm.  My alarm clock has 2 alarms on it and I set the wrong one lol.  I didn’t even wake up from the alarm, I just woke up.  I looked at the cable box to see what time it was and I was like OMG!  I’m LATE!

Then I go to fill my camelbak with ice and water and I think hmmm, I wonder.  So I turn on my Dell DJ Mp3 player and the battery is dead lol.  Great!  Perfect!  Well, it had 0 bars but it wasn’t dead dead.  I could listen to the radio on it but I prefer music.

So Since I’m already late I might as well wait until it’s charged up a little bit more.  I’ll leave the house at 6:30am which is about the same time I usually come home from riding the bike.  According to the weather channel app on my computer, 6am will be 70, 7am will be 71 and 8am will be 73.  Since I won’t be coming home until 8:30am I might as well mention that 9am will be 76 so between 8am and 9am the temp will go up by only 2 degrees so I’m not concerned about the heat catching up to me.  That’s the only reason I ride so early, to beat the heat.

Oh well, it finally gives me a chance to fully wake up before actually starting my day.  Or… does this mean that everything else this morning is going to go wrong and I should just stay home?  LOL

Bike Seat Issues

Lately I’ve been coming home from my 2 hour bicycle ride numb in an area that would normally make me blush to mention.  I know that it’s my seat that is causing the problem because of the “nose” of the seat (yes, my crotch sits on a nose for 2 hours lol).

I have one of those gel cushions for my seat because the seat (they call them “saddles”) is really hard and I refuse to sit on a seat that hard with my body weight.  I can’t recall how much the gel seat cost me, maybe it was about $10 I’m sure, I bought it from Nashbar and that is how much they charge for them.  I’ve been using that all this time, last year for a couple of months and now this year for a couple of months.

It hasn’t bothered me before but lately I’ve come home from my bike ride and go to use the restroom and notice I can’t feel anything in my appendage (giggle I said appendage).

So I decided that it’s time to find out what’s going on and what to do about it.  Apparently it is a common thing for men who sit on a bicycle for hours and hours.  It can cause temporary impotence (YIKES!) in men and it may also probably lead to serious problems in the future because you are pressing down on your arteries and your colon so you can expect problems.

There is a solution and it is a new type of seat which has no nose, instead your butt takes all of the impact.  Here is a picture:

large_seat_b

This seat is going to cost me $63 plus shipping of course because it’s coming from Canada.  It is called Spongy Wonder and frankly I can’t wait to get it.  It is going to relieve a lot of my issues and I won’t have to keep standing on my peddles during my ride to relieve myself down there all the time.  They have an optional seat cover for an additional $16 which I will not be able to buy right away but perhaps in August I can buy that.  I’m going to have to wait until July to buy this seat because I am flat broke right now but there’s only 2 more weeks until I get more money so I can wait 2 weeks.

Other models I have seen cost around $79 and up and this is just the right price.  The cheaper the better.  Well, cheap in price but hopefully the same good quality you know?  I’m probably going to be bashed for buying outside of the US during our bad economy but I really don’t care because I need something that I can afford and I really need this now because it is becoming a medical issue.  I will be looking at other websites, after all, I do have 2 weeks to decide before I place my order.  If I do find another place that is US-based then I will choose that and of course you know I will be making a post about it lol.

Update: I am looking at the 2 other noseless seats and the one that is $79 is also from a Canadian websiteTesco-Shopping and it looks exactly like the $63 one.  Then there is the Spiderflex which is $110 plus $12 shipping so I definitely will not be buying from them.  I don’t know if they are in Canada or not, they aren’t releasing that information but they ship there and to Europe but in their shipping page they do show a map of the US showing delivery times lol.  I’m pretty sure that these 3 companies are the only ones who are selling these seats but I will keep looking.  I’m willing to pay $63 because it is a small price to pay to prevent colon problems and/or impotence lol.

I found it! Bicycle Seats | Ergo Seats this is perfect.  It’s basically the same as my regular seat but without the nose so it’s basically a half seat.  The positive of this is the price.  It’s the right price for me at $30 – $50 plus $30 for a sheepskin cover (optional).  I’m thinking maybe I can get the seat in July then the sheepskin cover in August.  That is if the seat is really that hard that I need to buy the sheepskin cover.  This is the perfect seat.  Check out the link for pictures.  Oh and by the way, this website is in Washington State!

Early Morning Bike Ride

Well, I did it.  I set the alarm clock for 4am and of course had to push the snooze and when it went off again in 10 minutes I decided ok, I need to do this, I need to wake up and get ready.  So I got up, went and got a bowl of raisin bran cereal.  I read my emails which weren’t that many since the last time I read them last night lol.

I like to eat then wait 30 minutes to go, so 4:45am came and I left the house and it was pitch black outside.  Thank goodness for bike lights.  Although I didn’t realize until I got there that the back light wasn’t working at all.  It wasn’t until the sun came out that I realized that it was because the wire snapped off.  UGH!  It’s easily repairable.

What I especially liked about riding that early is that there are absolutely no cars.  0 cars.  Well, there were a couple but none that I had to worry about.  Of course being that early I had to stop and push the walk button because certain lights just won’t turn green unless the sensors detect a car sitting there and they don’t detect bicycles.

While I was on the bike trail that early in the morning before the sun came up there were no other riders which isn’t odd for me not to see anyone because in the daytime there are barely any other riders.  So it really didn’t make much of a difference.  But when the sun did start coming up I did start to see a couple of riders.

Even coming home with the sun up at 6am there still weren’t any cars.  I finally got home at 6:22am so I was gone about an hour and half but my total time was 1 hour 5 min.  Hey, I have to take a break during my ride lol.

Now that my muscles are getting used to riding I’m gonna experiment with going out again tomorrow and then the day after that.  I want to go out every day, not just every other day.  I want to get as much exercise in as I can because the weight is coming off.  So, we will see tomorrow if I go out or not hehe.