Collapsible Box For My Bike

My bike with a collapsible box

I keep saying that my new $5 back wheel is just a temporary fix and that I’m not going to put any more money into my old bike, but then something happens and I need to put more money into it.  It’s just something that I needed to do to be able to continue using my bicycle.

I think that when I had my accident, the rack got bent somehow because when I put the $5 thrift store wheel on, the rack was pressed up against the wheel.  In order to continue using the rack, I had to unscrew it from the bottom and screw it back on crooked.  It still works, but now my problem is that when I am riding with the townie basket full of groceries, it pulls the rack closer to the wheel, which makes it very difficult to ride.  I tried putting the townie basket on the other side, but then I wouldn’t be able to lock my bike up correctly the way I have been.  The townie basket is in the way and the only way I could lock it up is to bring the basket with me.  Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

My partner bought a $5 collapsible box from Dollar General and I wondered if one of those would work.  He bought me a box and I didn’t put it on right away because I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that.  I had 2 options, put it on the way that I did, widthwise, or lengthwise.  I suppose it would work either way, but I just figured that if it were lengthwise, the back wouldn’t be sitting on the rack and it would probably eventually break.  I needed some time to think of how I was going to do this, and today I did it.

I was sitting in my room and suddenly it just clicked.  I thought to myself, I wonder if we have some wood in the back yard that I could cut and put under the box to support it.  I went back there and found a long piece of wood, so I measured 2 pieces the length of the box and cut them. I drilled holes in the bottom of the box and the wood and screwed them together, but the flat head is on the bottom so nobody can unscrew them from the top. The top is just smooth caps so they look riveted. I had leftover wood so I put that in the middle so you can’t really see it. When I was done putting the wood under the collapsible box, I drilled holes in the bottom of the box through the wood and into the rack, but only enough to mark where I was going to drill through the metal in the rack. 3 holes. Of course I had to remove the rack, wouldn’t want drill holes in my wheel. Also it would be very difficult to screw the screws tight into the caps if I have the wheel in my way.

So that was all that it took.  I don’t have any assurance that the box won’t eventually break, after all it is very thin cheap plastic, but it was only $5 so it wasn’t a huge investment at all.  It was a fun little project.

My old townie basket was fabric, so it wasn’t as sturdy as a plastic box.  It only held 1 bag of groceries, of course when I say 1 bag I don’t mean plastic, I mean those reusable fabric bags that they sell at the grocery stores.  This new collapsible box will most likely hold 2 bags which will make it so much easier for me to buy a bunch of groceries on my own.  Whenever I go to the store, I usually have to make sure I only buy a few items, or whatever will fit in 1 bag.  I also had to be careful with weight.  Now neither weight nor quantity is an issue.  I can make the trek to Food Maxx or Dollar General and easily buy 2 bags full of groceries and not have to worry that the groceries might fall out.  Although, I better be careful with pot holes.

The only issue is that when the box is open, it’s close enough to the seat that I’m kind of sitting on it.  It doesn’t make a huge difference to me, but I’m just afraid that I might put too much pressure on it.  I’m sure it would be fine though so I’m not going to worry about that.

The other issue is that I won’t be able to use it at night because it blocks my back light.  I don’t normally go to the store on my bike at night anymore since I had my accident.  I had the accident because it was dark and I didn’t see the thing that I ran over which flipped me off my bike.  Since that happened, if I have to go to the grocery store at night, I walk.  Not having my back light while the box is in use won’t be a real issue because I don’t ride it at night, however, there might be a day that raining and I would normally have the light during the day, but I think that if it is a rainy day, I will just stay at home and wait until it’s not raining, or we can take the car.

I like it and I can’t wait to be able to use it the next time I go grocery shopping on my bike.

Do I Have Scoliosis?

I have had serious back pain for probably the last decade of my life.  Sometimes my back locks up when I bend over and boy it is painful.  Mostly I can’t walk too far before the pain kicks my ass into submission and I have to sit or lay down.  I can walk to the grocery store from the house because it is only 3 blocks from the house, my back is in pain by the time I come home but it’s not excruciating.  I cannot go for a walk for exercise though.  Before I got a new (used) bicycle wheel, I was trying to walk for exercise and that caused the most horrible pain I have ever felt in my 43 years on this planet, and that is not hyperbole either.

Last month I had some x-rays of my back taken and a week ago my doctor told me that according to the x-rays, my back was curving, and he shaped his hand like a parenthesis (.  I misunderstood when he mentioned something about slouching, so naturally I thought my back was arching outward because I do tend to slouch a lot, but then I went to see him again yesterday and I asked him about the x-rays again and he wrote down on a piece of paper exactly what he means.  This is a normal spine |.  This is my spine (.  He drew it on a piece of paper so I could see exactly what he meant.

That makes sense to me, and that explains a lot why my back is in pain in the middle of my spine.  I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in my lower spine a few years ago and so I was assuming that it was going up which was why I was in so much pain in the middle of my spine which is why I asked my doctor for help.  Who knew that it was some new problem.

So I use the term scoliosis loosely.  I don’t know for a fact that I have scoliosis.  I asked my doctor “Is it like scoliosis?” and he responded with “yes” but that was not a diagnosis.  He asked me if I wanted to see a physical therapist and I said yes because I don’t know what to do about this and if a physical therapist can help me, then I’m going to go see one.  It will also help me with my weight loss, so I will do anything that I can to help stop this pain.

I called my aunt this week and told her about it, but with the impression that my spine was bending outward, but with the understanding that I had no clue which way it was bending.  I mentioned that I wanted to ask about a back brace and she said “DO NOT ASK FOR A BRACE!  You do NOT want to depend on a back brace, trust me.”  I don’t like arguing with people, especially her because she gets very emotional, but like I said before, I will do anything that I can do to stop this pain.  I didn’t ask my doctor for one when I saw him, but if a physical therapist suggests and prescribes one then I will wear it.

No I don’t want to have to rely on a brace, but I will do whatever it takes to stop this constant nagging pain that I have all day.  I’m not joking when I say I am in pain all day.  I am literally in pain every waking moment.  Even if I’m sitting down like right now I’m in pain.  If I’m laying down, I’m in pain.  I can’t do the dishes for more than 5 minutes without being in pain.  I can’t go to the mall and walk around like a mindless zombie like my partner loves to do because… you guessed it, it causes me pain.  It doesn’t really matter where I am or what I am doing, you can guarantee that I will be in agony, whatever it is.

I had a broken arm earlier this year and I was taking Vicodin probably 3 times a day.  It wasn’t stopping the pain in my arm, but it was helping and it did help my back pain, so I had a vacation from my pain for as long as I was taking the Vicodin.  I stopped taking the Vicodin when I stopped having pain and naturally the pain in my back came back immediately.  I have tried taking a Vicodin here and there, but they don’t seem to help at all.  I have been taking Ibuprofen, and that helps my toothache, but it doesn’t stop my back pain.

Oh one more thing about my back pain.  I have a very large patch of skin on my back that is dead.  I mean the nerves actually  I say that because my back in that spot has been numb for 19.5 years.  It never really bothered me until now.  Now it tingles and the numbing is causing pain.  It’s constantly itching and I’m constantly scratching it and the tingling really bugs the hell out of me.  Scratching doesn’t do anything except weird me out that I can’t feel my own fingers touching my back.  I mean, I can feel it, but I can’t feel it if that makes sense.  It’s like I know my hands are scratching my back, but it feels like someone else is doing it.  I can’t explain it, it’s a very odd sensation.

Anyway, I would really love to just go one day without having pain if that is possible.  I am hoping a physical therapist will help because I am really sick and tired of being sick and tired of being in pain.

Naturally I will update my blog when I begin physical therapy.

@Noom Week 24

week_24-1 large

This is the beginning of the 3rd week of my 2nd goal to lose weight with Noom.  I started  my first goal on January 5th, 2013 with 63lbs to lose and I lost it with 2 months to spare.  Although I did get lucky that I was 200lbs by my birthday because the weight wasn’t dropping as fast as it was in the beginning, but I think when you have a lot of fat to lose, with just a change of diet it will probably drop a lot faster in the beginning.  Now that my body is used to this new healthy lifestyle, I am not losing weight as easily.

When I started working with Noom, I wasn’t exercising as much as I should have because of my back problems.  I can make excuses all day long, but there really isn’t any excuse for not exercising.  I can do some exercises in my bedroom, on my bed, in my desk chair or standing in front of the TV or even in the hallway or kitchen, it doesn’t matter, but it’s difficult for me to do anything with Degenerative Disc Disease.  I am usually sitting on my desk chair at my desk and of course I have a ton of pain here, but when I go sit or lay on my bed, the pain goes away.

I do have a bicycle and I attempted to ride it on the bicycle trail.  I bought a pair of cycling bib shorts from Bike Nashbar and 2 shirts for cycling, and of course I have 3 shirts from Noom that wick the moisture like my other cycling shirts.  But then I had an accident on my bicycle and broke my arm, so I couldn’t go bike riding.  I bought one of those no flat tubes that’s like a solid rubber tube, but I can’t get it on my wheel and now I’ve ruined the rim AND the tire, so I’m afraid if I buy a new tube, the wires sticking out of the tire is going to pop the new tube, or I might have damaged the rim so there might be metal sticking out of the rim that might pop the new tube.  A new rim is about $30 and I’m sure a new tire is around $20 or $30.  It wouldn’t even be worth my money, I’d be better off buying a new bicycle, but I can’t afford anything, so I have no bike now.

I haven’t examined my bicycle to see if there was any damage to the front rim from the accident.  I bought the bicycle from Walmart in 2004 for $60 so it was a cheap bicycle from the start.  I have replaced about 75% of the bicycle over the years, so I have put literally hundreds of dollars into that bicycle.  The only thing original is the frame, the (I’m going to sound dumb here) the mechanism that the pedals are attached to (LOL) and the chain.  Everything else has been replaced.

Instead of cycling, I’ve been walking which is agony for my back, but I’ve been doing it a couple of times per week just to get some exercise in.  Of course by the time I get home from doing that, I am in so much pain that I just can’t stand living anymore.  Speaking of which, I am in so much pain sitting here typing this that I had to go get the ice pack and take a Vicodin.

walking workout june 14 Anyway, I’ve been trying to walk a mile, but instead of only walking a mile, I will add some distance every time I go out.  Yesterday I walked more than 3 miles.  My back was in absolute agony the entire time, but I didn’t care because I really wanted to burn some calories, which I did.  Here is that workout (left).

I went out with my black Noom shirt, my Noom water bottle and my Noom sunglasses.  I absolutely love my Noom swag lol.  I normally like to go out with my Noom backpack, but I really don’t have anything to put in it, so I don’t have much of a reason to bring it.  If I had a bicycle, I would put my Camelbak inside of it with the hose sticking out and I would clip the hose to the strap to secure it.  I could probably do that on my walk, but I like to hold the water bottle.  I really don’t need 3 liters of water on a 3 mile walk anyway.

My estimated end date isn’t until November, although the Noom weight graph says September 17th if I lose 2lbs per week.  Last week it was September 15th and I lost less than 2lbs this week so naturally the date got pushed by 2 days.  I’m really not in any hurry to be 170lbs though, so no pressure.  I feel that if it happens then it happens.  I don’t want to rush myself because I feel comfortable in my skin the way I am now, so if I lose more weight, then bonus.  The main thing is that I don’t put any pressure on myself to lose any more weight because that’s too stressful and I don’t want my brain releasing cortisol from the stress which will prevent me from losing more weight.  Although the back pain from walking might end up doing that for me.recumbent bicycleI really wish I had a bicycle, it would be so much easier to exercise because then I could sit down the entire time.  I really want a recumbent bicycle though, because then I could sit back which will REALLY be easier on my back.  That would be ideal, but those are REALLY expensive.  If and when I finally get a new bicycle, I’m going to get a beach cruiser or a hybrid.  I mainly just want a bicycle with the big handlebars that will allow me to sit straight up.  My mountain bike had me sitting forward which hurt my shoulder and back, that’s why I had to replace the handlebar with a beach cruiser handlebar.  A hybrid would be better for me than a mountain bike or a road bike (10 speed).  When I do buy a new bike, I will go to Target and get a Huffy because I know Huffy is a good brand.

Anyway, back to reality lol.  This week I weighed in at 197.0 and I still have a way to go to get down to 170lbs.  I am positive that I will eventually reach that goal by September, if not then it happens when it happens.  I will still eat healthy no matter what and I will still go for walks despite the pain until I finally get a new bicycle.

Until next week…

Cheap Rim Strip

rim strip

So my new Noom shirt came today, and by the way I just love it.  I thought, now is a great time to put my wheel back on my bike so I can stand next to it and take a picture with my Noom shirt on.  I filled up the kitchen sink, grabbed the tube and pumped it up a bit so I could dunk it under water to find out if there is a hole or not so I can fix it.  No holes, great!  I go back out on the patio and find this (image above).  The rim strip snapped.

Naturally, I googled it and found out that bike stores will give you a cheap rim strip that will over time become brittle and break, which is exactly what happened here.  The good news is that I can buy a fabric rim strip which is obviously going to last longer.

I went to Nashbar.com which is where I buy all of my cycling accessories online, but they only have rubber rim strips.  I went to Amazon and they have them really cheap, like $3 cheap.  That’s not too bad.  If they are that cheap on Amazon, I wonder if they will be around the same at the bike store.  I will check and see when I have the money.  I won’t be able to go out until I have a Co2 pump anyway, so I won’t worry about anything until I get my next check.

My Dell DJ (Again)

YAY I got my Dell DJ back!  Darrin bought this for me for Christmas 2004 and I got it in January 2005.  During the summer of 2005, the battery started dying slowly.  The charge is supposed to last 8 or 12 hours, I forgot what it was, but suddenly it went down to like 6 hours, then 5, then 4 and so on until it wouldn’t keep its charge for more than 5 seconds.  I stopped using it when summer was over and I didn’t call Dell to have them replace the battery because I was too lazy and had given up on it.  It wasn’t until the warranty expired when I decided to call and they told me the battery was going to cost $70.  Well, I thought I had a 2 year warranty, but the warranty that I had didn’t cover the battery.  Yeah, thanks Dell for having your loopholes.  It sat in a drawer for many years.

I decide that I wanted to buy a new battery for it in 2009 and so I found a battery on eBay for like $15 (with shipping) and bought it, unfortunately it wasn’t the right battery even though they said it was.  It worked, it just didn’t fit inside of the DJ.  I did research on how to replace the battery and one website said to remove the wheel which is why it looks dented, because I was trying to pry that MFer off.  I couldn’t get it off so I found another website which told me how to do it and so I made a video and put it on YouTube.

That battery didn’t last very long and so the DJ has sat in a drawer for the last 2 years.  I decided that I wanted my DJ back so I bought another battery from eBay, only it was the right battery.  They have an instructional video on there, guess whose video it is?  Mine!  This battery is the correct one and it fits and is charged up and ready to play.  I’m so glad it fits, I hated that the battery was taped to the back LMAO.

I have wanted to buy Jane Badler’s new album called “Mistaken Identity” so I bought it from Amazon.  I recommend buying it because she is such an awesome singer.

The DJ still sounds really good.  It’s not an iPod, but this Dell DJ cost $200 back in the day when Darrin bought it for me.  He also bought me a remote control for $50 and a 2-year warranty for another $50 and I have felt bad all these years that I only got a good 6 months out of it.  So now that I have it back I can start listening to music again.  YAY!

You Tube Video:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svD_W3PCrSc

My Frustrating Bicycle

I bought a brand new back wheel for my bicycle from the local bicycle shop, Snider’s Cyclry, in June.  They didn’t give me the rubber that covers the screws inside the wheel and the way I feel is that you shouldn’t even have to ask for it.  They should just put them in the brand new wheels when they take them out of the box so they don’t forget to install them when they sell them.

I assumed it had one when I bought it so I didn’t ask for it and came home and installed it without the rubber.  I noticed it didn’t have it and I didn’t feel like asking to be taken back there so I just covered it with black electrical tape.  I went 2 months with the tape on there with no issue at all.  Not one flat tire the whole time so I’m very confused as to why I can’t keep air in it anymore.

A week or so ago I got a flat tire so I took it out and the hole was right next to the valve.  I checked the black tape and it wasn’t covering the screw so I could see that the tape wasn’t the perfect solution.  I repaired the tube and put the tape back on the screw and filled it with air but I think because the repair was so close to the valve it just wasn’t going to work.

Luckily I had a spare tube so I took the wheel off and put the new tube on it.  Later that night I heard my bicycle fall down in the patio.  What the…  I took the wheel off and pull the tube out and it has a hole in the same exact spot on this brand spanking new tube.  Not wanting to waste the tube I decide that I really want to repair it and naturally the repair won’t work.

I haven’t been able to ride my bike at all in over a week because I didn’t have the money for a new tube.  Darrin went to Target and bought me a new tube but he bought the expensive Schwinn self sealing tube.

Since I knew the black tape wasn’t helping, I thought that I should try to make my own rubber screw cover by cutting up a tube that I had repaired way too many times.  It’s a little thicker than the rubbers that they normally use to cover the screws but it’s all I have to work with.  It was too long so I had to cut it and patch it.  The patch didn’t stay on so I decided to just hot glue it to the wheel lol.  I didn’t use too much glue so it shouldn’t make it too thick and if it doesn’t work out I can always remove it.  The glue peels right off very easily.

This morning I get on my bicycle to run down to the store and buy some milk for my breakfast and the wheel is flat.  I just installed it this weekend and rode it to the store once or twice on Saturday and it was fine all day Sunday so I don’t understand why it’s flat all of a sudden.

I took the wheel off the bike and removed the tire which was a huge pain in the ass because the tube still had a lot of air in it.  I finally got the tire off and put the tube in a bucket of water to find the hole.  When you see bubbles coming up then you know where your hole is.  No bubbles at all.

I put the tube and tire back on, put the wheel on the bike and fill it with air and it was fine.  I have even been checking it every couple of hours the whole day by squeezing the tire to make sure it was hard and it’s been fine.  All I kept thinking was thank goodness, I don’t think I’ll have any more issues with it.

JINX!

Tonight I was in the kitchen getting a glass of water and I hear a banging sound in the patio.  I go out there and my bicycle is on the ground.  It fell because the tire went flat.  I don’t understand.  I haven’t even been on the bicycle since I filled it with air.  The tire has no stickers in it so I know that isn’t the problem.

So my next thought is that maybe these expensive self sealing tubes have a glitch in the valve that when the blue or green gel is inside the valve it keeps it open a little so air can escape.

This whole thing with this back tire is really frustrating the hell out of me because I’m not getting any exercise because every time I go out there I have a flat tire.  There is nothing more infuriating than not being able to ride my bike.

Ok well, tomorrow I will clean the valve out and fill it with more air and see what happens.  I hope that works.  If it doesn’t then I’ll have to go out and buy some of the cheap tubes that don’t self seal.  At least the cheapo tubes last a heck of a lot longer than the expensive ones.

My Faster Bike Rides and New Goals

I was riding my bicycle this morning and was paying close attention to my average speed.  Lately it has been 11.5 mph give or take.  Today it was 12.5 mph.  That meant that I got home 30 minutes earlier than I usually do.  Riding faster doesn’t just mean that I will exercise faster, it also means I will burn more calories every time I ride.

I have these index cards which I used to use to keep track of my bike riding.  I would write it out so I had a hard copy because digital seems to get deleted a lot.  I first started writing it down on November 3rd 2008.  My average speed was 10 mph and I only rode for 38 minutes burning 345 calories.  Gradually over time I can see that my speed goes up to 10.7, 10.9, 11.1 etc.

My last entry was when I hurt my shoulder and I stopped riding, that was July 20th 2009.  My average speed was 14.0 mph.  That of course was doing 23 miles in 1 hour and 38 minutes.  Of course I was probably gone from the house for 2 hours with breaks but I don’t seem to recall.  I also see that I started riding in October 2009, I only got 3 bike rides logged then stopped, my shoulder was still in a lot of pain but I wanted to get exercise.  Then my shoulder got better and I started riding again and had 2 entries in July 2010 for 23 miles each but the next day after my 2nd bike ride my back wheel broke and the log entries end right there.  Of course I wasn’t used to riding anymore so my average speed was only 11.9 and 11.0.

I will add all of those old logs to my Bike page soon.

Today my average speed was 12.5 mph which has gone up from 11.2 since July 6th, 2 weeks ago when I started logging my cycling times again.  I had been riding since early June but couldn’t get my bicycle computer to work since I put the tire on backwards which meant the magnet was on the wrong side.  Oopsie.

I think that I am progressing very well and I’m sure that it won’t be too far off when I’m going 14 mph again, or even 15 mph.  The riding times will get shorter even though I will still be doing the same 23 mile route.  If that becomes the case then I will step it up and continue on to Hart Park.  That will add 10 miles to my route, 5 miles each way.  I have mapped it out:

That start point (A) is my halfway point where I stop riding and rest for a few minutes so this still might be a resting point before I continue on to Hart Park.  Once I get used to the ride then I will probably just continue on until I get to Hart Park and rest there.

Of course I’m probably talking many months before I’m in enough shape to do it but I will eventually do it.  When my average speed gets up to 15 or 16 mph then I will definitely do it.  In fact, I was ready to start doing it just before I had to stop riding because of my shoulder in July 2009.  I made a video and put it on YouTube that showed my bike ride from where I get on the bike path over on Truxton all the way to Manor St. and made a sequel from Manor all the way to China Grade Loop.  I wanted to do a 3rd video from China Grade Loop to Hart Park but… my shoulder and all.  So that never happened.

My goal now is to continue as I am now (training) until I am not in as much pain from the bike ride so that I may ride to Hart Park.  The day that I plan on that is the day I will bring my video camera with me to film it.  I know it’s boring to most people but it is an achievement to me and I’m sure to others.

I can’t wait to see how many calories I will burn from riding 33 miles every day.  The fat will just melt off, I hope lol.