Thursday, September 26, 2019

I need a bigger garage.

Townie Commute 27D
Okay, this happened.

Like, it happened the day after I last posted, though I had to order it to get it at the shop I wanted and in the color I wanted.

Townie Commute 27D, which brings me up to, ah, 5 bikes? Or actually 5.5 bikes, because this also happened:

Not dying on the Halfbike

It's a sucky picture, but I snagged it from a short video Mike took while I was trying to learn to to ride it.

It's a Halfbike 3, a toy I was lucky enough to win, and a toy that is so forking hard to learn to ride. It looks like it should be easy, but it's the opposite of easy and I just might kill myself on it.

I haven't spent much time on it because there's a lot of stumbling involved, and we agreed that we would not take it out alone until we both have the hang of it. There hasn't been a lot of time to play with it, owing to heat and Real Life, but next week the temps are suppose to cool down and we have no other plans, so... yeah, we'll find a nice flat place and go play with it. After we finally get it, I may ride it a hell of a lot because it's one hell of a workout.

In the last month I have been riding, just not as much as I like. I missed a week due to pet sitting (could have taken my bike, but am not yet comfortable in that neighborhood) and some rides have been cut short because of the heat. I had really hoped I would acclimate better to the heat, and I have a bit, but not as much as I need to ride during the summer here.

Right now, the pink beast is in the shop getting the brakes checked over. The pads were replaced a couple hundred miles ago but the squealing returned, along with a rubbing sound. The rubbing worries me more than the squeal; it might just be out of alignment but it might be the disk...and my up-close vision isn't good enough to really see what's going on.

It's not like I don't have other bikes to ride. This morning I took a couple of them out, swapping out every 2 miles or so because I really want to see which of the Townies I enjoy the most.

I was surprised.

Townie 7D
The Commute is solid, but heavy, and I feel every bit of those 40 pounds going up a hill, but other than that, it's fun. I'm not at all speedy on it, but I'm not racing so it really doesn't matter. The 7D is lighter and I notice that when I'm riding, but I'm not really any faster...yet it feels like so much more fun.

The more I ride them, I'm pretty sure the Commute will become the grocery-getter. The baskets fit on it and it's got a nice front rack; I could haul an entire weeks' worth on it, no problem. The 7D is the fun bike, the one I'll ride just to get a ride in.

And I went back and forth on selling the Marin, but if I'm honest with myself, I just don't want to. I want to figure out how to make it work for me. I'm putting the flat bar back on it and ordered some ergonomic grips, and we'll start there. I have the spiffy Terry Butterfly seat my friend Char gave me for my birthday, and if everything else dials in, I'll get another Kinekt seat post for it.

The main reason for selling it was space. Our bike storage space is 90% of a single car stall, and we had a big scooter and motorcycle in it along with the bikes. I sold my scooter, and we're going to try to sell the motorcycle next week, which will open up all kinds of space. I can put a rack on the wall for the bikes not in rotation, and keep them...until I find something else. I don't need or want to keep the Raleigh Venture, but at some point I'd like to get another electric to add to the stable, so that Mike and I can take them places and ride where there are hills.

With autumn sneaking up, I think I'll get more miles in. And hopefully get fully back on track to crush my 2000 mile goal for 2019.

Oh and I still have this.

It's been in the storage shed for a long time, because it kills my knee, but...

I'm in better shape.

I might be able to ride it now.

I freaking love having options.

And damn...I hardly had any tattoos when that picture was taken and it looks kinda...wrong.

Monday, August 19, 2019

I'm getting behind...

I set a 2000 mile goal for the year, but with 600 to go I think I'm a little behind schedule.

Part if it is spending so much time fiddling around trying to make the hybrid fit. Part of it is too many uber-hot days that I haven't been able to ride in.

I've tried acclimating to warmer rides, but given that I overheat easily, there's a threshold I don't dare cross, and it's right in the 95 degree range.

But, I'm looking at another bike tomorrow, and I've removed most of the extras I added to the hybrid in preparation to sell it. I really hope the bike tomorrow will fit well; it has a moderately crank-forward position--not as much as my Townie, but closer to my Pedego--and it's a 27 speed so hills won't be as much of an issue if I encounter them.

I doubt I'll buy it tomorrow, but I might put some cash down if they don't have the color I want and can get it. It comes in white, and I kinda want that. Other choice is black, and...meh.

I'll take black if it's all I can get and the bike is perfect.

But...I gotta get out more. I don't want to get too far behind.

Saturday, August 17, 2019


I've got the seat height on the Marin dialed in, I think. The new seat still hurts but it also still has that feeling that once it's broken in, it'll be awesome.

It's still not perfect, and the more I ride, it's nowhere near great. I swapped the bars out initially because I had a lot of shoulder and back pain, and now that I'm not hyper-focusing on my knee, I can feel the same tugging between my shoulders and the same lower back pain.

I took it out for a short ride today, trying to pay close attention to the things that bother me, seeing if I could figure it out without bugging a bunch of other people. If I can get more upright, it eases up. If I lean forward more--as if I were riding with drop bars--it eases up. Yet if I change the bars again, I may be back to square one, dealing with my knees because the overall geometry will change.

I've hit the point where I kinda want to sell this bike, and sell the older Raleigh, keep the Townie, and look for a more upright bike with more than 7 speeds. The downfall of the Townie is the gearing and its weight; 99% of the time it doesn't matter, but if I hit a hill, I'm gonna have a bad time.

After the short ride on the Marin, I grabbed the pink beast and headed back out, and it was nothing but fun. I need that, but without the motor.

I've been eyeing the Electra Townie Commute--upright and 27 speeds--but I have to clear garage space before I can even think about it.

Friday, August 02, 2019


My birthday is near the end of the month, but I've already gotten a gift from a couple of my close friends.

Unlike the stock seat, this is female-specific (I bought a men's frame. And as I leaned, the seat kinda matters in terms of gender) and it matches my bike, with extra splashes of pink and blue (if you know me, you know why I dig hot pink.)

It's the 4th seat for the gray hybrid. I tried the stock for a while, a well-reviewed seat off Amazon, a Pedego memory foam, and now this. I thought the Pedego would work; after all, on the ebike it's super comfy. But I didn't account for the wider seat with a standard pedal position. The Pedego has a very mile crank forward position, about an inch to an inch and a half. It makes the wide front portion of the seat a non-issue, but on my hybrid, that tiny bit of extra seat dug into my thighs and was seriously uncomfortable.

So I put this one on this morning, leaving the new Kinekt seat post in place, made some adjustments, and then took off on a short test ride.

Zero knee pain.

That's mostly from the changes in the seat height, I think, but combined with this seat? It works. At least for the time I was on the bike, five miles, it worked.

The seat definitely needs to be broken in, but my gut says once it does it will be terrific. I didn't feel squirmy until mile 4, and most of where it bothered me can be taken care of my pointing the seat down just a tiny, tiny bit. The rest will come from breaking it in.

It was a good test for the seat post, too. I intentionally rode over a street surface so bumpy that it generally makes my teeth rattle, and the vibrations from it render my side mirror useless. I didn't feel a thing going over it today and had a stellar view of the idiot driver of a car coming up behind me at about 25 over the speed limit.

So far with this bike, I've swapped out the flat bar for the Surly Open Bar, lessening my reach, which helps with my back. Added the rear rack and Topeak tail bag. Kinekt seat post. And now the Terry bike seat. Really, I think the only things I now need are splashes of hot pink to make the bike seat look even better with the gray bike.

I also have a bit of a conundrum now: which bike to ride on any given day. This bike is fun. The Townie is fun. The Pedego is seriously fun, though harder to get my HR up now. What do, what do...

Sunday, July 28, 2019

So, maybe...

The joys of the Internet. There are a frakton of knowledgeable people who are willing to let newbies pick their brains, so I did.

What the hell else can I try to make my bike work for me?

They asked all the questions I expected--what have you tried, what's different about the bike since purchasing it, has the pain increased or decreased--but then I got a question that made me go, "Huh."

Is the knee pain in the same place as it was before changing the seat and post and then moving the seat back?

Well, no. Thinking about it, no. The pain was on the front of my knee, which is why others had told me to move the seat back. Now it's on the lower left anterior portion of my knee.

The place where it hurts when I climb stairs. Or ladders.

Yeah, you need to see a doctor about that.

It sounds like I have addressed the problems with the bike fit. Now my problem is a decades-old issue that's been getting worse over the last couple of years. It just hadn't really occurred to me. All I thought on the bike yesterday was that my knee still farking hurt, and I want that bike to work. I like that bike. A lot.

So now I need to suck it up and go see my doc, and hope he doesn't dismiss it as the aches of a fat older woman. The last time I had it looked at, that's exactly what happened, though I was much younger and the doc was mostly, yeah, lose weight you fucking cow, of course your knee hurts.

It was the attitude, not the actual words.

My current physician has been pretty decent and very supportive when I've mentioned the things I do to stay active, and he took me seriously when I had shoulder issues related to over-swimming.

Maybe that's why I'm reluctant. He'll take it seriously and I'll end up in an MRI machine, and I am a wee bit claustrophobic, especially when I have to take my glasses off.

Until then...I have the townie. I have the pink beast. And it occurred to me today that I have a lovely little stationary bike that I can plop in front of the TV; outside it's hotter than Satan's left testicle, and I didn't want to brave the heat, so I did an easy 10 miles on it.

Despite the photo, it's not great for putting a computer on (though that's why I bought it and was annoyed when I realized it's hard to type while you pedal) but it's excellent for reading or watching TV. And I wore a HR monitor while I was on it, and the calorie burn over 10 miles on it was only slightly lower than 10 on the Townie. So it was good enough for today, and I might get back on this evening just for the hell of it.

But knee. At least now I know the hybrid could still be a keeper. Unless something better comes along. Something shiny and bright. I like shiny and bright.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Well, dangit...

Kinekt seat post, super comfy
I swapped out the seat post and saddle on the gray bike (I'm not really sure I can call it a hybrid anymore, I've changed enough that it's more like a city bike) and adjusted the post height, hoping that would ease the knee pain, but... nope. I did two miles and it hurt from start to finish. I went home and grabbed the Townie, and did another 10 with zero pain.

So, I dunno.

I'm going to put the old seat post and stock saddle back on, wear some bike shorts, and then see what happens. I'm struggling to remember if I had as much pain before I changed the seat; I only remember that I changed it because my asterisk hated it and I'm not thrilled with having to change into bike shorts before a ride.

Cripes, I've only had it for three or four months. I should remember.

It shouldn't matter, really. I like the Townie, but it is slower. I don't really care about that if I'm just headed out for groceries and the like, but for a dedicated fitness ride, I'd like to be faster. Yesterday's 12.5 miles took an hour and fifteen minutes, which is only about 10 minutes longer, but still. I felt slow, and I struggled to get my heart rate up. I averaged 122bpm; on the hybrid I average 10-12 higher.

I shoot for a 500 calorie burn. If I'm going to spend an extra fifteen minutes in the saddle, I kind of want an extra fifteen minutes worth of burn.

Logically, I'm not sure why I want to be faster. I'm having fun, I enjoy the ride, and that's the important thing. But I'm four months into a plateau, I don't think I can cut my calories any further--I'm already at 1200-1300--but I also don't think I can spend that much more time on the bike every day.

This would be nice...
A friend advised I get back in the pool to mix things up, but the only pools are a town away and historically, after a few weeks, I start loathing the drive out there. And I have a perfectly good treadmill at home, and a killer rowing machine...I should make better use of those before joining another gym.

Now, ideally, a pool in the back yard would be nice, but I don't see that happening for a while.

Soon, probably next week or the week after, we're moving stuff around the house so that the treadmill and rowing machine are in the otherwise unused living room, or even where my office currently is. The problem with those being in the spare bedroom is that it's easy to forget that they're even in the house, and it doesn't help that the room is hot and gets hotter when someone is working out.

But damn. I have to figure out something to break this plateau. I honestly thought that by now I would be very close to my goal weight, but I'm so far off it's discouraging.

And I know, this is about being healthy and not focusing so much on my weight. I'm doing pretty freaking good at the eating better and exercising well, but I'm not happy with my weight still. I'm not comfortable. Were I comfortable, I think I'd be happy with it.

And fuck it, I just want to wear a tight t-shirt and not feel all self-conscious about it.

 And apropos to nothing...I was going to take that cup holder off because none of the lidded cups I had fit it well enough. Then yesterday as I locked up at Starbucks, one of the regulars was getting out of her car and stopped to ask about the new bike and was geeking over it. She's quite a bit older and loved the crank forward position, the idea of being able to get her feet down at a stop.

In talking I mentioned taking the cup holder off, and why, and she told me to wait. She was inside the store for a couple of minutes and came out with this cup and told me to try that out. And it fit perfectly. And damned if she hadn't bought it for me, and had the barista rinse it out so that I could pour my tea into it.

So I'm keeping the holder for now, because I seriously enjoyed the ride home having the cup right there.

It's the little things...

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

...and now I need to go shopping...

The new bike arrived a week ago--just in time for me to leave to go watch the Boy's pets for a day--and by the time I got home the temps were an unpleasant Nope and I was already dead tired, so I didn't get any riding done beyond an inaugural 3 miles to see how it rode.

Those 3 miles were pleasant enough, but not any real test of how my giant asterisk was going to like it, nor how my knees would hold up. But I was happy enough and looked forward to the next ride.

Friday I ordered a couple of nifty pannier baskets that slip right over the rear rack, and a basket that apparently doesn't play nice with the baskets but will otherwise be great for carting small stuff. I also grabbed a phone holder, bottle cage, and cup holder for the handlebar, and when it all arrived on Monday--direct from Trek, I am impressed--I pulled the bike into the house and started putting things on.

Today I took it out for what I hoped would be 10 miles, but the heat got to me and I was home at 8. Still not too bad, and if it cools down a little this evening I can go back out.

The good: it's an easy bike to ride. I felt comfortable the whole time today, with zero knee pain and I didn't hit 5 miles and wish for a better seat and tougher backside. Shifting was smooth (and I didn't expect that given that this is a kind cheap group set) and the rim brakes are solid. I had a ton of fun and for hauling stuff around, I think this will be a winner.

The cup holder will be removed; it won't hold any of the bottles or cups I carry, but the spiffy kitty-bottle-cage will.

The not as good: it's slow. I mean, I'm slow as it is, but a little slower on this. I was warned it was a slower bike because of the weight (doesn't really feel heavy to me) and geometry, but when you ride at a solid 11-12 mph, how much slower can it be?

2-3 miles slower, it seems.

Still, I'm not at all unhappy about that. If I'd done the full 10 I'd planned on, I think the calorie burn would have been right where I wanted it, 500 or so.

I also need to find a better way to secure the side baskets. They're made for this bike and hook right onto the rack, but without anything in them, the left one lifted a little bit, even with a bungee wrapped around it. I'll figure it out.

All in all, for the 11 miles I've been on it, it's fun and will work for me.

Next up, though, is changing the seat post and seat on the gray hybrid, then rechecking my leg extension. I'm pretty sure I can address the knee pain this way, and I still want to use this bike for rides where I don't intend to stop for anything more than a drink at Starbucks. It's lighter and with the new seat, I think it'll be comfy.

My pink beast is probably going to be the least ridden of the bikes, even though it's still my favorite. And I feel kind of bad about that, like the bike is even going to care.

Saturday, July 13, 2019


Electra Townie 7D in Icy Blue
Sometime this week, this shall be mine. I ordered it today through a local bike shop--they had one on the floor but I didn't like the color--and it should be here on Wednesday. It's pretty basic as far as bikes go, but it's comfortable and fun, and as long as I don't need to tackle any big hills, it's as much bike as I need.

The screaming neon pink bike isn't going anywhere--I love that thing. The gray hybrid isn't going anywhere either--I have an emotional attachment to it and still want to play with it. But the dark red Raleigh that I have on a trainer inside might be re-homed. I don't use it enough and I don't need four bikes. Not that I don't want four bikes, but if I have a fourth I'd rather it were something else.

This gives me room to play with stuff. Like adding baskets to the pink bike and turning it into a grocery hauler, maybe even a trailer if I decide it works for that. Or using the hybrid to learn to do some work on a bike myself. We'll see.

I'm just absurdly excited to get a new bike, no matter how many are already in the garage.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


I gave the new setup a good workout yesterday, with about 18 miles in 90 minutes (slow, yes, but I am slow even when I feel like I'm going fast). I had to take an early break because my HR went higher than I would like, but also because that seat was killing my poor asterisk.

Took another break after another 3 miles because of my backside, and yet another 4 miles later. I normally don't mind a break at 5 miles unless I've hit my stride and just need to keep going, but at 3? Too soon.

All in all, though, it didn't matter, because my knee was killing me either way. This isn't even my usual pain from going up stairs or ladders; it's specific to riding and I suspect has everything to do with the fit of the bike. In changing the bars, I changed the geometry of the bike, which I wanted in order to avoid back and shoulder pain that had not let up after 150-200 miles.

I think I gave getting used to the flat bars a good try; I'm not sure I can give this setup that much time without incurring an injury.

Now, I can ride the Pedego with nearly zero knee pain. It only hurts once in a while, when I push off from a stop, and it's not the same pain I'm getting with the Marin. That pain is the same kind and location I get when going up ladders and stairs.

So...I'm kinda looking at crank forward bikes, hoping to approximate the geometry of the Pedego, but without the weight of that particular frame. I tried the Spouse Thingy's semi-recumbent Day 6 Patriot, but I can't even sit all the way on the seat and still reach the peddles, even though it's a small frame. I only know of a couple more options, one of the Electra Townie line, either the Path or Commuter.

I'm not even sure I can find one of those locally and that's not something I would buy online.

So, we'll see. I'm not giving up on this. Riding has become way too important to me, but I don't want to do it all on an electric.

Sunday, July 07, 2019


…and I don’t mean meth.

I’ve been playing around with the bike a bit, trying to make it more comfortable. The aforementioned handlebar went on, a new seat, some adjustments…and it now looks kinda like a Dutch bike.

New bars, mirror, tail bag, seat
Splash of color on the seat
The bars. More swept back than the original flat bar, with a bit of a rise

It’s light and looks good, but it’s still not the degree of comfortable I would like. I’m definitely happy (though slower) being more upright and the bars were a good choice, but the seat, not so much.
I can ride on it longer than I could the stock seat without wearing bike shorts, but after just 5 miles I’m feeling it. Today I did ten, and it feels like I bruised my tailbone. I’m not sure what to do next. I know saddles are a ride-and-test kind of thing, but this could get spendy with no guarantee of finding the right one.

I’m tempted to order a duplicate of the seat on my Pedego–that sucker is comfy–but that doesn’t mean it would work as well with the geometry of this bike.

For now I’ll probably slap the gel cover back on and then wear the damned bike shorts if I have to. But I was really hoping to just be able to slap my helmet on and go, not have to worry about changing before I ride.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Today I moved the front gear shifter about 3/4″ to the right and slapped a mirror on the new bars, and with the Spouse Thingy’s help (ok, I couldn’t get the nuts to turn so he wound up doing it all) the new seat went on. The bike looks spiffy and comfy, and it was close to dinner time, so we decided to take a short ride, around 5 miles, to both test the geometry of the bike and then stop for pizza.

I struggled. Like, seriously struggled. I had a hard time breaking 10mph but my HR was pushing 140, and nothing felt right. I was seriously questioning having changed so many things on the bike–for sure the seat needs a minor adjustment–and hoped I hadn’t just ruined the whole thing.

I caved at 4 miles and headed for the pizza place. And once off the bike I started feel nauseated and not-quite-angry but also not-quite-happy, and wondered how the hell I was going to make it home. It was just not a great ride, and I had visions of barfing pizza up along the way.

But then I ate, felt loads better, and on the ride home my speed shot up, the whole thing felt much better, and now I think just the seat needs a little tweak.

I’d had pasta for lunch, 5 hours earlier. There was just nothing left in my tank.

Lesson learned…for today. It’ll happen again. It’s what I do.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

I did not ride off the face of the earth...

Between the rain, then the heat, injury, and insomnia, my number of rides lately has been pretty low. I don’t mind the idea of riding in the rain, but when it’s torrential and the wind is blowing shit sideways? No, that’s not my thing. Then I threw my back out, which gifted me a couple weeks of doing not much of anything. And insomnia?

That bitch hates me and shows up in my life way too often.

When I did get back to it, I started off with the electric bike, just wanting to see how my legs felt. And they were fine, no issues, my endurance was fine, my heart rate was fine. It was all too fine, so I checked the tire pressure on the other bike and headed out for a Happy Ten Miles.

The miles were happy enough, but a mile in my fingers were going numb. By three miles, my shoulders hurt. By the end of the ride my neck had joined in and my back wasn’t thrilled, either.
I assumed that it was simply because I’d taken a few weeks off, and needed to get back to where I was.

But dozens of miles and several rides later, everything still hurt. I reluctantly came to the conclusion that I don’t, and probably never will have, the core strength to ride in a forward position, which is where the flat bars were placing me. I honestly think it might be easier to ride with drop bars, something I might visit in the future.

For now, though, I needed to do something to make this bike work. I really like it; it’s super light compared to my electric, nimble, and doesn’t hurt my knees very often. The only thing I don’t like is the color, but this time around I specifically went for the right bike and not the pretty one. Except it’s not quite right.

So, enter the Surly Open Bar with a 40 mm rise.

These bars, paired with the adjustable stem on my bike being all the way up, close the reach enough that I’m far more upright. I’ve only put ten miles on them, but in those ten miles the only issue I had was with my fingers going a little numb, but I’m not sure if that didn’t happen due to a death grip on the bar.

My shoulders, neck, and back were fine. Better gloves might help with the fingers. We’ll see.
Tomorrow looks to be a great day to roll around town, if I can get out early enough.

And damn, I hope this works. I really don’t want to buy another bike.

Friday, March 29, 2019

The answer to indoor riding...

So, raising the handlebars on the indoor bike didn’t work because they were already at max height.


This worked:

I’m not sure why I thought about it, but I checked Amazon for bike risers and this popped up. And damned if it didn’t work. With the bike level, it feels far less cramped and I’ll be able to keep it for indoor cycling for the time being.

Hell, probably for a long time. I’ll still want a smart trainer at some point, but this will do until I’m ready for that.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Oddz & Endz

We live in a fairly small town; if I loop it using the major roads, it’s 5 miles around. But there’s an industrial area across the main street that we’ve never bothered checking out, because why would we? But yesterday we ventured out in that direction just to check out the road…and it’s 3 miles of nice, wide, smooth asphalt. I think next week we’re going to ride it, loop 3 or 4 times, just for the heck of it. Traffic should be minimal, which means fewer morons to dodge. On the downside…what traffic there is might be semi trucks. We’ll see.
= = =
We’ve had more rain than is typical for this time of year. I was mentally set to ride in it anyway, until I went outside and it wasn’t just raining, but pouring. I have the other bike inside on a trainer, but I feel totally cramped on it so I haven’t made as good a use of it as I could.

A random stranger online had a suggestion that I’ll try out: raise the handlebars. With the back end of the bike on the trainer and the front on the floor, the idea was that someone who doesn’t ride with drop bars might feel a bit off, because gravity is just doing its thing. I have to lean forward a tiny bit more to get to the bars, and a tiny bit on a bike can be the difference between enjoying the ride and hating it.

It’s worth a try. I’d like to make it work. There’s nothing wrong with that bike, per se, and if I can make it work as a trainer, all the better.
= = =
When I grow up into a Real Bike Rider, I want a smart trainer. And then a TV on the wall, computer hooked up to it, and a subscription to Zwift.
Maybe this one…maybe not. There are lots of options.

I know I’ll always prefer riding outside, but I get a little twitchy on days I’m stuck inside. I know better than to skip a rest day–I’ve got injuries owed to my fixation on other physical activities (swim shoulder, anyone?)–but there have been days when it’s been raining hard, or the wind is blowing beyond my ability to pedal into it, and going for a walk just doesn’t cut it.

If I can make the Raleigh bike work, I’ll ride the hell out of it on the Kinetic dumb trainer I already have, but if I keep at it? The Spouse Thingy has Christmas laid out for him.
= = =
We need more and better bike paths here. That’s all.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Here comes the rain again...

The weekend, at least, was nice. I managed to get in ten miles yesterday and ten today…slow, ugly miles, but I rode them and got the calorie burn I wanted. I can get 500 cals burned in roughly that distance, but if I have to go an extra half mile, I will.

My ass isn’t always happy about it. Neither are my legs. Yesterday I was slow because I suck riding into the wind (even when it’s basically a breeze) and today my legs were just sore. I can damn near feel the fascia covering my quads with every pedal stroke.

I suppose that’s a good thing? Proof I’m actually making headway?

Cripes, I hope so.

5 mile ‘Bucks break…I need my tea.
 But…rain is moving in tonight and most of the week it’s supposed to be a sloppy mess. I’ll use that as an excuse to not ride tomorrow and listen to my legs, and on Tuesday if it’s not pouring or windy with the rain, I’ll try to get a minimum of five in.

Damn scale better start moving again, and soon.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Tiny hills, major effort

The little town we live in is flat. The closest thing to a hill here is a gradual upslope on one of the streets nearby, and it’s not exactly challenging. There might be another similar street, but I haven’t found it yet.

So in the interest of some not-flat and a change of scenery, we tossed the bikes in the back of the truck and headed 10 miles to Davis, where bikes outnumber cars and there are miles of bike paths. Most of it is flat, too, but there are some tiny hills and seemed like a good starting point.

You can find some fun stuff along the bike paths in Davis
 Any real rider would probably laugh at using those “hills” as something to tackle, but for me it was An Event. We started at a park that has a nice path winding around and through it, and then headed up the overpass (the biggest of the hills, which are really just some inclines) and ventured onto the longer paths.

I hit that overpass pedaling hard and halfway thought that was super easy, what had I been thinking, but then 3/4 of the way my legs started yelling at me and I slowed way down…but I made it. We hit it a couple more times, as well as some other little inclines, and finished with ten miles.

The bike shorts I had on did their job; it wasn’t my screaming asterisk that made me want to stop. It was lack of food. My breakfast was long gone and I wanted a burger the size of a small child.

I also wanted ice cream, but after the burgers we decided to head home, let lunch settle, and if we still wanted it in an hour or so, we would ride to get it. And it was a chance to compare bike shorts; I wore another pair, and while they were all right, they were not as comfy as the others.

Ninety minutes later, I decided I did want ice cream, so we jumped on the bikes and took the long way. I want to burn as many calories as I was about to ingest, and came close. 250 calories burned riding there and back, 270 calories for a scoop of chocolate chip.

And that’s a huge difference from what we would have done a year ago. I think then we would have had the burgers, gone straight for ice cream–two scoops–and called the 10 miles good. this year…The 10 miles was almost enough to cover lunch–500 calories burned vs 700 eaten–but back then we would have added nearly 600 calories of ice cream to it with no additional effort.

I think the ongoing rule will be that ice cream once in a while is fine, but we have to ride there, no driving. I don’t envision wanting it that often, though, but it’s still a reasonable rule. Hell, I’ve pretty much reached the mindset that if I’m not going to bring home more than I can fit in a backpack, I ride in town. To Starbucks when I want to write there, ride. Grab something from the grocery store, ride. There’s no reason to take the car, other than laziness or pounding wind & rain.

Light rain, I’ll still ride, though I need to some up with something to better protect my computer from moisture. My backpack is fairly water resistant, but it’s not waterproof, and that sucker was pretty spendy.

Tomorrow, though…I’m not sure I’ll be able to walk. After fifteen miles and those tiny hills, my quads are bitching at me. But if it’s not a wet weather mess in the morning, I’ll still try to do a few miles, because why the hell not?

Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Twelve miles–with a short break at 5 to rehydrate–and my backside was not screaming. Not sure if it was because I had a different pair of bike shorts, if I’m just getting used to the seat, or what, but I’ll take it. The ride felt great, my speed was up a little, and so was my heart rate.

I never thought I’d say it, but I think I prefer the Marin over the Pedego, at least for riding around town.

We’ll see how I feel when I encounter a real hill, which does not exist in this town.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Okay, so food helps

I didn’t make the same mistake today; I had lunch, waited an hour, and then headed out. Instead of dragging my asterisk, I was able to find a groove, got my HR into the high 130s, and pedaled around town for about half an hour.

Time and distance is not my issue; the bike seat is. Even with a gel pad and bike shorts, I was done at 7 miles because it hurt too much. Everything else feels great, I just have a major case of sore ass after 5 miles or so. I presume that’ll get better with time. If not, I’ll order a Pedego seat because that sucker is comfy for hours at a time.

I’m just not sure how well it’ll work with the new bike’s geometry. I mean, I think it’ll be fine, but it depends on where the crank on the different bikes are. If the new one is more under my hips than the Pedego, there might be some chafing. I’m willing to try, though.

I also need something to carry my wallet, keys, and phone. When it’s cooler our, I’m in track pants with pockets. It was warm today so I wore the bike shorts and wound up wearing my cycling jacket just for the pockets…that got a little warm after a while.

I’ll figure it out.

But I really would like to get a solid ten miles in without my ass feeling like its on fire.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Well, that sucked

Major mistake on my part: heading out at 2 pm without having had lunch. It never even crossed my mind. I’d spent the morning getting some work done, and when the chance presented itself, I grabbed my bike and started off on what I intended to be a 10 mile ride.

At two miles, I felt like utter crap.

At 2.5, I realized what the problem was. Between that and fighting a breeze that had aspirations of becoming wind, I headed home. All I managed was three miles, and it wasn’t even a fun three miles.
And it’s stupid, but I wanted those 10 miles for no reason other than I’m up a pound and the ride would have burned up a good 500 calories.

Who the hell gains a pound when they top out at 1200 calories a day?


Friday, March 15, 2019

I know it's stupid...

I’ve always had a nasty habit of finding one mostly-comfortable gear on my bike and sticking to it. From my first 10 speed in the 70s (Schwinn Continental, I still miss that bike) to the electric, I’ve spent a few minutes finding the gear that doesn’t hurt, and I leave it. Uphill, downhill, flat ground…didn’t matter.

But, with the new bike, I figured I’d be better off if I played with it. So, the day before yesterday, after 6-7 miles, pedaling comfortably, I changed gears. It’s a stupid thing to be proud of, but hey, I’ll take my victories where I can find them. I wound up pedaling a little harder, my heart rate went up, and I went faster.

All good things.

So today I took the Pedego out. It was windy and I didn’t want to fight it, and it needs to be ridden every now and then.

And I changed gears. And my heart rate went up. It was harder, even with pedal assist. But, I did not go faster, because the bike is farkton heavy and there was no need to up the assist to get more speed.
Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warm, not too windy, so once I get a few things done work-wise, I’m going outside to play.

Who knows, maybe I’ll try another gear or two.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019


I think this thing is coming off the trainer and going into the shed.

Excuse the clutter…the Room of Pain is a work in progress
 Riding that bike is just not comfortable. I can’t figure out if it’s the frame, the handlebar, or the overall geometry, but I feel cramped as hell on it and I get mentally itchy after just 5 minutes. At some point I might replace the bar and see if that does anything, or I’ll save the money (it was not a spendy bike…like $300) and get a used bike that fits to put on the trainer.

The weather is turning favorable, more spring days than rainy, so I expect I’ll spend more time outside riding than inside pretending. That means I won’t really need to think about it until next winter, if even then. Face it, even when it’s cold here, it’s not cold, and as delicate as I am, I can deal with cold.

I think.

We’ll see.

Now, the treadmill behind it, that’ll get used. It gets used. The cats totally love to lounge on it…hell, I bet Max could legit brag that he spends an hour a day on the treadmill.

It’s a decent treadmill and comfortable to use (even when it’s turned on) and we have a 15K to get ready for…so, yes, it’ll get used by the humans in the house, too. Because there is no way I’m going outside to run when it’s 90 degrees outside. I might bike…but not run.


Saturday, March 09, 2019


Seriously. Ow.

I wasn’t sore this morning, which surprised me, so I headed out for another non-powered ride. I took a 4 mile route to Starbucks, sat there for about 45 minutes while I poked through a chapter on my manuscript, then headed home. I intended to do 6 miles on the way back, but at mile 5 I was waffling and at mile 5.25 I was sure I needed to just get my ass home.

So, 9.5 miles and the only real issue was how much my butt hurt.

I dug around in the closet where my old gear went to die, because I had a pair of bike shorts I liked…but they’re gone. All of it is gone. I have a nasty feeling that it all went out when I cleared stuff out to donate. I hadn’t intended to donate those, but they’re gone, so there’s a good chance I scooped them up by accident.

So, I ordered an inexpensive pair and they should be here by Monday.
I also might venture toward the next town over and see if I can get another pair…though I don’t know how many opportunities I’ll have for riding over the weekend. It’s supposed to rain; if it’s not pounding rain with wind, I’ll likely go out for a bit, but if it’s a real soaker or high winds, I’ll find other things to do.

Like…shop for shorts.

Monday looks to be a good riding day, but I have a commitment in the afternoon, so we’ll see.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Well, that didn't take long...

Went into a bike shop in nearby Davis to look at bikes, told the kid there what kind of riding I do, the distances I shoot for, and that I need to be upright because this old body is not leaning over drop bars. He immediately thought of several possibilities and we took a couple of bikes outside to test ride, one by one.

The first one I tested felt so much better than my old Raleigh, but the bars were a bit far forward and I was on my hands harder than I’m comfortable with. But, bonus, the bars and stem are quite easily adjustable, and with a few tweaks, that bike felt amazing.

The next one I tried was a Specialized step-thru, the color was spiffy, and the grips felt good. All in all, it was a close match to the first bike, but there was something about the first that edge it out a bit. The ease of adjusting the bars is part of it, I think, and the bars are also a little bit wider (men’s frame versus women’s, maybe) which worked better for my broader shoulders.

There were variations on the theme–lots of bikes that fit the parameters of what I was looking for, but the price point on these two bikes was what I was willing to spend on what I hope is just a starter bike. For just under $500 I got a bike almost as comfy as the Pedego (and with bike shorts I think it will be equitable) and that I can really work with.

Marin Larkspur CS2

As soon as we got it home, we slapped a bottle cage on it and a Garmin mount, and headed out for a shake-down ride. I honestly thought I would struggle, that my heart rate would skyrocket and a couple miles in I would have to stop, but we did five and I could have done more if not for my achign asterisk and sore hands.

The seat is not as cushy as the one on my ebike, but it’s not a torture device, either. I’ll get used to it. The bars might need to come up a half inch still, or moved toward me a touch more, but I’ll adjust to that, too. It felt a lot like going from a cruiser motorcycle to a semi-sportsbike–hurts at first, but you adapt.

And here’s where getting someone who really knows what they’re doing fit a bike to you: my knees didn’t hurt at all during that five miles. Not to say they won’t, but I really expected that starting from a stop would bring about quite a bit of pain, but it didn’t.

The plan from here is to start every bike ride on this one, get a minimum of five miles in (that will go up) and when I’m done, go home and get the Pedego for the rest of the miles. It’s too much fun to not ride.

And oh man, I was so slow on the Marin…slower than I used to be on a road bike. I think I averaged about 9mph when I used to do around 12 (which was still slow) and I only topped 10 when going down an incline. There was a subtle difference in my heart rate; today I averaged about 125 on the Marin, 120 on the Pedego afterward. The main thing is I hit the 120s much sooner on the Marin and kept it there; it took me a good 3-4 minutes longer to get into the 120s on the Pedego. Over 5 miles I burned 300 calories on the Marin, and only 150 in the next 5 on the Pedego.

That takes nothing away from the progress I made on the Pedego; I lost 30 pounds riding it. But I might burn more now, which is what I really want.

So, we’ll see.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

ISO the right road bike...

…and I use “road” to mean a non-electric. I know that a road bike is not a catch-all term for hard core riders, but I am not hard-core and I just want something to ride that I’m comfortable on.

Raleigh Venture, probably from 2010 or so. I really don’t remember.
This is the current non-electric that I have up on a trainer in the room of pain. I feel horribly cramped on it, which, until last night, made no sense to me. It’s a women’s bike, the large sized frame, and I’m not tiny, so it should work.

But then I talked to a few people who know bikes better than I ever will, and one pointed out something that was obvious to him but not to me: women’s bikes tend to have narrower bars and a slightly shorter distance from stem to seat post. I am a bit taller than a lot of women, and I have broader shoulders and a longer torso. The average women’s bike might not be what works for me.

A lot of the bikes I’ve been looking at online are women’s bikes, but I may need to switch gears and pay attention to men’s bikes.

And either way, there’s a shop near here that does bike fitting, even using lasers to measure a rider. So I think I’ll see if I can get a fitting appointment next week, and see what they come up with.

I’m kinda chomping at the bit with this, just because I want to see how well I can ride without the motor. And I’m pretty sure I’ll get my heart rate a little higher now with a road bike; I’ve kind of tapped out HR-wise on the electric. I’m struggling to hit 130bpm, where before I reached it easily.

Maybe a change up will help get the scale moving again.

Mostly, though, I want the challenge. And before you laugh, yeah, it will be a bit of a challenge. I need to get over the idea that I’ll pass out on the bike, and over the idea that I can get into trouble.

Those things might happen, but…chances must be taken.

The ebike will still be my favorite toy, regardless. I just have stupid amounts of fun on it.

The Sound of Silence

There’s a Pedego Facebook page, one meant for owners to connect and not just the company pimping their wares for the masses. They moderate the page, but rarely interfere, even when there are complaints.

I appreciate this, I really do. It leaves the members open to discuss the bad along with the good, and one of the things most complained about is the brakes. For a spendy bike, the brakes are annoyingly squeaky; you’d think a company making a bike this expensive would figure out how to put brakes on it that you can’t hear from 5 blocks away.

I’ve put up with the squeal since I bought the bike in August 2017. It’s annoying, yes, but the brakes always stopped the bike and felt solid.

But this week it felt like I was pulling the rear brake lever further to the grip than usual, and I assumed it meant it was time for new brake pads. The dealer is an hour away and I really didn’t want to haul the bike there, leave it for who knows how long, and then make the drive back to get it. So we took it to a local bike shop; really local–as small as this place is, there’s a shop that sells and repairs bicycles, and the owner was willing to take a look.

Initially, he didn’t think I’d worn the brakes down,so he did a few adjustments and I took it for a test ride…and it still squealed horribly.

I admit, I would have left it like that. He’d done more than adjust the brakes; he tightened some loose parts on the front end, reattached the wires on my headlamp, and taken some slack out of the brake cables. But he wanted to figure out the squeal, so we left again so he could figure it out.

He wound up changing the pads and discovered that they’d not only worn unevenly, one of them and a weird little lip on it. The brake was engaging, but was off alignment so part of it never touched the disk. New pads, more tightening of things, truing the disks…and the squeak is pretty much gone. The front has a tiny squeal to it, but given how bad it was before, I can live with that.

It feels like a new bike now. I didn’t realize there was anything amiss up front, though now I can feel the difference. I’ll be able to brake more efficiently; I’ve been letting up at the first squeals and riding the back brake since it wasn’t quite as noisy.

Finger crossed it doesn’t start up again.

And I discovered I won’t melt while riding. It was raining on the way there, and it was raining on the way back, but other than my glasses getting wet and it’s annoying to try to see through droplet-covered lenses, the bike still felt solid on the street surface.

I’d almost be willing to do it again.

I also started researching road bikes online. I don’t think I can do the same 20-30 miles I do now on one, but I’d like an entry level hybrid to ride around the neighborhood, and build on that. I don’t want to spend a lot, but damn, some of the prettiest bikes out there are $10-13K.

Yeah, no.

I can’t imagine ever getting to point where a $13,000 bicycle would be optimal for me, not at my age.
But, we’ll see what I eventually wind up with…as long as it’s under $600 or so. And spiffy looking. And fast.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Rainy Day Riding

Raleigh Venture on a Kinetic trainer
The start to Thumper’s Room of Pain.

The treadmill has been in the room for a while, though it was moved to free up floor space for the bike and a rowing machine…the latter of which is not set up at the moment because one of the wardrobes on that wall needs to be removed first. It’s about nine feet long and the room is only 10 x 10; the wardrobe takes up a good 2 feet of the floor.

It’s empty and can be used in the garage, so the rowing machine should be up soon.

The main thing for me right now is the bike. The problem for me is that I feel super cramped on it, but I’m not sure if it’s the frame or that I’m so used to the cruiser bars on my Pedego that leaning just a tiny bit forward throws me off.

I’ll still use it, but it takes a good 5 minutes of pedaling before I feel like I can keep going.

At some point, I’ll want to ride something that an electric bike outside. The plan was to take the Raleigh off the trainer but I’m now leaning toward looking for a good used bike to ride, and just leave this one where it is. It works, and that’s all I need right now.

And today, I’m going to need it. We’d planned on taking a long ride this morning, but it’s raining and frankly, we’re not that dedicated.

I got 20 miles in yesterday and 10 the day before, so I’m not, like, ohmygod I need to ride, but I would like to get a few miles in and then take tomorrow as a rest day.

Yeah, I’m learning. I need rest days. My knees are too old now not to.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

(not)Cheating 101

We ride together…a lot

I often ride to Starbucks; if I have a choice, I take the bike. I take the long way and get there at right about 5 miles, and then take the longer way home. It’s a heck of a lot more fun than driving, in spite of the idiots driving around here who seem to think bike lanes are a suggestion and have no clue that bicycles are allowed to use the roads.

My favorite toy has an electric motor; I have another bike, a standard step-through 8 speed road bike, but because of reasons, I’m not comfortable taking it far from home. Hence, it lives in the spare bedroom on top of an indoor trainer and I always take the pretty pink bike. A while back, I got to Starbucks and started to lock it up, but when I went to turn the controller off, it was flashing an error code.

Because the Internet is a thing, after I got online and whined about it, and then posted to a Pedego FB group, I got the answer I needed and was not stuck there all day waiting for the Spouse Thingy to come pick me up. But I did whine about it BECAUSE OF COURSE I DID THAT’S WHAT I DO, which set off a IM conversation that would have pissed me off if I hadn’t known it was tongue in cheek.

Dood: Electric. That’s cheating.
Me: Electric. That’s fricking FUN.
Dood: Cheat, cheat cheat, cheat, cheat.
Me: Says the guy with an electric skateboard. And an electric wheel.
Dood: That’s different. Those are for fun.

Here’s the thing… a lot of people–a lot of a lot–think riding an electric bike is somehow cheating. A “real” cyclist pedals using nothing but body power and sweats like a whore in July, developing massive quads that can crush small children and delicate women with zero effort. He was teasing me because he knows I’ve heard that grunted in my direction: “yeah, it’s a nice looking bike, but she’s cheating

If you ride a regular bike, more power to you. The Spouse Thingy does; he likes his bike. I like mine. He uses his gears to adapt to changes in the road grade and surface. I use different levels of pedal assist. It’s basically like using the gears, which I have but have never changed, but I save a lot of wear and tear on my knees. And I’m not young anymore. I like the idea of saving that wear and tear.

The motor isn’t a heart-rate curbing device, either. If I take the road bike a mile, I get my HR up to about 130. If I take the electric, I get my HR up to about 130. The difference is I get there faster…so I go further. If I take the road bike, I might ride 3-4 miles. If I take the electric, I might stop at 10 but I’m just as likely to go 15, and often 20. My longest ride is 30, and I only went home because I was hungry and had to pee.

Road bike = 20ish minutes at 130
Electric bike = 60-120 minutes at 130

For what I want…it’s not cheating.

But here’s the kicker. I don’t only ride the electric because it’s more fun for me. I ride it because a couple of years ago (hell, maybe 5-7 at this point) I was pedaling my merry way home, and a quarter mile short I started feeling super nauseated and light headed. And then I passed out. I was damned lucky to not be going at speed when that happened; I was able to get off the bike. The only thing that saved my asterisk was recognizing the symptoms of over-heating combined with a blood sugar crash.

I don’t always recognize it when it happens. Most of the time I do (ask the Spouse Thingy how many times I’ve just stopped and told him I need to eat. Like RIGHT NOW) and deal with it. But afterward it feels like a ton of ick, and getting back on a bike I’d have to pedal very slowly is not the best idea in the world.

Because the bike has a throttle, if I get into trouble, I can get my asterisk home without having to pedal. I can get to food, or sugar, or a/c (and seriously, I now know the distances between just about everything in this little town, at least the places I would need to reach quickly. All hail 3 Day training.) Riding an electric gives me freedom I don’t have otherwise.

So no, it’s not cheating. I get more exercise, and I feel a hell of a lot safer on it.

It doesn’t even matter if that safety is my own perception. I FEEL safer. Thusly, I get out and ride when I can. And isn’t that the point? Ride safe, ride over drive, have some fraking FUN.

And older folks…this is an awesome way to get back into activity. If you can’t ride anymore, an electric might make it possible. If you can’t balance, there are electric trikes. Pedego has some seriously great options.

So, yeah. I don’t wanna pass out on a bike.

I want to have fun.

So I do.

A matching water bottle was necessary...right?

Saturday, March 02, 2019


It's a nonscale victory that I'll totally take. On a whim, I bought a pair of pants at Walmart--only $15, so why not--and I picked a size smaller than I've been in.

They're a tiny bit snug in the waist but fit perfectly everywhere else. Three to five pounds and the waist will be perfect, too.

Scale victory: it finally moved today. I am just .75 pounds from being at my lowest weight in 20 years. That's still well into the realm of overweight, but fuckitall, I'll take it.

It's raining AGAIN today, but once my lunch settles, I'm totally getting on the indoor bike to nowhere.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

I should go back to swimming...

I used to swim...a lot. I wound up with a messed up shoulder, took a year off, went back to it only to discover that even after PT it was not healed enough, took another year off, and it still wasn't cooperating. So I started riding my bike.

I'd like to be outside riding right now. Instead, I'm looking out the window watching it rain, as it has been for a couple of days and how it will be for several more, and I'm grumbling like an eight year old who's been grounded from playing with her friends.

If the rain keeps up, I might as well give swimming a try again, and I won't even need to go to the pool.

My road bike has been rescued from the shed and brought inside, and it's up on a trainer. The treadmill is ready to go. Tonight I'll probably at least get on the bike to get some miles in, and either read or watch something on Netflix while I pedal. It'll do, but it's not as fun as an actual ride.

I'm still stuck in a plateau, my weight is not budging. It's not a big deal (other than my ego) and I know eventually I'll start to lose again, but I had this mental image of the weight I would be at when I participate in the St. Baldrick's head shave, and I'm 12 pounds from that. If my weight had come off as projected (bite me, MFP) I'd be under that weight by then.

I'm not losing 12 pounds in under two weeks, so I'll be doing it as a flabby mess again.

Next year, then.

But, yeah, I'm ready for the rain to stop for a few weeks.

Friday, February 22, 2019


All right. Not only have I committed to a 15K in January, I committed to a 60 mile walk in November. Three day, 60 miles, to raise money for breast cancer.

I fully intend to use my bike as a major part of my cardio work; I did the walk a couple years ago after using it for a good deal of my training, and it worked. This year, since I have to start jogging to get my pace down for that race, I'm counting on being in better shape for the walk than I was then.

I also intend to be a hell of a lot lighter. I'm at least 20 pounds lighter than I was at the last walk. If I can be 50 or more, I'll be ecstatic. At the very least, I wanna be buff.

I know, but I can dream.

And my feet already hurt, just thinking about it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

It's a process, and I hate it

Not the bike riding; I dig that. But the whole process of building better habits and getting into a shape other than round, and then not seeing scale results, sucks. If My Fitness Pal was correct, I'd weigh 10 pounds less than I do right now. I log all my food, I log my exercise, and when I click on "Complete" at the end of the day, it tells me how much I'll weigh in 5 weeks if every day is like the one I just logged.

My calorie intake is basically the same every day. My workouts are consistent. But the scale has not budged since the end of December, I think.

I've been super annoyed about that. I know I have things working against me, the total absence of growth hormone being one of them. I have a difficult time building lean muscle mass because of that, and muscle repair takes me a long time.

But still. I'm biking an average of 12 miles a day. I get my heart rate up. And the scale does not budge.

Yet...I am, clearly, building a little muscle. And I've had a few non-scale victories lately. Today I had one of them. For years, in any kind of women's clothing, I've worn a 2XL. But I grabbed a pair of track pants for today's ride and didn't look to see what they were until after the ride...and they're a pair of women's L that I bought by mistake last year.

They're comfortable. The waist isn't tight. The legs weren't squeezing my thighs.

So, that's something. I am making progress.

I was only able to get 11 miles in today, and might not be able to ride tomorrow because of the weather.

But...we're rearranging things in the room with the treadmill and rower so I can bring in my road bike and stick it on a trainer. At least I'll be able to get some sort of riding in on rainy or too-hot days.

And I need to make use of the treadmill. I decided to shoot for a 15 K race next January. My pace needs to be under 15 miles/minute and right now I'm probably at 17.

I can do it.

If I don't croak.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

I live in a small town; if I loop the major roads, I get less than 5 miles in. Some of that is kinda sketchy because of traffic, like every other person who lives here tries to drive on those roads 15 times a day, so I avoid it. Which brings me down to about 3 miles, if I go around in a loop.

Going up and down residential streets, I've found a route of about 5 miles that gets me from home to Starbucks, so on days I don't feel like pushing it, I ride there and stop for tea and then reverse the route to go home. Directly there, it's only 1.6 miles...which is fine if I just want to get out of the house. And on days I don't need a long ride, a sort-of rest day, I'll do that. Right there and back.

Lately, though, I've been riding a 1.6 mile loop from my house which doesn't put me in any real traffic, with only one sometimes-busy road to cross. That's the ride I push it on, keeping an eye on my heart rate and mileage.

I play music, get into a groove, and just go.

Today I headed out and the only thing I was thinking was that I was freaking cold and just wanted to get a few miles in. I stopped at 1.5 miles to stick another knit cap under my blinding orange one, and got back to it, hoping my fingers wouldn't freeze and fall off halfway around the next loop.

It was 45 degrees with a breeze. It totally might have happened.

After I added the 2nd cap, the only thing bothering me were my hands, so I decided to go for 10 miles and suck it up if it started to hurt a little bit.

On my 4th loop as I made my way down a street that's .5 miles into it, I heard a guy who'd been working in his yard yell out, "How many damned times are you going by?"

I raised my hands--5 fingers--though truthfully I was going 6, at least.

Then I wondered if I was annoying people by zipping past their homes and yards.

Then I realized I didn't care.

I ended today with 12.25 miles. Yesterday, 23.25. It'll have to do, since it looks like it's going to rain for the next 4-5 days and I'm a total weenie and don't really want to ride in it, especially if it's also windy.

We need the rain, but man, I am totally bummed out that we're getting so many days in a row of it. Like, I might have to actually do housework or something instead.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Here We Go Again...Redux

Yesterday, had anyone asked me if I'd had a blog titled Fat Kat, I would have scrunched up my nose as I considered it, and then denied that I'd ever written such a thing. It would have rung no bells, tickled no memory in the back of my head. I would have been surprised to see proof that I had, in fact, authored such a blog.

And then came today, when I was poking around things on Blogger, looking for comments connected to another blog that had been shuffled to moderation or marked as spam, and saw this in the list of blogs I either own or am a member of. So I jumped down the rabbit hole and pulled it up to read the archives...and finally had an inkling that these were things I had written.

And holy hell, it's all boring.

That doesn't mean I'll delete it; to the contrary, my first impulse was to resurrect it. My second was to delete all the content and start over, but then I realized it didn't matter. I might as well leave evidence of the journey I've clearly been struggling with for far too many years. Maybe in ten years I'll look back and realize I'd finally stumbled on the right track, or that I was never on the wrong one but focusing on the negative things.

The one thing I definitely wanted to change was the title. I grabbed onto Fat Kat because it was borderline clever--I'm fat and those are my initials, eh?--and I was actively trying to lose weight.

In the years since then I've come to understand that I don't want to wrap up my identity in a neat ribbon of negativity. Am I still fat? Sure. I'm overweight and I know it. But I also have so much more information under my belt, so to speak, and don't define myself by that anymore.

It came to me in the form of a doctor who listens, and who understands the hurdles that are in my way. She treats me for conditions I have as a result of a pituitary tumor, and understood before I did that much of my weight prior to diagnosis was likely related to interference of my metabolism by a tumor I didn't know I had. But still, I'd been in treatment for those issues for five or six years by the time I first saw her and was still fat. And I complained about it. I eat well, I exercise. I don't like this, not any of it.

You are not a number on a scale.

She said it as a matter of fact, not as something one says in order to placate someone. She meant it. She pointed to my blood work; it was damn near perfect. My blood pressure was good. My diet was not perfect, but pretty damned okay. I walked a lot, I swam, I was reasonably active. My weight was just a small part of who I was.

She didn't want me to ignore it, because it clearly bothered me. But there were things in my way; based on tests I'd had previously, I was an odd mix of insulin resistant with reactive hypoglycemia. Based on my verbal history, I'd yoyo'd my way into a screwed up metabolism that was not helped one bit by hypothyroidism brought on by the tumor. She reasoned that I pulled back a bit when I exercised, because I had legitimate fears of my blood sugar tanking and then passing out. I tended to overheat--my body doesn't self regulate very well.

There was a list of things wrong with me, but my weight was not one of them, not in the grand scheme of things.

I started looking at things differently after that.

I didn't gain back all the weight I'd previously lost, for which I was grateful. But then she took me off growth hormone--another tumor casualty--and she warned me that I would gain 20-25 pounds. There would be a loss of lean muscle mass that would be difficult to regain, and a shift in body fat. But the trade off to staying on it was cancer risks, which in my family is not a small thing.

I stopped taking it and gained 25 pounds. And I hated it, very ounce of it.

And I gave up, for the most part.

Later, there was another major shakeup in my life, one that both stilled a critical voice in my head and let loose a few others, and I might talk about those later, but for now...I was at a place I didn't really want to be but had come to accept, and if I was going to be there, I might as well have fun.

I started swimming seriously. So seriously that I injured my shoulder and had to stop for a while. It's been almost 3 years now, I think, and the shoulder never really healed.

There was training for the 3 Day, which I enjoyed. We bought a really good treadmill and it gets used once in a while.

What I wanted to do most, though, was get back to riding a bike. I bought a reasonable starter bike a few years back, but on one ride in not-too-hot weather, I felt myself getting lightheaded, and barely managed to stop before I passed out. I'd felt things creeping up on me a couple miles from home and headed in that direction, thinking I would make it, but a quarter mile away, I was out cold for a secind or two.

That's all, I think. Just a second or two. And I managed to get off the bike first. But I stopped riding because, frankly, I was afraid to. I stayed reasonably active, but I wanted to be on the damned bike. I stuck it on a trainer in the house, which was okay, but it wasn't riding. I wanted to ride.

Not my bike, but like this
Enter the electric bike. It's a heavy monstrosity, 60 pounds or so, but it has pedal assist and a throttle. I don't have to use the throttle--and I don't--but if I feel like I'm in trouble I can crank the throttle open and get home fast. It's everything I wanted--to ride, to be outside, to have a frakton on fun--and I feel safer.

I'm not stupid; I know some of that is all in my head. But I don't care. I feel safer. Feeling safer means I ride more often and go distances much further than I would have.

Where I used to ride 5-6 miles, my typical now is 15. I keep the pedal assist low so that I'm still getting a workout, but my knees don't take the brunt of the ride. I get excited about going for a ride and I get my heart rate up.

I'm under no illusions; I don't think of this bike as "cheating" (as some riders do) but I do have to ride longer and further to get the same benefit I would without the motor.

But I'm riding.

I'm having fun.

And, perhaps not so surprising, I've lost a little weight.

I'm counting calories; I keep it around 1200 a day, but I'm not obsessive about it...other than being in a 5 week plateau that's driving me a bit nuts, even though I know this will pass.


I'm not the Fat Kat anymore. I'm just a chubby middle aged woman with some issues that get in the way, but my interest is leaning more toward health and being active.

My weight will get there. I intend to ride my asterisk off, and enjoy the hell out of things while I do it.