Where The Bike Takes Me

Continuing this journey of cycling in efforts to get into shape, lose weight, enjoy the outdoors, and save my knees from their arthritic state at 28 years of age.

My First Bike to Work Day May 18, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — f8th637 @ 1:46 pm

Despite 50-degree weather, overcast skies, and sprinkles here and there I did the ride to work today.  I made it to my pit stop in less than 35 minutes.  I didn’t have the big backpack this time and I bought a rack bag last night.  I felt kinda naked since I’m so use to having something on me.  The pit stop was closing at 8:30 AM and I got there at about 8:15 AM or so.  I managed to snag one of the last two medium-sized t-shirts.  The guys at City Bikes were doing check-ups and adjustments and I had been having issues with shifting up to the next biggest gear.  Sometimes it would catch and never shift up.  They adjusted the cable for me and for the rest of the ride I had no problems.  They were trying to get rid of the rest of their prizes since it was about closing time.  People were still stopping in and out.  I tried to win something but kept coming up with pieces of paper without the magic green dot.  It was ridiculous!  So they just gave me a water bottle, which was nice.  After picking up a banana and a Vitamin Water, drinking a shot of coffee, and receiving my t-shirt and bottle I was ready to hit the path again.

Being on the path and having no one around me is unnerving and there were a lot less people on the path in general just beause of the weather I think.  I’m always relieved when someone passes me or I come upon a runner or something.  I definitely saw more cyclists this time around though.

I managed to do the whole 17-mile trip in 1 hour and 30 minutes according to the new cyclocomputer I installed earlier this week.  I was definitely on a mission and my quads are pretty tired now.  I think that I’m going to make this a habit and ride every Friday.  It’s a good way to get miles in.

Earlier this week I went to the kickoff Happy Hour for my company’s bike club.  Wow, talk about hardcore!  I know I’m just starting out so I’m not at all put off.  Everyone I talked to was really nice and personable and pretty supportive.  Some of their rides are out of my league right now but a girl has got to have some goals, right?  The company will sponsor up to 6 charity rides per employee per year.  I just need to get some miles under my legs.  I have been eyeing the things with options for shorter rides.  I’ll be eligible for the club jersey at the discounted price which will be nice.  I can only get better from here!


Bike to Work Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — f8th637 @ 12:00 am

Join thousands of area commuters for a celebration of bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work! Meet up with your neighbors at one of 24 pit stops all over the region, ride into the city with experienced commuter convoys and meet your colleagues at Freedom Plaza. Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Commuter Connections invite you to try bicycling to work as an alternative to solo driving. Help the Washington region become a better place to ride.

Find your pitstop! 


First Group Ride May 16, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — f8th637 @ 1:03 am

This past Sunday I decided to join the VeloDCity Washington Bicyling Meetup Group for my first ever group ride.  I really liked their “No rider left behind” policy and the route sounded easy enough that I could handle.  Despite not getting a good night’s sleep the night before I decided that I can’t bail on my first ever ride because then I’d never be invited back.  😉  Anyway, I’m sure that isn’t the case. 

So I got up and  left the house before 9AM to catch the Metro to the Forest Glen.  I barely made it there in time but I guess that’s also because they were running 5 minutes late.  Just as I was getting out of the tunnel I see Gregg, our fearless leader, and the rest of the A Group.

The ride was split into 3 legs: A, B, and C.  If you wanted to do the A leg you pretty much did 40+ miles. The B group did 26 and the C group did 18.  My max miles on one ride before the group ride was 21.4 miles but I felt I could do the B so that is where I met them.  At the B stop we had 10 people.  We were going at a good clip for me.  Apparently, the A group was going at a pretty fast pace.  I probably would not have been able to keep up.  When we hit the C group we added 8 more including 4 younger children.  Now we were 18 strong but also slower because it was such a big group and because of the children.  It was really great that they came out though.  I love seeing kids taking part like that and also being active.  I hope to drag my one-day kids everywhere I possibly can.

The day was absolutely beautiful and the trail was a lot flatter than I am use to.  Riding regularly on the W&OD will be good for me with its hills.  The ride pretty much ran alongside the creeks in the College Park and Sligo Creek area.  There was no humidity, the sun was warm, and highs were in the low 70s.  It was cycling heaven!  We had lunch at the 94th Squadron Inn and watched the small planes take off and land from neighboring College Park airport.  Gregg even pointed out an osprey in a local canal devouring its fish for lunch on the way to the restaurant.  I’ve seen osprey before but not one eating.

I have to say that my first group ride experience was absolutely perfect.  The people were great, the pace was good for me, the scenery was lovely, and the weather was perfect.  I can’t wait for my next one!


Today’s Ride & A Visit to Spokes

Filed under: Uncategorized — f8th637 @ 1:02 am

I debated riding today since I was so tired but it was so beautiful out that I decided I just have to go especially since I know I’m not riding tomorrow for various reasons.  I set out West on the W&OD with the intent to stop at Spokes bicycle shop in Vienna which is around mile marker 11.5.  The bike needed lights.  🙂

I noticed today that as I was riding on a higher gear than I had been in past rides.  Also, it took me less than 40 minutes this time to get to my pitstop in Vienna.  I definitely moved faster today.  I do realize though that I also did not have the heavy backpack I did last Friday when I timed myself on my way to work for my trial run.  But still, I definitely rode on one higher gear up than I had been even before!

I bought some lights at Spokes because I had a feeling that I’d be getting home a bit later than usual.  The days are getting longer but still not like what it will be in summer.  I installed the lights outside of the store.  I didn’t want to be caught out there without not being seen well or at least better.  I also bought a reflective vest which I’m still not sure I’ll keep and a bike map for Washington DC and surrounding areas.  That thing is cool!

Once I got home (I hate living at the top of the hill, whew!) and ate dinner I finally installed my cyclocomputer from Planet Bike that I bought at REI months ago.  I fine tuned the lights to my liking and moved the front reflector.  There really isn’t a whole lot of real estate up there on a handlebar.  I definitely have to say that the bike is looking nice.  It looks great with all its new accessories but I also feel a sense of relief knowing that I am helping myself in trying to be more visible to people in the road.  I’m finishing up “The Art of Urban Cycling: Lessons from the Street” by Robert Hurst.  I’ll devote another post to that later but I really think that everyone should read it.  Take it upon yourself to help yourself and never assume the actions of other people.  Happy Riding!


First Ride to Work May 15, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — f8th637 @ 11:06 pm

This past Friday in honor of Bike to Work Week/Day coming up I decided to give the route to work a try.  I hadn’t intended on bringing my clothes and laptop with me but ended up having to in the end.  It was also my first time riding with such a loaded bag on my back.  The route was pretty much 17 miles from my door to the office and most of it was on the W&OD.  I stopped twice briefly and it took me about an hour and 45 minutes to do the whole thing.  I definitely feel that the latter half of the ride is more uphill.  I just went on a 26-mile ride this past weekend and it was no where near as strenuous.  I think because it was flatter.  My pitstop for Friday is the Whole Foods in Vienna and it took me 40 minutes to get there.  That also accounts for stops to cross roads, etc.  I didn’t have to do the ride back since The Husband works in my office.  One day I’ll have to convert him too.  I think I’m ready for Friday I just need to make sure I get up much earlier.