Tag Archives: share the road

Cycling Randoms

1) There has been a woeful lack of posting on this blog, I know. Part of it is that whole pesky graduate school thing. I mean, really. There has GOT to be a way to get a Ph.D. without it being so time-consuming!! However, up until this past week, there has also been a woeful lack of cycling. It can be hard to fit rides in with my school schedule anyway, so often when I do ride during the year, it’s in the form of commuting to/from school. However, lately that has looked like this

Another cyclist, and two men with super-cute pit bulls and I all came to an abrupt stop here at the same time. The walkers turned around, and the other cyclist and I agreed that this patch was far too deep to ride through, even on my hybrid. So, up and over we went!

I was briefly jealous of his lightweight road bike, however, since this commute home included more puddles and off-roading, I was ultimately quite happy to be on All the Way Mae (hybrid).

2) This is the other thing that’s happening on the bike path recently:

Goslings as far as the eye can see!! So far, I have barely been hissed at by parent-geese. However, I have seen numerous undergrads in the campus area egging them on. Poor choice, friends. Poor choice. I can’t help but remember a friend of mine telling me about how one time a goose chased on her on the bike path. She was on her bike and it was flying behind her, and she could feel air from its wings on her back . . .  *shudders*

3) A friend deemed me to be a “legit cyclist” the other day, after I arrived at her house on my hybrid. As it turns out, what made me “legit” were the little bag under my seat, and the reflective bands around bottom of my pant legs.

4) I’ve been a physical therapy slacker this quarter. I was down to going once a month, but just didn’t prioritize making time for it in my schedule. (True Confession: I basically pulled the classic excuse of “My knee doesn’t hurt anymore! I’m cured!” Then I slacked on my exercises and canceled an appointment and well, my knew was very clearly letting me know if its displeasure.) I finally got back into it this past Wednesday, and all I can say is, Holy Quads, Batman!!! She was not pulling punches. She’s also very lucky that I like her so much. lol That’s what I get for skipping, I guess. At least she electrocuted my knee, and no it feels great! I have another appointment in two weeks, which I will freaking keep!

3) The weather and bike paths were finally dry enough that I got to do a 90-minute bike ride last Sunday, which equals about 22-miles. It was SO nice!! However, I seem to have gotten stronger and faster on my bike since last year, so my old 90-minute route no longer takes 90-minutes. I reworked it a bit so I could get in a couple of hill-climbs, which should come in handy if I can work up the nerve to go through with a 50km ride this summer. (I know I can do it physically, I just need to not psych myself out!)

4) Sometimes Sweet Thunder the Second (road bike) is so pretty that I just can’t help but take pictures.

5) The other day when I was commuting home, I was stopped a light. I always check behind me when I stop to see if any cars are behind me, especially when I’m leading a lane of traffic. There was no car behind me. Yet, a minute or two later, I thought I saw a hulking presence out of my peripheral vision. I slowly turned my head – you don’t want to let drivers see your fear, after all! – and a Prius had snuck up behind me, completely unnoticed. I could hear that fucker wonderful hybrid approaching AT ALL.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against hybrids. Anything closer to an electric car is something that I support. However, for the love of god, Toyota! For the sake of the visually impaired, pedestrians, and bike commuters, can’t you suck it up and make these make some sort of noise! Maybe they could sing some sort of pleasant tune.  Pleeeeeeeeease.

6) Yesterday on the bike path, there was a fellow who had pulled over, strung a rope between two trees, and was practicing tight-rope walking. I freaking love the bike path.


Geez, louise! It’s been a while . . .

That’s what I get for being a graduate student and living somewhere that has winter. Le sigh.

HOWEVER, I’m commuting to school today. wOOt!! I pumped up my hybrid’s tires last night, wiped down the frame, and I’m ready to go! Also, I got this totally badass shirt a few weeks ago, as a birthday present to myself:

Look closely at the above pic: Can you see E.T.??

Back in the Saddle

Well, well, well. Hello again. I’ve been absent because I was on a most wonderful vacation. First, Luke and I went to visit my family in Maine. It included seeing their new house and new companion animals (Johb the dog and Maybe the cat), seeing every member of my mom’s side of the family, and seeing my brother and meeting his new boyfriend. It also included multiple trips to Farmington (my undergrad town/school) and Nezinscot Farm, and lots of lake swimming for Luke, while I stayed happily warm and dry. Luke also got to go visit his mom in New Hampshire, which included lots of 4-wheeling. (I’ve already assured him that, yes, when we move back to Maine and have some land, we can get a 4-wheeler.) After Maine, we went to stay for a night at Farm Sanctuary, in upstate New York. It was an amazing experience, and we’re both hoping to go back for longer next year. it’s located in Watkins Glen, NY, and it looks like there’s a pretty stellar state park there. That part of the trip included a lovely little cabin, pigs, cows, goats, rabbits, roosters, hens, sheep, cats, turkeys, vegan soft-serve ice cream, and a freaking delicious vegan continental breakfast.

One thing my vacation did not include? Cycling. Sadness. This was for a number of reasons:

A) Luke and I have yet to have the money to splurge on a bike rack that is sturdy enough to take our bikes from Ohio to Maine. However, this will happen before next year. We’re determined.

B) The bike that was most readily available for me was my Dad’s 10-year old Roadmaster mountain bike. Even though I’ve become a bit of a bike snob (I admit it), I debated giving it a shot. But then Dad mentioned that “You can’t go very far before the chain pops off;” I decided to steer clear, since cycling is something I do to increase enjoyment in my life, not frustration.

C) The ladder on my aunt and uncle’s raft shanked me on the first day of my visit, slicing my foot open in a way that made it too painful to put pressure on it. This would have made peddling a challenge. (It actually still hurts a bit to pedal now, though it’s more of an annoyance than pain.)

Hence, circumstance dictated that I go without cycling for about 10 days.  I.freaking.missed.it. I was very much looking forward to my bike ride yesterday, our first full day home. However, I was also having a really hard time being back in Columbus. Columbus is a pretty neutral place. It’s not the best place I’ve lived (that would be Maine), but it’s certainly not the worst. It’s just that – I’m not a city girl. And after 10 days of small towns in Maine and upstate NY, I found being back in a city jarring and alienating, to say the least. I’m also not particularly suited to the Midwest, or sub(urban) sprawl with all of its concrete and cars. I hoped my bike ride would help, and would make me feel a bit more connected to nature (via the bike path). But, as much as I love cycling, it’s not a panacea. Hoping that my bike ride would somehow magically transform central Ohio into central Maine was perhaps a bit too much to ask of my favorite hobby. Also, the bike path was crammed with decked-out Buckeye fans who were biking to the football game yesterday. They weren’t quite of this caliber:

But some were close. That wasn’t super helpful in terms of needing some healing/magic via cycling. (However, in retrospect, the scene of these fans on bikes is pretty freaking amusing, and I may take my camera to the bike path before the next home game. Maybe. If I need some adventure. But probably not.)

Today’s ride was much better. I felt back in my cycling groove, and the ride was very enjoyable. I even decided to ride on the streets on my way home. (I also had the experience of getting run into the shoulder by a motorcycle. I shall now be purchasing my “3 Feet Please” backpack, since school’s starting up so I’ll be commuting more.)

I also arrived home to find that the bike that I want has finally dropped in price since they’re phasing out the 2010 models. I need this bike because asap  because I’m slightly concerned about my right knee. I seem to have pulled a muscle, and I suspect that it’s because my current road bike doesn’t fit me as well as it could. However, I’m not sure that it’s completely that because it started hurting about a week before I went on vacation, and taking time off from cycling didn’t fix it. I’m getting my doctor to check it out on Wednesday.

Right now, for my new bike, I’m planning on getting a 2010 Fuji Newest 1.0, which is a nice entry-level road bike. (Family, don’t freak out. I’ll be paying about half of the listed price. My extra fellowship should pretty much cover the cost – yay!) It’s a lot of bike for the price, and it’s gotten good reviews. Also, supposedly the Tiagra shifters are a “must,” and they perform well for a long time. I haven’t gotten to test ride one yet. I’m hoping to go to Performance Bicycle within the next week or two to try one out. Fingers crossed! I’m also toying with the idea of a Specialized Dolce Elite, but it’s a bit pricier (and I’d only remotely consider it if I could get it on an insane end-of-year sale) and I don’t like the styling as much, so hopefully the Fuji will work. I certainly love my Fuji Crosstown hybrid; I think of that bike as my pleasure craft, while my road bike means business. And my new road bike will mean even more business!

If any of you have any thoughts and/or reviews on road bikes, cycling, or life in general, I’d love to hear!

Well. Here we are.

Unfortunately, this blog is starting on a sad day for cycling in Ohio. This weekend was Pelotonia, one of the largest cycling events in Ohio; it’s a charity ride to raise funds for cancer research. This year about 4,000 cyclists rode, and one of them, Michelle Kazlausky, did not return. She was hit by a pick-up truck during the ride, and died at the hospital. The truck has been impounded; they suspect brake failure, but it has yet to be thoroughly examined.

This is a tragic and very scary event. The more that I ride – and the more that I commute to and from school by bike – the more aware I am of the alarming frequency of this type of accident.

Please, cyclists, motorists, pedestrians, and everyone in between, be careful.

This winter, I’m hoping to commute to school one or two times a week, barring blizzards/lots of snow. This will mean riding in the road more and on the bike path less. Personally, I’ll be purchasing one of these:

Nope. I don’t even care how dorky it is. (And by “dorky,” I actually mean “badass.”) Plus, it’s waterproof, reflective, has a padded laptop section, AND a separate section to put a change of clothes in. Yes, please!