Tail Tucked

We did a nice ride along the golf course again today. The plan had been to scout out and route from our apartment to Starbucks, but alas we missed the road. On our way back through we did do a quick jaunt up the road to check out how hilly it is. It may prove a formidable opponent for me although Llama seemed to take it in stride. I was proud to make it up the steepest of our hills, at a snail's pace of course, but whatever works. Unfortunately shortly after making it up the steepest part and crossing the railroad tracks I was startled by someone beeping behind me. A quick glance assured me that the anger was directed at a fellow motorist. This made me feel much better for about 3.5 seconds, at which point I felt my tires plop down into that weird cement area on the edge of the road. I'm assuming this particular part of the road serves as a type of gutter. It's only about a foot wide and though I can ride in there I don't like it. This time however I was already rattled by the honking and I tried to jerk out instead of waiting until the blacktop was not 2 inches higher than the cement. My front tire skidded sideways along the blacktop instead of up and over just as a car was passing. I ended up on my feet, astride the bike, in the traffic lane. Clearly I'm fine, but I was pretty rattled. So between that and the "killer" hill, I found myself nauseous yet again and pulling over to collect myself. Llama came back for me, gave me some water and moral support and then we walked up the sidewalk for several minutes. I gotta say, there is just not much that ruins a bike ride for me more than having to walk any stretch of it for any reason. It pisses me of and makes me feel like crap and basically destroys any and all self esteem I may have built up up to that point in the ride. So I ended up coming home feeling a bit like I had my tail between my legs. There's always the next time!


Eye Candy

I can't explain it but there is a simple pleasure in seeing a beautiful old bicycle. A part of me thrills at the lasting power of a well built bike, and I get joy from seeing my beloved simple and efficient machine as it was years before I was born. The classic clean lines will suck me in for hours of browsing just for the simple pleasure of seeing another bike of yesteryear on my screen. Intellectually I enjoy the fact that these old bike have often outlasted some of their infantile cousins. I love to see the colors and the insignias, the trademark decals, and when I see a bike today in a condition where the original paint and logos are intact it sometimes makes my heart beat a little faster. The revered old brands that inherently carry a bit of honor through the years. I find myself wanting to buy more and more of these old beautiful bikes, just to have access to them.

In that spirit, I have decided to post some pictures here for the simple purpose of eye candy. I enjoy posting about rides and experiences and breakthroughs and thoughts, but again and again I find myself finding it semi monotonous to say "hey, today I rode my bike". I like sharing my thoughts and my trials, but sometimes, dammit, I just want to oggle some nice bike flesh. So I have taken the opportunity to do some scouring and find what, to me, is bike porn. I often find myself looking at a bike and then thinking, "What would that be like with X handlebars?" or "I wonder if that paint color is original?" And thus begins another little journey onto the "internets" to see what I can see.

Disclaimer: There's bound to be some disappointment all around as I'm not always going to take the time and energy to positively ID these bikes. I want to look at them not do a thesis on the history of bicycles. If the details are at hand I will include them, but this is not an attempt to catolog the bikes. That said, if you happen to be reading this post and you happen to have some latent bike knowledge please feel free to put it in the comments. That way we can all benefit from your knowledge! One last thing--these are not, for the most part, professional pictures. I'm just gathering some shots I've found lying about the vast world of the web.

Without further ado:

The dashing Peugeot.

The classic Chicago Schwinn.

The irristible Sears Austria.

Step-through 3 speed.

Schwinn Suburban.





Eat it up

I never would have believe it but I actually had the urge to lift weights today. I wrote before that I abhor the gym and "working out" as an activity serparate from anything useful. But since I live in an apartment and not on the farm anymore, well there just isn't a boatload of things that need done that require physical activity. The biking has been great but we tend to do that on weekends. During the week we do yoga, walks, and even some Wii sports or fit. But reflecting on all the hours I poured into working out in the past, especially in college, I do remember fondly the wonderful "strong" feeling I always go from lifting weights. It never really seemed to help me lose or even manage my weight, but I did like feeling that ache in my muscles that reminded me I had used them. So without any other reason or explanation, I had the urge to lift some weights yesterday. Now granted I am much, much weaker than I was 5 or 8 years ago. But this time I didn't let that discourage me. I figure with my other success propelling me, this would be a good adjunct activity (at least for one night!). Though I tend to gravitate towards free weights, the machine offer much needed stability at this point. An hour and a half later I felt great about my (small) success of hitting most major muscle groups and proud that I had got off my ass. I guess it's true that "success begets success." The better I feel the better I want to feel the more I want to succeed which leads me to trying even harder the next go round.

Anyway, tonight I just wanted to do a quick post with some super easy and tasty recipes.
Oh these are potato-product/sugar free due to my potatoe allergy. But they are damn tasty and there's nothing like breakfast for dinner.

1 egg
1 cup milk (rice, cow, whatever--I used creamline whole cow's milk)
2Tbsp oil (we used olive)
1 cup flour (unenriched--we used white whole wheat flour from King Arthur)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder (we substituted 1Tbsp corn starch + 1/4 tsp baking soda as baking powder affects my potato allergy)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix all ingredients well. We use 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Smother with real butter and some real maple syrup or...

Berry Sauce
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 cup blackberries
(I had two half bags mixed frozen blueberries, raspberries and strawberries and substituted. I'm sure any combinationg would be fine.)
1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup maple syrup).
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

In a saucepan, combine berries, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, stirring until it dissolves. Add the cornstarch mixture to the fruit to thicken. Stir until smooth and simmer slowly for 2 to 3 minutes.

Let me know if you love this or hate it, if you would like to see more, or if you end up skipping over it.



This morning we did a quick 5.5ish mile ride on the road again. The ride was beautiful--60ish degrees, sunny, and the road was along a golf course community with a bike lane. The only difficulty with this ride is the road connecting us to the Preston community. We had to cross the railroad tracks again, took a left turn going downhill without a traffic light, and on the way back that road is one steep bitch for a short while. I wanted to share the beautiful pictures we took along the way. I might also post the recipe for pancakes that we used this morning as they were absolutely delicious!

Happy Easter to those of you who observe it.
Happy Sunday to everyone else!


Road Ride Virgin No More

Did my first all road ride today. I was so nervous thinking about the ride and as we pulled up to the intersection to leave the apartment complex, I felt like I was at the top of a rollercoaster. My stomach was in knots and I was so jittery. The light changed and we pulled smoothly across the intersection. The first mile or so is downhill but it is also the highest traffic volume part of the ride and is the section with the smallest shoulder and riding room. As we began picking up speed my first thought was "shit, I hope my bike doesn't fall apart!" As we approached the first major intersection I was feeling a bit wobbly. I was having a hard time looking over my shoulder to assess traffic and we needed to turn left. Llama stepped in and smoothly merged with traffic and then singled and pulled into the left turn lane. I'm glad we had a green light as I had been worrying about the particular intersection since we decided to ride. We needed to turn left from one high volume road onto another and there are railraod tracks halfway through the turn. I had read about taking them headon so as to not wipe out by getting my tire stuck. Since the light was green when we reached it I had no time to think and worry over it and just plowed on through. A short distance later we made a right turn onto Church St which is has far fewer cars on it.

Church St was the first chance we had to relax and we both decided to pull over and get our breath and just calm down for a few minutes. We were both puffing pretty good at this point, but felt like the hardest and scariest part was behind us. Church St ended up being a bit more challenging then we imagined. It had a very slight grade. The kind that just slowly wears you down. Before too long I had to pull off and get water again. Quick sidenote: our wonderful "vintage" bikes do not have cages on them as yet. Truthfully I almost don't want to "sully" them. But it does need to take some priority as it is pretty damn inconvenient to have to sotp for drinks. Anyway, by this point I realized I wasn't going to make it the entire circuit we had planned, so we decided on a modified route and got back on the road. Our next intersection was another left hand turn and this time no turn lane and no turn arrow. It went very smoothly and before too long we had turned onto Town Hall which had been the least stressful in my mind pre-ride.

Town Hall was effortless. I don't know if it was the road being smoother or if there was a slight downgrade but it was effortless and took very little time. There was also a bit of a tailwind headed back home. There are two lanes going each direction which put me at ease as there was plenty of room for cars to go around. It was also nice because we were able to ride side by side and chat. Before long we were back at the railroad tracks and on the last leg of our ride. There is a "small" hill (which to me might as well have been the fucking Alps) and this is the section where there is a very small shoulder. I shifted down and plodded up and before long there is a slight levelling out. I took it slow and easy and when the grade increased again, I found myself clawing my gears for the granny gear. I made it as far up as I had wanted. The road widens just where it departs from the railroad tracks and there is a second lane and a sidewalk. I was shaking so badly I slowly made it to the sidewalk and crumpled off my bike. I stumbled up to where Llama was waiting with the water. We caught out breathe and decided to use the sidewalk to go the last 200 yards or so into the apartment complex.

When we reached our building I felt so excited to have a "real" ride under my belt. And I have a new appreciation for bike paths for leisurely rides and a new respect for roads. I feel exhausted and exhilarated. Oh and my legs are like jelly....