Respectable Mileage

February 3, 2008

On Thursday I commuted for the first time by bike since breaking the wrist. And then today I went for a 14 mile ride on the Giant OC3, the bike on which the accident occurred. So I really do feel back in the swing of things. And look, my weekly mileage is veering into the respectable range.

The commute was excellent. I just rode one way, taking MARTA back. But it was still a good 7 1/2 miles, with some excellent hills. My usual 34 minutes is now down to 43, so there’s some getting back into shape to be done. But it was great to haul myself to work under my own steam. I’ll do a couple of one-ways, and get back to the 15 mile round trip.

I also spent a very satisfying couple of hours yesterday making sure my tires were at correct pressure on both my bikes, and oiling and cleaning the chains. And I unfolded, reflated and rode around on Lady MacSquish’s now somewhat neglected Breezer Zig7 foldable.

A year ago we both started on foldables (in my case a Dahon), before realizing that we wanted to do more than ride a few miles around town. We both took the serious commuter bike route, I’ve added a road bike, and LMS is working her way up to a mega-serious custom commuter. I exchanged my Dahon for a KHS Urban X, but her foldable has remained in the garage.

It’s a lovely piece of engineering, and we want to hang onto it as something we can easily fit in the trunk of a car. This way, if one of us leaves the car somewhere (say at the train station, after taking the train to the airport), the other can ride to it, easily stowing the bike in the trunk. Or, if we sign up for FlexCar, we can ride to the rental car. A foldable is, in fact, a great option for two people getting down to one car.

Anyhoo, I am trying to be a little less obsessed with mileage and speed than I was before the accident, but I’m happy to have ridden over 35 miles this past week.

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Facing my Fears

January 23, 2008

6.61 miles! Again, back in the day that would have been nothing. But this was not just my longest ride yet since breaking the wrist. It also took me to the site of my dewristing, the evil train tracks that cross the bike path. I was on the big heavy commuter bike and it wasn’t raining this time, so the odds of coming off were, I know, slim. But still… And to make matters worse, the rail road people had dumped a giant pile of stones across the bike path. Anyway, I got the better of the evil train tracks (twice, as I had to come home), so I feel a minor (if boring for others) milestone has been reached.

Before heading out I sat on the road bike. The various riding positions seem like they’ll be fine on my wrist, but I need to put air in the tires and lubricate the chain before I head out on it.


Back in the Saddle!

January 18, 2008

wrist2.jpg

Five miles! That’s right, five whole miles. Three months ago I would have sniffed at a five mile bike ride as, well, nothing more than a wee cruise around the neighbourhood (for myself, that is; I’m overjoyed when anyone rides even a single mile). But one bike accident, a broken wrist, surgery, a metal plate, three screws, an arse-load of vicodin (perhaps the wrong adjective, given the constipatory effects of opiates), a gnarly scar and, perhaps most crucially, eighty-six days without cycling and, suddenly, five miles seems pretty damn cool.

Yup, today was the day when my orthopedic surgeon said I could get back on the bike. My wrist isn’t entirely back to normal in terms of strength and range of motion, so I was worried that there could be some adverse effects. But so far so good. I doubt I’ll be standing up and pulling with my arms when going up hill for a while, but I was delighted to find that five miles was a joy.

This was all on my commuter bike. It may be a little while before I can get back on the road bike, both out of post-accident shakiness (that’s the bike I fell off of) and because, perhaps, there may be a different set of strains on my wrist with the slightly different position of the drop handlebars. But hell, the commuter bike is pretty damn glorious.

This was also my first vigorous exercise since the accident. I’ve basically just been walking since then (quite a lot, but it’s really not the same thing as a good bike ride). I used to run, but my knees got a bit ify, so that wasn’t an option. And I couldn’t really face joining a gym and coming to grips with the pointlessness of an exercise bike.

Back in October I aimed for 50 miles a week, 200 a month. If I fell short at, say, 150 or 175 miles a month I felt like a big slacker. In fact, I was wildly obsessed with my mileage. Having gone from 170 miles in October (rudely curtailed on the 24th) to zero since then (with a 2007 total of 998 miles from when I started recording in May, though I’d been riding since the beginning of the year), my mileage obsession has been put in perspective. Probably there’s a lesson in there somewhere about enjoying the cycling itself and focusing a little less on the stats.

I will, however, be charting my recovery with glee. It may take some time before I’m commuting the 15 miles a day to work, but I’m going to get a huge kick out of turning my ten minute walk to the train station into a three minute bike ride. And my twenty-five minute walk into downtown Decatur into ten minutes of cycling.

In short, I couldn’t be happier. And before I know it I’ll be doing the twenty-five mile rides again. It’s good to be back.