Mid-week meanderings

Wednesday again and it’s been three days since my last bike ride.  I treated myself to a new bike this year, upgrading from the used bike I bought about eight years ago.  I’m not a serious road biker and probably never will be, and serious mountain biking is pretty much laughable around here so I went and got myself a hybrid, and all of you hybrid haters can kish mir in tuchas. I kept the old bike attached to the trail-a-bike for PalKid, but the new one is all mine.  Wouldn’t you know, PalKid decided this was a good time to figure out how to ride a two-wheeler, so now we get to go for actual rides together, rather than my simply pulling her along.  She isn’t fast, but she keeps going.

Since it was the best way to get around as a kid, I rode a lot.  I rode to middle school every day, as long as it was 40F or above, about 2 miles each way.  I expanded my commuting significantly when I lived in San Francisco as a twenty-something, with a 15 mile round trip commute (in the flatter part of town).  When I wasn’t commuting, I would ride over the Bridge to Marin and head out into the headlands or ride up Mt. Tam.  Riding over the Golden Gate and looking back at the City is something everyone should do at some point in their lives.

Med school and residency were a biking low.  I would ride around Evanston just to get around, but mostly when I traveled I was on the El or in a car.   When I moved back here, getting a bike felt like getting younger—getting a good bike felt like getting younger still.  I was happy to find this past weekend that my I can still do some serious riding.  Pulling the kiddo has probably been a good work out, because 14 miles up and down the small hills around here felt awesome.  All those little voices in the head (the pestering “get this done” ones, not the “redrum redrum” ones) just fade away when I’m pumping up a hill, or better yet, coasting down with the wind in my face.

Plenty of people ride in the winter around here but I’m fairly certain they all have the “redrum redrum” voices, so I have to get it in while I can.   We don’t generally get a lot of snow around here, but the last few years have been wetter, and I’m thinking about snow shoes for a winter activity.  I understand that they can give you quite a work out.

Meanwhile, on the home front, poor PalKid.  She did not like having Mommy sick in the hospital.  She gave up sleeping in my bed fairly shortly after MrsPal came home from the hospital and is really bouncing back, but now she’s terrified of tornadoes.  We don’t get a lot of tornadoes around here.  The sirens did go off early this spring when a nasty storm was approaching, and poor little PalKid came down to the basement in four layers of clothes, snow boots, and an armful of dolls.  Now she “hears” sirens every day.

She’ll get through this, but meanwhile it’s affecting our bike riding.  We’ve told her that tornadoes only happen “out in the country”, so now I can’t get her to come for a ride with me “out in the country.”  Oops.

 

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9 Comments

  1. Namnezia

     /  July 13, 2011

    Both my kids also finally figured out how to ride on two wheels recently, so now we can go on family bike rides. It’s a lot of fun.

  2. I’m still a mostly fair-weather cyclist, but I’ve seen my gf cycle through blizzards on days when I certainly wouldn’t have been on the road in a car (keep in mind I’m Canadian, so it takes a lot of snow to keep me off the road). Whenever I do go riding in winter I’m surprised at how not horrible it is, which is something that my gf has always tried to convince me of. I’m thinking about riding more this coming winter, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

    As for snow-shoes they are definitely a great workout, especially if you take some poles with you to get your upper body involved. Cross country skiing is also great, and doesn’t really require any more skill than snow shoes. It’s a beautiful way to enjoy some scenery in winter.

  3. Dianne

     /  July 13, 2011

    Plenty of people ride in the winter around here

    Es gibt kein schlectes Wetter, nur falsche Kleidung. Enjoy the biking.

  4. Diane-with-one-N

     /  July 13, 2011

    Biking has got to be one of the greatest things to do in the world–I feel so free. Being in school is also putting a damper on my biking right now. Biking with the kiddos is a great activity. I still fantasize about bike-touring Europe as a family. Hopefully PalKid’s fear of tornados in the country will wane, and you will have many happy biking hours together.

  5. A. Marina Fournier

     /  July 14, 2011

    I never managed to get the changing gears in motion thing down, and tended to avoid steep hills when I was riding regularly (before I finally got a car at 29).

    Somewhere around 2003, when I was in bifocals, I had my bike reconditioned. Here I was, larger than I was when I was riding regularly, seeing out of three different focal lengths, and way too aware of just how bad the injuries were going to be if I fell because I couldn’t be sure which focal length was right at the time.

    When I get my cataracts removed in the nearish future, and my eyes are better than they’ve ever been, I might try cycling again, if the age and falling thing doesn’t get to me again.

    I salute you for biking in SF!

    I hope PalKid eases her excess fears about tornados. I get the willies thinking about them, myself, and I get really uncomfortable when the light is dimmed to a certain spot, because it reeks of violent storms to me. I’ll take the earthquakes over regular, seasonal tornados or hurricanes.

  6. Love the PalKid stories.

    I hope Mrs.Pal’s recovery is galloping towards Completed!

    As life in the Pal household gets back to normal, I hope that PalKid’s anxieties will drop back down.

  7. We’re not crazy, we’ve just discovered the miracle of studded tires. I don’t know if they come in 700c size, but definitely come in 26″ which is probably what your older bike is. If it’s eight years old, you probably need new tires anyway, and it could become your Winter Bike.

    I ride a SUB, a mountain bike with an Xtracycle add-on. This makes the entire thing about the length of a tandem. I can haul groceries, kids’ swim gear, and both kids if necessary (although my son is on his own bike 90% of the time). I also have a coffee cup holder on my handlebars! I’ll email a picture. It’s massive, but also massively fun. The sheer functionality makes it really hard to find excuses not to ride, even when the weather is sketchy.

    So glad things are getting back to normal at your house!

  8. mivart

     /  July 20, 2011

    Off-topic: have you done a post listing what a 50 year old male should have done in the way of medical checkup, besides a colonoscopy? If so, could you provide a link? Thanks.

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