#30DaysofBiking: Day 9 | A Hill

Okay. I’m a little embarrassed that I’m this far behind on #30daysofbiking. My motivation to bike is waaaay down. I barely ride during the week anymore. Going on a ride after work just seems like sooo much work. I’m bored of all my usual routes and I hate riding in after work traffic. So most of my riding is on the weekends. But I enjoy taking pictures and writing about my rides, so I’m going to keep it up, even when it’s not longer fashionable to do so.

On the weekend of this ride, I went with Melissa (my 50 states buddy) out to MacArthur Blvd. My first trip on MacArthur was my ill fated trip with Shannon that resulted in 3 flats, 45 minutes of walking, and a bike fairy. My second trip on MacArthur was out to Great Falls. This time I was finally going to tackle the epic hill of MacArthur. I don’t know much about this hill, except that lots of people ride it because it is hard. Does it have a name? Probably. But I don’t know it. I was dreading it and looking forward to it, as it would be an interesting test of my fitness. The hill was hard…but not that hard. There was suffering, but it was not epic. Whenever I thought it might be too hard, I said to myself, “You did RAGBRAI and 30 miles on that [bleep] Skyline. This hill ain’t nothing but a mole hill compared to that.” So I made it to the top. And I could even hold a conversation with Melissa when I got to the top! Progress, what?!

We took a break about half way through and the second half was pretty brutal. We were riding on more heavily trafficked roads (which is not relaxing), there were a lot of stoplights, it was a lot hillier than I expected, and I was more wiped than I thought I was from the big hill. Melissa is significantly faster on the climbs than I am, so I would get dropped and only catch back up with her when she would stop and wait. It was exhausting. Plus, I was so unprepared food-wise, I had almost no food to eat and was starving. This mean that once I got home, I ate a big ass burger, a milkshake, and drank a beer. Well deserved.


#30DaysofBiking: Day 8 | The Ride Home

Today I rode my bike home, and of course, I picked the one day of the week that it decided to rain. But, while I’m sweet, I’m not made of sugar, so I didn’t melt. And it certainly wasn’t the worst rain I’ve ridden in! I’ve been biking home from work for awhile now. I used to bike to and from work, but have abandoned the “to” part. I decided the hassle of riding to work was more than I was willing to put up with. Picking and packing the day’s outfit, along with all the necessary accessories and vanity products was too stressful. So, I started taking my bike on the metro in the morning then riding my bike home after work. This works so much better. Bikes aren’t allowed on the metro between 7am and 10am, so I do have to leave my house earlier. But packing is so much easier, as I only need to mindlessly pack my cycling gear, and I get to leave work a half hour early, as I get into work a half hour earlier. As the days get shorter, this option will be even more appealing, as it means I can get a ride in before it gets too dark.

I upgraded my backpack, also. I got a very nice Timbuk2 laptop backpack. While my bag is still heavy with my laptop, it’s easier to transport. And it’s a great backpack for short trips! So, this is an official endorsement of the Timbuk2 H.A.L. laptop backpack! (Although Timbuk2 has a lot of good commuting  backpack options!)

Since I’ve started biking home, I’ve moved, and while my new route is the same length as my previous commute, it is a much more urban route. However, thanks to Google Maps and Rails to Trails, the route is quite bike friendly, with many streets with bike lanes being used.

#30DaysofBiking: Day 7 | Another day

I went on a ride after work today. There was still a lot of traffic, even though I left earlier than I did before. I’m going to have to find a new after work riding route- too much pissing off motorists (I’m sure!) and fearing for my life happening to continue using this route. Nothing exciting, just another day on the bike!

#30DaysofBiking: Day 6 | Shake

Tanline and bike grease

Today I was too lazy to spend time kitting up for a long ride but I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather, so I just rode to Silver Spring so I could sit outside while I enjoyed a shake and read my book.

#30DaysofBiking: Day 5 | Back in the saddle

After almost a week and half of not being on my bike, I figured it was time to get back on. I blame most of that time off on the hurricanes- first there was Irene, then Lee, which meant we spent all of last week wading through water. Then once the weather cleared up, I had a friend visiting. Then when she left, I honestly wasn’t interested in riding- I was out of the habit and unmotivated. Often, if I go too long between rides, I start feeling anxious and antsy. But the past week, I’ve had no desire to get on my bike and even the good weather didn’t make me miss it much. I would say that I wished I could be on my bike, but I didn’t mean it. It felt a little weird- I’ve never had that happen before. It also made me a little nervous- was my love affair with my bike starting to fizzle out? Even though the day I took this ride I was super stressed out at from work and life, I had no desire to take a ride- which is often the first thing that comes to mind when I need some recovery time. I was tempted to veg out at home, once again instead of going through the hassle of getting ready for a ride. But a bike friend convinced me it would make me feel better and made me feel guilty about avoiding my bike. So I kitted up and headed out. And, of course, I was glad I did. Even though I left later than I should have, so I had to deal with tons of traffic, it was still lovely out and I got to spend a bit of time away from traffic on a little used trail. I could tell it had been awhile since I’d been on the bike- my legs felt the burn on the smallest of hills and my breathing was extra labored. But it was a good workout, I didn’t get hit by any cars and I’ve broken the couch potato habit.

#30DaysofBiking: Day 4 | Too Late

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had intended to go on a group ride this morning. On Sundays, one of the bike shops downtown does a group ride that I enjoying doing. However, because I couldn’t get my lazy butt out of bed fast enough this morning, I missed the early train and they had already left by the time I got there! So I didn’t completely waste the effort I had put into getting ready, I biked home. So instead of getting 25 miles in toady, I got in 6. Better than zero.

 

#30DaysofBiking: Day 3 | Great Falls

Along the C&O Canal

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today Kiah and I rode out to Great Falls. It was quite amazing. Great Falls is an area where the Potomac river has carved through the bedrock and created a stunning section of rapids. I had no idea what the Great Falls were or what it might look like, so when we got to the overlook, my breath was just taken away. The amazing thing was how you look to the horizon and it’s just jagged rock and the raging river just seems to appear out of nowhere. Nature! (More picts here)

The ride was decidedly unstrenuous. Rode out on MacArthur Blvd to the C&O Canal, all of which is quite flat. Weather was perfect, albeit a little humid, but no sun. Lovely day on the bike!

#30DaysofBiking: Day 2|New Bike

Sophie, out of the saddle, testing a bike


Not for me. No, I love Louise and don’t need a new bike. At least not yet. Today I helped my friend Sophie pick out a bike. We grew up together and ended up living two doors down from each other in the same apartment building. She’s been talking about getting a bike for ages and asked if I would help her pick one out. And yesterday we made it happen! It felt so good to be able to offer my knowledge to make her feel more comfortable. She was like me, doing research, research, research before she went to the shop, but, just like me, realized it’s about the bikes in front of you, not about the hypothetical “best” bike for you. The “best” bike is the one you ride that feels the best! Buying your first bike is super intimidating and I never would have bought mine if Shannon hadn’t come with me- just her presence was comforting! I was happy to pass along that comforting presence to Sophie and offer what little advice and prodding she needed.

When Sophie and I go on our first bike ride together, I’ll post a picture!

#30DaysofBiking: Day 1|Take 2

 

Well. It’s happened again. This month has been declared a #30DayofBiking month. I participated last time a #30DaysofBiking was declared, back in April. I enjoyed the challenge of coming up with new pictures to share and new stories to tell last time and decided I wanted to do it again. I got a bit lazy towards the end- taking pictures but not blogging them- so I only actually go up to day 23, even though I swear I biked 30 days. I’m going to try it again and this time make it to the end. I’ve recently moved and am looking forward to photographing and writing about my new haunts.

So. Today. You know how they say in cycling circles, “Go on a ride, it will make all your troubles go away”? And the generally accepted belief that cycling makes everything better? While in theory, I support and love this idea, in practice, I’ve found it not to be true.  Sometimes, when I go out on my bike in a bad mood or a negative attitude, I just stew in the bad ju-ju and my bad mood just festers. It affects how I feel on my bike and how I see others around me. I even start to hate on my fellow cyclists- “Why you gotta ride like that?! Why don’t you ride the right way, like ME?!” And that was today. A lost wallet was the cause of such a bad mood and even riding around Hain’s Point with lovely weather was not enough to distract from my irritation at myself. So, while generally a bike ride can cure many ills, there’s no guarantee.

Check out all of my #30DaysofBiking posts here.

#30DaysofBiking: Day 23|Pretty in Pink

I do not remember where I was going this day. Probably to the grocery store. That’s where I usually go when I ride in regular clothes. All I’ll say is, I love my Chacos, but wow do they make my feet look short and stubby! Also, I have learned how to roll my pants up high enough so I don’t collect any grease. Progress!

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