#30DaysofBiking: Day 17 | Puncture

#30DaysofBiking day 17
Proof of Puncture
#30daysofbiking Day 17
Back tire off!

Is it weird that I was strangely excited by my first puncture? Because that’s how I felt when it happened today. It hadn’t started out as a ride to get excited by. Despite having a bit of a scratchy throat, I decided to go out anyway. And that was a mistake. The heavy breathing and colder, wet air just killed my throat and lungs. Not to mention the whole still unresolved saddle issue. So halfway through I called it quits and headed home (still got 20 miles in, though!). In the way home, I heard the unmistakable hiss of a tire going flat. I was close enough to home that I just decided to walk the bike home and change the tube there. So I don’t think I’m a proper cyclist yet, as I think that doesn’t occur until one has changed a tire on the side of the road.

I would give you a play by play account of how I changed my tube, because that’s how excited I was about this puncture, but I’ll refrain. I will say the two instances when I felt the most proud was when I got the back wheel off and when the tire bead popped off the rim.

So, why was I so excited about this puncture? Mainly, I knew it had to happen eventually and I just wanted to get it over with. In theory I knew how to change a puncture- my LBS gave me a crash course- but theory is a lot different than real life. I was nervous to have to do it myself on the side of the road. So I was glad it happened when I was close enough to home that I could just do it there.

I like knowing how my bike works and being able to fix things on my own. I don’t mind taking it into the shop for bigger things, but I don’t want to take it in for every little thing. So knowing how to fix a puncture is one more thing I know how to do on my bike!

#30DaysofBiking: DAy 16 | Discomfort

Tonight’s ride was throughly dissatisfying. I was uninspired and depressed when I got home. I do not like feeling this way. And I don’t like that it was my bike that made me feel this way. I think part of it was because I was not interested in doing my regular route. I’m bored with it and I need to find something new. Also, I’m still not comfortable on my bike. I’m not sure if this is something that can be fixed through more tweaks, or something I just have to get used to. I don’t enjoy being on my bike as much as I have because of the discomfort. I don’t look forward to my bike rides. Was I expecting the bike fit to solve everything? Yep. Unrealistic? Maybe. There has been improvement, but I’m not convinced I can do a long ride without serious pain. I’m going to do a real ride either tomorrow or this weekend and see how I feel. And then go back to the shop to see if they can fix me.

#30DaysofBiking: Day 15 | Trailer

#30daysofbiking day 16

Post bike fit ride. It was quite lovely out and the trails weren’t that busy. On my way back, I rode behind a bike pulling a trailer. We had one when I was growing up and I remember using it to drag my siblings around, to deliver papers, to get groceries for my mom. We got rid of it ages ago, but seeing this one today, and @cycleboredom‘s shot towing his kid, made me miss it a bit.

#30daysofcycling day 16

#30DaysofBiking:Day 14 | Ice Cream

#30daysofbiking day 14
No good picture from today, so you get this instead

Today I rode my bike to the store for ice cream. I’ve been having major sweet cravings lately- especially for ice cream- and could be denied no longer. I tried to justify a trip by trying to come up with a grocery list for the week, but was unable to take my mind off of the delicious ice cream that I was soon to have in my possession long enough to concentrate on the task at hand. So without even changing out of my work clothes, I headed to the store. Despite rolling up my pant leg, I still, as @cycleboredom likes to say, got hipster on my pants. But it was worth it, because the ice cream was delicious.

#30DaysDayofBiking: Day 12|Sun

#30daysofbiking day 12#30daysofbiking day 12

Today the weather walked that fine line between spring and summer. The wind had a bit of a nip to it, especially if you were in the shade. The sun was warm, but not with its trademark summer scorch.

This weather has helped me understand the point of armwarmers. When I started my cycling adventure in the cold winter months, I thought, it’s either cold and you need a coat or it’s warm and you don’t. Arm warmer wouldn’t be useful in either situation. But I forgot about the weird transition period between spring and summer. When it’s cold and hot at the same time or it’s cold when you start but warm 15 minutes in. Can’t take off a coat if it gets warm or carry it in your back pocket! So think I’m gonna invest in some armwarmers.

#30DaysofBiking: Day 13|Epic

#30daysofbiking day 13
Do I look like I just rode 30 miles? Because I feel like it.
#30daysofbiking day 13
Like Iowa. Except more trees.

Today I embarked on a epic journey (for me, anyway). I decided it was time to tackle a longer ride by myself. So I decide to do the Patuxent Wildlife Preserve Loop, found on the Bike Washington website (and pointed out to me by Shannon). It’s marked at 25 miles, but I went about 30, thanks to some unexpected detours. And I think it went pretty well. The route was great- it was hilly enough to challenging, but not hilly enough to be soul crushing. It followed some well traveled roads with nice wide shoulders and empty back roads. I didn’t do the whole thing without stopping but it still only took me 2 hours. I was a little nervous- I’d never ridden that far before and it was a country road route, so I’d  be a long was from anything if something happened. But it was great. Discovered a chapel founded in 1861. Took a break by a cabin built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).

It wasn’t all awesome, though. It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a longer route and I forgot to bring any food. I did eat lunch before I left, but it clearly wasn’t enough! I did make one wrong turn, but only one and I quickly realized my mistake. The last 8 miles were pretty yucky. I was tired, there was a nasty crosswind whenever  the surroundings opened up and I just kept wanting the ride to be over. Then on the metro home, I found a slice in my tire. Whatever it was didn’t puncture the tube, thank god, but now need a new tire. Boo.

But I made it and in the end felt pretty good! I was happy I hadn’t tried to ride the trails today- my friend Olivia did, and said it was crazy busy with the nice weather.

#30DaysofBiking: Day 11|Stress relief

#30daysofbiking day 11

Today the weather was beautiful. This was a good thing because a) who doesn’t love riding in perfect weather and b) I was super stressed out when I left work. To be honest, I’d never really used the bike as a stress relief before. But today when I left work, all I could think about was getting on my bike.

I find biking to be, in turns, contemplative (when I mull over an issue that’s been bothering me), meditative (when I commune with nature and the bike), and relaxing (when I listen to a podcast and just ride). Today’s ride was definitely in the relaxing category, as I rode to leave behind all the bad jou-jou of the day. I listened to an episode of The Flamme Cast and remembered what really matters in life.