Sunday, January 30, 2011

On the Verge of Spring Semester

Well, my J Term total was pretty low--I think I bicycled to work a grand total of about 2 days in January.

We're on break at Mount Mercy, and spring semester starts Wednesday. It looks as if the first week (which includes a 2-day trip to Des Moines for the Iowa Newspaper Association/Iowa College Media Association convention anyway) won't include much biking. A big snow is expected Tuesday, and the pavement isn't ready for biking before the snow anyway.

Well, here's hoping that even if the first week is a wash, February will be more bike friendly than January was. I don't want to jinx it, but since I don't believe in jinxes anyway, I'll chance it--chances are that it will be. The coldest part of our Iowa winter is typically just about right now--February is usually a miserable winter month, but more so at the start then at the end. March is still winter in Iowa, but the tail end of winter when it's not so serious anymore--melting and some sunshine are pretty likely in February.

Lets hope so!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Iowa Bike Summit

They're gathering in Des Moines to discuss biking this week--the Iowa bike summit.

Must be because it's too snowy and icy to ride bikes. Yeah, I'm getting a little bike crazy.

My sister posted a snatch of Queen lyrics on Facebook, but its true. "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike ...."

Anyway, bike pubahs and honchos, may you come up with a bright biking future for Iowa.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Oh Baby, it's Cold Outside!

Note the photo, a publicity still for "The Return of the King" from Either that, or it shows what I feel like after weeks of not being able to ride ...

But, I rode a bike Sunday--naturally, it was at a gym. "The Return of the King" was on TNT, and after a session on an elliptical machine and a jog on a treadmill, I wasted half an hour on a bike basically just to watch part of that movie.

Sam, Sam. My Sammy Sam Sam. Sam the brave. You were a more interesting character in the book, too. Sam the brave, Frodo the dull.

Favorite change between the book and the movie? Having Gandolph bop Denathor on the head with his staff to take over the defense of Minas Tirith. Ha ha!

OK, well too nerdy, even for a biking blog. Not that bikers are nerdy. No. We're just cool challenged.

Anyway, I was watching random Hobbits try to break into Mordor while I was going up and down a hill on a stationary bike.

Biking in a gym is a bit like running on a treadmill. I'm sure it uses some of the same muscles as the outdoor activity, but there key differences, too. For one thing, when I'm in the "real world" rather than the fake world of an exercise club, I can go longer and do more. I am contemplating running the Bix with my son-in-law--if he can stand moving that slowly in training--and probably can start my "real" training runs outdoors at around 4 miles, around 50 minutes (yes, as noted, a very slow pace). But I can't run for 50 minutes on a treadmill, nor go 4 miles. Treadmill miles, for some reason, are so much longer.

30 minutes on a bike outdoors is a short jaunt--not much more than my regular commute, less if I want to waste some time and use the Cedar Valley trail. True, I can ride almost as long indoors as I could outdoors--but outdoor time seems so much more interesting and to go so much faster.

Not sure what it is. A gym is a slightly mind-numbing environment, while God's green earth seems like a stimulating, invigorating environment.

Even when, in the gym, Gimli and Legolas are keeping score during a titanic battle ...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No Ride Tuesday

I still regret not riding my bike Monday, since the snow held off until I rode home.

Tuesday was another matter. Between Monday night and Tuesday afternoon, we received about 4 inches of snow, and I'm not going to ride on ice or snow.

I rode to work today with Audrey, and we traveled along E Avenue. It's not looking good, and with flurries and cold temperatures forecast for the next few days, I'm afraid this week might be a bust for riding--and the forecast for next week, too.

Well, this blog may be inactive until the weather improves. There's just not much for a bike commuter to report when the bike has to stay safely in the garage.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Gamble of Riding

My son, who lives in Seattle, was planning to bike to work today, despite a slightly iffy winter forecast. I applaud his spunk and hope the ride went well.

He's planning to do RAGBRAI next year, something I have not yet done. Won't next year myself, as I am planning to be in England visiting daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law.

Anyway, commuting by bike, particularly in January, always involved a bit of a gamble. Today, I'm feeling a little like I've lost it. I did not ride this morning, although conditions were OK, because snow is forecast today--and here it is noon and not a flake has fallen.

That doesn't mean it won't snow or that I made the wrong decision, necessarily--just that I'm always itching to ride and regret it a bit if I don't on a day when it turns out I could.

On the other hand, it was just a year ago that I gambled and lost--rode my bike and took a nasty spill, badly banging up my left knee.

I am trying to be more mindful of the weather this year. I probably won't be able to ride tomorrow--we'll see about Thursday.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chilly Rides in 2011

Been lucky so far in 2011--rides have been a bit chilly (and dark in the evening) but pavement has been clean. The only "iffy" part of my ride is flying down the hill at MMU and not wiping out in the parking lot before I get to the street.

Drivers have not been too bad this week, either. The Christmas rush is over and maybe we can be a little more relaxed.

Anyway, snow is forecast tomorrow--flurries according to Channel 9 this morning. We'll see if my luck is finally ending ...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

J-Term and I'm Ready to Ride

Long undies. check. Flashlights in case it gets too dark, check. Warm socks, check. Nylon coat with hood that fits under helmet, check.

Bare pavement? My scouting report today was surprisingly good. Despite snow last week, and subsequent rain and cold, most pavement in Cedar Rapids is bare.

Which means when J term starts on Monday, I'll probably be on two wheels--for the first time since Christmas break began.

Christmas cold, check. Stuffy head, check. Sore throat, check. But will that keep me off my bike?

Check no.