#bikehour – 1/17/2015

January 20, 2015

So what, you might ask, is “#bikehour”?

#bikehour is the foundation for the healthy lifestyle change I’ve been fervently seeking since the untimely passing of Mama P on October 5th.

Note – not at all associated with the Twitter handle of the same name.  Completely different concept. I do like their logo, though 🙂

The concept is simple. And yes it’s one I’ve tried before, with very truncated success. The idea is that I will ride the bike a *minimum* of 10 miles, every single day, and build as long a streak as I can.

Many days of course, more than 10. But never less. Only weather considerations will relegate the daily ride to the indoor trainer or stationary-bike variety (primarily if there is ice, or a good probability of it, on the ground).

Longer term readers may recall that I’ve tried this in the past. I had a rather short-lived effort previously to ride at least 3 miles every day. That only lasted several days – both incarnations of it. Why, then, do I have the audacity to expect to succeed at 10 miles per day? Well, I don’t have a good answer. I only know that I am going to do it.

It doesn’t take me an hour to ride 10 miles. But by the time you get stuff ready, get dressed for the ride, finish it, and return to your “other” life, you’re pretty well talking a daily hour commitment. Add to that that “#bikehour” has much more elegance than “#40minutesofbike” or any similarly tortured construction and, well, there you go.

So the initial ride for this “daily sacrament”, if you please, was Saturday, Jan 17th, 2015.

Headed out about 6 PM here in Ottawa, Kansas. It was already essentially after dark – only the last fading hints of light could be seen in the western sky. It was perhaps 35ish degrees at the start. Wind was crazy – initially seeming to come from the north, it resolved itself to be more from the west-northwest. It was unusual in that it wasn’t much sustained, but would periodically arise in massive gusts, some of which tried to blow me off the bike, such was their power.

I chose a little “rectangle loop” that I’ve done previously – heading north out of town, over the railroad tracks (where once I suffered a terrible fall, on my first or second real ride on Storm, my bike), east on Sand Creek, back to Montana/Davis and back south to 68 highway and back home. This route, with no additional flourish, would be roughly 8.5 miles, so I added a couple of additional miles when back in Ottawa, riding around Forest Park.

This was my first ride in 4 days, and I’d only done 3 rides TOTALING less than 16 miles since December 30th, all while living a positively hedonistic lifestyle culinarily speaking; so, this initial ride was primarily to get the streak started and to see exactly what my current power-to-weight ratio was like. To my pleasant surprise, it wasn’t God-awful. Legs and especially arms were a little weary – keep in mind that the last time I was riding regularly was pre-Mom’s death and I was a good 20 POUNDS lighter then, so my arms aren’t accustomed to supporting my currently-heavier frame on the bike – but I could see the outlines of being able to whip myself back into shape over time. That’s really what it’s all about.

Corresponding to the crazy gusts of wind, the sky – barely lit off to the west – was similarly dramatic, as I could discern huge gray-and-black shelves of clouds. I hadn’t checked the forecast before heading out, and the thought occurred that I could get caught in a wide-open rain shower. Not that I would have objections.

As it turned out, rain wasn’t a factor. I got hit with a few spitting drops of rain for about a minute at the midpoint of the ride, and that was it.

With the shorter route, the only other thing interesting was being stopped by a slow-moving train as I was headed south back toward home. As I turned my bike parallel with the train (perpendicular to the road) to send my headlight beams down-track to try to make out how long the train was, my bike-and-rider silhouette projected like a movie onto the passing train by the headlights of a similarly-stopped car behind me, painting a very cool image suggestive of permanence among transition and change, and I regret now not snapping a picture of it or even a short clip. I’m sure I will get a chance again in the future.

Notable music: I made a deliberate choice to listen to my “Dead Can Dance” Pandora station versus the usual mix station. The full reasoning would take longer than I care to type right now; but short version is that I find Dead Can Dance, on the bike, at night, and especially in winter, to strike quite a “sacred” sort of tone. Seemed very appropriate for this ride and my mindset going in. So, a few DCD songs came onto the station, and a few others that weren’t DCD (and most of which I didn’t recognize) but which were appropriately good.

Below is a flashless selfie I snapped back at Subway in town, where I grabbed a sandwich at ride’s end. It looks uncomfortably like a mugshot, but, I figured – this being the first day in the streak, let’s document it 🙂



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