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[icon] I'm thinking of a pair of Queen songs - Patti
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Subject:I'm thinking of a pair of Queen songs
Time:12:48 am
After last night's setback, I had some repair work to do this evening. I picked up an inner tube and tire tools on my way home from work today, and replaced the exploded tube on the front tire.

And then I tried to talk myself into going for a ride. I bought this bike several years ago because I thought I wanted to ride, but after a few tentative wanderings through the neighborhood I lost interest. Before that, I basically haven't ridden a bicycle since I got my driver's license. There's no need to do the math-- that's a long time.

The old saying about never forgetting how to ride a bicycle once you learn is sort of true, but it's not the whole story. While you may not forget completely, you absolutely lose the competency that you once had. While you remember flying through the neighborhood without a care in the world, your current reality involves tentative wobbling and frighteningly close encounters with the pavement.

Nonetheless, I convinced myself that the only thing to do with a newly working bike was to take it for a ride.

The good: I stayed upright for the half hour ride, and didn't even have any close calls. I'm far from competent, but I also never felt like I was going to bite it.

The bad: I came very close to going out with the back tire partially off the rim. I only spotted it after a few rounds of adjusting my back brakes because they were grabbing as I rolled the bike through the loft. I don't know what would have happened when I started riding, but I'm sure it wouldn't have been pretty.

The ugly: My fucked-up and very slowly recovering shoulder is none too impressed with my having done this. Dammit. I was really hoping that I'd be able to ride without making the shoulder worse.


My first destination was the Jack London Aquatic Center. At this hour it has a nice empty parking lot that's perfect for riding around in circles, and it's about half a mile away on a not-too-busy road. There was one car in the far corner of the parking lot when I arrived.

The first thing I did was adjust the seat height, but just as I climbed off the bike another car pulled into the lot. Dark sedan with white writing, bubblegum machines on top... it was an Alameda County Sheriff. He came over to see if I was OK, we chatted briefly, and then he sat there watching me wobble around in circles for a few minutes before taking off.

About five minutes after the sheriff left, some dude got out of the car and sort of started standing/wandering around it. This seemed like an exceptionally good time to continue on my way, and so I did.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-17 05:07 pm (UTC)
No, I was thinking of the double EP pair.

But I find myself singing the second whenever I'm driving around with the top down.
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stevecohen
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-17 02:40 pm (UTC)
Fear not young lady. I haven't ridden seriously in a couple of years, but when I was I regularly rode with some folks who rode every day and *still* had no bike handling skills. It is all about paying attention to what you are doing and having some clue as to what is optimal and practicing that. I have no doubt you will get there quickly. The wobbly stage usually doesn't last more than a couple of rides.

I'm way surprised the Sheriff didn't go have a look at the car. Weird.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-17 09:01 pm (UTC)
It doesn't matter. My shoulder/wrist aren't going to let me ride, it seems.

As for the car... people are parked down there regularly, since it's right on the estuary. He could have been fishing, kayaking, walking along the waterfront... or dealing drugs, I guess.
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stevecohen
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-17 09:05 pm (UTC)
Do you have clipless pedals or toe clips on the bike? It is amazing how much weight you can take off your shoulders / wrists with proper technique.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-17 09:12 pm (UTC)
It's not weight so much as holding my arms forward.
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whitebird
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-18 04:45 am (UTC)
You might want to look at alternate handlebar setups, then. Or possibly a different sort of bike.

I've had a bike for a year now, and have almost put 100 miles on it since I got it. At about 4 -5 miles a ride. Hills are tough!
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jcdill
Subject:FBGs unite
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-17 06:29 pm (UTC)
Several years ago my BIL gave me an old MTB that he had cluttering up the shop. I rode it occasionally, but never often enough to get over that "boy, I really have lost my confidence" issue. Last spring I sucked it up and started joining the weekly MTB ride at my BIL's bike shop. In the beginning I could barely ride up the almost level dirt road with the beginner/FBG riders. (The beginner ride is called the FBG ride, led by my sister.) I couldn't even get started if there was the slightest hill. I was a mess!

A month later, I was starting to get the hang of it, but it was still very tenuous. I still did a lot of walking, up and down the hills. I had several stop/falls where I lost my balance stopping or starting up and fell from basically a standstill - very embarrassing!

It took about 6 months (May thru October) of going out every week before I finally felt the old competence coming back, and no longer wobbled. It *really* helped to have the weekly ride as an impetus for going out, every week. I know I wouldn't have kept with it except for the "appointment" nature of the recurring weekly ride. It didn't hurt that the shop puts on a great post-ride BBQ!

Last fall I was given some bike parts, and a fellow biker who had a garage full of bike parts took the few I was given and added the major parts (frame, fork, gear set, etc.) and gifted me with a new bike! My sister says the replacement value is ~$3k. It made a huge difference in climbing the hills!

I've lost 10 lbs, and now I can ride right up that dirt road. I'm still one of the slowest riders on the White Sox ride (one up from the FBG ride) and I often still have to hike-a-bike up the steeper hills. But I ride down with the rest, and I'm having fun. When I don't have time to head out to dirt, I ride on a local paved multi-use bike path. I'm still not having much fun riding on the roads - I never did enjoy riding my bike near traffic. I keep road riding to a minimum and try to use bike paths whenever possible.

As for the songs - I just downloaded both of them 2 days ago. I was surprised I didn't have them in my music library already - I must have misplaced that CD over the years.
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slowjoe
Subject:I know the feeling
Link:(Link)
Time:2009-06-17 11:55 pm (UTC)
I used a pushbike as my primary transport around London for around 5 years, had 3 bikes stolen in that time.

When the third was lifted, I didn't replace it for 3 years, and those years really made a difference.

I just didn't enjoy riding the replacement, my nerve had gone. Shoulder prob or no shoulder prob, it might be that pushbikes aren't your thing any more.
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[icon] I'm thinking of a pair of Queen songs - Patti
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