Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ciclovia Alexandria gives first aide

It was a beautiful day on the C&O canal. Teri, Claudia, and myself met up at Lock 10. Teri, not a morning person, went ahead to find a portapotty because she had to go real bad. Claudia had to go too, so we did stop at a porta potty. In the meantime, Al caught up with us, however, he went ahead to see if he could catch up with Teri.

Claudia and I didn't see anyone until we were at the Great Falls lookout, there we met up with Teri and a dog that was tied to a post but managed to bite himself free and was desperately looking for his owner. Al was no where in site, so I assumed he was already in Harpersferry somewhere. Teri and Claudia, who hasn't come out for a bike for a year, were wanting to ride more, so we biked more all the way to Carderock. There, we took another porta potty break, filled up our water bottles and headed back.

When heading back, a father and his son, were riding in front of me, while the mother was behind us. I was watching how the boy was serving on his bike back and forth , waiting for the accident to happen. Sure enough, the boy lost control and fell. Hearing him cry and bleeding a bit, I stopped and searched for my band aides in my backpack. I ended up giving them bandaides and Teri gave them an antibiotic.

It's good to be prepared on a ride

Next time I will bike

Saturday I had to ride from Wheaton to Alexandria to take care of business with a bike shop. My plan was to take Rock Creek to Capital Crescent. On the way, I passed two bikers. When we stopped at the traffic light,one of them, Santiago, thanked me for picking up the pace. I decided to have some fun and pace behind them. I learned that the two of them,try to ride together on weekends. Santiago who was headed to Haines Point, told me he can show me another way to Alexandria, so I followed them. It was a beautiful route in Rock Creek that I have never done before with some hills. I was very thankful that they showed me another route. Tom had to turn back but Santiago and I continued. We made a rest stop at the Boat House in Georgetown and filled up our water bottles.

Here is Santiago. What a coincidence that he has a Fuji Roubaix and is a Realtor.

We continued until we were on the 14th street bridge and then said good bye to each other. I had a great time and was glad I got the chance to do a new route and meet new people.

I continued my journey to the bike shop to pick up a check. My nearest bank, TD Bank, was on Van Dorn Street, so I pedalled there to cash it. The bank was closed for walk-ins, however, the drive through was opened. So here I am at the drive through with my bike which I have never done before.

After cashing in the check, I pedalled to Subway for lunch on Duke Street. I conducted some business afterwards and given the time, I decided to take the metro back. What a mistake that was. There was track maintenance work on the Yellow/Blue line and it was chaotic again.

So many people boarded the train at every stop that it was full. I was in one car with another biker, when an oboxious lady passenger boarded and started screaming, that bikers shouldn't be here, there's no room, we are taking up all the space, it's still rush hour.

Eventually people started calming her down, letting her know that bikers were aloud on the train. At L'Enfant Plaza, that's when it got chaotic and fustrating. The doors wouldn't shut and we stood there for 10 minutes while they were telling people to move away from the doors. Some door wouldn't shut, so we all had to get off the train.
Here is the chaos

I finally was able to board another train on the yellow line to Fort Totten, but realized I was having to deal with another chaos. The ongoing investigation on the Red Line, where you can not go any further than Silver Spring and have to take the shuttle bus which takes forever. 6:45 pm, and I thought I would never get home. A train pulls in and no one knew what was going on because it was heading back from where it came from. There was a total lack of communication from the metro employees.

So here I am in Fort Totten trying to board a train. I ended up being lucky then the next train came a little bit after 7 pm, the time the investigation was over for the day and the train went to Glenmont. In Wheaton I pedalled about 2 miles to the house and after 43 miles total was glad I finally made it home. I think next time I will ride home.
Want to take your bike on the metro? Here is some information to help you

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Your Reality Show

Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.

It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions. And the actions, which speak louder than the words.

It is making the time when there is none.

Coming through time after time, year after year.

Commitment is the stuff character is made of, the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.


Not sure who wrote that, but here is my definition of commitment: Commitment is putting a lot of energy into the bike group, although it is not going fast enough for me and sticking with it despite setbacks in my life. It's leading bike rides regardless if anyone shows up or not. And when there are times I don't feel like it (depressed) or not feeling well, it's kicking myself in the butt to do it any ways. At the end, I was glad I lead the ride.

What about you? Are you tired and don't feel like doing anything but staying at home on the computer or watching reality shows on TV? Look in the mirror baby, that's reality! Some of you want to lose a few pounds and some want to build endurance. But it sure won't happen watching other people's problems and doing nothing. They don't care about YOU!

You need to block off time on your busy calendar and devote it to taking care of your body, such as coming to a bike ride. If your goal is to build endurance and participate in the metric training, then you need to commit yourself to biking at least 3 times per week to get use to sitting on the saddle. There may be times when work or family obligations do get in the way. However, there are 24 hours in a day, seven days a week... you can find time to make it up. And when your favorite show is on during a bike ride event, remember, we live in the 21st century, there are VCR's.

Now thats Reality!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bike Lingo

Even in cycling there is a lingo. When riding in a group its important and courteous to let the r person behind you know what you are doing to avoid a possible accident.

1. When wanting to stop, put one arm straight down to your side, palm facing towards the cyclists behind you to let the person know you are stopping (if you can not let go of the handlebar, simply shout "stopping") and make sure you keep a bit of a distance from the person ahead of you.

2. Car Up, say car up if you are riding in the street and there is an oncoming car approaching from the front.

3. Car back,say car back when there is a car coming from behind on the street. It is best to not to cycle side by side and go into a single file. Make sure you don't get too close to the parked cars on the side. (More next time on How to Ride in the Streets safely)

4. When making turns, make sure you put your right arm straight out to make a right turn, you can also make an "L" shape with your left arm (but rarely used any more). To make a left turn, put your left arm straight out.

5. If there is a car approaching from the left or right, let the person behind you know, by saying "car to your right" or "car to your left"

6. If there is an obstacle on the road, debris or something hazardous that you see and will be avoiding, let the person behind you know, by pointing to the ground

7. If you are coming to a stop sign (and you stopped, naturally) and you looked left and right and it was clear of cars, let the person behind you know by saying "clear". HOWEVER! My advice for the person behind is to make sure yourself as well that it is clear to go and not rely on the person ahead of you and ride blindly.

So there you have it. Become aware of your surroundings and you will be safe!

Top Ten Excuses for not Commuting by Bicycle

10. I need my car for work
Many transportation tasks could be handled equally well if not better on a bike. Meet with your employer and see if your company might not benefit from a more environmentally friendly image if you conducted your business by bike. Consider that many traditional tasks adapt well to cycling, whether it’s police work, meter reading, postal delivery, etc.

9. I’d have to get up much earlier if I rode my bicycle
You’d be surprised! Because of traffic in urban areas, cycling generally takes less time than driving for distances of three miles or less, and about the same time for trips of three to five miles. But even if your commute is longer, 30 minutes of extra sleep won’t be nearly as invigorating as an early morning ride. You’ll arrive at work alert and refreshed.
Likewise, your evening ride home should leave you more relaxed since you won’t face the aggravation of sitting in rush hour traffic. And you won’t have to rush off to an evening work-out to unwind. You’ll already have accomplished that! Also, don’t forget your savings of time, money (and the environment benefit) when you eliminate visits to the gas pump.

8. I’m out of shape
If you leave yourself plenty of time and go at an easy pace, you’ll find cycling no more difficult than walking. As you ride more, you’ll ease your way into better shape, building fitness that is an intergral part of your schedule. If you have health problems, consult your family doctor for suggestions on getting started.

7. I can’t afford a special commuting bicycle
You don’t need one. Your old beater bike gathering dust in the garage will suffice if properly adjusted and maintained, and it’s less attractive to thieves. If you have a recreational bicycle you can outfit it with a lightweight rack and bag or use a fanny pack to carry necessary commute items.
With the fixed cost of operating an automobile at around $.30/mile, the money you would save commuting by bicycle on an average 10 mile round trip would buy you a $400 bicycle in six months.

6. I have to dress nice for work.
Some bicycle commuters simply ride in their business attire – they seem to command more respect from motorists. Most ride in casual or cycling clothes and change when they arrive. You can carry your change of clothes in a pack or in panniers on the bike or even transport Boldthem back and forth on days when you don’t ride.

5. There’s no secure place for my bike
There is probably a storage room or closet where your bike can be secured behind a locked door. Maybe you can even take it to your office – what a status symbol! Or check and see if parking is available in nearby buildings or garages. Otherwise, fasten it to an immovable object with a U-bolt lock, preferably where you can see it.

4. I can’t shower at work
Depending on the weather, you may not need a shower if you ride at a leisurely pace. If you do, take a washcloth, soap, towel and deodorant and clean up at the restroom sink. Or look for a public facility or health club within walking distance of your workplace where you can shower. Then encourage your employer to install showers where you work.

3. What if it’s rainy or cold?
Start as a fair weather bicycle commuter – when the forecast is bad, don’t bike. Some people may conquer the elements and commute every day, but it doesn’t mean you have to. If you only ride when the weather report is favorable, it will still make a dramatic improvement. The more you enjoy bicycle commuting, the more you’ll look forward to your daily ride. You will eventually decide to invest in rainwear and cold weather gear so you can commute year-round.

2. I’d have to ride in the dark
Wear light colored reflective clothing, use a good lighting system and choose a route that avoids major thoroughfares. There are a variety of bike mounted lights that can help you see and be seen.

1. It’s not safe to ride in traffic
The fear of riding in traffic is often much greater than the actual danger. Minimize risk by riding properly – visibly and predictably. In stop-and-go traffic, a fit cyclist can generally keep up with the traffic flow, so it’s acceptable to maintain your place in the roadway. Hugging the curb invites danger as cars try to squeeze past you. To help prevent injury always wear a helmet.
You can also reduce the risk of riding in traffic by using less-congested secondary roads. You may travel a few extra miles, but you’ll be able to enjoy the ride, a worthwhile trade-off.

This article was copied from a Web page by Arthur Ross the Madison (WI) Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, who authored the article for the May 30th, 1997 Bike To Work Day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

JoAnn Got a New (midget) Bike

I get excited when someone decides to leave their $50 road/hybrid bike from ebay in the garage and gets a road bike. Here is JoAnn on her new Ruby Specialized Green (midget)bike. I'm so happy that she even got clipless pedals. Way to go!

We took our bikes for a short spin today. It was a different riding experience for her from sitting upright on her other bike. Getting use to the different riding position, the saddle, shifting and beaking will take some time. It will be well worth it though when she sees she can conquer the hills better and use more of her legs.

Free Ride

We were off doing the metric training. Everyone was doing quite well that day. I was partiucularly impressed with JoAnn that day and told her how well she was doing. And then it happened. A few minutes later, JoAnn got a flat.

A few of the people who were behind were watching me fix a flat and having a good time. I put a new tube in and pumped up the tire. Then suddenly it went "pop". The tire had a hole in it because of wear and tear. Not only did the tire pop, I lightly touched the head of the valve and it fell off.

I fell to the ground in disbelieve because it was going so well and now this. And I thought I wouldn't see JoAnn for a long time. We were debating what to do, go back, call someone to have her be picked up. One neighbor came over and asked us if needed tools. Knowing JoAnn wouldn't get to far with the damaged tire although the tire was still hard, we continued on.

Well, she didn't get to far, but farther then I thought. Here we are taking another break. I say this because I get on their case sometimes because I'm trying to get them to do 10 miles straight. The rest of the riders were far ahead of us now and wondering what happened to us.

So here we are in the middle of the street again, when a guy in a jaguar pulls up and asks us if we needed help. What do you know, the nice guy is a cyclist and pulls out his bike rack from the trunk to give JoAnn a lift back to the parking lot.

The two of them hit it off right away. Here is JoAnn having a good time with the guy and getting a free ride back, while the rest of us continued on.

What On Earth Is In The Bag?

Before the ride, I decided to go grocery shopping because I wanted to bike straight home after the ride. Well, I guess I got carried away and my backpack ended up weighing about 25 pounds.

After half into the ride, Al was so nice and took my backpack so that I can have enough energy for the next day's ride. He couldn't believe how heavy it was.

We arrived at the bottom of Whispering lane, a humungus hill, and looked up to see how high it was. I told him to go up a bit to see if he really wanted to conquer this hill. He was on a mountain bike and I was on my road bike. He came back after evaluating the hill and said "that is a big hill." Al was up for the challenge and so we biked up that hill. I was impressed that he was able to go up that hill, regardless if he had to bike criss cross up the hill on a mountain bike and with my backpack of 25lbs. Out of breath and sweatng we reached the top where one of the residents congratulated us for making the hill.

Riding with a 25lb backpack is good training, especially on a mountain bike. Al was having a good time. So if you need something to be carried, you know who to go to!

Dominique's Journey to Metric

Dominique, who has only been able to bike 2 miles, has build her endurance up to 20 miles after only 6 weeks by being persistent and one of the regulars on the bike rides. This is truly a great accomplishment and she's an inspiration to many.

She has taken on a new challenge, the Metric Challenge training, to be able to ride 64 miles after 12 weeks. And don't think she is stopping there, find out what she is doing next by watching the video.