Back in the Saddle, 17 yesterday, 13 today
Well I am back in the saddle. I still need to get my knee checked out, but work has been crazy busy with the start of the fall semester. Yesterday I attempted my long-time goal of trying to ride home from work (25 miles) and I only ended up riding 17 of them. For the past 2 months I've not been riding, hoping that my knee would magically heal and I'd be ok, well it turns out that when I ride my knee hurts, and when I dont ride my knee hurts too. So I decided that since my knee doesn't hurt 'while' I ride, and the rest of me feels better when I ride, then ride I will.
I really mis-judged my ride in town. Traffic was heavy and the bike lane was in poor shape, pot holes, debris, and overgrown brush coupled with my newbie recumbent skills(or lack thereof) drove me from the bike lane and up onto the side walk, where I kept an eye for traffic pulling in and out of driveways and walked my bike across the intersections. Furthermore I had planned to leave at noon, but ended up having to stay until 2:30, I didn't bring a normal lunch, only a bananna that I planned to eat 1/2 way through my ride...so my nerves enhanced my lack of food hangryness and I felt just short of bonk only a couple blocks into the ride. I was averaging 6 mph, because my balance is not so keen and to keep a good line in the bike lanes I can't really pedal because it pitches me left and right as I pedal. Add to that the instability going up hills and starting from a dead stop I really was very unhappy in the bike lanes every time I forced myself to stop being a wuss and get back out there.
I picked up a 'take a look' mirror that worked well, sometimes I would get the comfort of seeing people give me wide room, sometimes I would see people yapping on their cell phones. School busses and large trucks didn't give me much room at all. Yeah, It sucked, I was ready to give it up a couple miles into the ride. I think it would have been better on a conventional diamond frame bike, just for the ease and agility of the machine. Still I hung in there and rode out-of-my way into neighborhood streets that ran parallel to the main road where the riding was good. Finally I turned and traffic lightened up and I was able to make my usualy 10-mph pace. I have not yet gained my recumbent legs. I stopped after 1 1/2 hours and applied sun screen since the sun decided to start shining and I began to bake a bit. Then I walked my bike through 1/2 mile construction zone, the road was 'closed to through traffic' but I wanted to see just how closed it was before I added the 2 mile detour to my 25 mile trip. So I made it through and traffic was light and I was now in a rural setting, I was able to make good time and enjoy the last portion of my trip.
About 3 hours in my wife caught up with me, we normally commute to town together and I had left early, but not as early as I planned. She was my sag wagon and after all that time baking in the sun I was ready to take the ride and be home in time for dinner. I have no doubt that I could have made the remaining 8 miles, but I just didn't feel like I had to prove it to myself. 17 is now my personal record and I'm ok with that, especially considering my bike is 41.5-lbs and I had easily 5-lbs of extra commuting clothes/gear with me.
Today I rode 13--6.5 out and back--with a break to watch my youngest son ref a little kid soccer match. I only watched the last 7 min quarter and then rode home. After the in-town riding of yesterday, todays ride on my rural roads--with only a few trucks that almost always give me a generous amount of space while passing--was just fantastic. The mirror was really good and I adjusted my seat yesterday a bit, so today I was able to do 15-mph into a headwind.
Sorry no pictures. I'll try to post some later of my short ride on the Kal-Haven Trail in July. Dial-up is a miserable thing for photos.
Last edited by BigPolishJimmy; 09-19-09 at 03:30 PM.
I've been reflecting on this experience, the term 'fail' on the other thread has been playing through my mind. I didn't feel it a failure, but not as much a success either. The first part of the ride maybe I can call a failure, but only because I didn't enjoy riding my bike. I've been looking at maps and I think I have another route, this one may add 2-3 miles, but should make the riding enjoyable.
I demand a rematch!