02 January 2010

Misadventures in Bicycling

It was a cold and windy morning so I did not cover much grounds with the bicycle. Along the waterfront the wind was blowing against me and I had to strain my leg muscles with every cycle. I went along the waterfront for a short distance and took the first footbridge to get away from it. I made a big loop around a golf course and its adjacent public park then back to the waterfront, this time with the wind behind me, although I didn't feel any noticeable push, just that it was easier to pedal like normal. All together it was only 8.3K, even less than the 9K I normally would cover on foot.

Up to now, my use of the bicycle was for entertainment, something to do for fun on vacation, to be outside on a nice day. Not as an exercise device or as a mode of transportation. When my nephews, on the wife side, were younger I would take them, along with my son, first in a bucket seat then in a trailer, to go riding along the waterfront. One time I ran into a major pothole and got a flat tire. We were almost at the end of the 4-mile trail so we completed the trail and then headed back. Even with a flat tire, I was still able to pedal the bike although eventually it became impossible to pedal. I think it cost me something like $25 to replace whatever parts it was that needed replacing.

Another more recent misadventure was a few years ago when we went on vacation in the Poconos. We were told the trail was a gentle slope all downhill. There were two options - a 10-mile trail or a 25-mile trail. The shorter trail was really just part of the longer one - if you want the longer trail, you are driven further up the path. The trails end at the same place. I figured the 15-mile difference shouldn't matter that much, it's the same price, might as well get the most bang for my bucks. Bad choice! The key word was "gentle", not downhill. I had to exert force to get the bike moving, the bike would not roll on its own, as the slope was not that noticeable. It didn't help that I had my then 100-pound son in the trailer behind me. I was completely exhausted at the end of the trip. It was the first time I needed to spend time in a bathtub full of hot water to provide some relief for the aching muscles. Getting old + being a weekend warrior = bad.

Perhaps some day when I bike more regularly and don't get so tired easily I'll try a 25-mile trail somewhere. For the time being, putting in a few excursions on the weekends will have to do.

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