Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Have bike, will travel

We made a trip to New York this weekend to celebrate Alyssa's Granny's 90th birthday.

Knowing we needed to get in at least a little bit of a ride, we took the bikes along with us. Despite having used the car rack multiple times, we still agonized over making sure the rack was on safely and securely. The reality is it was probably on fine from the outset, but we always have visions of the bikes falling off the back of the car and skidding down the interstate behind us so we spend many minutes pulling tighter on the straps and pushing down on the rack to make sure it's not going anywhere. Safety first!

We got a very late start leaving Frederick on Friday night and didn't arrive at Alyssa's mom and dad's house until after 1:30AM, but I made us get up early on Saturday to go for our ride. Ok, fine: maybe I was just excited to finally wear my sweet new cycling shorts. Jealous?

I never in my life thought I would willingly wear spandex, but there you have it.

So, we rode through the streets of Alyssa's home town - Bronxville, represent! - in order to get to the Bronx River Pathway. It was a nice ride to get to the trail, too. It was downhill and traffic was light because it was early in the morning. I'd say we were on the trail by 9AM. Oh, and let me clarify. By trail I mean a lovely, wide, paved, mixed-use path that ambled along the Bronx River under a canopy of trees. This was definitely more a pleasure cruise than any heavy duty training ride, but we did get to work on shifting and handled several short hills, so it wasn't a waste of time by any stretch.

We took time to stop and appreciate cuteness.

We also took time to stop and pose with construction equipment.

I can't even explain the complete idiocy that overcomes us, but we have a good time.

I continue to be amazed by the number of people who don't wear helmets. Like putting on my seat belt when I get into the car, putting on a helmet is automatic. I just want to try to avoid having my brains scraped from the pavement and figure wearing a helmet is a good way to keep that from happening. I was also surprised by those who walked along the path completely oblivious to the fact that it's a shared use path and, well, they needed to share. Here's a tip to those not in the know: walking in the middle of the path with your headphones up so high that you can't hear people behind you is a bad idea.

Remember how I said the trip into Bronxville from Alyssa's mom and dad's house was downhill? That means it was uphill on the way home. Funny how that works. I knew it was going to be unpleasant based upon my experience from the many times I've been forced to walk back to their house from the Metro North station after we've spent an exhausting day in the city. I thought it might be a little more pleasant on a bike, but I was wrong. I had to get off my bike and walk it up the steepest of the hills, huffing and puffing and dropping copious amounts of profanity the whole way. Once we got up that hill, I asked if that was the worst of it, to which Alyssa responded, "Yeah. No. Well...I think so." It turns out there was another hill we had to tackle, but it ended up not being nearly as painful as the first and I managed to stay on my bike. I still huffed and puffed and dropped copious amounts of profanity. I know this is "good medicine" seeing as the Challenge will have us making an overall elevation climb of over 4000 feet, but I am a baby. Alyssa has told me we're going to have to do hill sprints, but I've been pushing that thought out of my head. Why can't every ride be downhill or, at the very least, flat? You Floridians don't know how good you have it.

I rode my bike to work again last Friday and then again yesterday. It was pretty uneventful, except I was able to see what appears to be a groundhog family right outside of Fort Detrick. That cuteness is one reason to keep me motivated to ride to work.


  1. Safety first, and1! I, too, do not understand how bike riders (including motorcyclists) do not feel like a helmet is necessary. I meannnnn. So, need an assessment of the spandex. Is the change in short material all that it's cracked up to be?

  2. D'oh, I am one of those helmetless riders. My helmet is doing a really great job protecting the windowsill in my office.

    I *do* wear a helmet when I'm on my moped, though!

    And don't worry - the hills get easier. I swear. East Coast humidity probably doesn't help, but I'm sure it's not much worse than SF wind. I've managed to work my way up to riding fixed-gear bikes up the hills of San Francisco. 'Cause obviously, I am insane.