Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat. (Ann Landers)

I want to thank all my friends for their Facebook and Instagram posts about their wonderful vacations. I'm glad you are having a great summer. But have a heart. Please. You're killing those of us who are spending the summer close to home!

It is hot. It is humid. Sweat drips off nose and chin as we pedal down the road, splashing on the top tubes of our bikes. The beginning of August is the hottest week of summer. August is also the wettest month of the rainy season.

On the other hand, July was a very good month. We watched every stage of the Tour de France. We've done weekend rides with the Everglades Bicycle Club. Last Sunday we enjoyed the club's Tour de France Party, which included a ride in a part of Miami-Dade that we've never been to before. (It was fun.)

When a friend asked where we were on our virtual bicycle tour, I realized I hadn't done an update in several months. OK. So here it is. We have completed seven months of our bicycle project. (Five more to go.) You may remember that the first leg of our imaginary bicycle tour was a ride from Miami to San Diego and back. Next we decided to head north. As of this week, we have gotten to Fundy National Park in New Brunswick, Canada, and we've turned around and are heading back to Calais, Maine, on our way back to Miami. And we rode all the miles of the trip right here in South Florida.

We're getting a little stronger and a little faster each month. We start longer rides in the fall. But to reach our goals we have to keep riding and sweating in the heat and humidity of the South Florida summer.

Just thinking about it makes me dream of the sound of tinkling ice cubes...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good. (Dr. Seuss)

We have new bikes.

The old bikes were great. But when we moved to Miami last year we started biking more. (And more. And more.) We got a bit faster and stronger. Pretty soon we began talking about doing some exciting, memorable rides. But we discovered that our old bikes couldn't handle road chop without beating us up more than we wanted. We needed bikes with a gentler ride. Easier shifting. And a better way of gauging how much energy we were using as we rode.

There are bikes that can do these things. No time like the present to get the right gear.

I hadn't anticipated that there was a learning curve to riding the new bikes. I thought I'd just hop on my bike and pedal happily away. The new bike is smooth riding and pleasantly fast. But, at first, the very light bike with its wide aero wheels felt quite "twitchy" to ride, especially in wind. The gearing felt different, too. Shifting is just a matter of lightly touching some buttons. And, to my embarrassment, I kept mixing the buttons up. Their positions haven't become automatic for me yet. I'd get distracted and find myself in an insanely inappropriate gear after just a few light taps to the wrong buttons. (Happily, it's getting easier with every ride.)

Why bike like we do? Because physically pushing yourself hard is wildly exhilarating. It is totally fun.

And fun is good.