I Want To Ride My Bicycle, Year 11, Day 1

Why yes – it was ten years ago I started biking to work again.

Of course, I haven’t had ten straight years of biking.  After four years of working downtown (in easy biking distance), I followed up with a year of working someplace with a sixteen mile ride across Saint Paul, Minneapolis, Saint Louis Park and all the way to Hopkins, and then a few years where biking was just not practical.    I had a job two years ago that involved a fairly interesting ride from Saint Paul to Bloomington – but that ended after five months.

But now that I work out of my house (fingers crossed, knock wood), the time is right again.

So I got out and rode to downtown Saint Paul yesterday.

And I was surprised.  For not having ridden much in the past two years, it could have been a lot worse.  My legs actually worked the rest of the day, and when I woke up this morning.  Which was more than I could say ten years ago, when I started for the first time.

But I think I’ll give the legs a day off today…

11 thoughts on “I Want To Ride My Bicycle, Year 11, Day 1

  1. I face the same thing every spring–and over the summer, I go from about 10mph (lots of hills west of Rochester) to about 13mph, or 15mph when I ride my road bike. Judging by how my medications compare with my father’s, I think it’s doing me good. :^)

    Out of curiosity, I’m guessing that your old bike burned with your garage–did you get a sweet new ride to replace it?

  2. Living in Saint Paul, I keep my bike indoors. Too many bikes get stolen from garages.

    The bike I rode from 2007-2011 – my old Fuji Monterey, which I got in 1983, a ten speed drop-bar touring bike – was costing me more (amazing how many old parts burn out on bikes) as the geometry was agreeing with me less. So I switched to a Novara Forza – a road-y straight-bar hybrid. It was wierd not being on a drop-bar, but it works for me these days. I still have the Fuji, but it’s more a war memorial now.

  3. I got into bike riding and racing as a way to get out of the house, and have some freedom, prior to getting a car. What was strange is that even after I got that ability, I kept riding. Moving around the country, there are places that aren’t good to ride – rural Missouri (those big pick up trucks seem to think you’re a target) and El Paso, TX (between broken glass and organic prickly things, plan on at least 2 tire changes a ride, even with Slime).

    Now that I’m back in the upper Midwest, I can ride safely again. It has a whole lot less to do with bike lanes and all that infrastructure (most of Wisconsin doesn’t have it, and that’s a great place to ride), and more to do with attitudes. I don’t race anymore, but I’ve got to ask Mitch – did your face hurt the next day? Every time I get out for that first ride in a while, I tend to eat a lot of bugs from the smile on my face. Something about that freedom of movement, and the self made breeze in my face.

  4. Back in CO, I always used Slime, thorn resistant tubes, thorn resistant tires, AND tire liners to stop the thorns, glass, and nails. It worked most of the time, though obviously it made the bike a little heavier.

    I’ve also never had much trouble riding, whether I was in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Twin Cities, Waseca, Rochester, Boulder/Longmont, or LA, even. The only rude drivers are in general older drivers that think cyclists should be on sidewalks and city bus drivers. The former usually come around when I explain that you don’t want 250 lbs coming towards their grandchildren at 15-20mph on the sidewalk. Maybe I’m just lucky, and yes, I also have the sore face from the smile of it all. Plus a valuable source of protein!

  5. BTW, congrats on the new ride. I’m still riding a 1977 Latour 3 (one of the Panasonic Schwinns), but have sadly come to the realization that when the rear wheels are no longer replaceable, I’ll have to update it.

  6. You bike snobs can ride your fancy schmansy bikes. I’m still riding my 20 year old Huffy Nightstalker mountain bike.

  7. Warning sign on the wall of one of my favorite bike shops: “Shoplifters will be superglued to a Huffy.”

  8. I was gonna trade my bike in last year, but I don’t like the ABS the new ones have. Plus, I spent a bundle jacking it up to 110.

    Guess I’ll probably ride the Ol’ Road King into the grave.

  9. I’ve got a low-end Cannondale mountain bike I bought used.
    I stay off of roads that carry traffic as much as possible. I have a Gopro camera I’ve been playing around with, and I’ve made a few videos of trails and rides around volcanoes national park. My goal this summer is to strap on the Gopro and do a straight shot starting at the top of Mauna Loa Road (6500′) and ending at the sea. It’s about 20 miles, a two lane road, starts in cloud forest, goes past an active volcano, and ends in scrubby desert. It’s all downhill, so it should take about 90 minutes.
    One take, 6500′ to sea level! Unless I get a flat.

  10. When we lived in St. Paul we had two bikes in the garage. One was made by Giant, and was a serious, quality bike but very non-descript. The other was a black and neon-green POS by Huffy that was constantly popping out of gear. Left the garage door open one morning while running an errand – and had a bike stolen. They left the Giant, and took the Huffy. I laughed my butt off, thinking of someone trying to make a fast getaway on that flamboyant crap-cycle.

  11. Swiftee, you have me laughing big time. For me it’s:
    ’09 Road King; ’89 FXR, ’07 Heritage ST. All will go 100+. I have my own black iron gym in my shop with a Schwinn airdyne and a recumbent bike for the winter days when you can’t get a Harley out, I can watch wide screen TV while I’m pedaling. I’d rather be on the HD given we live on 2 lane county roads, some paved some class 5 gravel. But I’m not fickle about anyone having fun on 2 wheels, manpower or horsepower.

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