Monday, July 18, 2011

Test Ride

Scott wanted to try a test ride to his office so I ducked out of an SCA household project day early so we'd have enough daylight for the ride. We followed the path I'd taken for my bike ride to Jenny Craig that one time and then continued on along Elden Street under the toll road and up to Scott's office. That. was. terrifying. The walkway under the toll road was pretty narrow although, we were able to pass another cyclist going the other direction, but it was tight. When we got out from under those bridges and past the access road, the sidewalk disappeared and we found ourselves careening downhill on a loose dirt path full of large (not small gravel-sized) loose rocks. ACK! Busy road on our left, sharp drop-off into a drainage ditch on our right, madness straight ahead! We did safely arrive at Scott's place of business and I told him his commute sucked. A lot. We decided to try a different direction for the return trip.

We took Sunrise Valley -- OMG, the hill was almost like the Rte 28 bridge! -- up to Monroe/Van Buren. That seemed safe enough except that the sidewalk zigzags across the FOUR LANES AND TURN LANES ROAD a couple of times. WTH, Herndon?? Why do you hate pedestrians? I would have just said "screw it!" and stayed on the road, but Scott doesn't feel as comfortable on surface streets as I do. So, instead, we played a much more dangerous game of Frogger-on-wheels. We continued on Van Buren to Spring on to Old Town Herndon where we hopped on the trail. I'm so grateful we both had head- and tail-lights because dark was coming on quickly.

The rest of the trip home was a breeze. Crestview to Sterling is mostly downhill and we FLEW home. At one point, I wished I had a speedometer to see how fast I was going. Something hit my leg hard enough to hurt at that point. I assumed it was a frog -- I don't know... some kamikaze frog playing Frogger on the trail, perhaps -- or a bird. Scott told me afterward that I should think smaller and go with "bug". There's no mark on my leg today, so I'm still mystified about what I smacked into. Of course, my sweaty-and-sunscreened neck was covered with little tiny gnats and whatnots. Ew. Thankfully, there were no gnats or whatnots of any size stuck in my teeth.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Successes all around

Last night I pedaled up the Rte 28 overpass and I didn't need the granny gears to do so. WHOO HOO! My heart was racing and I was gasping for breath, but I made it all the way up and didn't even stop for a breather at the top of the bridge. I followed that trick with pedaling all the way up Holborn to home. Naturally, I was a sweaty, gasping mess when I got off the bike, but I felt like a rock star. I felt so good, in fact, that I carried in my trunk bag and swapped it for my basket so I could do a quick grocery trip. Madness.

Scott flagged me down on the boulevard -- he'd been running errands and had just left Safeway -- to ask me where I was going. He shook his head at his nutty wife and headed on home once I assured him that I'd be able to carry all the groceries. After shopping and loading up the basket, I took the long way home through the neighborhood -- instead of the short trip along the boulevard -- and got home just as N arrived to help Scott replace our leaky kitchen sink faucet.

While they worked in the kitchen, I readjusted the position of the bike rack because having the trunk bag and basket press against my backside is rather uncomfortable and quite distracting. When that was fixed to my satisfaction, I adjusted Scott's bike rack so he could ride comfortably as well. I also attached a cellphone mount to the front of my bike so I can track my rides more efficiently and easily stop/start the MapMyRun app at stoplights instead of leaving the phone tucked in the trunk bag or shopping-bag-in-basket. I'd attached a small handlebar bag -- after having Scott remove the handlebar basket assembly -- for stashing my wallet, keys, and phone, but the bag is trapped by the gear and brake lines and hard to access. My new seat bag should be big enough for the tools and gear I stored in the Schwinn's seat as well as keys and money. I'll find out when it arrives, anyway.

Back in the kitchen, N got the new faucet installed after Scott made an emergency Lowe's run for more hoses. The faucet is beautiful, the sprayer has actual water pressure, and N didn't slug me when I exclaimed that we needed to replace the sink basin because it looked so dingy in comparison to the faucet. I was so happy to come down to the kitchen this morning and find a non-leaky faucet. Yay!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another bike bike bike bike

I decided at midnight-thirty that I would bike to work. And so I scurried about getting everything, including my work laptop but minus my lunch bag, packed in my trunk bag and panniers before hitting the proverbial hay.

Rose was pretty light when I bought her, but I've attached the trunk rack and bag plus, pump, bottle cage, tools, and lights. The weight adds up, and then it increases by a LOT when I add the laptop. However, she was still lighter than a fully-loaded C.C., and I sailed up and down the hills to work.

It was such a glorious morning with the exact right mix of sun, breeze, and humidity, and the trail use reflected the beautiful weather. There were more commuters going in the same direction as me, plus snotty racer types who usually aren't out until later in the day. Lots of walkers and joggers used the bridle path which was nice because that meant I didn't have to dodge pedestrians.

I'm excited to see how Rose handles the long uphill climb of Rte 28 on tonight's return trip. I already know she can handle my neighborhood's hills with ease.

In Scott bike news, he broke down and bought a Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc yesterday. He's been agonizing over the options he wanted versus the price he was comfortable paying. The main point of contention was being able to lock the springs on the front fork which was available on the Sport version only. I didn't understand why locking the front fork was such a big deal as my most recent bikes have had springy front forks. Scott took a ride on Rose and realized that all of his bikes have been rigid and he did. not. like. the springiness. He felt like he was going to topple forward the whole time he rode. That, and a conversation with two bike nuts at work who assured him he was getting a primo deal with the Sport Disc, convinced him of which bike he needed. He brought his as-yet-unnamed bike home and took it on an extended tour of the neighborhood last night. His grin could have split his face when he finally came back home. Yeah, he bought the right bike.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Bike bike bike bike!

Meet Rose. She's my Specialized Ariel which I purchased at the Ashburn Spokes, Etc. I'd taken a test ride on a medium in June and decided to try out the large on Sunday. The large size bike didn't ride just as well; it rode better. I could extend my legs and generate a lot of power. I decided to plunk down a wad of cash on her, a kickstand, and a spare tube. Scott and I spent the afternoon attaching the rear rack, bell, bottle cage, pump (all me) and front basket (Scott). When we got her all tricked out, I talked Scott into riding up to the grocery store with me for a much needed replenishment of the fridge and a test ride. OMG. Rose is the day to my Schwinn's night. I cruised up hills without a second thought or much effort, which is good since I still have a cough. The trip back home was even more surprising. I struggle up Greenthorn and am usually panting by Sherwood. On Rose, I not only biked easily up the hill, I gained speed riding uphill. I cannot wait to ride her to work (see: cough).

Scott's so envious and is plotting his own bike upgrade. He complained, good-naturedly, about my kicking his @ss the whole trip. Heehee!