Bike riders = dopers?

29 01 2011

As most everyone knows, Lance Armstrong is still in the news fighting the drug allegations. And while it sounds like that investigation may not wrap up for quite a while, Alberto Contador‘s “tainted meat” defense seems to be falling apart as he received a one-year provisional suspension and may be stripped of last year’s Tour de France title (depending on the outcome of his appeal). Obviously, I have no idea who does or doesn’t dope during their career in the Tour (and in a way, I don’t really care). This guy, though seems to have it all figured out (warning: language is probably NSFW). Still, it cracked me up. Enjoy:

It’s a shame that performance-enhancing drugs seem to tarnish just about every sport to some degree. But as long as athletes have to compete against other athletes who do use drugs, there’s no good way to level the playing field. New guidelines and testing will continue to be done, but each new drug test just opens the door for someone to figure out how to cheat and circumvent the drug tests. It’s a never-ending circle. Still – drugs or no drugs – I always enjoy watching the Tour each year. I can’t wait to see what happens this year!

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 365: Woo hoo! I survived 365 days!

3 01 2011

This time last year I embarked on a project I wasn’t sure I could finish. I started this blog 365 days ago. The original intention of the daily project was to share my thoughts about cycling and my attempts at weight loss. I had success with some things … other things, not so much. I plan to continue the blog posts, although it will probably be on a weekly rather than daily basis.

Looking back over the past year, this blog project has been a learning experience which enabled me to meet quite a few fellow cyclists (both in person and in the online world). While I may not have accomplished everything I originally set out to do, here are some of the things I learned from the project:

  • A 365-day commitment is much more time-consuming than I expected. Silly me. I figured each day’s post would only take a few minutes. Most of them took close to an hour, depending on the post’s topic. Some needed a bit of research, which took more time. Other posts just took a while to write because I’m not terribly comfortable writing. Getting past the initial stage of staring at the blank computer screen took me some getting used to.
  • Carrick has the patience of a saint (see previous item above). I’m not sure which one of us is happier that the daily posts are ending and life will return to normal. She’s been very patient with me through the project and is always very encouraging, which was a huge help. Thank you, Carrick.
  • I lack willpower for dieting. My original intention when I started this blog was to learn better eating habits and lose 20-30 pounds. I enrolled in Weight Watchers in July and have since lost 11 pounds. Not as close to my goal weight as I wanted to be by the end of the year, but I’m trying to not beat myself up about it. I’m learning to view my food choices as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. It’s been a slow and sometimes frustrating process, but I’m getting there. And I’m not giving up.
  • Life sometimes gets in the way of plans. Work, after-work commitments and daily blog posts sucked up much more time than I anticipated, cutting into my cycling time (not to mention my neglect of my photoblog). I’ve now learned I need to allow for time in my schedule to enjoy regular bike outings, whether those are regular rides with Carrick, group rides or solo rides. By not planning in advance, I often let the opportunity slip by.
  • I learned to fix a bike. Not a big deal to most people, but if you knew how mechanically uninclined I really am, you would understand how pleased I am that Carrick and I went a little out of our comfort zone and took the Park Tool School classes to learn maintenance and repairs.
  • Louisville is a pretty awesome bike-friendly city. In fact, it’s #21 on Bicycling Magazine’s list of America’s Top 50 Bike Friendly Cities.
  • My “rides wish list” keeps growing. Each time I hear about an interesting ride, I add it to the list. In 2011, I plan to make a more concerted effort to do some of the rides. I’m particularly interested in trying to do some long-distance overnight touring with panniers, tent, and other necessary equipment. The only thing I lack is a touring bike. Maybe that’s the next big thing to save money for.
  • I had a lot of fun rides. I may not have racked up a few thousand miles on the bike this year, like several commuters I know, but I still had a blast. Some of my favorite rides this year included (in no particular order): The Indy N.I.T.E. Ride; Lexington’s Legacy Trail; Back Bay Nature Preserve in Virginia Beach; McAlpine Locks and Dam; the Louisville Loop; and the annual Hike & Bike event.
  • I can do anything I put my mind to. Actually, I knew this before I started the blog. As I get older, I realize that really the only thing preventing me from achieving my goals is myself and I need to work on that. I intended to ride my first century ride this year, but I didn’t make it. I did, however, ride a half century during our Louisville Loop to Farnsley-Moreman ride this summer (and 50 miles of the 100 Miles of Nowhere ride back in May). Small victories, but ones I’m excited about. I learned how rewarding it can be to push myself past my comfort level at times. The sense of accomplishment inspires me to keep trying and keep pushing myself.

Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog this year and for leaving comments, tips, suggestions and encouragement. I greatly appreciate your support and I hope you’ll continue to follow the blog even though the posts will be weekly instead of daily. Probably a relief to everyone. 🙂

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 360: “Across America by Bicycle” and “Ghost Trails”

29 12 2010

Across America by Bicycle

A couple weeks ago I started reading a book called “Across America by Bicycle: Alice and Bobbi’s Summer on Wheels” by Alice Honeywell and Bobbi Montgomery.  The book describes the adventure of two retirement-age women who ride across country from Astoria, Oregon to Bar Harbor, Maine – a journey of over 3,500 miles. I was about 30 pages into the book when I misplaced it (presumably at work which is where I had it last). I found it odd that I lost it. I don’t recall ever losing a book before. I remember having it in my hand after leaving the cafeteria at work during my lunch break. After that, I’m not sure where it went. I searched my bookbag, my car, the house, my desk at work … everywhere. So far it’s still missing (along with one of my favorite bookmarks my Mom made me). I ended up ordering another copy from a bookstore and I received it last week. I plan to start the book again soon.

Ghost Trails

In the meantime, I just finished “Ghost Trails: Journeys Through a Lifetime” by Jill Homer, deputy editor of Adventure Cyclist magazine. You may be familiar with Jill from her blog Jill Outside (formerly Up In Alaska). “Ghost Trails” is an account of Jill’s experience during the 350-mile ultra-endurance Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska. (The race involves either the 350-mile route or an even more insane 1,100-mile route all the way to Nome.) Jill was relatively new to cycling when she decided to enter the race. The annual race includes not only cyclists, but runners also. While reading the book, I kept thinking, “How can I complain about cold weather when it’s 25 degrees?” Throughout the race, Jill describes cycling or walking in 30-below zero conditions (or worse). Racers faced frostbite, and hunger not to mention the extreme mental and physical exhaustion. One runner in the race dropped out early after becoming blinded on the trail due to frostbite on her eyes. Not her eyelids, mind you – her eyes. She apparently was running into the wind with no goggles. Ugh!

I have absolutely no intentions to ever enter such a race as the Iditarod Trail Invitational, nor am I a fan of winter weather in general. But the book was a fascinating read and well-written. I found it very difficult to put down. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend it. You won’t be disappointed.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 343: Metro Parks seeks input on Louisville Loop

12 12 2010

A public meeting at the Shawnee Park Clubhouse will be held Monday, Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. to discuss signage and wayfinding for the Louisville Loop. Metro Parks’ staff is developing the plan to help improve access, safety, education and the overall experience of the 23 miles of existing section of the Loop. “Public input is critical throughout the entire process of the development of the Loop, especially as we enter this new phase of sign and wayfinding,” Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz said. “We’re hoping residents continue to show their interest in this project on Dec. 13.”

Future segments of the Loop include:

  • paths along the Olmsted Parkways
  • a route along the Ohio River, leading from the northeast suburbs to Waterfront Park
  • the Floyds Fork Greenway, from Bardstown Road to Shelbyville Road
  • a southwest route from the Ohio River Levee Trail and Riverwalk extending through McNeely Lake Park to Bardstown Road
  • a northeast route, from Shelbyville Road to River Road

Come out Monday night to give your input during the public meeting.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 337: Summary of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Public Forum

6 12 2010

As I mentioned the other day, tonight was the first of three Pedestrian and Bicycle Public Forums which focus on the reviewing the 20-year master plan for the future of biking and walking in Louisville. I attended the event after work tonight and was pleased to see a great turnout and some familiar faces. The self-guided walk-through tour was a good way to learn what the city is working on, what costs are associated with various projects (and which agencies are responsible for them) in addition to learning about what is planned for the city’s future. Representatives were available to answer visitor’s questions on topics such as:

— The future of the Louisville Loop (signage, routing, safety issues, etc.)
— Future bike projects (low-cost versus high-cost projects)
— High-cost projects and their priority ranking and estimated costs 
— Kentucky Mountain Bike Association’s 100-mile single-track master plan
— Design standards for signage and trail access

Bike Louisville and the Mayor's Healthy Hometown Bike and Pedestrian Public Forum

Visitors to the event.

Louisville Loop options for the Northeast corridor.

KYMBA singletrack plan.

Louisville Metro Public Health & Wellness also had several displays showing a breakdown by zip codes of obesity rates, weekly moderate activity, heart disease death rates and other statistics.

Obesity rates by zip code.

Heart disease death rates.

Weekly moderate activity. "How many days per week do you do 10 minutes of exercise?" (dark red = 1; light yellow = 5)

Overall, it was a great event. I always enjoy learning something new. I spoke with a few people about some issues I was curious about. One was the pedestrian/bike bridge over into Indiana. If I understand correctly, Kentucky has the funds to complete our part of the project, but Indiana was unable to secure funding to complete their side. It’s expected they will be able to find funding soon, but unfortunately not as soon as we had anticipated. I also talked with someone from the Parks department about the new bike lane on Poplar Level. I expressed concern that it seems very narrow and there is no bike symbol to indicate to drivers that it’s a bike lane. Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad the city included a bike lane, but it seems like it could be a more comfortable size for cyclists (and therefore safer). The woman I spoke with said the city is planning to include a bike symbol once the warmer weather comes in the spring and they can repaint. She told me to include my comment on the survey about decreasing the size of the medians and making the bike lane wider, so I was sure to include that before I left tonight.

Next Monday, Dec. 13 at is a public meeting to discuss signage for the Louisville Loop. I think it’s at the Shawnee Park Clubhouse at 6:30, but I’ll post more information as I find out. I hope to be able to attend that meeting also.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 333: Bike Louisville’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Public Forums

2 12 2010

I think the head cold from hell is on it’s way out. My fever broke during the night so I’m starting to feel a bit more human again. Still not much energy, but hopefully I’m back to normal before the weekend.

Early next week, Bike Louisville is holding a Pedestrian and Bicycle Public Forum to review the 20-year pedestrian and bicycle master plan for Louisville. The Bike Master Plan recommends new bicycling projects, bike programs and sets implementation plans through 2030. The forums are being held by Metro Public Works; StepUp Louisville (the city’s pedestrian program) and Bike Louisville. The public is encouraged to attend and provide input into the Master Plan. The plan includes ideas that have been in development since the last bike summit. The bike portion of the Master Plan involves two main goals:

  1. To increase bicycling activity throughout all parts of Louisville by making it a fun, comfortable, and accessible mode of travel between 2010 and 2030
  2. To simultaneously reduce the number of cyclists killed and injured in crashes with motor vehicles.

The goals of the Pedestrian Master Plan are:

  1. To improve and expand current pedestrian deficiencies—by preparing a capital improvement process that enables Louisville to double the pedestrian facility network through retrofitting and expanding current deficient sidewalk and pedestrian crossing locations between 2010 and 2030
  2. To simultaneously reduce the rate of pedestrian crashes by half between 2010 and 2030.

I plan to attend one of the forums. Several dates and times are available:

December 6
5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Location: Whitehall House and Gardens, 3110 Lexington Road

December 7
7- 9 p.m.
Location: Fern Creek Community Center, 6104 Bardstown Road

December 9
7-9 p.m.
Location: Shawnee Golf Course Club House, 460 Northwestern Parkway

Come out and share your ideas and listen to what the city has planned for cyclists and pedestrians for the next 20 years. These are the final public forums before the Metro Council puts the issues and ideas to a vote.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

           _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.





Day 320: Lexington’s Legacy Trail

19 11 2010

Next Thursday before we stuff ourselves silly with Thanksgiving dinner, we’re planning to ride the newly-opened Legacy Trail in Lexington. The 12-mile multi-use trail starts in downtown Lexington at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden and ends at the Kentucky Horse Park. More than 8.5 miles of the trail are paved and off-street so traffic shouldn’t be a concern.

Our plan is to do the 24-mile out-and-back round trip, then head back to the house for big food. I hope to burn enough calories to help offset Thanksgiving dinner. This will be my first holiday meal since I’ve started Weight Watchers, so I’m trying to plan ahead so I don’t undo what good I’ve done so far. I’m looking forward to checking out the trail. Hopefully I’ll have some video and photos to share after the ride.

Breakfast:
– Organic LF yogurt with granola = 5 points

Lunch:
– 2 pieces Papa John’s cheese pizza (original crust) = 9 points
– Diet Root Beer = 0 points

Dinner:
– White bean chicken chili = 6 points (est.)
– Iced tea = 0 points

Snack:
– Skinny Cow ice cream = 2 points

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

         _O
        \<,
…( ) / ( )

Thanks for visiting.