Woman escapes Japan’s tsunami by bike

19 03 2011

My heart goes out to all the people in Japan since the horrible events on March 11. As if the earthquake itself wasn’t enough, they have to deal with the tsunami, a nuclear disaster and now are likely facing typhoid and cholera and who knows what else. I know there are many stories of survival that we may never learn about, but I couldn’t help but share this story of 83-year-old rice farmer Tsuna Kimura escaping the tsunami by bicycle.

My apologies for the delay in blog posts. We’re in the process of selling our house, packing, etc., and it’s consumed much more time than I expected. I’m hopeful all the details will be worked out soon and regular weekly posts will resume once things get settled.

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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!

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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!

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Thanks for visiting.

Day 359: Patoka Lake hiking trip

28 12 2010

We’re back from our trip to Patoka Lake for Carrick’s birthday. It’s always nice to explore new areas and get away from the usual routine for a few days. We didn’t take our bikes this trip, but we did get to do a good bit of hiking which was nice for a change. I really enjoy hiking, but in the past year or so we got out of our regular weekend habit of hiking in the local parks.

Patoka Lake

Patoka Lake - view from near the Newton Stewart recreation area

The property manager of the Patoka Lake Cabins where we stayed told us about Newton Stewart State Recreation Area in nearby Celestine, IN. We bundled up the dog in her jacket and snow boots (she loved those) and set out for a hike on one of the trails today before we headed back home. The inch or so of snow on the ground provided a nice relaxing hike and made for some nice photos. The park has some nice paved bike trails that looked well-maintained so we decided it’s probably worth visiting again in the summer with the bikes.

Cabins at Patoka Lake Village

One of the trails near our cabin.

Roxy enjoying the snow. Or maybe pitching a fit because she hates her boots. Hard to tell.

We drove over to French Lick, IN and took some photos at the West Baden Hotel and at a nearby railroad museum. Something about old rail cars I always find appealing. Overall, the whole weekend was a great trip. We didn’t see as much wildlife as we’d hoped to find, but we did spot a bald eagle soaring over the frozen lake. He was gone before I could get my camera ready though. Figures. Still, it was beautiful to see.

West Baden Hotel

A luggage cart at the railroad museum.

The Pennsylvania railroad car.

Old railcars.

Pluto Water - America's Physic.


Swim at your own risk.

Patoka Lake - just before we spotted the bald eagle.

We wondered what the Zinger was. Must have been fun.

An abandoned wagon trail from 1900.

Snowy steps leading to the trail we hiked at the Newton Stewart recreation area.

I love to photograph old stores like this one. They were closed until March.

I've no idea what these are, but I thought they were worth shooting.

Snowy moss.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

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Thanks for visiting.

Day 352: Cyclingforwater.com

21 12 2010

Many people every year ride the TransAmerica Trail and each cyclist has their own specific reason for doing it, whether it’s to fulfill a personal goal, enjoy the scenery or raise money for a charity. California photographer Brittany App and Oregon videographer Garrett Russell are riding the Southern Tier to raise awareness to bring fresh drinking water for those in need.

The 3,159-mile journey from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida is expected to take around three months. Riding 40-70 miles each day, they make stops in cities and towns along the way to raise awareness and money for WaterAid, an international charity working to provide fresh and clean water to people in Africa and Asia. Their fundraising goal is $20,000. Throughout their trip, they are documenting the details on their Web site, cyclingforwater.com.

Ode Magazine had a good article about their ride last month, when they were about half way through their journey. To find out more or to make a donation, visit cyclingforwater.com.

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride!

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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!

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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!

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Thanks for visiting.