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Posts Tagged ‘Bicycles’

Well this post is a bit overdue but better late than never I say!  A few weekends ago Patrick and I participated in the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s “City to Shore” ride.  We started in Cherry Hill, NJ (about 8 miles from Philly) and ended up in Ocean City, NJ (about 75 miles from Philly).  We did some fundraising to help the Society find a cure for MS but mostly went on the ride to say we did it and have fun!

City to Shore finishers!

The ride is a two-day event and we had originally planned to camp beach-side upon our arrival in Ocean City.  After a week of rainy-weather forecasts we booked a hotel room at the last-minute.  This meant less gear to schlep with us so when the alarm went off at 4:00am on Saturday morning the bikes were already packed and ready to go.  We set off through empty city streets toward the light rail that would take us to the start line.  We had a quick pit-stop at the 24-hour convenience store to pick up coffee drinks (have YOU ever tried to bike at 4:00am without caffeine??)  We shared the train car with several other cyclists and more got on at each stop.

We're going to do what now?

The starting line was conveniently located at the Cherry Hill train station’s massive parking lot.  Bright street lights pierced the pre-dawn darkness, thousands of cyclists milled about waiting for the start and the line for the porta-potties seemed to stretch on forever.  We had arrived early enough to join the first wave of “century cyclists”– people like us who wanted to add an extra 25 mile loop to their day to bring that day’s mileage up to 100 miles.  Unfortunately the aforementioned line prevented us from setting off early so we ended up waiting at the head of a mess of about 6,500 cyclists for the “official start”.  As we waited in the fairly quiet queue we heard someone’s over-inflated tire burst with an impressive “PSSSSSSSSSSST”, bummer!

Sunrise at the starting line

Waiting to roll

Finally we were on the road at the official start time of 6:40am.  The route wound through sleepy Cherry Hill neighborhoods and into the countryside.  We slipped past fields still blanketed in mist, a cloudy sky preventing the sun from peeking out to burn off the morning dew.  The miles seemed to fly by quickly and I gleefully called out each mile marker.  We soon pulled into the first rest stop for a potty break and some breakfast.

The Whiz Palace

Feeling energized from some bananas and Cliff bars we almost decided to skip the next rest stop to keep our rhythm up.  But as we breezed past the rest stop entrance I heard a volunteer shouting “THIS IS THE LUNCH STOP!”  I’m not one to pass up free lunch so we quickly pulled over to scope it out.  There were huge tents set up with boxes and boxes of prepared sandwiches, ants-on-a-log and fruit.  Another tent had freshly grilled chicken sandwiches and all the fixin’s.  Normally I would have gone crazy on all this good stuff but it will still only 9:30am and a chicken sandwich did not sound appealing.  So I grabbed some stuff to eat later while Pat the “Iron Stomach” Kelley inhaled two chicken sandwiches.  We both grabbed a few extra Cliff bars, a habit that would continue throughout the ride.

9:30am "lunch"

The next dozen miles rolled past easily on the mostly flat course.  We flew past NJ’s famous blueberry fields, some of which are surrounded by gigantic Jurassic Park-style fences.  I made pterodactyl noises for a few miles to entertain us.  Soon we found ourselves at the turn-off for the Century Loop.  The loop was scheduled to close at 11:00 but we were there with plenty of time to spare and we eagerly turned off to join the “hardcore” cyclists.  As we chugged along I noticed that there were very few ladies on the Century Loop.  C’mon girls!

Feel the burn! 45.5 miles to go!

There was a really nice rest stop on the Century Loop.  Kids enthusiastically filled our water bottles and handed out energy bars.  There was a feeling of camaraderie but also pending exhaustion among the cyclists.  I ate my lunch and felt instantly better.  We picked up some “Century Cyclist” patches and hit the road again.  After 15 more miles we were dropped back onto the regular route.  At first I thought I was having deja vu but then realized we had joined the regular route a few miles BEFORE the Century Loop turn off.

We're feeling OK!

People clog the entrance chute of the next rest stop where we turn off to get more water.  I noticed that the “elite” riders were also the most discourteous riders all day.  One team in particular, The Flamers, seemed to think they were especially entitled to not follow the race rules.  It was disappointing but luckily most cyclists just wanted to have a nice time like us!  After a very quick stop we hit the road again, determined to get into Ocean City around 3:00pm.

The miles seemed to somehow become longer and I started to get that feeling like I was riding through Jell-O.  As we rounded a curve I felt my front tire slip and thought that I must really be getting exhausted.  I convinced Pat to stop at the final rest stop so I could re-group.  As we pulled in I realized my “exhaustion” was caused by a flat front tire!  Fortunately the ride provided free mechanical service at all the stops.  20 minutes and one new tube later we were ready to hit the final stretch!  Words cannot express how happy I was to discover that flat at the rest stop and not on the side of the road.  From mile 1 we had seen cyclists with their wheels up, fixing a flat or waiting for help.  Most of them were little skinny road bike tires that had been over-inflated.  Gotta love those weekend cyclists!

FLAT!

A nice mechanic fixing bikes

As the last 9 miles slowly disappeared behind us we started seeing more and more supporters on the roadsides.  A group of kids waved homemade signs and cheered for us, a little girl sat on her bike at the end of her driveway yelling “GO! GO! GO!” and a boy scout troop handed out free lemonade at their own impromptu rest stop.  My weary legs felt a burst of energy from all these kind people showing us that they knew we could make it.

Ocean City neared and I started hearing grumbling in the ranks about “the bridges.”  As in: “save your energy for THE BRIDGES” or “last year I couldn’t make it over THE BRIDGES”.  I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a little concerned.  But I put it out of my mind, no way I was taking a SAG wagon ride at this point!  I could smell the salt water in the air and my bum longed for a stretch so on we pushed.  The line of riders jammed up at a series of stop lights and we found ourselves in a holding pattern for about 20 minutes.  Pat played the defence with his pannier- keeping stupid cyclists from whizzing past the stopped line of bikes (to go where, exactly???).  Soon enough I could see the dastardly bridges in the distance.

I was scared.  They looked like the first hill on a reallybig roller coaster and, to my tired legs, they seemed about 10 miles long and 50 miles steep.  But I was also thrilled to see them.  I had 98 miles behind me and nearly 7 hours in the saddle.  Would I let a couple of small (GIGANTIC) hills keep me from obtaining my goal??  No way.  So up, up, up we chugged and down, down, down we breezed.  I wish I could say the view was worth it but honestly most of my brain was focused on keeping my legs pumping.  We avoided possible calamity as those dang Flamers squeezed past us and the traffic to our left, without even the smallest whisper of “on your left.”  Pat reminded them not the be fools 😉  We cleared the second bridge as well and soon rolled into Ocean City.

With one mile left I started to get delirious from exhaustion and happiness.  The streets were lined with people waving signs and cheering.  A man in a wheelchair shouted “thanks for riding for ME!” and I nearly lost it.  The finish line chute was bordered with gates and people who don’t even know us screamed “congratulations!” and “you did it!” while clanging cow bells.  The finish line announcer was pretty anti-climatic in his announcing as we rolled under the banner, “You are at the finish.”

Finish line and supporters

I feel proud! (and tired)

I hear someone shouting my name from the sidelines and soon pick out one of my volunteers from work!  He’s there to support a friend but congratulates us on finishing too.  He also breaks the news that Ocean City is in a dry county so we won’t be having that celebratory beer I’d been looking forward to for about 45 miles…  Instead we hit up the free food tents, grab our finishing medals and t-shirts and then walk the boardwalk.

Best dang hot dog ever!

Walking "the boards"

God's smile 🙂

It’s a beautiful afternoon and we treat ourselves to some gelato and cheesy fries.  As we walk to our hotel we see a beautiful rainbow form over the ocean.  My heart bursts with pride at our accomplishment and the beauty of the day we just shared.  We retire to our hotel to stretch, take long, hot showers and to regroup.  We decide that the day was just perfect and that a 75-mile ride back the next day would be too much.  We sign up for the free bus that leaves in the morning and slip into a deep and well-deserved sleep.

YUMMMMMM!

Congratulations to US!

This thing is legit!

A beautiful end to the day

Collection of "extras" from the rest stops, lol

Big wheel at sunset

The next morning we load our bikes into a moving van with hundreds of other cyclists who will join us on a school bus ride back to Cherry Hill.  The drive takes about 1.5 hours, a hilariously short time compared to the 7.1 hours it took the day prior.  Soon we’re pulling into the train station parking lot, our bikes are unloaded and we board the return train.  A police officer at the Philadelphia stop congratulates us, noticing our matching City to Shore t-shirts.  Breakfast is at Famous 4th Deli where we both tuck into massive omelets and bottomless coffee.  It’s the perfect end to a challenging and rewarding weekend.

Truck full of bikes

We rode 100 miles at an average speed of 15.2 MPH.  From start-to-finish the ride took 8 hours, 7.1 of which were in the saddle.  We ate at least 8 Cliff bars each and drank about 1.5 gallons of water each.  One flat tire, 2 finisher medals and tons of fond memories.  Thank you to all of our sponsors and supporters!

The Kelley's in Ocean City

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It’s officially summertime!  I love longer days, healthy foods, and of course many more bike rides.  But summer cycling can be brutal in the city.  Disgusting heat and smog.   Burning pavement.  And drivers whose minds are at the beach, not on the road.  Fortunately a little preparedness goes a long way– helmet, brakes, lights and water bottle.  And for the times we want to get out of this heat island and hit up the trails running west we bring:

Anti-"rain-on-my-parade" kit

No need to be worried about being stranded with a flat when you have a well-stocked repair kit like this!  I put this together after an unforunate turn of events last spring.  It has everything needed to repair/replace a tube on the go.  Here’s what’s inside: spare tubes, tire irons, tube patch kit (in case it’s not TOO serious), a CO2 pump and CO2 cartridges.  And it all fits neatly into this Clinique “free bonus” tote- tres chic!  When we go on longer rides we also pack our bike multi-tool for any unexpected adjustments.

Thumbs up for preparedness!

I love summer for other reasons though.  Summer always feels like a time of change, probably due to years spent in school when summer is the chance you get to reinvent yourself before the next school year.  Pat’s recent promotion has brought lots of newness to us: a new work schedule for him, new people to meet and get to know, new responsibilities and new resources at our disposal.  My favorite part is having evenings and some weekend days off together again.  Pat has been a grill-master lately, whipping up classics like fiery BBQ chicken and veggie kebab but also tantalizing my taste buds with new creations like a grilled steak and mushroom sandwich (as in the whole sandwich is grilled to heavenly perfection).  Even a little rain won’t stop him!

Rainy day grilling under the cover of the upstairs balcony

New opportunities also mean a chance to re-evaluate our plans and thoughts about the future.  When we first started planning an “around the world” trip nearly 3.5 years ago our lives were A LOT different.  I was fresh out of grad school, Pat was still a little baby barista at Starbucks, we weren’t even engaged and saving tens of thousands of dollars for years to go on a 6-12 month vacation sounded like the best idea we’d ever had.  So I obsessively researched places we could go, put pins on a google map and saved, saved, saved our money.  Now I have a job in my field and am growing as an educator, Pat is on his way to managing his own store, our second wedding anniversary is around the corner and, well, the tens of thousands of dollars is still being worked on.  I will admit that the idea of “getting away from it all” for months, schlepping ourselves and our belongings across Europe to see new and exciting things and setting our lives on an entirely new trajectory still has appeal.  I still spend a lot of time daydreaming about all the many places, people and things we will see one day.  Travel and the allure of the exotic got under my skin after my college experience abroad (or maybe it was all the books set in far-away lands I read as an impressionable youngster).  But other obsessions are emerging, too: children, a house of our own, becoming a school teacher  and helping Pat achieve his goals.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. -John Lennon

How do you decide which of life’s roads to travel down?  We have so many options, opportunities and blessings it’s overwhelming at times.  But one of the biggest gifts I have been given is a partner who understands that it’s really not these future paths that define who we are.  Our life together is in the here and now, the little everyday moments and seemingly mundane.  My dreams, Pat’s dreams, and the dreams we share are fluid and flexible and can be what we make them.  “Giving up” the trip of a lifetime isn’t really giving up anything– it’s adding the potential for many mini-trips, saving money for travel AND family and opening doors to ideas we never considered.  The specifics of the dream may change, but that’s the beauty of the unknown, isn’t it?

Existence would be intolerable if we were never to dream. -Anatole France

So I look forward to continuing to dream big dreams, planning for our future as best we can and drinking in the sweet bliss of our everyday life together.  Here’s to this summer, to a wonderful husband and to being here now!

Things are not what they appear to be; nor are they otherwise.

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Elation, exhaustion and eating.  Those three words pretty much summarize our first official “bicycle tour” for me.  We set out for the Little Red Barn Campground in Quakertown, PA last Friday morning, spent the night and rode back to Philly on Saturday.  So all things considered not much of a tour, but a great practice run for longer trips and overall a good experience.

We loaded our bikes on Thursday night and ate a carb-full dinner in anticipation of the 50+ miles we’d ride each day.  On Friday morning I woke up to cramps and general malaise but I was determined to go.  So after egg sandwiches, coffee and stretching we hit the road.  It was so nice to feel the warm sun and take in the lush green Schuylkill banks, especially after a week of rain.   The Manayunk tow path was looking like a jungle with crazy vines and tunnels of green leaves.  We stopped for a snack at the “wayside bike stop” at the beginning of the Schuylkill path and saw a doe about 20 feet up the path– I was surprised to see one so close to the path and houses!  No picture since digging for it would have scared her 😦

Pat's bike loaded up

Our journey continued until we pulled over just after Valley Forge (about 25 miles) to mow down hoagies and cookies for lunch.  Once back in the saddle we both commented on how awesome you feel after eating… a full tank of gas!  After a few more miles we turned onto the Perkiomen Trail, a first for us.  It’s a very pretty, hard-pack gravel path that winds west through towns and forests.  We spotted cardinals, a bluejay and some super-cute chipmunks.

“Navigation” for this trip was printed google directions– I now admit this was not my best plan ever.  At some point in the directions you are instructed to leave the path and start heading north to Quakertown on country roads.  Somehow we got waaaaay off track.  Luckily Pat’s phone has a decent maps application and we were able to redirect ourselves.  Unluckily we took a wrong turn and ended up many more miles out of the way.

Throughout all of this navigational bumbling we were also tackling some of the biggest hills I’ve encountered.  Philly is pretty flat and the 3 hills I climb each day commuting are just a few blocks long so this was uncharted territory.  These hills felt endless to my screaming legs and I had to get off and walk a few times.  Pat gently reminded me that Europe has WAY more, and bigger, hills so this is good practice.  We had to pull over for a banana break after he said that since I was irrationally yelling “screw Europe! I HATE bicycle touring!” in response.  I felt so defeated by the hills, being off-track and my tired body that I even suggested heading home.  But 15 more miles of hills sounded more manageable than 40 miles back.  No quitting!

I will survive!

Twelve miles and many turns later I ecstatically blew kisses at a road sign that said 3 miles to our campground.  As we churned up one last hill I found a hidden pocket of energy after spying campers and tents in the woods to our right– we had made it!  I checked us in, picked up some hotdogs from the camp store and we got settled into our “home” for the night.  Our tent is a breeze to pitch and we were set up and devouring left-over pizza in about 15 minutes.  We relaxed in the tent, soaking in the beautiful woods around us and breathing in the fresh air.

Trees from inside the tent

REI Quarter Dome T3 tent, love it!

Later we walked the campground’s loops to stretch our legs and check out all the ridiculously large RVs clustered together. I gave Pat a run for his money at the air hockey table in the campground’s game room (they also had a pool but we didn’t have suits, boo)  Dinner was hotdogs roasted on the campfire then stuffed in pita pockets with cheese and mustard.  Trust me, anything is delicious after 6 hours of bike riding so this was gourmet.

Forest surrounding the camp site

Breakfast and map reading

The next morning I woke feeling a little sore but ready to take on the day’s riding.  Knowing that the hills were at the beginning of the ride and that we wouldn’t get lost this time made getting back on my bike a lot easier.  A quick breakfast of PBJ in a pita, trail mix and cookies and we were back on the road.  Our route back to the Perkiomen Trail was more direct (understatement of the year) and carried us through the many small communities and back roads of Upper Bucks county.  Just outside of Collegeville we stopped to gawk as several skydivers landed in a grassy airfield.  Feeling venturesome, we agreed that if we can bicycle tour we can certainly skydive!  SO now that’s on our bucket list…

Although I had pre-made some falafel patties to have with hummus, pita and veggies for lunch we decided to treat ourselves to a diner sitting just a few yards off the trail.  The best part of the meal for me was letting my booty rest on the squishy booth, sweet, sweet relief!  We rode side-by-side for the next 20 miles or so, cracking up at our lame jokes and encouraging each other on.  One more snack break in Norristown and all of a sudden we were in the city again.  The ride home from the trail is a complete blur to me, my mind was focused only on a cold shower and our couch.  The one and only safety incident we had on the trip happened 4 blocks from home when a police officer nearly doored Pat while getting out to talk to a bike cop.  But we made it home in one piece and the rest of the night was spent chillin’ and reducing a large pizza to crumbs.

Here are some things we learned:

1. GPS is an absolute MUST.  We were rewarded for this mistake though because REI had a brief mega-sale on them the day we got home and I picked up a Garmin GPSMAP 62s for 30% off- score!

2. Eat a lot.  I think we learned this last year when we went on our first long haul, but it’s good to keep in mind.  I can get really cranky when my blood sugar dips!  I’m planning on taking a small, soft-side cooler next time we do an overnight.  Also bring more water.  We stopped at CVS on the way there and back for big Gatorades.

3. Our plan for Europe is totally do-able.  Not that I really doubted that… but thinking/writing about it is one thing, actually doing it is another.  So this showed me that we will face some challenges in our trip but that they will be more than worth it.

Lastly, sorry for the lack of pictures– we were pretty focused on biking.  I want our next trip to be a 3-day weekend so we won’t feel so rushed for time.  At the end of the trip we had logged 121 miles and over 10 hours in the saddle!  Not too shabby for two Long Haul Truckers’ first really long haul 🙂

Life is good!

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I can’t believe how remiss I’ve been in my journal!  Nothing much exciting was going on and then I was sick for a week and did nothing but lay on the couch (and go to work, so stupid).  But last week I had the wonderful opportunity of attending the “Science of Art” conference hosted by the National Museum of American History in D.C.  The museum paid for my first night and then after the conference was over Patrick and I made a little holiday of it and stayed an extra day and a half. 

Washington Monument and swirly cloud by Patrick

The conference was actually really interesting and I always enjoy meeting colleagues from other museums.  I liked brainstorming with the other attendees and thinking of ways we can better the leaders of tomorrow.  I was also able to incorporate the enthusiasm for arts-based teaching I gained into a family workshop today at work– very cool!  I did a reprise of my fresco painting class, condensed to 45 minutes.  Everyone had a blast 🙂

Anyway, back to D.C.  Pat wandered around on his lonesome while I soaked up all the art and science goodness.  He took some fabulous photos and is now the house expert at the “shutter priority” setting on our camera.  I was especially impressed with some of his museum shots.

Dancing with the planes @ Air and Space

 

Black and white composition

 

Air and Space

After the conference ended we did a TON of sight-seeing.  One of my co-workers used to live in D.C. so she had a ton of insider tips for us (like how to get the Zoo without walking up the huge hill from the Metro- yessss!).  It was so good to be out of  Philly for a few days, to explore a new city together and to just relax.  I am also very excited that we stayed exactly on our pre-planned budget.  My favorite splurge was definitely our yummy lunch at some Mexican place by the Zoo.  Nothing like a pitcher of sangria to put you in “vacation” mode!

Not as awesome when you're on the bus for 4 hours after...

D.C. is a really interesting town.  We were both surprised by the lack of tall buildings (is there some kind of building code?), but it certainly made it easier to orient yourself to the Capitol!  They seem to have a pretty extensive bicycle lane infrastructure– here’s an example of a “bike boulevard”, so classy.

Bike commuter paradise

There are also racks of bikes all over the city that you can rent by the hour and then return to any other rack station in the city.  Seems like a pretty nifty idea and a good way to encourage people to leave their cars in the suburbs.  We did notice a lot of pedestrians using the bike lanes as their own personal extension of the sidewalk though, so I guess this system is still getting some kinks worked out.

Tidal basin Cherry Trees

We spotted an alarming number of bow ties, many potential undercover agents and the usual kinda crazy/kinda funny bums.  It’s really true, no matter where you go… people are pretty much the same! 

Very wise!

On Friday we trekked to the National Cathedral.  Very beautiful art, amazing stained glass and just a wonderful feeling of immensity.  But beyond that we agreed that it didn’t really feel like a hallowed space.  I wonder if it was the hoards of tourists or the fact that this space really does serve a non-religious purpose at times?  I’m interested to see how this experience compares to centuries-old churches we’ll visit in Europe.

My photographic juxtaposition of church/state

My favorite sculpture

Central nave

We took over 800 pictures yowser!  I can’t post them all here so I put a bunch on my flickr site click here.  I’ll leave you with a few of my favorites:

Panda butt

By Patrick

Botanic Garden

1600 Pennsylvania Ave

Fun trip!

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Hot cocoa, campfires, flannel sheets, a sauna, cinnamon gummy bears… Oh!  Those pajamas that have the feets and zip up to your neck…  The list goes on and on in my mind as I try to find a warmth-evoking distraction from the cold, cold, cold that somehow manages to slip in and chill me to the bone.  Two pairs of pants, tights, wool socks, cammie, t-shirt, long sleeve, thermal hoodie and a jacket are still no match for this morning’s weather.  MSNBC (obviously having a slow news day) quotes a fellow East-coaster as calling this kind of cold “snot-freezing.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Human warmth burrito

Patrick and I were discussing the usual chain of events that make up our measly 3-mile commute to work.  It starts out with our eyes uncontrollably streaming tears from the shock of cold (or sadness from being out of our warm bed, I’m not sure), followed by a slight tingle in the thighs.  From here it can go one of two ways.  If it’s not too cold and we’re feeling ambitious our muscles start to warm up and by the time we get to work we’re actually quite warm.  Or, as the case has been the past few weeks, that tingle turns into a chilly numbness that seems to linger for the rest of the day no matter how many hot teas you consume.  Either way we arrive at work, snot dripping at an alarming rate, to de-thaw at our desk/espresso machine.

Us in winter 2010 with our new bikes

Today a coworker, seeing me bundle up and wheel my bike out to the elevator, quipped, “boy, Liz… you sure are hardcore!”  But it wasn’t really a compliment.  It was more like “boy, Liz… you sure are one masochistic, cold-loving Mid-westerner!”  It also reminded me of the anecdote my dad likes to tell about a winter camping trip he took to Canada.  Whenever he told a native Canadian what he was up to their response was “…that’s brave.”  Reading between the lines he soon realized that, in Canada, “brave” is equal to “pretty damn crazy/stupid”.   Since the PECO building’s digital thermometer informed me that it was a mere 9 degrees this morning I’m going to have to go with the Canadians on this one… aren’t I brave?!

Though the forecast doesn’t seem much better for the rest of the week I will persevere!  After all Lance Armstrong, a man who kind of defines the word “hardcore” (in ALL of its connotations, mind you) once said “Pain is temporary.  Quitting lasts forever.”  Rock on, Lance!  Rock on, Liz!  Rock on, snot-dripping!

West Philly

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Was it the warm sunshine on my face or the drowsiness of sleep not yet shaken that caused me to doubt the ferocity of the trolley tracks?  Am I getting overly confident?  Should I start having an extra cup of coffee before I leave the house to help widen my eyes a bit?  I have come to the conclusion that the answer to all these questions is: NO.  No, I am not a distracted cyclist, unsafe or half-asleep behind the handlebars (well, most mornings anyway). 

NOT a bike-friendly zone

It’s just that dang, those trolley tracks are wily!  Yesterday morning I was riding down the center of the tracks because my street STILL has not been plowed from the snowstorm.  I heard a car coming from behind and decided to bail across the trolley tracks– taking it at a 45 degree angle, of course.  My front wheel cleared but those slippery rails were not ready to let go of me yet.  The rest is all a blur– it ends with me on the ground wondering what just happened.  A quick inventory to make sure all my bones were still in one piece, that my super-awesome gloves held up to the impact and that my bike was okay and then back on the old steed.  I’m sure the guy chillin’ in his pickup truck across the street enjoyed the drama.

The weird part about all the unfortunate incidents I’ve had on my bike is that I can recall the moments leading up to the crash and the aftermath but never the crash itself.  It’s those few seconds where I’m airborne, my bike going one way as my body catapults the other that my brain simply does not record.  I wonder if the memory part of my brain shuts down so the “oh, sh*t!” cortex can have full usage of my neurons.

So I live to ride another day.  My once healthy fear of trolley tracks is now bordering on nervous mania, I actually got off my bike to walk across a tricky intersection on the way home.   Today I am sore, a little bruised but otherwise in one piece.  As always, I am glad I was wearing my helmet and that my guardian angel was somewhere in the vicinity at the time.

Get a bicycle.  You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

-Mark Twain

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“Got snow tires on that thing?” the elderly business man asked me as I unlocked my bike from outside Whole Foods.  I raised my eyebrows, “uh, yeah, something like that!”  Mushing a loaf of bread into my bag I double-checked that my blinky light was blinking, tightened my helmet strap and cautiously set out into the snowy streets.  Slowly, slowly I made my way down 21st street.  Traffic was crawling too; it seems like this city becomes gridlocked at the mere mention of snow, let alone a dusting

Lunar Lander dreaming of a white Christmas

Feeling confident that the roads were damp but not slick I moved at the slow speed of an inefficient evening commute.  I hit my stride on Walnut street, sliding past a snaking line of red tail-lights.  I was the only cyclist in sight as I cut south and west toward home.  I remembered my coworker telling me as I left be careful, I saw two guys on bikes wipe out.  Even Pat warned me to walk if it was slippery.  As I got further from the heavily travelled streets of Center City I realized that their warnings were probably good ones.

I decided to walk my bike the last block home, no need to risk a tumble when I’d made it that far.  Pat greeted me at the door with a steaming mug of vanilla rooibos tea laced with some raspberry schnapps– toasty! 

A man and his cheese

Today we spent the whole afternoon running errands in the city.  I love the bustle of holidays, fa la la la laaaaa.

Christmas bike

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