Bike to Work Week

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559437_3294255269830_1071246137_33031734_1727652364_n

It's May, bike Month.  Specifically this is bike to work week.  I want to bike to work tomorrow, we'll see if I can pull it off or not.  It won't be a far ride. About 3 miles I believe.  It will take a little planning on my part.  With the studio owning most of my free time it makes biking to work more tricky. I have not managed it since I opened the studio.  I've flirted with car free in what feels like a past life.  I may flirt with car free or car lite again. I'm in awe of you lovely people who have figured out how to take the plunge.  

very miss-matched cycling outfit, but hey it got the job done.
very miss-matched cycling outfit, but hey it got the job done.

Have you participated in bike to work week this week?  If not this week have you done it in the past?  What's stopping you from getting on your bike and riding away?  What's stopping you from freeing yourself from the car?  Do share how you've done it.  If you are brave share pictures of your commute! 

Getting Colder

The hardest part about getting up ungodly early in the morning during the week is that you wake up ungodly early on the weekend whether you like it or not.  You begin to hard wire your body for mornings.  That was the case this morning when I was wide awake at 4:45am on a Saturday, well before I actually needed to be moving around. What did this starving early bird do?

Yuppers! I went there.
Yuppers! I went there.

I ate this beast of a meal knowing that it was bitter cold outside (for May anyway), I had a big bike ride in my future  and there would be strong head winds.

Yes I ate it all.  Don't judge me.
Yes I ate it all. Don't judge me.

It was cold outside, and none of my friends were bailing on the "MS Gears and Cheers ride" I figured I couldn't either.  So we bundled up and headed to the grove winery in Gibbsonville.

This is before the hooded sweater shirt was determined to be a necessity.
This is before the hooded sweater shirt was determined to be a necessity.
Yes I wore the hooded sweat shirt the entire 22 miles, no this was not my first ride.
Yes I wore the hooded sweat shirt the entire 22 miles, no this was not my first ride.

This ride is a fund-raiser for MS research.  Great cause.  The ride was fantastic despite the cold, cloudy weather, threat of rain, and winds.  This ride actually had to be one of the most well-marked and supported courses I've ever ridden.

Not to mention when we got done there was this....

Wine glass with wine and LUNCH!
Wine glass with wine and LUNCH!

It seemed that the longer we were on the bike the colder it got, not sure if that was actually the case, but despite the weather it was a Seriously fantastic ride.  I was impressed.  How come there isn't more wine at the end of long rides?

Unbuckled

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IMG_0924

There is something about getting on a bike after a long absence from riding that leaves me feeling completely unbuckled when I start peddling.  If you've been spending the majority of your time in a car buckled in surrounded by metal and airbags you have a nice false sense of security.  When you get on a bike, even with a helmet, gloves, working brakes, sun glasses, and perfectly inflated tires there is still a feeling of nakedness, you're unbuckled, but more importantly you're free.  You're free from the trappings of a false sense of security.  You're completely exposed.

My goal today was to see if I'd be ok riding 23 miles next weekend durning the Rites of Spring.  It has been longer than I'd like to admit since I'd last ridden my beautiful bike.  After teaching a long hard power flow class this morning, I proceeded home encouraged my the sunshine and changed into my favorite light blue embrocation kit.  I'd be lying if I told you I was not proud of the fact that my kit matches all the way down to the socks, my sunglass perfectly accent my pink handle bar tape, and my gloves have pink accents that match too.  Yes, my outfit matches my bike.  I smile to myself, it feels perfect.  I check my free wheel, it's attached safely, I check my brakes, they work nicely, I pump up my tires, and wipe off the dust (yes, the bike had lots of dust on it).  I'm ready to roll.

Pink handle bar tape is key!
Pink handle bar tape is key!

I get out onto my street, and I uncomfortably clip in.  My clips still after all these years make me slightly nervous and I'm reminded how exposed on the bike I am.  I roll out to the main street and feel the air still slightly cool as it rushes past my skin.  I feel the warmth of the sun shining down, I wonder how this is going to go.  I think of turning back (I'm not sure why, there is nothing else to do today).   I get 5 miles out, and realize that I packed my phone, camera, emergency cash and road ID, but failed to bring a water bottle.  Serious Fail.  Oh well, I suppose I'll see how far I can get without a water bottle.

Ridding out of downtown through the "nicer" wealthier neighborhoods in town and notice that my legs feel pretty strong for not having ridden in a long time.  That's a pleasant surprise.  The sunshine feels incredible, I hope we've crested into spring.  Cars fly past and I have that feeling of being unbuckled again, of being naked, too exposed.  Maybe I should turn around.... I remember these feelings are normal on the bike (at least for me), especially if you haven't ridden in awhile, it takes a while to get used roads with cars, I remind myself I'll feel better when I get on the greenway.

What is it about being on a bike that makes you feel like your heart is going to crack wide open?  Have you ever felt that way?  It happens to me a lot when I ride alone. As I peddle up a big hill reminding myself of all of the things that I'm not doing right.  My cadence is too low, I'm not connecting to my breath, my form sucks.  It's not just on the bike though, it's life in general, lots of screw ups, lots of miss-steps, when will I get it right?  Before my eyes well up with tears I remind myself, it's a beautiful day, and the sun is shining and there is no crying on the bike.  Well, maybe sometimes there is crying on the bike, but certainly no need today.

I hit battleground park I'm 11 miles in and decide without a water bottle I should turn around.  My legs are starting to feel tired and maybe my mind has hit it's turn around point even if my body really could go longer.

It's nice to get home and have 20 miles under my belt for the day, I'm sure that The Rites of Spring will go well and now I'm confident that I can hang with a group just fine.  Time for lunch. Veggie Burger and a beer for sure!  Maybe I'll even ride to work tomorrow...