Monday, August 22, 2011

Bike Challenge, Week 2

I had thought it was going to much more difficult to get back up on my bike after having the weekend off. Happy to admit, I was pleasantly surprised.

My legs no longer feel like wet noodles. I am starting to notice that my arms and abs are getting a good workout now too. My forearms are tight; must have something to do with my grip. I feel like I can actually think about things other than biking, gears and the route now.

'Da stats:
  • 17 miles
  • Average biking time: 45 minutes (darn sidewalk construction!)
  • 1 woman biking with skirt and bonnet sighting
  • 1 pimped out Smart Car. By "pimped out" I mean covered in graffiti art. Rather cool actually.
  • 1 young boy riding a girl's bike (my guess: his sister got a new bike)
  • ROI: $4.50
Yay -- my bike savings at work: I got a new helmet (Bell Faction) so that I cannot be missed. It's bright blue and pretty darn styling. Again an advancement from a previously worn helmet.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bike Challenge, Day 4

I know it's belated, but it's posted.

Friday's bike ride was my best yet. I upped it up a gear and was cruising. Taking a day off -- Thursday--to recoup was such a good idea. My early week soreness has gone away and I have to admit that day by day I am feeling much stronger.

As I go into the weekend, I plan to take it easy so I can be refreshed to begin it all over again on Monday. My goal is to (whenever possible) bike 4 days a week.

Here are my stats:
  • 17 miles
  • Average biking time: 43 minutes
  • No profanity.
  • One crazy man with an umbrella telling me where to cross the street. (Hello, it's a bike path!)
  • One deer sighting. (Yes, for real. I thought someone was being clever by putting a plastic lawn deer in the park, but alas, no it was real. Kind of cool, but also a little scary.)
  • ROI: $4.50

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bike Challenge, Day 3

I thought I was going to die on the way to work this morning. Going to bed late coupled with a rich dinner (kudos to Goose Island/Time Out Chicago & Piccolo Sogno), made for a darn good workout. Aside from the fact that I felt like I could have walked faster, I actually made very good time. Must mean my muscles are gaining strength and doing the work, regardless of what my brain thinks.

My note to self today is: Try to go to bed earlier. Riding when tired (plus sore from previous two days) makes for a hard kickoff to the day.

All considering, I had a very smooth (minus one hiccup) ride home. I am starting to feel much more confident on the bike and started to notice that I don't have to work quite as hard to move as I did on Monday.

Today was a huge success -- I discovered the best route (there and back) for keeping off busy streets and gravel paths. These options do add a little more mileage, but don't add more travel time. I am hoping that as I continue biking more and more I can also find some shortcuts options.

Anyway, enough of that. Here's the stats:

  • 18 miles
  • Average biking time 47 mins
  • No bugs eaten, no cat calls. Must be a Monday thing.
  • No profanity.
  • Number of hiccups: 1 (due to lack of balance)
  • Number of new bruises: 1
  • Traffic analysis: Congested. Way more traffic when crossing streets today, way more.
  • ROI: $4.50
As of right now, I am taking a day off tomorrow. I figure I may occasionally need one day a week to relax & regroup.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bike Challenge, Day 2

I had thought that today was going to be a lot harder than it was -- this is not to say that I did not struggle (especially on the way home!), but I did see a small gain in speed. Woot, woot.

Before I continue, I wanted to explain my tracking methodology -- for the moment I am using "Cardio Trainer" app. I can choose my workout (biking) and it GPS tracks where I am and my speed. It also gives me breakout interval times. Over time I especially think this will be a cool feature -- provided I do indeed get faster. I admit the app is a little 'kitchy'; at the end of every workout it tells me how many pieces of fruit I have burned off. I guess it's a good thing to be able to put a calorie amount to the burn off in terms of food. Now if I only I ate 6-9 pieces of fruit a day ;).

I did really well on the way to work. On the way home I felt like I was dragging the whole way. Bypassing lunch and then riding 8 miles was not a good idea. Note to self: Eat lunch tomorrow!

My daily stats are as follows:
  • 18 miles round-trip (getting sidetracked added 1 mile)
  • Average biking time: 43 mins
  • Number of bugs eaten while riding: 0
  • Number of cat calls: 0
  • Number of four letter words uttered: 1
  • Number of teenager couples making out on hood of car: 1
  • Number of ice cream trucks: 1
  • ROI: $4.50

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bike Challenge

I am going to ignore the fact that it has been forever and a day since either pm or I made an update to our blog. It's not for a lack of desire, it's completely for lack of time. Our new home has been a swinging door for visitors, which at times make an escape to write rather (if not completely) difficult. Anyway, we live in the now - so let's begin.


For months now I have been fantasizing about biking to work rather than try to determine the quickest and most cost-effective public transportation options. This is not to say that I am not still exploring that, but I finally (yes, finally!) bought a bike. I also have been wanting to bike because after being away for 9-11 hours at work and commuting to work there is just no time (or energy) for exercising. Biking will let me kill two birds with one stone -- fast & healthy.

Good bye sweet bike from my 8th grade graduation that along with taking a beating from me, repeated it all over again with my two younger sisters. Hello, hybrid Trek. :)

I have graduated into the "adult bike" world. In my mind this means two things:
  1. It is not a Huffy.
  2. It does not have a kick stand.
I am embarking on a journey that for now (and for lack of creativity) will be called my Summer/Fall Bike Challenge. It began today. I plan each day to try to document my journey, share my commuting stories, my challenges and my opinions/preferences for gear.

Without further ado, here are my daily stats:
  • 17 miles (there and back)
  • Average biking time: 47 minutes
  • Number of bugs eaten while riding: 1
  • Number of cat calls (from either walkers or cars): 3
  • Number of four letter words uttered: 2
  • ROI: $ 4.50
I am going to start building a must-have checklist for a commuting biker, but I need to get some more miles under my belt before I truly evaluate needs vs. wants.