It's a new year and time once again to give a new look to this blog. New graphics and colors. Same bike writer!

This blog is created not only to track my own progress on my biking journey but it is intended to also assist others who have either osteo or rheumatoid arthritis or both like I do. I hope as you read about the progress I have made that it gives you inspiration and hope that you can overcome the dibilitating effects of these conditions.

If your doctor agrees that you should be capable of expanding your limits read on and don't be afraid, just listen to your body and give it challenges. Biking is a great non-impact form of exercise and greatly enhances flexibility and range of motion.

It's not a substitute for Doctor visits, taking your meds or otherwise getting off your health plan but it auguments what your Doctor does for you and can give you a better quality of life. Go for it!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Turkeys, Trails, Trees and Tires

Thankgiving with my niece and nephew
Christmas Tree up Thanksgiving weekend
On the trail at Kensington
So we have a big variety in a weeks time.  Thanksgiving with turkey and the trimmings and all the family, the long holiday weekend, an evening reserved for putting up the Christmas Tree and with the nice weather I was able to get in a two good bike rides on Friday and Saturday.  I spent Friday afternoon at Kensington and Saturday at the Huron Valley Rail Trail and boy did if feel good and invigorating to be outdoors enjoying the weather.  Of course living in Michigan where the weather can do an about face in a heartbeat, today we woke up to a winter wonderland with a fresh covering of snow.  Where I live we got about 3-4 inches (I haven't heard the official report yet).  So in a weeks time we go from outdoor riding with no jacket to snow.  One week ago today I spotted a barefoot waterskiier zipping across the lake while I was out on a bike ride.

I love it!

I do believe that outdoor riding is over but I've said that before on this blog and then we continued to have mild days enough to get out a few more times.  Likely I won't be posting my yearly totals yet in case we get that "one more nice day."   But the handwriting is on the wall and I am reserving tonight to get my trainer tire on my old bike so I can be ready for indoor training riding.  In fact I signed up for a indoor December challenge so now I am committed to a certain time spent on the bike and I intend to make good on it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Last Ride?

Sunday November 20th and I was still riding.  I was not the only person pushing the season, I stopped lakeside and watched as a barefoot skiier took one last run across the lake.  Where was my camera when I needed it?  The day had started out at 58 F at 8 am but took a dive all day long.  By 3:00 when I rode (and watched someone ski) the temps were down in the 40's F. Brrrrrr.

I explored neighboorhoods close by home and noted how different everything looks with trees mostly barren of leaves, homes with doors and windows closed and the lack of people out and about.  There were folks doing the last bits of raking their yards and other winter chores, but in general there were not many people outdoors.  This was likely my last outdoor ride unless we get a fluke of a day.  It's time to break out the indoor trainer and set my bike up for it.  I need to swap out my outdoor riding tire and tube with the special tire I bought for the trainer last year and I'll be ready to go.

The fortunate thing this year with having two bikes is that I can always hop on my new bike if we get a rare good weather day.  This will be really handy in the spring when the weather is iffy and and mother nature has whimsical days where we have cold snow one day and mild warm breezes the next.  I'll miss the outdoor riding, indoor riding on a trainer is good for keeping up muscle memory and helping to sustain some of your conditioning but it is NO substitute for being outdoors and the adventure of exploring.

When I've recapped my mileage for the year and processed stats I'll notate that on this blog.  Now it's on to Thanksgiving Holiday preperations!

Wishing a blessed and Happy Thanksgivng to all!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Milford Trail

November 15th and it was 60 degrees F outside today!  Hard to believe I was cycling in a long sleeve tee without a jacket.  With mild temperatures and loads of sunshine I was in the mood for exploring and blazing new trails. 

Today I rode the Milford Trail from the northern reaches of Kensington Metropark to Milford and then into their quaint and historic downtown.  The paved path wanders through the upper reaches of Kensington in an area with few roads, picnic areas and shelters.  This section of the park is a seperate trail from the one I normally travel that encircles Kent Lake.  It's an area less traveled and serves as a wildlife refuge. 

Once again this pathway wanders along side the Huron River in its upper reaches near the headwaters which are somewhere in Commerce Township just to the north.  The path goes through varied terrain, some gentle rolling hills and a couple of significant climbs.  Not surprising because Milford is a hilly town. 

The area is pocked with numerous kettle ponds which are a remnant from the glacial age like much of Michigan.  Hubble Pond and dam is just another place where the Huron River is backed up with a dam and it makes for a peaceful place for a paddle and there is planned convenience for canoers portaging over the dam. 

The downtown has shops, places to stop for snacks or a meal and much in the way of outdoor recreation.  Milford sprung up like so many villages along the banks of the river which winds through the village.  When I rode the sidewalks through town you could see the river in many backyards and there were public places downtown to enjoy the waterfront.  This was also the first time I have seen wayfinding signs along a pathway with mileage indicators, something I have always longed for on other paths. 

I suppose since today is opening day of the deer hunting season it was very appropriate to see as many deer as I did today.  I saw many more than I photographed since most of them skittered away before I could grab my camera.  I came upon a few so quickly they startled me!

Here is a link to my route today at MapMyRide


All Michigan made products, love the motto "curosity encouraged"
Downtown Milford Mural
Clever merchant with a flair for painting
Beautiful historic home in downtown Milford

Blazing New Trails - A Pictoral of the Milford Trail

Trail signage near the YMCA
Portion of Hubbel Pond
Hubble Dam
Making it easy to portage your canoe from the pond over the dam
Bridge over Hubbel Dam, yet another dam on the Huron River

Monday, November 14, 2011

Extended Season

November is being kind to us with extending the mild weather and biking season with it.  Friday I closed week #32 with a small sum of miles at just under 20 for the week.  We had rain and my work schedule didn't allow for much riding, especially with after work rides out now with daylight savings time turned back for the season.  However we had very mild temps this weekend and I've already got more miles than last week after just two days of riding.  Last year my last day of outdoor riding season was November 13th.  With good weather in the forecast for this week it looks like my season will go past that for sure. 

We're supposed to have very mild weather with sunshine tomorrow and my aim is to explore a brand new to me trail in Milford.  This last Saturday had me back at Kensington for possibly my last ride there of the season and Sunday afternoon was spent with my Godson and nephew Andrew at Hudson Mills.  We traveled both trails in the park and right near the end he spied playground equipment and he was off exploring each of the climable pieces of equipment.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Riding In November

We had a gorgeous weather weekend.  Mild temps and sunny skies were abundant plus we did the annual fall retreat from Daylight Savings Time and had a whole extra hour added to the weekend to do with whatever we pleased. 

I got out for a ride on Saturday to one of my favorite places, Kensington Metro Park with a 10 mile ride around the lake and a bit of side exploring.  On Sunday afternoon I rode 9 miles of the Border to Border trail in and around the Ann Arbor area.  The portion of the trail I rode wandered through the arborteum, Gallup Park, and the Parker Mill.  The entire route was along the banks of the Huron River.  This major river plays a role in many of the trails in both Washtenaw and Livingston County.  Kent lake at Kensington is a lake that this river system passes through and Island lake to the south has a lot of their trail running alongside this body of water.  The two locations are about 25 miles apart.  The Lakelands trail in Hamburg runs along side it in places and around lakes that this river wanders through.  The same can be said for the town of Dexter and the Hudson Mills metro park, located about 10 miles to the southwest of Hamburg. 

A link to a map of the river system can be found here and this link has some interesting information, the river, in total wanders through several counties in southeastern Michigan and is some 125 miles long.

In most cases many trees have dropped their leaves, however those trees that have golden yellow leaves and dark reddish brown leaves are still clinging to them and against a bright blue autumn sky the color combo was stunning.  What a glorious weekend to be outdoors!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What Is On Your Nightstand?

After doing a little house cleaning and dusting I thought about what things there are on my nightstand.  What does it say about the things I need and feel like I can't do without unless they are handy?  Well there's Tums for occasional heartburn, hand and body lotion (pretty standard suff for last thing at night for hands that are out in the wind and sun a lot).  Deodorant and eau d toilette by Alfred Sung for my morning necessities, eye drops to combat dryness from bike riding on dirt roads.  Reading materials, Bible in a couple of different versions, it's always there.  The books in the middle change depending on what I'm currently reading and last but not least, yes that really is a copy of the US Constitution and yes it really is that small including the Bill of Rights.  It's there as a daily reminder of the oath I took to uphold it.

And a pen to take notes on the brilliant (yeah, right) ideas that I get during the middle of the night.

Well there you have it, that's me and the things that I need by my side for last thing at night or first thing in the morning. 

How about you?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Still Riding!

It's November 4th and I am still riding, what a great thing to be thankful for.  I am practicing using the month of November to be 30 days of thanksgiving and find something to be thankful for each day.  What a mood booster!

I have not posted on bike rides in a very long time, nor have I been tracking my weekly mileage here in several weeks so this post is going to be filled with stats.  The last week of posting mileage was week #27 that ended on 10/7/11. 

Week #28 53.5
Week #29 11.48 (rained nearly all week)
Week #30 32.49
Week #31 42.81 (this week ended today)

Week #28 had the Tour de Livingston in it.  I finished the month of October with 151.47 miles for the month which was considerabley less than the summer months where I was riding 180 to 220 miles a week.  Considering the weather in the fall can be wet and very windy, I'm not complaining and also grateful that I am still able to get out.  Last year my last day of riding was November 13th.  I am not a cold weather or winter rider.  So glancing at the calendar it looks like I may have another week of riding if all goes well.  If I get any days past this next week I will consider myself very lucky. 

There are days when it has been brisk and I had to really motivate myself to get out, however those have been some of the greatest rides because of how invigorating they are.  Afterward I am so happy that I went that it makes it far easier to get out the next time the temps are less than ideal.  The deep blue skies of October are enough to warm your heart even if the temps chill your hands and cheeks.  Add in the woodland smells this time of year and it makes for one of the best times of all the year to ride in. 

Autumn is glorious in Michigan and I am lucky to be well and out in it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Phase I Non Motorized Path Barker Road Open!

A group of about 40 adults and a few dozen kids showed up for the ribbon cutting on the new pathway along with local officials, and those from the County and State.  I did a presentation thanking all of the groups, clubs, orginizations and agencies who had a hand in supporting the project.  This list is lengthy.

We had three year olds on their trikes, mother and son pulling wee ones on a trailer behind them, a couple on a tandem and several singles bikes and walkers anxious to take the first steps on the new walkway.  Yours truly had the lead bike but the kids were so exicted that I let them go first and they took off running and yelling their heads off.  Of course this all took place just as school was letting out so there was pent up exhuberance! Plus they had been plied with cookies and cider courtsey of a local bike shop Hometown Bicycles and our local coffee shop Peaberry Bean and Beats.

Afterwards, four of us ended up riding out to independence lake county park.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ribbon Cutting Tomorrow! YAY!

The non motorized path becomes a reality, what started two years ago as a concept and dream takes form and shape and will become a usable form of transportation for pedestrians and bicycles tomorrow.  Phase One of a mile long three year project will be open tomorrow afternoon.  This section will connect the subdivision to the east of the elementary school with the school itself.  In the past a sidewalk ended at woods and the school was 700 feet beyond.  This first phase opens that up and phase two begins next year at the opposite end at Main Street and Barker and continues westward toward the school to the west.  Phase three will follow and connect the two.  Phase three has some existing sidewalk.  When complete pedestrians and bicyclists will have safe passage along some hazardous sections of roadway.  Our second phase crosses an at grade rail crossing, a drain and creek, a freeway exit ramp and a freeway entrance ramp and traverses a bridge under the freeway.  In most instances, travel along this road lands a cyclist or pedestrian in the roadway.  That will be a thing of the past and the passage between downtown and the three main subdivisions and elementary school will be a safe one.  YAY!
Workers have scrambled and worked in the rain for the last three days putting the finishing touches and railings on the elevated deck portions.  More pictures tomorrow of the festivities.

Sister Trip

My sister Sophia at Lake Michigan
Me on our climb up the dunes
Dune grass bent in the wind
Beach at New Buffalo

What a great spur of the moment two day getaway with my sister!

It's the pause that refreshes.  Lake Michigan rejuvinates.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Tour de Livingston - Beautiful Ride!

Riders anxiously awaited the go ahead for the ride, from initial counts there were over 750 riders this year participating in  the event.  There were routes of 5, 9, 12, 28, 38 and 64 miles AND an addition of 5 mountain bike routes from 7 to 13 miles or you can combine them for a 50 mile mountain bike challenge.
Riders waiting in the early dawn fog

Riders of all skill levels participate
There were riders of all skill leveles and ages.  The weather was magnificant and amazing for October at a balmy 80 degrees F by mid day.  Some riders combined the 64 Mile metric century with other rides to make a full 100 mile century ride.  One set of riders did that on a tandem bike and that would be Shawn and Dawn co-owners of Hometown Bicycles who were also celebrating their first wedding anniversary.

The route chosen by my friends and I was not real long but it was the hilliest route of the courses available.  I felt them all!  What a great day, a great ride and all for such a great cause!  Newspaper article and photo gallery can be found click here for TdL news
Deb, Deb and Tim

Ready to go in a rest up

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One K

Woo Hoo, today I crossed over the 1,000 mile mark for the season.  Just a day over 27 weeks and I have 1004 miles logged from April to today.  By bicycling standards that's not a lot, but it is for me.  My week #26 ending last Friday had a measly 20.28 miles in it with 3 days of riding.  We had 12 days of rain.  This week I closed out #27 with 45.3 miles for the week.  It's off my pace and no where near the new bar I set but I've been still in a weakened state from being ill for almost three weeks.  In the last two days I finally feel like I am getting back my old stamina and strength.  Slowly but surely.

In the morning it's off to the TdL! 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tour de Livingston!

It's that time of year again for the TdL and I've been training all week for my upcoming ride!  Last year there were over 550 riders.  This year they have expanded the venue to include mountain biking with several mountain bike routes to choose from from beginner to expert plus they added an intermediate road bike mileage route that is more off the main roads with lesser traffic volumes for beginners who are intimidated by cars whizzing by at high speeds on narrow roads.  I am betting that there will be upwards of 800 riders this year. 

The forecast is for gorgeous weather.  Yipee!  Last year I raised funds for the Howell Rotary who puts on the event and over $25,000 was raised for the United Way.  I've been raising funds this year too and have surpassed my goal of $300.00.

Ready.  Set.  Go!

TdL website

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dexter Apple Daze Part III

This tree was uncommonly bright lime in color, since I don't know my trees all that well I believe this one may be on it's way to yellow for it's autumn display.
An appropriate sign for an art store.  With full panniers it was time to head for home, the fair was closing and daylight would be fading soon.  I packed my bags with apple cider, maple syrup, honey, my regular repair gear, extra vest, camera, blackberry, and various other treasures that can only be found at art and craft fairs.  When I got home I weighed them and they came in at 15 pounds and really there was plenty of room for more!  I love those panniers, what a great thing to win!  I had a lot of people comment on them.  A very good day all around. 

Dexter Apple Daze Part II

This booth was selling all local harvested honey and honey products.  Flavored honey sticks are just the right size for a yogurt snack pack.
This youngster was having fun trying his skill at landing the ball inside the target.  His next shot was with a bean bag and it was a success!  The photos below are of a couple of quaint shops and what has the be the worlds smallest restaurant ever!  The building is barely longer than it is wide.  I need to stop there on my next visit, it looks way too cute.

As it turns out the little restuarant was a gift to the community back in 1928 from a Senator and served as a Post Office and a Library in it's former incarnation.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Dexter Apple Daze Part I

Cider Mill in Dexter alongside the Huron River.  I revisited Dexter today and there was an Apple Daze fair going on.  From downtown I took a trip to the Cider Mill and met up with some long lines but the fresh donuts and cider were well worth the wait.  It's a popular biking destination and I saw several other riders while visiting. 

This is a good example of some of the older beautiful homes in the town, historical preservation is important here.
You can see that the panniers are starting to get full from my shopping and browsing at the local vendors and artists.
I picked up some Michigan Maple Syrup from this place.  And some honey and honey products from the booth next door.