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!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

57 Degrees F on January 31!

Can you say outdoor riding?  Oh boy!  I got out and was able to enjoy the most magnificant January weather that I have ever experienced.  I had just over an hour of riding and just a bit over nine miles at Kensington Metro Park.  The beautiful weather brought out plenty of others, there were runners, walkers, joggers and folks out walking their dogs.  People were out in droves today to enjoy the sunshine and mild temps. 

I set out in a hurry and didn't take my camera, too bad because I could have had shots of the frozen over lake and some places were there was snow next to the trail and on some of the shaded hillsides.  The lake had a lot of portions of standing water on top of the thin layer of ice and in only one place that was heavily shaded did I encounter any slushy, icy conditions.  The rest of the path was mostly dry or just a bit wet here and there.  Boy did it feel good to get outdoor riding in today.

Big bonus of the day was on the way home I saw no less than eleven flocks of geese flying in their V formations.  I've never seen that many lines of geese fill the sky.  What a great sight.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Iron Lady

Went to the movies tonight and saw Iron Lady, what a great movie about a controversial yet very STRONG woman. Margaret Thatcher was one of history's most influential women of our modern times. I have read up a bit on the first woman Prime Minister in the UK and after seeing the movie I yearn to read much more. I see at least one new book on my shopping list. Ms. Thatcher was one very willful lady prone to stirring speeches and penetrating one-liners.

Between the movie and coming home and searching through some YouTube videos, she had a particular skill at delivering withering commentary aimed toward her political foes and opponents. 
I recalled listening to her recorded eulogy that was played at President Regan's funeral and thinking at that time that it was one of the best eulogies delivered that day. I also recall thinking, "wow, what an eloquent speech and delivery."

The years of her leadership reign came during an intensive busy time in my life while I was busy building a business and mostly recall news about her on the periphery of my horizon of awareness of what was happening in the world around me. The movie so intrigued me that I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do to read about this amazing and powerful woman. The UK was lucky to have had her.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Has Arrived

The calendar pegged the arrival on the winter solstice but forgot to tell the weather.  We've been lucky and blessed with a very mild winter till now.  Temps are getting more in line with the calendar and we have snow on the ground again.  The forecast into next week brings back a bit more moderate temps but nothing that I see in the forecast indicates outdoor riding for me.  Once it gets below 40's F I find no pleasure in outdoor riding.  A walk or hike is ok in the cold and really can be invigorating, but riding with wind on your face is not my cup of tea. 

So it's onto the trainer for me.  Once again I have signed up for an indoor challenge and have made 9 hours of ride time my goal for January.  I'm on track to achieve or exceed that however it requires more motivation than outdoor riding.  Exercising in general gives that "glow" and the mood elevating rewards from physical activity help to motivate but gosh darn it that fun factor is missing in a big way!  No matter how long I ride for the view just dosen't change like it does when riding out of doors.  The saving grace about indoor riding is that it lets me hit the ground running when the weather turns in springtime.  There's little to no loss of endurance, your backside is saddle ready and your legs have kept tuned all winter.  Great rewards in and of themselves not to mention the physical conditioning benefits of heart health and weight control.

The calendar says it's trainer time and I hope by February to be looking forward to my time spent spinning along and going nowhere.  I wish I could read on the trainer but the body movements make that out of the question.  Time to look into some scenic DVD's.

Monday, January 9, 2012

It's Official - Campaign Kickoff 2012!

I've officially kicked off my 2012 campaign for re-election for township supervisor of Northfield.  I picked up my nominating pettition and am collecting signatures.  I have my campaign website all redesigned from the last election and have created a FaceBook presence as a candidate.   You can visit my website here.  I had a technical difficulty getting the site transfered to my domain but it's up and running as of now.  Important dates are; May 15th 2012 candidate filing deadline, August  7th is the primary election and lastly the big contest is November 6th 2012.  Of course, one needs to make it through the primary successfully to continue onto the general election in November.

Well, it's off to the races!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Who Wudda Thunk In January?

Yipee!  We are having an unusually mild early winter with temps yesterday in the mid to upper 50's F, with sunny skies and no wind this day was made for being outdoors.  It's funny how sunshine, breeze on your face and all the scents from being outdoors can make an hour + long bike ride go by in a couple of blinks and yet a half an hour on the trainer indoors can seem like an eternity.  One of life's perplexities and a quirk of our humanness.  I rode just a tad over an hour and got in 8.5 miles alongside the Huron River on the Border to Border trail in Ann Arbor and into Gallup Park.  There were a lot of kayakers on the river and runners, joggers, cyclists and people out just enjoying the mild weather.

The photos are from when I got home as I did not have my camera with me.  In them I am sporting a couple of new Christmas gifts.  A screaming yellow windbreaker and the new blinky SEE ME lights which I had an opportunity to put to use when I finished up the tail end of my ride.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 Biking Goals

In the upcoming year I am committing to the following and posting this here so that I can hold my own feet to the fire and help myself to stay on track.

  • Ride the bicycle trainer during the off season.  My aim is to have 4 sessions a week of 30 minutes or an alternate equivelant.  The actual time and frequency is not as important to me as the consistency of just doing it.
  • I would like to ride 1400 miles outdoors this season, it puts me about 15% more miles than last year and going into a campaign year for me this will be a challenge.
  • Increase my average speed.  It's though this that I would be able to achieve the 15% more miles.
  • Increase my hill climbing abilities through practice, practice and more practice.
  • Participate in the Tour de Livingston again and choose a longer route than the last two years.
  • Keep my bike's drive train cleaner.
Here they are and it's my job to keep to the list.  Most of the items have quantifiable measurements and a couple are a bit subjective.  It's a good list for me and I'm happy with it.

I hope those of you who read this and set goals for bike riding or other items are able to achieve them in the upcoming year and have fun doing it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 Recap, Stats and Other Ramblings

As the 2011 outdoor riding season came to a close for me, I've compiled stats from the year and share them with readers.

Outdoor Riding Season 2011
Total Miles rode  1213.85
Total Hours riding  143.84
Total Days riding   147
Total Weeks of riding  35

The outdoor season started on March 21, 2011 and my last ride of the year was on November 26, 2011.  There was a week in April where we had a late winter storm with snow and there was no outdoor riding at all.  It's official we had the wettest year on record and I am not a rainy day rider so weather plays a big role in Michigan outdoor sports.  Of those 35 weeks days of riding ranged from 1 to 6 days per week with most weeks falling into the 5 day range.  Rides were nearly an hour in average and that is time spent moving on the bicycle.  Actual time out was considerably longer due to rest time, stopping for conversations and photography, exploring on foot and sightseeing and minor repair work.

A forum that I frequent had an indoor riding challenge (TE December indoor riding challenge) and I managed to eek out just a tad over 8 hours on an indoor trainer.  Indoor riding on a trainer is loathsome but a necessary evil to keep up with fitness and not lose the gains that I spent the summer achieving.  It comes with living in a climate that has severe swings in temps and gets snow covered in the winter.  The upside is that regular riding through the off season months allows me to hop back on my bike outside in the spring without spending time getting acclimated all over again.  Keeping up a healthy heart rate and aerobic fitness allows me to expand on my goals for the coming year, push a bit harder and achieve more.  This year my speed picked up from the previous year and hill climbing improved, however I have a long way to go with hills.

The Team Estrogen forum is continuing the challenge into January and that will help to keep me motivated.  I look to outling goals for 2012 and posting them here as a committment for the coming year.

Lastly I am posting a link to a fun post in a blog that I follow from a fellow bike rider in the UK.  Mixedbabygreens is the blog and I thought this little video was so cute it just tickled me, hope you enjoy it too. Mixedbabygreens bicyle bell choir playing Auld Lang Syne

I hope that each of you had a great year of bicycling!  I thank the readers of this blog for your patience in following with my ramblings and adventures and wish the cyclists out there to have a smile on your face and the wind at your back.

Silent Night

Dear Readers,

I have been remiss in keeping up this blog and took a holiday hiatus to keep up with life's busy season between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What a wonderful holiday season it was!  And what great family memories were made and shared.  For a period of time the world changes each December and our normal daily routines are interrupted and cares are put aside as we prepare room in our hearts for the celebration of a quiet entrance of our Savior.  All of creation participated in the original event, humans, animals the stars in the sky and heaven too.  The King of Kings was not born into fanfare, cymbals crashing or fireworks but came in as quietly as newly falling snow on a cold winter night.  And so we reflect in quiet, in the deeper recesses of our soul but sharing with our closest friends and family this special time.