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!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Preparations For Next Year's Riding Season

Or otherwise known as passing time dreaming of the new season to come. I've been busy at MapMyRide searching out and mapping routes to help accomplish next year's riding goals. One of the things I intend to do is to ride in urban areas. While it may sound frightening to consider riding in downtown Detroit, from what I have read and hear from others, riding the new River Walk and Belle Isle is safe along with the ride north out of downtown on the Dequindre cut to the Eastern Market. You can find my maps here and here at the Map My Ride website. In this instance I'll look schedule these rides with one or more friends, twofold; for safety's sake and I imagine it's going to be a fun outing best enjoyed with others. I expect that photo opportunities, if not the actual ride itself, will be rewarding.

These photos are taken from the Detroit River Front Conservancy's website where I found a storehouse of information about using the water front for
a bicycle outing and tour. The photo in the upper left corner is of the Milliken State Park and Harbor with the Ren Cen in the backgrop. The photos above this paragraph are of the Dequindre Cut leading to Eastern Markent and the small photo on the right is of the River Walk. The Dequindre Cut was a below grade rail bed leading to the Eastern Market, presumably for goods that came via river freighter, abandoned long ago the railway has been paved, the graffiti remains as "urban artwork." The Eastern Market is a vast area of food retail and wholesalers that is much more than a farmer's market, it's a retail food hub of epic proportions with a long history of being "the" marketplace for all things edible.

I was born and raised in the city till about 4th grade when my parents moved and still have a fondness for it. Detroit has a poor image, worldwide and nationally, however there are several corporations who invest heavily in the city. General Motors is one of several who, being one of the Big Three automakers in the Motor City capital of the world, has donated heavily to efforts to help revitalize the city and are major stakeholders in working toward a comeback.

Will it ever happen?

Can this ever be a great city again?

It's possible but first the corruption and isolationist mindset must be routed out of City Council. The current Mayor Bing, who was a former Detroit Pistons Basketball star, has the vision coupled with an athlete's winning attributes, however he is hampered by the Council who perhaps share that vision but are clueless over how to achieve it. The River Front redevelopment is a large undertaking by volunteers and persons dedicated to revival in the city, there has been cooperation from the State with the Harbor and Milliken State Park which is named for a former Governor of our state. So far the redevelopment has focused on the property eastward of Cobo Hall, their next project is westward which currently remains blighted and a poor waste of a valuable water resource. For years the river was never regarded as the star that it is, warehousing and industrial uses littered the banks and the natural features went ignored and out of sight of the people. Waterways serve a useful purpose for commerce and trade but sections, especially in down towns should be reserved for the enjoyment of the natural feature by it's people. If the city is ever to make a comeback these kinds of efforts will help to lead it to a rebirth. The video below sure can give hope to that dream.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Time To Break Out The Trainer



With the amount of snow on the ground and the falling temps it's time to break out the trainer for the bike and take to indoor riding.  Agrrrrrh.  I loath indoor trainer riding, however it helps to combat the Christmas cookie and other holiday fare indulgences that have been going on for over a month.  Also my "seat" stays conditioned to a saddle and I can avoid the early season ouchies from having been off the saddle for months.  Another plus is that it helps to make me stronger for the coming year, contributes to overall fitness and helps out with my arthritis and keeps me flexible.  Now if only there was some way to imitate the birdies singing, the wind in my face and the fresh spring, summer and fall scents I'd be in heaven.  For now I'll have to be content with summer dreaming.  Step one was to get the regular tire off and install the trainer tire.  Since I don't change flats that often I always take pictures to help me ensure that everything goes back the same way it was before I took the tire off.  Tomorrow I hook it on the trainer and I'm ready to tackle spinning my way to health.

Here is a shout out and big thank you to Shaun Bhajan owner of Hometown Bicycles in Brighton Michigan who kindly opened the store for me and swapped tires out on my wheel.  The store is closed between Christmas and New Year's and he was busy painting the shop but went out of his way to open up and do this repair for me, at no charge to boot!  Shaun goes the extra mile day after day for his customers, that's why he has such a successful shop.

Trainer tires are extra skinny and hard for me to get on and off of the wheel rim.  Thank you Shaun!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Kensington to Milford

We were blessed with yet another day for outdoor riding.  Temps were in the mid to upper 40's F, winds were calm and sunshine was abundant.  I traveled from the northern reaches of Kensington Metropark to downtown Milford.  The route is colorful and varied starting out in a parkland wooded setting it meanders through open fields, woodlands, swales and navigates around a series of ponds and bodies of water with the Huron River winding through downtown Milford.  There was a dam to cross over Hubbel Pond and I came across a pair of deer who gave me no mind whatsoever. I'm sure they found me more of a curosity than a threat and made no attempts to dart away.

This is the same dam that I rode over but the photo was from a ride there last year

 Downtown Milford was crowded with shoppers and somehow bicycling among Christmas decorations seemed a bit out of place.  Next time I plan to spend the day checking out the shops and get a bite to eat at one of the quaint pubs.  The ride was just over 10 miles and with all the sightseeing and nosing about I was on the trail for an hour and 17 min.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Look Ahead To Next Year's Riding Goals

Well, I've given up saying this is the last outdoor ride, because every time the temps turn seasonal for a few days we end up getting another bout of mild weather.  The last warm temps came with a lot of rain so riding was out earlier this week when the temps climbed up to the 60's.  But I count myself lucky to be out riding even today in the mid 30's.

Of course this time of year we look at recapping the current year and then of course that leads to thinking about the new year coming.  With that in mind I made up a list of things so far that I want to do next year and it incorporates adventure, variety, new ventures and challenges me mentally as well as physically.

This compilation is going to look at bike riding as a part of life and not only stats and goals, mileage, time, speed etc.  It’s meant to look at bicycling as a way of life as well as a means of working towards fitness, that doesn’t mean I won’t incorporate normal biking goals though. 
·         Ride 5 new trails or paths
·         Do at least 2 urban rides in a city
·         Take my bike on at least one vacation
·         Rent a bike on one vacation in a style different than what I normally ride
·         Take on one bicycle advocacy initiative
·         Go on a bike ride with a kid under 10 yrs old who is not a relative
·         Test ride some different bikes than what I normally ride
·         Ride a tandem
·         Do at least one charity ride
·         Do at least 2 group rides
·         Train to ride a trip of 40 miles
·         Ride 1,000 miles next year
·         Increase my riding average speed to 10 mph
·         Ride a real mountain bike trail