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, November 30, 2013

If You Build It They Will Come Plus Bonus Day Ride

Light wind, loads of sunshine and mild for this time of year temps offered up a bonus outdoor riding day today!  Hooray!   Today's high temp was 43 F but with those conditions it seemed much nicer.  Just for the heck of it I looked up last years riding log and noted that I had 9 outdoor rides last November and 6 in December of 2012.   I checked the 2011 log and had 11 outdoor November rides, 4 in December and 13 in January and February combined, however 2011 was one for the record books because we had mild weather right through the whole winter, so much so the lake didn't even freeze over and there was virtually no snow.

Once again I marvel at how  a bike ride outdoors, for more than twice the time of an indoor ride, can feel like it's so short.  There is utterly no comparison between indoor and outdoor riding.  It was a short ride to check out the wholly completed Phase II of the Barker Road Path project. Nice to see that the orange barrels were gone and even at only 65' long the bridge over Horseshoe Creek made me giggle anyway.  Bridges, elevated boardwalks and really any non straight or unconventional building material makes a pathway fun and interesting.  It's a good illustration of how riding a bike outdoors is a tactile experience.

Gravel or dirt roads have their own feel and sound, concrete pavement feels and sounds different than asphalt and wooden sections each have their own unique and rhythmic clackty-clack noise accompanied by those sensations impressing your ears, your hands and your bottom-side.   Wind and sunshine make a big impression not only on your face, hair and skin but also on your psyche as does the aforementioned surfaces.

Another photo in the spirit of build-it-and-they-will-come variety inserted below shows another person enjoying the sunshine and nice new paved path today along with some photos that don't include orange barrels!

I guess you can say the photos reflect the pride in the project that puts a smile on my face.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Winter Workout and Happy Thanksgiving

It's still Autumn but another light snowfall covering today makes it feel much more like winter.  Feeling particularly thankful today as we set aside a whole day just for that!  A truly American holiday, it kicks off the holiday season culminating with Christmas.

I'm thankful for, but not sure where the motivation came from, to start my indoor spinning on a trainer this week.  Today marks four days running and I'll give myself a little pat on the back, however I must share with you that my routine is so teeny tiny so far it can hardly be called exercise.  I'm initiating this season and the first two weeks with a 10 minute time limit.  Hardly worth climbing on?  The method to the madness is that since I truly loath the trainer but I do like the feeling that gets your blood pumping I set a time limit so small that I can't say no to it and it actually leaves me longing for just a bit more.  I psyched myself out.  Ha!

Well, whatever it takes is what I say.  My plan is to continue at this pace for two weeks and in the second week inch up by 1-2 minutes by that weeks end.  The plan is for weeks three and four to bump up to 20 minutes and after a solid month kick it up to 30 minuets and take it from there.  I won't force myself to commit to more than 30 minutes but when the urge strikes for longer I'll go for it.  So that's the plan, it's truly not my usual style but I really want to continue to ride all winter long and don't want to burn out too fast or too early.  I know myself well and my tendency is to overdo things in the beginning and the results have been less than what I desired, so in the spirit of "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity" I'm trying out a new approach.  

It's really hard to get off when you want to go more but I want that feeling of longing and desire to propel me into the next day.  Last winter I used some travel DVD's of outdoor bicycling and a Spinnervals DVD for a booster, I haven't gotten into those yet but I'm sure I will by the time I get to the 20 minute mark.

To all of you and yours - Happy Thanksgiving, we truly are so blessed and have so much to be thankful for!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Trainer Time!

With temps in the 20's (F) and traces of snow it's time to break out the trainer or loose any semblance of fitness.  Sooner or later, like it or not, a season comes to an end and a new one starts.  I don't mind winters in Michigan, I love the change of seasons and a chance to do other things but I will, once again, miss outdoor riding.  I adore outdoor riding and loath indoor trainers but I'm far too much of a wimp to ride in snow and blustery winter weather.  Perhaps I'll turn to some indoor swimming this year, I've threatened to do that the last few years, we'll see if this one is IT.

With dinner dishes put away I was torn between settling into a snuggly evening or taking on a project.  Being a bit restless and with my bike beckoning me from the corner I took the call to swap out my street tire and tube for my trainer tire and was very pleasantly surprised that I could accomplish the task in about 10 minutes.  Well 15 if you count looking for all the proper tools. Now if I could only change a flat out on the trail in that amount of time!  Next order of business:  1) find the trainer 2)get on the thing and ride it!

Black street tire before and yellow trainer tire after.  Work time about 10 minutes total after tools were gathered.  Now dig out the trainer and spend 5 minutes mounting it and work up the ambition to ride, that might take a few more minutes.

Afterthought and honorable mention;  notice the uber clean drive train and sparkly chain?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Barker Road Bike Path - Update

Here are some photos of the completion of the second phase of the project.  It's not completed just yet, when I rode by today there were finishing touches being  put on the grading and some landscaping.  These photos were from last Saturday.  I love watching this project come together.

This is my favorite photo, it depicts exactly why the path was 
built, to help connect people from west of town to downtown.
Pictured here is father and son and it looks like they are returning
from a trip to the Polly's Market to home, you can see a grocery
bag swinging from the dad's handlebars. It just tickles me that it isn't
even complete yet and people are already using it.  

Saturday, November 9, 2013


It's November and I'm still riding.  Not too much because we've had some wind and rain on days when I had the chance to but today I got out to explore a newly built section of the Barker Road path in town.  It's just a short pedal from home but I did get to ride some of the new section of trail and I can't wait for the rest to be open.  I didn't have a phone or camera but will snap some on my next trip.  It's one of the more interesting sections of that path project.  It crosses a railroad at grade, a creek, a freeway entrance and exit ramp and goes under US23.  The bridge was not open yet, darn it.  Bridges are some of the most fun things to ride on pathways.  Maybe next time.  I did note that the Library has a beautiful new sign and I'm posting an image from their facebook page.

It's funny but it looks like a typical November-getting-ready-to-snow sky today but the temps belie that, it's a mild and balmy 50 F out.  Now if we could just get rid of that wind! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Scary Thought

This video should strike fear in the heart of cyclists no matter where you live.  Controversy brews in many communities over the sharing of roads by motorists and cyclists. Many areas of our country are bicycle friendly and consist of populations of people who co-exist just fine with however a person chooses to use the roadway.  More often than not we have examples of anger over any one using a road except for motorists.  There have been far too many examples of people who are purposely run down while traveling on a bicycle by a motorist.   Articles have been written about serial stalkers who go out of their way to find people traveling by bicycle and strike them or kill them.

I'm not sure how that gets remedied.  Education?  Familiarity?  Laws?

Have you ever been intimidated by a driver?  Cursed at?  Had items thrown at you?  Felt like you had a close call on purpose?

99% of the bicyclists that I know also drive cars and are aware of the problems facing cyclists and facing drivers.  99% of the people I know who detest bicycles on the road have never ridden a bike or have not done so since their youth.  100% of the people who would think like the poster writer in the video have become far to impatient for life in today's world.  It's a Pollyanna view of the world but so many people would be better off if they just slowed down, took a deep breath and enjoyed the journey.

In the mean time, cyclists beware and do whatever you can to be seen by motorists and other cyclists,cycle smart, obey the rules of the road, keep a look over your shoulder and beware of a place to bail out in the event of an emergency.

Stay safe and be well.