Monday, November 17, 2014

The day I had to keep going

I'll be the first to admit my unabashed wimpiness when it comes to the cold.

As soon as the heavy coats come out I just can't handle it anymore. It's too much for my little hands and my ears. And since I'm the one who takes the kid to school in the morning, why should he be cold so I can prove to myself that I can really tough it out by biking?

So it should surprise no one that I've chosen driving over cycling every day since this season's first real cold snap.

You can imagine my despair when we found the car wouldn't work one day last week.

I had a moment. Like, maybe 10 seconds there where I rested my head on the steering wheel, closed my eyes and gathered myself. And then the little guy and I just loaded up and biked in. Simple as that.

I closed the cover on his trailer and gave him a blanket, but he didn't complain. Not even one time.

The only surprise: My ass got really, really cold. Anyone else's ass freeze on extremely chilly bike rides? Even with extra layers? Lordy, that was unexpected.

Also, the only thing wrong with the car was the battery. Simple fix.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Carsplainer

First of all, she was really trying to be nice, the lady who carsplained at me.

"Excuse me," she called. We were on East Walnut, waiting at the light to cross National. I was first in line, she was just behind me when she made contact.

"It's really hard to see you. You really need a reflector on the back of your bike," she called.

I calmly pointed to my rear reflector, telling her I already had one.

"Kid, that's not enough!" she replied. "It's really hard to see you. You need reflectors on the top!"

And, you know what? She was right. I did need to be more visible. I'm still not used to it getting dark earlier, and I stayed late at work. Cody called once he got home and realized I didn't have lights on my bike, offering to bring me some. I declined, even though I was wearing dark clothing because my ride is on wide, well-lit streets with low traffic volume.

The Carsplainer didn't know how tired I was. She didn't know how insulting I found her advice. She didn't realize I was technically street legal. She had no idea that every cyclist runs the risk of going unnoticed by motorists, no matter what time of day it is, and that's why it's so important to behave legally and predictably when sharing the road with motorists.

She really just thought she was being nice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

When one of us thrives and the other one flounders

It's an odd feeling, this. I haven't felt very happy about Springfield life until now. Maybe it had something to do with the job instability I've experienced. We moved here because I got a job that I didn't really like very much and didn't last that long anyway. Then I took the next job that came along, a gig an hour away, which made for an extremely stressed out and very unhealthy me. Then I jumped at the chance to work in town again, but that job could only be described as bizarre so I quit that craziness and was lucky enough to secure my current gig just four days later.

It's embarrassing, really. We moved here for me, and for me it's been the biggest struggle. Luckily Cody is thriving. He loves his job, easily made lots of friends very quickly and is probably the happiest I've ever seen him. It's so great to see. Made me a little jealous.

I haven't wanted to share much about my life, on the bike or off, because I honestly haven't been proud enough to.

But now I'm about three months into my dream gig. I'm a corporate staffer at our regional YMCA. I'll try not to drone on about how great an organization it is. But it's pretty great. I get to help real people with real life struggles make healthy choices for their children, their communities and themselves. It feels noble, what I do. I feel proud of of my professional self again.

And, just so this doesn't turn into too much of a diary entry, there's a kickass bike rack just outside the office. So great, in fact, that there are usually at least four bikes locked to it. So I was surprised yesterday when I tried to leave, but couldn't because someone had locked his bike to mine while he took some time to chat with a motorist in a minivan just a few feet away. I should mention that 2/3 of this awesome bike rack was unoccupied.

This promises to be at the center of many a great Springfield cycling story.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fun With the Guys From Queen City Cycles

Queen City Cycles - my LBS - was celebrating their 10th birthday party on Sunday with a leisurely ride around town followed by a private party at Mother's. I was pretty excited about celebrating with the awesome guys from QCC, so the boy and I loaded up and braved the cool drizzly morning to go join the ride. We were running a few minutes late, but I figured they'd be running behind with the nasty weather. But then I flatted on my way across downtown. The little dude was a big helper getting the flat changed, but it still took around 20 minutes. Totally missed the start of the ride, and had no idea where they were going.

With the ride no longer an option, we decided to pop into the Bistro Market for some ice cream (for the boy) and a beer (for me). Then we went over to Mother's to join the party. The beer was excellent, of course. But they had Maria's cater lunch, which was also excellent. And the guys from QCC had some awesome swag, so I loaded up before we headed home.

Also, I'm not much of a fixed gear kind of guy, but there were a couple pretty sweet rigs locked up next to mine outside the Bistro Market. I snapped some pictures before moving on. Not too bad, eh?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sunday Joyride

Ginger and I were scheming about going for a bike ride on Sunday when I got a message from my sister asking if we'd be interested in going for a ride. I took it as a sign that it was the right thing to do. We loaded up our bikes and drove down to the South Creek Greenway for a leisurely ride through town. The weather was killer - a perfect early fall day. We started at the trailhead at National and Sunset and rode the 2.5 miles down to the pedestrian bridge that spans Kansas Expressway. Then we turned around and came back, for a total of 5 miles. The boy had a blast. And 5 miles ain't bad for a 4 year old riding a bike with 16" wheels and training wheels.