Back in the Saddle?


By Crabby McSlacker

You may wonder: what sort of an asshat would post blog pictures of bikes and sunny beaches when most of the country is facing bone-chilling, freakishly miserable winter weather?

OK, yeah, so this sort of an asshat.

Hi There!

But it's sort of a photo-journey about facing fears and taking risks and all that sort of crap.

I'm hoping maybe you could put on a couple sweaters and make some hot chocolate or do whatever you brave people do who live where it's cold in the winter and bear with me?

Crabby's Exciting Winter Bicycle Adventure

So regular readers may recall that we live on two different coasts. Which is kind of a weird thing but whatever.

On the East Coast, I have bike and ride it quite happily. We live in Provincetown which is a touristy but small town with lovely bike trails. I am not, like favorite commenter Death Ride Grandma, particular adventurous.  I don't ride far or fast or in much traffic.


Though I do brave Commercial Street which is an amusing video game of clueless distracted pedestrians, idling cars, massive delivery trucks, and the occasional weaving honking drag queen on a scooter.


On the west coast, however, I've tried to ride a bike but have run into quite a few obstacles, one of which is my own fear.  There is traffic in San Diego and I gotta ride through it to get to the pretty places.  This is scary!

While I try to be mindful of bike safety, I kinda agree with this New York Times piece and have concluded: safety is a crapshoot when it come to biking even if you're careful.

In fact, the second winter of attempted biking, I managed to break my elbow in what should have been a minor fall. I was going all of 2 miles an hour, but landed funny and the break was serious enough that the doctors were advising surgery.  But then they changed their minds and fortunately it's mostly healed OK, but I've been assured I'll have arthritis in that elbow and it does indeed stiffen up enough to make that threat seem realistic.

But it makes me extra super cautious--I really don't want to go down on that same elbow again.

And I've had my bike stolen here, TWICE, out of our locked condo garage.  The first time insurance coughed up, but when miscreants got in yet again and ripped the entire bike rack out of the wall, taking my new bike with it, only a month or two after I'd replaced it, I though: screw it. I am just not meant to bike in San Diego.

Sigh. I could only dream.

But, a couple of years went by and I'd see people on bikes whizzing by and finally I couldn't help it:  I wanted to try again.

Because, when all goes well, biking is wonderful!!  You get to see lots of stuff and have adventures and yet it's technically exercise.  But it's so much more motivating pedaling up a real hill that you want to get to the top of, rather than a fake one some earnest spin instructor is trying to get you to imagine.

Even on a cloudy day, the view from a real hill is better.

Anyway, so this time, I bought a cheap used bike off Craigslist, but one that nonetheless was in great condition.  Yay for Craigslist! And I decided to keep it inside our small condo, where we trip over it all the time so that it won't get stolen at least until I take it outside.

But... having made the leap around Christmas time (Merry Christmas to me!), I futzed around for a while, hesitant.

After all, I am all about embracing my comfort zone, not trying to step out of it.  Would I ultimately be too skittish to ride the damn thing?

But then...

Happy New Years!

It was New Years day, and I was still procrastinating on the bike thing (wait, I need bike shorts! And a rack! And toe clips! I can't ride yet!) when the Lobster and I went on a pretty walk in La Jolla.






There have waves and seals and stuff there.





And I decided that it was time! And that La Jolla was a reasonable destination from our house. There are a few scary places along the way but mostly it is a combination of residential streets and bike paths. (True, a section of the bike path features a few homeless encampments, but that comes with being a warm weather winter destination, and the inhabitants don't seem to bother the bikers).

But we live on top of a hill, and I hate having a big hill be the final leg of a long journey. So some figuring was involved.

I plotted and schemed and spent a ridiculous amount of time on Google Maps.  I coordinated with the Lobster to meet for a rendezvous along a popular beach boardwalk (the first time) and then learned from her how to put the bike rack on the car because--big surprise!--I suck at all things mechanical.


This way I could start and end my ride at the bottom of our hill, and just do the smaller hills involved along the way.

Finally, Back in the Saddle!

So yeah, I've been on a couple rides, about 22-25 miles each, which is no big deal for Real Cyclists but I am not one so for me it felt pretty good!  Each time I came back with sore shoulders and nether regions, so I suspect some adaptations, either in form or equipment, might be in order, but I had a blast each time.

I also got lost numerous times, but that happens to me practically every time I leave the house. Thank God for smartphones and GPS.

Of course I packed snacks.


And yes, eventually I got around to peeling off the label, I did not actually eat it.

Oh, and remember how in the Weird Ways to Lose Weight post I mentioned my portion control shenanigans regarding the sinister quest bars? Yeah, I'm still doing it that weird shit. This is one bar:


So, along the way, in no particular order, I saw pretty things!






And people out enjoying themselves in all kinds of amusing ways!


And more pretty things!







Oh, and note: I was absurdly cautious the whole way and work a dorky reflective vest and oddly unflattering helmet. It is not accidental there is no Selfie of this.


But the net result: I made it to my destination and back on my bike each time without killing myself and enjoyed the hell out of it!


You may now resume your shivery blizzards, sorry!

Anyone else have a Love/Fear relationship with bicycles or anything else fitness-related?

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