I started writing Dirty Little Freaks #14 on Sunday, and I actually got most of it done. It’s not a very long story, so far only about 500 words, but it’s okay.
And then Monday came. And I decided I had waited long enough to get on my new bike, so I rode to work.
After a two-year hiatus of riding, my body is pathetically out of shape. I’ve gained back most of the weight I lost a few years ago, which I had sworn never to allow to happen. So now I’m back at square 1.5 (not all the way to square 1 because I didn’t regain ALL the weight), and I’m starting over.
The reason I stopped riding was because my poor bike was worn out. I had been riding it almost every day for eight years. And yes, I do mean every day. The bike had well over 10,000 miles on it, and while I paid for the shop to rebuild it every other year, they had never changed out the chain, and it should have been replaced after the first 5,000 miles. Between the stretched out chain, the worn out gears, and the overall wear and tear on the poor thing (including a cracked frame), I just couldn’t ride it any more.
In February I bought the new bike, fully intending to ride it in March. And then March happened. You know the old saying that if March comes in like a lamb it goes out like a lion? Well, after last month I am convinced that both the lamb and the lion were eaten by a polar bear. So I never got a chance to ride my brand new bike. Until Monday.
I took the “easy” route to work, avoiding the worst of the hills. About three miles. But by the time I got there, I knew just how badly out of shape I had let myself become. And then I had to do it again after work. By the time I got home I was so beat I couldn’t move. My wife helped me get my helmet and bike clothes off so I could collapse onto the couch. When I could finally manage to function again the first thing I did was adjust the seat height. I had thought it was okay when I left for work, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that it needed to go up at least an inch. I also installed my bike computer, so I could track my mileage and speed. Then I took some Advil and went to bed early.
On Tuesday I did it again. Adjusting the seat really helped, and I wasn’t nearly as winded or worn out by the time I got to work. I stopped to vote on the way home, so I can’t say how I would have felt if I hadn’t, but I’m hoping there was at least some improvement. I was, however, very disappointed by the numbers on my bike computer. Before I stopped riding I was averaging fifteen miles per hour on my rides, and now I have trouble getting over ten.
I’m going to continue to commute by bicycle as much as I can from now on. It will save me about $40 a month on parking, not to mention gas for the car. And it will help me get my fat ass back in shape. Hopefully it won’t be long before I can make the ride without feeling like someone is sitting on my chest. Either that or I’ll have a heart attack.
And I WILL finish #14 this week. And do my taxes. It’s good to have goals.
I’ll check in again on Sunday (if I’m still alive) to let you know how I’m doing. See you then!
P.S.: My new bike is a Marin Muirwoods 24 speed with disk brakes. And it’s black. If I make it through the week maybe I’ll post a picture.