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Archive for March, 2010

Wonder, frustration, and hope

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

It’s a beautiful day. I walked outside to go to lunch and the sun was shining brightly … and for the first time in quite a while, the sun felt warm. 42 degrees has never felt so great. As I walked through downtown Bloomington, I felt a sense of wonder at the bright sun, deep blue sky and small puffy clouds in the distance.

Minutes later, I found myself brooding. Just as winter’s grasp begins to weaken, I have to have surgery. I won’t be able to take advantage of the nicer weather for at least a couple of weeks. Hell, I won’t even be able to walk to lunch for a while.

The further I walked, the more my foot hurt. Soon I was limping along, still enjoying the sun, but having a little trouble getting around. I’ve had a few doubts about my surgery, as my foot really doesn’t hurt too badly most of the time. But at that moment, I realized, quite clearly, that the surgery is definitely the right thing to do. And that in the long run, I will recover and be better off.

All of this feels a little melodramatic. My foot doesn’t hurt too badly now, and the surgery is supposed to be relatively minor. But, now I feel much more relaxed, focused, and confident. Sometimes a good walk does wonders for clearing your mind.

A few thoughts about my new commute

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

My new bicycle commute is longer (10 miles round trip versus 6) and hillier than my old one. There are no major climbs, but there are some mild-to-moderate rolling hills, some long, gradual ones and a few short steep ones.

Here are a few other features of my new bicycle commute.

  • Parks
  • Wooded area
  • Residential areas — some nice, some not-so-nice
  • A few commercial/industrial buildings
  • Downtown Bloomington
  • Signed bike routes (very nice) and bike lanes (mostly poorly designed). More about this in a future post.
  • A headwind every morning, so far

I’m surprised by how much longer the five-mile trip each way feels compared with three miles before.

I also feel the extra weight I’m lugging around a lot more than I did with my old commute … both in my panniers and around my waist. The solution to the waistline problem is obvious … now, I really need to streamline my commute strategy. Here are some things I’m doing.

  • Leaving shoes at work, rather than lugging them back and forth every day. With the longer commute, I don’t think riding in the same shoes I’ll wear all day is a good idea.
  • Figuring out the water situation. I have been using an insulated water bottle which I carry everywhere. But it doesn’t fit in a water bottle cage, so at first I was bringing a bicycle water bottle too. Solution: bought a second insulated water bottle to leave at work. Now I only carry the bike one back and forth.

Also, I’ve been riding the Long Haul Trucker every day. It is just such a wonderful bicycle … and it handles well with a load, too. I don’t know if I can ever go back to commuting on The Beast, especially with a more challenging commute than before. The Trucker really needs a tune-up, and I hope to have some work done on it while I’m recovering from my surgery. This is convenient, because I don’t like to be without the Trucker, even just for a day or two.

We are on the cusp of spring. It’s warming up, slightly, and I hear birds chirping every morning. It’s going to be very frustrating not being able to ride for a couple of weeks, after my surgery on Friday.

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