Adventures in Urban Bicycling – Trust But Verify

I’ve been thinking about something that former President Ronald Reagan said.

“Trust but verify”.

He was talking about the Soviets.  I was thinking about all the drivers on the road with me.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts having to adjust to so many other folks sharing the road when I’m riding in the city.  What I want from them is simple – predictability.  It’s what I want when I’m driving a car as well.  I want the other vehicles – cars, trucks, motorcycles, and yes, bicycles, to behave in a predictable manner.  It makes life so much simpler.

For example, if you are turning, I want you to indicate that.  Yes, I want people to use their damn turn signals!  I try to indicate clearly what I’m going to do.  Stop, right turn, left turn.  The attitude that turn signals are optional drives me crazy as a driver as well as a rider.  But it really struck home this past week.  The street was a little busier than most, which means there was a bunch of us stopped at the light.  The cement mixer (honest to God, I ended up having an issue with a CEMENT MIXER!) was the lead vehicle.  I was pulled up next to the line of traffic, but only even with the back of the truck.  From there I can see things like, oh maybe a TURN SIGNAL!! None showing.  So the light goes green, the truck rolls slowly forward as you would predict and I rolled slowly forward too.  Only to discover that the truck was starting to drift my way.  That’s annoying, but big trucks will sometimes wander a bit.  I kept my eye on it and looked for turn signals just to be safe.  Nothing.  Truck continues to drift my way and is now clearly going to turn right in front of me.  Because I was being prudently paranoid (there’s a theme for urban cycling!), I came to a stop without creating any problems.  Problems for me like being crushed to death.

My real lesson on trust but verify came watching a young woman who was on the opposite side of an intersection.  I spend most of my time cycling through the part of Richmond known as “The Fan” (it’s roughly fan-shaped).  Nice streets, not too much traffic.  After a while, I realized that the intersections with traffic lights were predictable.  Once the cross street light went red, it was a two-second delay before my light went green.  Wonderful!  Now I could get a little jump on the four-wheel vehicles and get rolling sooner.  Aren’t I clever?

Then I came to the intersection with this young woman.  The light turned green and I was all set to push hard and zip through.  Meanwhile, she took a second, looked both ways and made sure that no idiot was blowing through the light.  In the split second that it took me to figure out what she was doing, I remembered all the idiots I’d seen doing exactly that in and around the RVA.  The wisdom of her approach seemed very profound suddenly.  Clever could get me killed.  Relying on other folks to be safe and predictable could put me in a hospital.

Trust but verify.

I am happy to say that the overwhelming majority of the drivers I encounter in Richmond are wonderful.  The day that I write this, I arrived at a traffic circle a second or so behind a car coming from another direction.  But he had clearly gotten there first and had the right of way.  He saw me and waved me through.  Much appreciated.  Most drivers give me the space I need and clearly recognize my existence on the road.  But it only takes one to really mess your ride up.

 

June was supposed to be the first of the “big rides” – Richmond to Williamsburg.  I discovered that the Cap2Cap doesn’t actually extend to Williamsburg, so I’m trying to find a safe route for the last few miles.  In the meantime, I tried to ride the trail to Jamestown.  Unfortunately, I appear to have not made the appropriate adjustments for the diabetes.  After 31 miles, I was very wobbly so I cut it short.  I am adjusting both my food and water system to make sure the next ride works.  Started off very well with PBs for 10 miles and for mileage in one hour.  Next time I’ll get it.  9 rides, 177+ miles.

I track my riding using MapMyRide.

Ride Total – 17

Mileage Total – 259.69

Let’s roll.

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Time To Change – Quietly Rolling

A holiday week did some damage.

Not unexpected, so I’m not worried about it.  Could have been much worse.

Exercise has been off a little, eating was off a lot.

On the diabetes front, all is quiet.  Got a new finger sticker!

Just did the longest bike ride in about 7+ years.  Went well, overcame the issues of last time.  More details later.  Forgot to wear my Fitbit, so some days steps didn’t get recorded.  Still kept plenty active.

Other than that, just gotta keep rolling.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 289

Steps – 27,282

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 32.0 miles  (2 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 293.54

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

187.4 pounds

Weight Change this week: +2.4 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 17.5 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

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Happy Fourth of July!

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July 4, 2017 · 8:00 AM

The Mid-Year Review

Wherein, I rat myself out.

One of the great things about New Year’s resolutions is that, by this time of year, everyone has forgotten that you ever made any.

But I did make some (HERE), and the idea was to work towards them all.  So with half the year behind me, it’s time to see how I’m doing.

My goals for 2017 were:

Health Goals:

  • Lose the last 20 pounds (be The Guy)
  • Keep my blood glucose within ADA ranges and work toward the lower ranges
  • Maintain a minimum of 150 active minutes a week

UPDATE – I’m actually doing all right on these.  Weight continues down, blood glucose is going down and I’m averaging way above the active minutes.  WIN!

Creativity Goals:

  • Add six more songs to my guitar competence list
  • Finish a writing project
  • Create a minimum of one good photo a month

UPDATE – Ummm.  On the guitar front, I began the year with “frozen shoulder” which made holding the guitar painful.  I have begun to work my way back on that one.  Working on the writing projects.  The photo goal has been a bust.  NEEDS WORK

Activity Goals:

  • Bike the Cap2Cap from Richmond to Williamsburg
  • Explore the parks nearby
  • Log a minimum of 1000 miles on the bike

UPDATE – Some progress made on this one.  So for this point of the year – WIN

Fun Goals

  • Visit five more historical sites
  • Go to the beach at least twice
  • Visit 20 wineries

UPDATE –  No, no and no.  NEEDS WORK

Real Life Goals:

  • Find a new job
  • Find a new church home
  • Get involved with community group(s)

UPDATE – Not yet, YES!!!!, and not yet.  Call this one a PUSH

 

So it’s two wins, two needs works, and a push.  With lots of time to get things turned around.  Not where I had hoped to be, but I’m OK with it for the moment.  Where are you on yours for 2017?

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Filed under Bicycle, Creativity, Diabetes, Faith, Family, personal, RVA, Unemployment, Weight Loss, Wine, Writing

Time To Change – Still On The Learning Curve

What worried me turned out great, and what I thought would be great became a problem.

I’m still learning as I go.

First, the good news.  The semi-annual check-up with my Primary Care Physician went as well as any visit to the doctor in my life.  The test results were entirely positive.  A1C, DOWN!  In fact, I am no longer in the Diabetic range, but back to the Pre-Diabetic.  Still a long way to go, but continuing to improve.  Blood pressure was low.  On that front, the doctor is cutting me back from two hypertension meds to just one.  Good cholesterol up, bad cholesterol down.  Weight, even on the doctor’s scale (does your doctor’s scale seem to live in a different reality from the rest of your world?), was down.  Below 190 for the first time there.  There were two tests that showed upticks where you don’t want them.  Asked and discovered they will go up after a hard workout.  Like the day after a 40-mile bike ride!  So everybody was happy!

On the diabetes front, I discovered that I still have things to learn.  After the good physical, the plan was to hit the Capital2Capital bike trail for the full length, 51.91 miles.  I had done the 40-miler with no issues, the 15-mile ride early this week was a piece of cake.  I was going to crush this ride!

I cut the ride off at the 31-mile mark when my blood sugar seemed to be an issue.  Light headed, cold and clammy, trouble focusing mentally and slightly nauseous.  Some folks may note those are similar to dehydration.  The adage is “you can never drink enough water”, but I was drinking a lot and steadily.  I may not have been fully hydrated but I believe I was adequately hydrated.  I’ve been dehydrated and this felt different.  In doing some research, I had come across guidelines for keeping your body fueled on a long ride.  The recommendation was for hourly eating.  So I got sufficient bar-type things to keep in my riding jersey and ate on schedule.

Looking back and reading a little deeper I think I’ve found the problem.  I bought the riding food based on the same system I’ve been buying my daily eating.  High protein, low carb and as little added sugar as possible.  Those of you who do long workouts are probably nodding your head.  You see the issue.  Protein is great, but your body breaks it down slowly.  My body was screaming for fuel RIGHT NOW!  I need to focus on snacks that offer more carbs than normal eating would require.  Several folks have recommended dried apricots, a beloved snack that I’ve had to limit in daily eating.  So we’ll try again next week.  With better snacks.

The good news physical dropped some stress.  Still waiting to hear about this job.  Still need to expand the workouts.  Other than that, just gotta keep rolling.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 393

Steps – 8,789 (forgot to wear it most of the week)

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 59.7 miles  (3 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 261.54

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

185.0 pounds

Weight Change this week: – 1.8 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 19.9 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

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Creativity – The Short Story

Almost a year ago, I published my first book, a short story collection titled “Shorts“.  While there are several novel-length projects also under way, the short story has always been one of my favorite story forms.  But it’s one that doesn’t get much respect.  Over on my other blog, “The View From the Phlipside“, I review movies, books, and music along with my long standing radio program on the media.  Beginning in July I will be trying to return the short story to its previous level of respect.

Check out my post for more.

The plan includes expanded posts on Creativity here (again!).

Here’s a great cartoon to get us started here.  This is from Tom Gauld,  a London-based cartoonist who is regularly published in The Guardian, The New York Times, and New Scientist.

Nope, I won’t quit.  I won’t.

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Time To Change – Numbers A Little Better

This was a high-stress week.  Which makes the outcome a little better

The second round interview dominated the first half of the week.  And wondering if I would get the job has dominated the second.  I feel all the usual stress related symptoms – poor sleep, poor focus, strong desire to binge eat.  I’m happy to report that I’ve avoided that third one.  I’m still a little concerned about my eating but I’m logging again.  That helps in focusing on what goes into my mouth.

I don’t want to be too grumpy about the exercise.  I essentially equaled last week’s riding distance in a single ride.  It was a challenge but it felt very good.  Active minutes are good but steps are down.  I need to focus on those a little more.  It was easy when I was teaching!

On the diabetes front, the numbers have popped up slightly.  The uptick (about 5 points) came along just as school ended (and the end of that pay) and the interviews.  So it’s possible it’s a stress reaction.  I just did an A1C which I will discuss with my doctor next week.  It is better than it was in January, though still above the healthy number.  Out of the “Diabetes” zone and back into the “Pre-Diabetic” range.  So we seem to be headed the right direction.  We’ll see if the doc agrees!

At this point, I need to begin adding some different workouts to my exercise, keeping a lid on the carbs, and keeping track better.

Oh, and getting rid of this stress wouldn’t hurt either!

Onward.

My resolution remains:

want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

Active Minutes – 340

Steps – 25,656

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page

Biking Mileage – 40.14 miles  (1 rides)

Biking Total to Date – 201.84

I track my mileage with MapMyRide

The next milestone is getting back below 185.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

186.8 pounds

Weight Change this week: – 0.2 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: – 18.1 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

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