Friday, July 3, 2009

Pedal Power Update - July 2009

It was an awesome month for Pedal Power, despite the local temps here in Central Texas (102, 104, 106... and the humidity keeps things wonderfully disgusting). But that doesn't mean I've been lazy about biking around town. It just means I do all my errands before noon and always keep my water bottle handy.

And this month, I've been pushing my limits - biking to new places I wouldn't have considered biking before, and continuing to step up my time on the bike going out for longer periods of time to get several errands done around town at a time.

Unfortunately, this is the only photo that I remembered to take of my more amusing rides. That's the new stainless steel saucepan I bought at Parker-Astin (our local hardware store) bungee-corded to the back. Other trips brought back two 24-packs of toilet paper bungee-corded to the back (no telling what people were thinking as they passed), and (my personal favorite) the day I took my "$10 off $60" coupon to Village Foods and was trying to figure out what we could stock up on so I could get the $10 off. I ended up filling both sides of the bike basket with kitty litter containers, then bungee-corded a box on top of the baskets which held canned goods.

Anyone who hauls things around on their bike is probably thinking the same thing - THAT'S SOME SERIOUS WEIGHT. Um, yeah. It was. I was a little wobbly starting out, but let's just say I was extremely thankful to have hit all the lights on green so I didn't have to stop and start after initially pulling out of the grocery parking lot. Pshew!

I did have a blow-out on my front tire. No idea what happened, but the hole in the tire (through to the tube was several inches long). There's no way you pump that back up. Thankfully, I wasn't in the middle of a long ride when it happened so I didn't get stranded or anything. And... I took the tire off by myself, took it to the repair shop by myself, and put the tire back on by myself. For you hard core bikers, I know this sounds wimpy, but I was pretty proud of having taken care of it having only watched Dave do it once. Baby steps, right?

With many more successful errands biked around town this month, I'm more empowered than ever. Each month, I'm a stronger biker (100 plus degree weather or not) - going farther and doing more on two-wheels than I ever would have imagined. Pedal Power seriously rocks!


Sandra :-) said...

AWESOME job ... WOW!!! :-) Bet you were a cute site with all that TP strapped to the back. :-)

Beany said...

I am also wimpy with things like that. I know how to fix my own flat now, but after 20+ years of biking, I figured it was about time I learned.

Good on for riding to the store and hauling all that stuff home. I'm getting a ride to the coop to pick up 25 lbs of brown rice today and plan on paying back with rice. :) I could ride, but decided to accept the numerous offers we keep getting to share the ride.

Chile said...

With all the TP strapped to your bike, I'm sure people just thought you were having a "crappy" day. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Good for you on changing out your tire. I tend to forget how to do things like that unless I do them often so I wrote up a little step-by-step guide to keep in with my patches and pump.

Didn't help a few months ago when I got a flat after a PT appointment and the valve was bad on my spare tire. Hubby had to come rescue me as I was late to a dental appointment.

I don't know how you ride in the heat. I simply can't tolerate it and only ride quite early this time of year. Ugh.

Heather @ SGF said...

Sandra - Yeah, I'm sure it was quite a sight! Someone got a good laugh out of it. All I can say is that it was one of my lighter hauls :)

Beany - I just bought 25 lbs of brown rice too! Of course, I had it shipped in from houston where it's grown but it was at no extra charge so I take advantage when I can.

I think it's great that people are offering to help you out and I think it's important to take them up on it. It's easy to get locked into the idea of being independent meaning we have to do everything solo. Helping each other out is about community and is a great opportunity for you to build relationships with others.

Heather @ SGF said...

Chile - He he! I can only do the front tire (alas). But I'm learning. Maybe that's what I need is a how-to list for the bike. Thankfully, I have a dependable honey too!

The heat isn't too bad, although I tend to not go out in the afternoon if I can help it. It's the humidity that wears me out.

Chris said...

How far do you travel in this heat?
Also, how much water do you drink?
It may be bad for me, but I usually make the full commute (4.5 miles) without water, including a high noon leg on Fridays... I should probably get a water bottle. I'm somewhat new to Texas (second year bicycle commuting here), but it hasn't hit me as terrible yet. I do carry a change of clothes every day.

You mentioned Village Foods... do you travel on 29th or Briarcrest?? where on the road are you? I don't normally have to go to Bryan, but 29th would be my route if I did...

Also, if anyone here goes to Village, or anywhere else in central Texas that sells it: there is a brand of yogurt from Austin, "White Mountain". HIGHLY recommended!

Keep up the good biking!
I started having so many blowouts I had to replace my wheel (actually ended up buying a whole bike used... much lighter and newer, though!)

Thanks again for the blog! A while back I had to reset my phone and just now got around to re-subscribing to the RSS... having a baby (!) can make things busy!

Also, if you read this in time, is the market going on tomorrow (4th)?

Heather @ SGF said...

Chris - Hmm. How far do I travel? Depending on what errands I consolidate it can be anywhere from 10-15 miles round trip. It's a good 1-1/2 to 2 hours of biking (with mini breaks in between - a few minutes in the grocery store, waiting in line at the bank, etc).

At least at this time a year, I keep my aluminum water bottle with me. Sometimes I need it, sometimes I don't but it's there just in case. And I'm not much of an early morning breakfast eater, so often (if I haven't eaten breakfast before I've left), I'll also pack a light snack in case I get light headed (I have trouble with blood sugar plummeting).

I'll admit by the time I get home, I'm a sweaty stinky mess, but it feels OOH SO GOOD!

As far as Village Foods, I take 29th Street. I have to take Briarcrest when I go to drop the recycling at the Bryan Recycling Facility and if you have to turn left, it's a nightmare to change lanes on a bike with all the traffic. 29th is just easier for me. There's one section of 29th (just off University) that's a little tight and people are wary of it, but I've never had any problems with traffic.

Sorry to hear about your blowouts. That's really frustrating, but your new bike sounds great! I got an armadillo tire for my back wheel and it's really helped with flats.

As for the market - We'll be open tomorrow our usual time (8AM -12PM). Some of the vendors are bringing special decorations so it should be wonderful and festive. I'll be hosting the info booth, so stop by and say hi if you have a chance!

Maeve said...

It's awesome that you do so much with that bike. I recently got a new bike (my old one was, well, old, and broken) and I'm working myself up to commuting with it. I got myself a front basket, and the rear baskets are on my list of things to get. The plan is to eventually be able to really go shopping with it, but I have a lot of work to get to that point. You are an inspiration!

Farmer's Daughter said...

Wish my town was more bike-safe. They are re-aligning our road and adding a town center with new shops, and sidewalks/bike lanes are supposed to be added, too. However, I'm guessing it'll be 10 years before it's all up and running. A girl can dream :)

Heather @ SGF said...

Maeve - Once you get starting, you'll be addicted. I was pretty resistant at first of going anywhere outside the neighborhood (ok, actually, I was chicken). Now you can't keep me off the bike. It's WAY too much fun!

Personally, I prefer the baskets on the back so that I don't have lots of weight on the front where I'm trying to steer, but I am thinking of getting a basket for the front too so that I can throw my wallet in there and maybe a couple books for when I go through the bank drive through or the library book drop off. It's easier to have things in the front on those occasions instead of trying to dig in the back basket while I'm actually on the bike.

Either way, it's fun, fun, fun! You'll have to comment again and let me know about your adventures :)

Farmer's Daughter - Sounds like it'll be great, but I know what you mean about it taking forever. Our town isn't necessarily bike friendly. I get yelled at from time to time - people wanting me off the road or on the side walk or the occasional "get a car!" How little they know... (Honestly, I feel safer on the road than on the sidewalk because drivers don't see bikers on the sidewalk, but they do see you in the road. And if you're trying to cross an intersection, you SO want the cars to see you.)

Anyway, I'll readily admit, I'm taking my life in my hands every time I get on the bike here. I've taken a couple rides on a highway that's known for bikers getting hit, but I'm only there for a few minutes trying to get from Point A to Point B. It's all about knowing what's going on around me and expecting that everyone is out to kill me at all times. Then I'm at my most alert :)