Friday, February 22, 2013

Techinically it's uphill all the way...

I live in West Hollywood but work just south of Beverly Hills near Pico/Robertson.  My work is about 3 miles each way.  On the way, it's downhill, but it's pretty flat regardless, and on the way home it is entirely uphill, but also pretty flat.  It is not a challenging ride whatsoever.

Today I did not go directly home because I had to make a detour east to the Laurel Pet Hospital and pick up some Lactated Ringers fluid for my cat.  It's an electrolite solution that get's injected sub-q daily and helps flush out his very elderly kidneys (he's nearing 21).  So I took Willoughby to Edinburgh and then went north the two blocks to the vet hospital.  From Willoughby to Santa Monica Blvd, the incline got a little steeper, and by the time I got to the vet, my heart was pounding.  I could literally feel my chest pounding.

I don't stand and pedal.  I can't seem to do it on my bike without feeling totally out of balance, so I sit all the time - up hills, on the flats, down hills.... I sit.  The glutes work while being sat on no matter how hard the work.  I wish I could stand, but I've tried it and it's just not natural.  I lose all torque, and part of me is nervous a pedal will snap off and send me into a terrible crash.  Ugh.  Stupid, I know.  Perhaps if I had a trainer at home I could practice that in safety.  One of these days i'll get a trainer.  I really want one anyhow for those days when I just don't want to go out, and now that I've shipped out all the movie costumes that had been in boxes on my living room floor, I can actually see the floor and have room for a trainer!  When the old cat passes on, I'll also be getting rid of the sofa he calls home, and them wowsa... tons of floor space!

So... backtracking a bit, I got to work where I take care of a disabled woman M-F in the afternoons.  Sometimes her husband is there, sometimes not as he is a professional Bridge teacher, probably the best in Los Angeles.  Anyhow, I noticed his car in the garage and I thought to myself  sort of ... ugh.  He'll be underfoot all day.  Well, turns out he either had food poisoning or that stomach virus because he had been vomiting all night, and the proof was in the towels on the bathroom floor, in the sink and splattered around the sink.  So, I cleaned all that up.  The wife was still asleep.  I cleaned up what there was to clean and was twiddling my thumbs within an hour because the wife still wasn't up, so I took an hour and rode my bike down a few blocks to Jack in the Box for something to eat, then came back.  The wife was just starting to get up, and I made her breakfast about 3:30-4:00 pm.  I had to change the bedsheets because she didn't want his stomach flu or whatever anywhere near her, even though he didn't vomit in bed, so I had to rip all that up.

I left about 4:30 and that's when I went to the vet.  Got home at 5:30ish.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bontrager panniers pushed to the limits

Well, I don't exactly know what the limits of the panniers are, but I put a 21-lb jug of cat litter in one, and it held but I think that's the max weight I would put in it.  In the other pannier I had a bottle of laundry detergent and assorted other things.  Certainly I had 35-40 lbs of stuff in the panniers.   One thing for sure, it is hard to balance the bike while packing it, especially when something heavy goes in, because then it just wants to fall to that side.  Sometimes I take the panniers into the store with me if I've ridden my bike to the store, but today I rode the bike to work and took the boss's car to the store.  In this particular case, I kept my panniers attached to the bike because wrangling a pannier onto the rack when it is packed with 21-lbs is a bear.  So far I don't see any wear or stress on the panniers, but I don't carry heavy loads for long distances.  3 miles is max.

Still nice to know that I can cycle just fine with all that weight back there.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

In Laguna Beach without bike

Today I drove my boss down to Laguna Beach to visit her relatives who are staying at The Montage.  She's down by the pool and I'm up in the hotel room connecting to the internet and catching up on things.  She told me to bring my bike, that I could ride it down here but my bike rack would have scratched her car for certain as that's what it did with mine.   I don't care about my car so much getting scratched because it's 20 years old hand has dents and scratches already, but she has a 2003 Acura that rarely sees the light of day.

Anyhow, I would love to ride my bike up and down Laguna Canyon sometime as there are bike lanes the whole way.  I don't quite know how I would handle the PCH at the bottom, however, since it is so packed with cars.  Yes, I know that I have the full right to a full lane, but I'm a slow cyclist (okay, that wouldn't have mattered so much today because the traffic was slow and bumper to bumper, but still, I would definitely hold things up).  Maybe the clue is to do it very early in the morning, at least the PCH part. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

TMI too bad, fact of life

So I'm going to be 54 this year.  For the last eight months I've had no menstrual cycle but have had abundant hot flashes, sleepless nights... and then 2 months ago the hot flashes just stopped.  I mean, not one since right before Christmas.  I was thinking it was celebration time - that I was officially done!!!  Then 2 days ago, the floodgates opened and here comes the old menstrual cycle with a vengeance.  Saving up from the last 8 months, it seems.  I keep wondering, has my diet changed in a way to restart the hormones or is this just a stray last gasp of menopause?  I preferred it when it was in PAUSE.  Well, riding a bike when in such a gushing state is no picnic.  You cannot get off the seat.  No tampon or pad can contain it.  So you just start to cramp from it and stay on the seat for the ride home because what else can you do???  And then you get home and you know you have to get off the bike, but the moment that pressure is released, catastrophe.  Oh yeah.  I had to actually go out and buy feminine supplies today for the first time since last May or April.  Not even sure.  This is why I simply cannot go on a cross-country trip until I know for sure that it has stopped... and now I have to start counting again, because supposedly I have to have 12 dry months before I'm officially on the other side.  Ugh.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Boxing your bike at Los Angeles Union Station

Okay, first of all, for local travel on the commuter trains/subway within greater Los Angeles, you don't need to box your bike.  For longer travel, however, Amtrak offers this option of helping you to box your bike:


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Two bike errand runs today

Okay, so I'd been putting off going to Smart & Final because... well, I don't want to drive the car (not that there's anything wrong with it except that it guzzles fuel - and I'm only putting $25 in it this month and that needs to last the whole month.  So... NO driving except for emergencies and loads too large to carry on the bike.) and sometimes I just get nervous about locking the bike in places.  So, I thought I'd be a real smartie and make a video on how to properly lock the bike... HA HA!  Well, it wasn't until I got home and looked at the footage that I realized my own big FAIL - didn't get the frame inside the U-lock.  Duh!!!  Here's the proof!  Otherwise it would have been perfectly locked. Proof below!!!  However, both wheels and the seat we locked down with heavy cables all tied into the U-lock which was locked only to the metal railing.  So, I will make a proper video and post it eventually.

The Bontrager panniers in the pic are full of groceries and each weighs about 20 lbs.  I always tell them at Smart & Final that I have my own bags and will pack them myself.  Here's what I hauled:

3 - 4-lb bags of powdered sugar
1 pint lemon extract
3 lbs tangerines
4 beefsteak tomatoes
1 ginormous container of spring lettuce
1 containter of mild fresh Rojo's  salsa (the best!!!)
8 oz of Mexican shredded cheese

The panniers were pretty full but I could have squeezed in a few smaller items too.  Then when I got home, there was a check in the mail, so after I unloaded I quickly biked down the opposite direction to the bank where as always I take the bike in with me and right up to the teller window.  They know me well in there!

So, about 6 miles of biking.  Not much, but I faced the bike locking demons yet again.  Gosh, if someone ever stole my bike, I would be so distraught.  I would be less distraught if my car were stolen!  And I don't even have an expensive bike!  I may have paid about $350 for it on sale (think it was originally about $500).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Still too slow...

Hit the 200 milestone... still behind in goals.  But what are the goals anyhow?  They're not doing anything for my weight.  My goals are about distance and endurance - but  within a 5-hr time limit.  That's how long I have before my mostly blind dog begins to bark for me.  Two neighbors have complained.  Arrgh.

This pic was taken on Bedford going south, about 1/2 block below Gregory. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ballona Creek with a friend

My friend Nessie from Hollywood and I decided to do a bike ride, but I wanted to take her on a new route, so I told her I would take her on the bike path that goes through Marina Del Rey and that we would go down to the Ballona Creek Bridge.

I ended up driving into Hollywood to pick her and her bike up and then back to my place where we pumped up her tires and then left about 10:30 A.M.  I'm not sure what time we got down there, but we each took lots of pics with our cameras and also some videos.

People on the bike path through the marina parking lots.

Ballona Creek Bridge.  Stopping grounds for lots of cyclists.
 She noticed how low the planes were flying, and I said that LAX was very close and that we could go down to the part of the bike path that is directly in front of the runways, and she wanted to do that, so off we went.  When we got down there, we look more photos and videos.  Part of the bike path was closed off, and that was the part in front of the runway.  There was another cyclist there, and he was sitting on a bench with his back turned to us as we talked and snapped pics for about 10 minutes.  Finally he got up and left and I asked him, "Were we disturbing you?"  "Yes," he responded matter-of-fact.  Oh well.  He doesn't own that spot.  Lots more private areas for contemplation.

We rode down to where the 105 Imperial Hwy dead ends/connects to the bike path, then turned around and went back.

We decided to take the entire Ballona Creek Bike Trail to it's eastern end since she hadn't gone that way before, and she got unnerved by a lot of the graffitti past Overland, but I didn't think anything of it (still don't).  We then wove through the neighborhoods, go back onto National, over to Regent, to Cattaragus, to Reynier, and then wiggling back through suburbia for 4.5 miles back to West Hollywood.  We rode about 32 miles total.

I motored her bike back into Hollywood.  And we were done.  It was late in the day.  Rewarded myself with a hamburger happy meal from McDs.