Bike to Work Day 2017 & Biking Challenge

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May 19, 2017 was the DC/VA/MD Bike to Work Day. A few weeks ago, I said I would blog about two events in which I planned to participate.

One is the fund-raiser for the month of June to raise money for children with cancer.

The other was the DC Bike to Work Day event. I work only two miles, (albeit up hill), from my apartment. I can and have biked to my office, but I had never participated in a Bike to Work event.

Now, I had been sick off and on for a couple of weeks. I am having problems with my gallbladder. I have gallstones and I’m scheduled for surgery, well, tomorrow, in fact. My co-workers know how much I love to bike. They also knew that I wanted to participate in the Bike to Work Day event.

I woke up. I felt like crap. I was nauseated and tired. And my stomach was sore, as it had been for the past couple of weeks.

Nonetheless, I put on my biking gear, packed a change of clothes, and biked to work.

The effort was rewarded by a resounding cheer from my co-workers when I dragged my bike into the office behind me. They were all so proud because they knew that participating was important to me and I did not let my gallbladder problems keep me from doing it.

I felt great!

I stopped at one of the pit stops on my way home and was further rewarded with a purple t-shirt, which to me was the coolest as purple is my favorite color. That crazy girl from Steel Magnolias was so proud of announcing pink was her signature color. Well, purple is mine. So, to get a purple t-shirt for doing something I loved? Awesome-sauce!

I also got a beer glass with purple lettering on it. That is now my favorite glass.

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Now for my surgery and the fundraiser…

I’m not sure what all I am going to do about that. Of course, I want to stick to my plan of biking 5 days a week, 10 miles a day for 30 days. Obviously, that cannot happen considering I’m having surgery the day before the bike challenge begins.

I think for the first week at least, I am going to have to change my bike miles to walking miles. Then the second week, I will probably to graduate to the recumbent bike in my apartment’s exercise room. I may be able to get on the bike outside before the month ends, but I do not know yet. I am hoping at least. Not sure if I’ll make my 200 mile goal, but I think if I make the effort and get as close as possible, I’ll be happy.

It Finally Happened

I have been biking for almost nearly a year. My sister gave me hear bike a year ago. July, 2016. I have been biking ever since except for a few months in the winter when it was too cold or too snowy or icy to bike.

One of my biggest fears about biking is having an accident.

A friend recently told me there are two types of bikers. Those who have fallen off their bikes. And those who have not fallen off their bikes…yet. Well, now I am firmly in the former category.

Last week, I took a small tumble on my bike. I have to admit, it freaked me out a little bit. I took about a week off of biking to recover. It was easy to do as it rained for a few days and was pretty cold outside. And I worked a bit of overtime. Still, I was nervous about getting back out on the trial.

This is what happened…

I took a route I did not normally take. I tried a different part of the trail. I went under Four Mile Run Road instead of crossing and turning onto the W&OD trail. I had never been down that end of the Four Mile Run Trail and I thought I would explore a bit.

Under the road, there was a sizable crevice for water drainage into the creek which was to my right. Across the crevice was a slab of concrete which one could walk or, ostensibly, ride across safely without getting wet. I felt a little nervous about riding across it, but I proceeded anyway.

I moved across slowly and started feeling wobbly, so I put my right foot down to balance myself. Problem. I was too far over to the right and did not have enough slab on that side. So, when I put my foot down, I went all the way down over into the crevice onto my side, the bike on top of me.

I hurt my knee a little, scraped my forearm and elbow, and hurt my shoulder a little. Fortunately, I was wearing my knee brace, which saved my leg from any abrasions or cuts. And I only had minor scrapes on my arm. Nothing was seriously hurt except for maybe my ego.

There was a man and his young son on the other side of the creek who saw me fall. He yelled across and asked if I was OK. I said I was. There was a picnic table nearby and I got up and walked my bike over to the table. I drank some water and poured water over my injuries and tried to assess the extent of the damage. He and his son walked over to make sure I was OK.

He examined my knee, which had turned a little purple, and suggested I immediately return home and put ice on it and maybe seek medical attention. After talking with me for a few minutes, I guess he figured I was OK, and he went on his way. I did notice he and his son kind of hovered nearby though and they cheered when I got on my bike and rode away.

I have to admit, getting back on the bike after my tumble was a little harder than I thought it would be. As soon as I tried to pedal, I had an overwhelming sense of trepidation. I was on a slight downward slope, and all I could think about was falling again. I walked the bike down to a flatter surface and started there instead. Still, I felt it imperative that I actually get on the bike and ride. So, I did. And I’m glad I did.

I did take his advice and rode back to Shirlington and stopped at a coffee shop. I got some ice and removed my knee brace. My knee actually was not purple. Thank goodness. I iced it for a while before walking up the hill to my apartment. A week later, I’m fine and everything seems to have healed up nicely.

I’m back to biking. I went out yesterday. And I am heading out today after I post this entry. My minor accident has left me a bit skittish, but still undeterred.

I am participating in two upcoming biking events. One is bike to work day on May 19. And the other is a biking challenge in the month of June. I will be posting details on both later this week.

In the mean time…Safe Biking!

 

New Recruits!

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That’s right, bikers recruit! Well, I kind of did today. A friend of mine, who has followed my journey from when I weighed 300 pounds to my current ongoing love affair with biking messaged me last week. I inspired him. He wanted me to go biking with him.

Thierry is in my writing group in Arlington, VA, aptly named, The Arlington Writer’s Group, hereafter known as AWG. He is a little older than me and has had some health issues off and on. He was nervous about wanting to bike again, as I was when I first started. Having a friend along definitely helps. It is fun, and it is encouraging. And it forces you to actually follow through with something you want to do but are a bit apprehensive about starting.

We were going to bike yesterday, but it barely made it over 40 degrees and was very windy. Not optimal conditions for biking, let alone starting to bike after a long, long hiatus. So we adjusted our plans to bike today since I was off work. I got up early and was at his place at 10am. We loaded up his bike onto my car, went tot he gas station to make sure our tires were full, then headed out to the W&OD trail.

He is definitely in much better shape than I was when I started biking. I could barely sit on my bike and had to practice regaining my balance my first time out. I rode 1.5 miles to my friend’s house and back and was exhausted. He had no problem getting started.

Today, Thierry and I rode 6.8 miles!!!

I have to say I’m impressed. I think we both did a great job. Granted, I normally do 8-10 miles when I got out, but still. For his first time on a bike in years, he did great!

I told him if he wants to bike next week to let me know. He may change his mind about the whole biking experiment after tomorrow. Today, I’m sure he’ll feel great. In a day or two, he may hate me. But for now, I have a new recruit!