Friday, December 31, 2021

End-of-year observations

Wow!  Can 2021 already be in the rearview?  Well, GOOD RIDDANCE!

I'm happy to report that I hit the 5000-mile mark for the year, just days ago.  (I was motivated by the odometer... put the fat, treaded tires on the mountain bike to get some miles in, on the snowy/icy roads I was dealt for the past week or so.)  Also significantly, I did it over 319 "riding days."  (Went on several out-of-town adventures over the course of the year.  Including being away for most of November in New Jersey, attending to the birth of my twin granddaughters, Betsy and Bria.)

Since I retired (March 2019), I've gravitated to more riding on our "Crown Jewel," the Boise River Greenbelt.  Ironically, it's often not pleasant on beautiful summer days, when it's jammed with "amateurs"... but since I enjoy the luxury of daytime riding, I can go when conditions are ideal.  (And I'm blessed to think of a wide range of conditions as acceptable... if it's above 40 degrees and below 100 degrees, and not precipitating or gale-force winds, I'm generally comfortable enough.  Those "amateurs" seek shelter when it gets below 65 or above 80... or so it seems.)

A major trend I've observed... a proliferation of ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLES on the Greenbelt!  If it were only old geezers like me, or people who are lugging kids and groceries, I'd say more power to 'em!  But there are lots of people who are seemingly young and able-bodied, who are abandoning the benefit of EXERCISE that pedaling a traditional bicycle provides.  (A major incentive for me to ride my bicycle is the physical exertion, and the resultant health and emotional benefit.)  PEDALING IS HARD!  /sarcasm

I'm happy with the recovery I've experienced, from my 2020 Achilles' tendon injury.  My right leg strength isn't back to pre-injury level, but I believe I'm still having incremental improvement... and functionally I'm back to full operation.  Heck!  I bicycled 5000 miles... motorcycled 5000 miles... climbed lots of hills and ladders and stairs... hiked a few miles.  Unassisted!

May 2022 be a better year.  If we can put the little blue paper masks behind us, THAT will be better!

Sometime in the first 4 or 5 months of 2022, I'll hit the 200,000 mile mark (since I started keeping track, in 1986).  If I ride 4800 miles, that's 400 per month.  5200 - 100 miles per week.  And of course the numbers with lots of zeros are good milestones.  (I don't intend to cut back, but I've slowed down considerably from 30 years ago, and I have the luxury of leaving town on a whim... when I go, often the bike has to stay home.)  Que serĂ¡.

Be healthy and safe, and KEEP THE SHINY SIDE UP!

Monday, November 1, 2021

 Satisfaction ... and Frustration

Ten months into 2021.  I'm a survivor - you're a survivor!  I'm also about 30 months into retirement... and I can confidently say it's underrated!

Of course, more than half of those months have been with the Covid-19 shadow looming.  But even that is only a minor quibble for me, since as my T-shirt says, "I WAS SOCIALLY-DISTANT BEFORE IT WAS COOL!"  Some family and friends have been impacted much more than me... but none in a serious or permanent way.


I'm still bicycling every day that I'm in town.  Seriously!  For probably the last then years, the only days I've missed have been the out-of-town days when a bicycle wasn't available.  (Of course, some of those days it's only a quick ride around the park across the street, or some other "stat ride," to keep the streak going.)

For a few months I entertained the notion of trying to reach 200,000 cumulative miles on February 22 next year - you know, 2/22/22.  (Cool, huh?)  It's not going to happen; I'm still a little over 2000 miles away.  If we were coming into summer... and if I was going to be in town the whole time... it would be realistic.  But over the winter, 200 or 300 miles in a month is pretty good.  And... I'm going to be out of town for perhaps two weeks, this month.  I s'pose I could do the "Snowbird" thing - head to Arizona and bicycle 25 miles a day for a couple months.  Nah... not worth it.


I've grown accustomed to the Facebook.  With a slight degree of guilt.  I've really enjoyed connecting with old friends and acquaintances from across my entire life!  (The main draw was to see if there was information about the Boise High Class of '71 reunion.  There was!  Unfortunately, the honchos decided to postpone it due to the Pandemic.  Ironically, the Class of '70 delayed theirs for a year, as well... they went ahead and did it a month or so ago.)  I am (or was) a participating member of the "Boise Bike Lanes" local bicycle advocacy group.

I feel guilty about Facebook because: 1) it has become increasingly obvious that they are filtering and promoting "information" to slant things to their progressive/liberal viewpoint, and I resent that, and 2) I often waste time just reading the stuff that's presented to me.  But I've enjoyed sharing my viewpoint and seeing the viewpoint of others.  You don't learn anything if you're just "preaching to the choir," right?

I'm frustrated because a month or so ago, Facebook "forgot" me!  I cleared my browser history, and when I logged back on, I was told that Facebook didn't recognize my device... and that I'd chosen two-factor authentication.  (Okay... I'm getting a little technical here... sorry.)  The second "factor," after the password, is a random number... that apparently they "text" to me.  But my Facebook account doesn't have a "smart phone" (quote/unquote) associated with it... so I have a "Catch-22" situation.  The only work-around is to submit a photo ID, which they say they'll confirm, and fix it within 48 hours.  Well... I've probably submitted the photo ID a dozen times, and no response so far.  My paranoid conclusion is that they don't want me back, because I'm not "woke" to the Party Line.  But in any case, I've missed the whole social media experience since mid-September... on the bright side, I've not been spending an hour or so every day "Facebooking."  I s'pose I'll keep submitting the ID... maybe someday somebody will get back to me.  (There's no email or telephone, to get Facebook support.  It seems unfathomable  that of their billion-plus users, I'm the only one having trouble getting connected!  If you read this and can help me... PLEASE!  My email address is  I just delete spam.)

Well... enough psychobabble and self-pity.  I'm 4500 bicycle miles into the year... expect it to be another 5000-plus mile year, when all is said and done.  RIDE ON, friends!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Another rare "Bike Nazi" post.  (Apparently I'm content to not blather on quite so much.  I said it and I stand by it... no point in re-wording and re-posting.  I would like to do some better organizing by topic, etc.)

Today - May 23, 2021 - is a good day to post, because I hit 2000 miles for the year.  Yeah, big deal.  There are probably 100 other guys and gals IN BOISE who have done the same and more.  2021 is the 36th consecutive year I've ridden at least 2000 miles; that might put me in more rarefied company.

It's conceivable that I could hit 200,000 miles on February 22, 2022.  That might be worth a little extra effort...?  200K on 2/22/22.  Has a nice ring to it.

One other thing that's worth reporting on - my Schwalbe Marathon Plus rear tire - size 700/32.  It recently occurred to me - hey!  I haven't put a new tire on the back, in quite some time.  I checked... I installed that tire on April 9th OF LAST YEAR!  It now has 4600+ miles on it... looks like it could go for another 1000... and I have not had a single flat tire!  Amazing and remarkable!  They're spendy - currently going for 50 bucks! - but that might be a price worth paying, for such a trouble-free tire.  My previous favorite was the Vittoria Randonneur, at half the price.  But each one seemed to go fewer miles than the one before it.  $25 for a 2000-mile tire, or $50 for a 5000-mile, zero-flat tire.  No brainer!  I've got one more on the hook... hopefully it will serve just as well, and in the meantime I can watch for a sale.

Ride safe, my friends.  And take some comfort in the knowledge that you are on what is STILL the most efficient people-mover ever built.  (The HUMAN-powered bicycle - that's what I'm talkin' about.)

Thursday, March 18, 2021

 Milestone on the Achilles Journey

No posts in a long time!  Not sure anybody has even noticed.  (I've been a little more active on the facebook since the pandemic struck; that's been sapping me a little.  But I'm going to work harder at it... I've had some notions bouncing around in my head.  I may post stuff here AND on the facebook.)

Update on the Achilles injury...

- Injury occurred on July 24th

- It was a month before I sought professional advice

- X-rays, MRI (my first-ever), scheduling, etc...

- Surgery to repair it on November 17

Dr. Kaitlyn Neary told me to wait five weeks before putting a load on it, so I hobbled around in a boot on crutches for awhile... seemed like a LONG while.  (Her assistant said, "That seems awfully soon... I'd say 6 to 8 weeks is more realistic."  I took her suggestion "under advisement," as they say.  It's the doctor's advice that counts, right?)

On December 22 - five weeks to the day after surgery, I went on a little low-load ride around the neighborhood.  Felt a little "ginger," but it felt great to be pedaling again.

Between then and the end of the year, I clicked 57 miles, in ever-increasing bites... and taking it very easy.  No risky routes, riding on ice, etc.

I went to 3 or 4 physical therapy sessions, where they gave me some useful ideas about exercises, balance routines, etc.  (All along, I've figured that cycling would be my primary strength-builder, and I'm more sure of that now, than ever.)

Well... yesterday was the 4-month anniversary of the surgery.

Since February 8 - my last follow-up with Dr. Neary - I've been cleared for unlimited activity.  I told her I felt really good about my progress.  She asked if I could stand on my right foot, and then raise up on tiptoe.  NO WAY!!  That's HER precision way of assessing full recovery.  She said, "It can take six months, or even a year, to build back up to full strength.  I'm heading in that direction, and that's good enough for me.

Today I hit 1000 miles for the year 2021 - right on schedule.  (Looking back six or seven years, except for one time I've hit the 1000 in mid-March.)  Strength is still on the upswing.  I'm focusing on using my right leg for most of the power.  The way I figure it, I gave my calf muscle almost five months of vacation - from July 24 to December 22.  No wonder it atrophied a little.  In February I went on a 25-mile ride; I've been on a 30-mile ride in March.  I fully expect to be able to stand on my right tippy-toe... not sure when, but it'll happen.