It got dark fast, so I didn't ride for long.
On the walk from the bus stop tonight, I did notice that despite all the dead cicadas on the sidewalk, the singers in the trees are as loud as ever. You can't hold a conversation in your yard if you have an oak or pine tree. The cries are that loud.
I got on the bike with back pain and knee pain, so I am surprised that I have a new personal best. Of course, who knows, last week the iphone app cut out on me. This week, it stayed on for the entire ride. 10 miles, average of 8 miles per hour.
How long before something is habit? How long before if I miss a Sunday, people will wonder where I am? Mainly, I pass men washing their cars or cutting the grass. A few women watering gardens. It's the 'burbs, what can I say.
I want biscuits for breakfast, but the thought of getting back on that bike for a diner is painful. However, I don't have any buttermilk in the fridge....
As tired and pained as I am, I am going to make the mood thankful. Glad that I can still do this.
I do wonder that I do not feel more sorry for myself. Perhaps, I do. Perhaps my dirty house is a sign of depression. I think, however, it is more a sign that I am still behaving in a passive/aggressive manner against a mother who isn’t even here now.
That has its own ironies. My sister was the rebel. She is now a mother of two and aggressively neat and more conservative than me. I watch friends and newscasters (like Scott Simon) become parents and suddenly the status quo is sacred. For them, this probably makes sense. If the status quo is a spinning plate, you would not want the plate to shift while you try to raise children. Meanwhile, I am out here contributing to the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Mother Jones magazine. This spinning plate is killing you, I insist. Let’s get another one.
Anyway, this morning, my back was killing me from Saturday’s bike ride. Thankfully, nature’s endorphins kicked in and I managed to stay on the bike for ninety minutes. A couple of hours ago, I jumped on the bike again to buy groceries. The pannier that I bought is a lifesaver. But its weight is not insignificant. Just yesterday, I slowed down on a wet surface and the bike went over and I ended up on the ground. You don’t want to have to stop when you have more weight on one side than the other. Today I was wearing shorts. I was not looking to have concrete skids from falling over.
Not to worry, I made it there and back but again I notice bikes more now that I am biking everywhere. And people who are old bikers notice me. I was locking the bike up and saw a bike and its rider coming out of the grocery store. He looks at me as I nervously lock up both the frame and the front tire and sniffs. When I go inside, I see another bike is inside the entry and completely unlocked. Good for them, but I can’t afford to lose my transportation. I am indulgent when spending on books, but a miser every other day. I still cringe at the new bike’s cost even though it has paid for itself many times over. I could not have written 10 miles on the old bike.
I should feel sorry for myself because there is so much that I am not able to do. However, I have lost weight. I find myself in the odd in-between phase where the old-old clothes still don’t fit, but the newer clothes don’t fit either. I need to go shopping but it needs to be on a Saturday when I can take the bus. I found out last week that I can go through the Harvey tunnel with the bike and get to the other side of the canal. However, by the time that I got to the mall on Manhattan I was dripping wet with sweat. Not in shopping condition at all. Maybe next Saturday. This past Friday was bike to lunch, come home and drop off leftovers. Catch the bus with the bike and bike to the library to return a book—and pick up two more. Catch the bus back. Bike to Wal-Mart. Bike to Baskins-Robbins (I deserved it). Bike home. Collapse on the cushion on the floor until I can get up and take a shower. Saturday was catch the bus with the bike to downtown and bike to the Marigney to find Plan B. Learn how to change a bike tire. Bike back to the bus stop. Collapse again. And today, you have heard already.
I should feel abandoned. After the storm, I know people who did feel abandoned when others concentrated on bringing their own world back into order. If I had been flooded, as some were, I don’t know if I could have mentally made it. New Orleans is a city where families support each other and I have no family here. Despite that, I’ve been lucky: neighbors have picked me up for meetings; I can afford to take a cab when I absolutely want to see a show in the city. I just can’t make a habit of it. Hopefully, by the fall this auto-free life will be over. Then I have to see if I can keep the exercise up. The Sunday morning rides have been fun even if they mean my back aches the next day.
Today’s experiment was riding the bike while using the Endomondo app that tracked my route and speed. Interesting.
Riding through the neighborhood is still ok although I have to watch for the speeding cars. The bike helmet and the flashing lights on the bike actually help to make drivers realize that I am a “serious” cyclist. Otherwise, I would be getting more than the one car horn from someone who thinks bikes belong on the sidewalk. Yes, there was one fool tonight.
My average speed is still pretty slow because of stop signs and such. And the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing! Two different dials for changing gears and speed?! What is the difference between 2/5 and 3/1? 3/5 seems to spin the pedals wildly with little effect. But so does 1/1. I need to make it to an area where I have long flat areas to ride and experiment.
Have to get ready for a garage sale this weekend. The neighborhood is sponsoring and I will really try to get rid of some of the extra items around here that I am too cheap to just give away.
Day 1 was actually April 4th
Had a ride around the neighborhood. Ventured up Lapalco, a busy street, where I stayed on the sidewalk. I hit a curb and the chain came off. Called a friend to come pick me up. I had not stopped driving yet, so I was able to take another friend to Yizkor service at Temple
Day 2 was April 10
Another friend got the chain back on the bike.
I took back up Lapalco Boulevard. Same route, getting back on the horse that threw me. I passed that troublesome curb. I crossed the street to Home Depot. Home Depot is part of a huge complex that used to be part of Belle Promenade mall. The mall died years ago and in the past ten years, Wal-Mart tore down the mall and built a superstore. Last year, Lowes built their own version of a superstore. I used that parking lot to get up Barataria Boulevard until I could get to a side street. I got as far as the Expressway and the bike path under the expressway. The bike path stops two blocks before the Harvey tunnel. Hopefully, one is allowed to walk the bike through the tunnel. If I can get to the other side, I can get to the ferry and New Orleans. On Saturday, I turned back and got myself home. It was starting to get dark. All in all, I was on the bike for two hours.
Day 3, today
Today, I ran an envelope over to the Civic Association’s Vice-President. The bike seat let me know that two hours yesterday was a long time. Ouch! Still, I have another errand this afternoon. I need to make it back up to Walgreens or Wal-Mart for Kleenex and other sinus trouble supplies. So far, the first week of no driving has gone fairly well.