Friday, February 20, 2015

While the winter keeps me off the road

I've been thinking of fun rides to do this year, which is how I am spending my cycling time since I'm not actually cycling right now.  Eventually this winter will end, the ice dams will melt, and the water will drain of the basement.  And when that happens I'll be outside and, hopefully, on my bike.  It's not like I don't get outside now but it's never relaxing, especially watching your kids tumble down a steep sledding hill or helping them up a steep snow covered incline on snowshoes (all of us, usually).  So I dream of the summer, or at least the spring.

One ride that I'm thinking of is the Portland Dart, the short version.  This ride is part of the New England Randonneurs' Fleche weekend.  The fleche is over the top for me this year, seeing how this year is going.  The fleche is a 24 hour 360+ kilometer ride.  Besides not being in shape, I don't think I can get approval at home for this one.  The long dart is a 200+ kilometer ride, which might just be too long for me, even I get a lot of miles in this spring.  The Dart Populaire is more my speed, though it will still be a stretch at 120 kilometers.  All of these rides end in Portland, ME, which I can get a train back from Boston but the starting point and the routes are all what you choose.  And that choice is a team choice.  The fleche and both darts have to be completed by a team of 3 to 5 riders.  That is a problem unto itself - how to find 2-4 people who are interested in this kind of ride and can commit to it.  The ride itself could be fun - a train ride to Newburyport then the coast route as much as is feasible.  I'll take advice on reasonable cycling routes.  Knowing Cape Elizabeth, I'd pass by that section of coast, which isn't all that busy in May.  The train to Newburyport is a bit dicey - it gets you to Newburyport at 10:40AM, and the short dart should be done in 8 hours, and there is 80-90 miles between Newburyport and Portland.  Maybe that's my winter legs being a little afraid.  Or maybe it will be easy to do then. But if you want to go for a long ride in May, let me know.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Excuses, excuses

I had a good run of cycling days at the end of last year, ending up with about 120 cycle commuting days since the beginning of April, which isn't bad considering that I need to do two day care drop offs and sometimes two pick ups, which I can't do by bike, yet (a long tail is a desirable thing right now). But the year ended and right when I was washing dishes, ready to pack my panniers for my January 5 ride in, I broke a bowl, cutting up my hands.  That required a total of eight stitches and included two deep cuts and a substantial avulsion and one of the cuts hit a tendon. (I can't describe how I managed to do this to myself - I simply felt the bowl slip through my hands and I tried to catch it before it hit the porcelain.  I didn't make it.)  So I didn't ride to work that next day, since I couldn't fit my gloves over the bandages and because I needed, and still need to not bend the finger with the problem tendon. The hand surgeon I was referred to was a long distance cyclist and didn't recommend riding until the tendon is healed.  So what am I to do, ignore the doctor?  I see the surgeon on Friday and maybe he'll say go ahead and ride and don't worry.  I hope so.  But in the meantime, we have seen snowzilla or whatever people are calling the last two storms that dumped somewhere around 40 inches of snow inside of a week in the Boston area.  The roads are narrow and very messy. I want to at least ride to Alewife, although the trains have been seriously misbehaving, so there might not be any percentage in that.  And my wife has needed me to pick up the boys or be on call to pick up the boys and, again, I can't do that by bike.  So here I am, a slacker winter cyclist.  I don't mind the dark and am pretty well equipped with lights but my wife doesn't think it's very safe.  I disagreed in November and December and rode, although slower than I did before daylight savings time ended.  But with this snow I'm sort of agreeing with her, for now.  Come next week and some snow melting, I might be out there.  Or maybe the next 24 inches of snow, which is predicted as possible this weekend, will push my return to cycle commuting further off.  Whatever happens, I'll be back riding once I'm healed and the roads aren't too narrow.