two rides

I'm finally starting to make up for my lack of riding at the beginning of this month. This week I was able to make two longer rides from my house to the gym and back. Each ride was between 10 and 13 miles each and, while not real long, were challenging as I was not used to the paths I chose.

The most interesting part of the rides, the second one in particular, was riding amongst the general traffic. On the first ride, I loaded the bike on the rack and crossed the main thoroughfare, parked and rode on from there. However, on the second, I chose to brave the main road between my house and the neighborhood where my gym is located.

North of Houston, F.M. 1960 runs from Katy to Dayton and is relatively busy. It's seven lanes at its widest, has a lot of stoplights and is not really striped for a bike lane on either shoulder. Fortunately, the distance from my neighborhood to the next light, where I cross, is only about 3/4 of a mile. The shoulder is about 2 feet wide and allows plenty of room to ride. Still, for that first ride I have to admit that I took an older bike and not my new one. It is an older mountain bike and would be more equipped to go off-road if the shoulder proved to be too narrow in some spots. But, everything was fine and I plan on taking the Biketown bike on that path from here on out.



It has indeed been a crazy couple of weeks. To say I haven't gone on a ride is an understatement. In fact, as I walk by the bike to my car each day, I can only glance at it briefly as the guilt of not riding just builds up too quick.

Unfortunately, my wife's grandmother passed away on September first. She was strong woman and extremely sharp, exhibiting these qualities until the end. Apart from being a huge influence on my wife - she's a big reason Amy's a nurse today - she was a key force in my kids' lives. When they were young, and we were broke, she helped us considerably by keeping the kids while we worked. The kids naturally grew very close to her and respected her as more than just a source of gifts and junk food. Though I wish she could have stayed with us longer, I'm happy the kids were old enough to understand how important she was to them and others. They may not know it now, but her influence will stick with them the rest of their lives.

From this point the month hasn't slowed. The week following Labor Day was hectic as we returned from Lafayette. Then I caught some type of bug over the weekend, had to take some customers to the Texans' game on Sunday and travel to Arkansas on business last week. Fortunately, the business trip resulted in guarantees for future work. Still, I didn't even see my bike last week and hardly made it to the gym. I think I'm going to forgo my cardio sessions at the gym and ride my bike instead. We'll see if that works.


first ride

I was pretty stoked to pick up my bike from Bicycle World and Fitness this morning. Everybody at the shop was great at getting me set up with the bike and equipment. They're also offering some classes about bike safety and maintenance free of charge to the BikeTown participants. I can't imagine that they haven't let the rest of the participants know, but if not, you might want to go to their website.

As for the bike, it's great, but I have to get used to that hybrid look and feel. Before I won this bike, I was riding an old Specialized HR Ultra that I converted to a single speed last year. It's a mountain bike and I was always hunched over the handlebars. With the new bike, the saddle is more comfortable and I'm sitting upright - it's very weird.

Once I got home I took it out around the neighborhood for a short, 4 mi. ride. It was extremely comfortable and I'm looking forward to taking it on a longer trip this weekend.


the rumpus

As this is the first post of this blog (I've tried various others with no success), I wanted to set the tone for this particular attempt. See, I'm participating in Bicycling Magazine's BikeTown promotion for Houston and I will try to document my experiences with the bike for at least the first three months. I will keep it bike-specific for the time being as others participating in the event and will likely read and/or comment.

If you are not aware of BikeTown U.S.A. and didn't already follow the link above, it's basically a promotion by Bicycling Magazine and Lipton Tea that encourages everyday bike use in major cities across the U.S. Earlier this year I visited their website and wrote a brief essay about how I would use a bike to change and improve my life. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I received an email stating that I and 49 others were chosen to receive new
Giant Cypress EX bikes based on our essays. the bikes were then presented to us the following week at a special event in Memorial Park near downtown Houston.

Unfortunately, I was out of town on business and was unable to attend the presentation event, but heard great things about the entire evening. I plan on picking the bike up next Monday and will document my experience here over the next few months. If you are a participant in the program, please drop me a line or comment and let me know how things are going.

** A quick note about the title of this blog (if you haven't already searched the phrase online): it's a tibetan phrase meaning 'impermanence,' one of important doctrines of buddhism. The idea of impermanence has always appealed to me in the sense that change is the only thing that seems constant. I'm no buddhist scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but the suggestion that things will not remain as they are now is comforting. **