Sunday, May 29, 2011

I'm at a loss.  What do you do when you have two very different road conditions to travel through but most bikes are made for one or the other?

I talked with a couple of local bike shops and everyone looked at me with this glazed over look of huh?  Obviously no one deals with rural roads that are either ashpalt or rough gravel and you have to go through both to get anywhere.

My mountain bike is terrible on regular roads and hills.  It was made for rough terrain, perfect for the back gravel roads, but not here in town or for long distance.  I went 7 miles today and I hated it.  I even changed to a different tire and added more comfortable handles.

I looked at several bikes yesterday:

The street/racing bikes where you are bent over are uncomfortable and with the skinny tires, they wouldn't last 2 seconds in the back roads.

The comfort bikes are just that..comfort.  They aren't for the back roads and I don't want to ride through town with a bike that was made for flat roads.

The cruiser bikes are for cruising.  Think old people going through the park with no concept of time.  Not even close to what I could use but DH bought one yesterday; the Townie.  Look it up.

You have the hybrids which are supposed to do both, but I wasn't impressed. 

The commuter bikes are for going through urban areas like in downtown cities.

I give up for now.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

I fell off my bike Friday.  There's nothing more embarrassing than falling off when practically stationary and my kids doubled over in laughter.   I bought some fancy pedals with shoes that click into the pedals.  I had one foot locked in and was trying to get the other foot into the pedal.  I accidentally moved the pedal forward and somehow clicked the shoe in and with both shoes clicked into the pedals, I lost my balance and fell over.

I'm glad I had my helmet on as I hit the pavement pretty hard.  I didn't think anything of it until yesterday when I still had a headache and a sore neck.  One ER visit and a CT scan proved I was okay, but I still have a headache and my neck is sore.  ER doc said if I hadn't had my helmet on, I'd probably have a concussion.  DH has banned me from riding until further notice.

I'm still not a big helmet fan, but I know enough that a helmet will at least protect your head from being cracked open on the pavement if you land on it.  I'd like to keep my skull in one piece.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

I haven't disappeared.  Just been doing nothing along the quilting end.  Just in one of those "don't feel like doing much" moods.

I did bike four miles yesterday so I have been doing something.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I had a breakthrough moment yesterday while on a date with DH.  When you order a glass of water instead of a soda at dinner, something is up.  It's called severe caffeine withdrawal.  Why have I been a mess the past week?  Little to NO caffeine and not as much sugar intake would make anyone turn into a monster.  That also explains the bad headaches and wanting to sleep all day.  

Gasp.  I even ate a banana or two the other day.  I hate bananas, or thought I did.  I even made a PB and J sandwich yesterday.  I don't like bread but it tasted wonderful.  All the foods I thought I hated suddenly taste incredible and a lot of the junk food I normally go for don't.  I hope it stays that way.

I bought a pair of clipless pedals today for my bike.  My shoes should come in end of next week.  They have "cleats" that click into the pedals for better efficiency.  The pedals also flip over for regular shoe use.

I'm still wheezing up the hills, but DH went with me today and I did better.  The hills really make biking frustrating.

On the sewing end I'm still working on the cross stitch:

You can see the path, part of the basket/roses and part of her skirt.

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's been a horrible week. 

Biking has not been fun.  Something is "off" about my bike and I can't figure it out.  Since I'm not sure what I want anyway, I shouldn't complain.  I've used sewing machines enough to know that "off" means we aren't bonding.  It's not like you can just return a bike and get something else either. 

I'm sick of going 20 miles just to get something adjusted or another needed thing from the store almost every day.  I'm sick of helmets, shorts, shirts, and all the stuff you "need" while gone:  first aid (my daughter fell over and scraped her knee up pretty good.  Didn't have a band-aid), patch kit, tire pump, bike locks and where the crap are you going to put all this stuff on mountain bike?  I'm not about to ride with a backpack.  It's all I can do just to do a few hills. 

I hate Snow Leopard, Safari and I hate Flash even more.  Can't get them to work together.  I can't even type up a blog entry in Safari.  I shouldn't complain.  Windows sucks even more.

I'm ready to go on permanent vacation from everyone.  You want 3 fighting teenagers that are non stop all day?  They are all yours.  I shudder to think about summer.

I lost my needles for the cross stitch project.  That would mean another 20 miles up to another store for a small package of needles.

That same city that the bike and fabric store has rerouted everyone because of road work.  It takes forever going through the neighborhoods just to get by the 1/4 mile of roadwork they are doing. 

Frustrated that a few days after my son gets his bike, his friend's mom accidentally backed into the bike totaling it.  Bike shop says it's fixable, but it won't ride the same again.  Now I remember why I haven't ridden a bike in 17 years; they break easily and you can't afford the crap you need.

Hoping your kids don't make show choir since you don't really have the money to pay for all that crap because you just spent it on bikes, helmets and everything else.  Plus if I have to hear the audition song one more time, I'm going to duct tape them.  Hey..that might work for the fighting issues.

I'm going to take a nap.  I at least made it a mile and a half going up/down hills today. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Remember my "Lucky" issues a few weeks ago?  He's done really good and isn't keeping the neighborhood awake anymore.  We've actually started to become friends since his kennel is now 2 inches from my property.  He's a pretty good dog and we've had a few good conversations.  He's starved for attention and loves any petting I give him.  Their other dog is stupid but I look into Lucky's eyes and see that's he's so intelligent and smart.

I not only have Lucky to talk too, but I found a stray cat that is living under my deck a few days ago.    I've known something lived under there as you can see the openings, but I figured it was a rabbit.  It wasn't until I caught part of the tail and realized it was a cat.  I put some food out and the cat came out inhaling food.  When it caught sight me, it froze and carefully made it's way back under the deck.

He or she's fairly shy but has let me pet and take a picture of him/her today  I've told the kids that this cat stays outdoors.  They want to name it, but then that means you get attached to it and want to bring it inside.   He/she could really use a bath and it's fur brushed out.  It's probably full of fleas and who knows what else.  Do not get attached.
Now I know why bikers have specific shorts.  Regular ones ride up and feel funny.

I thought I'd be cool and go further than I usually do despite the 90 degree weather.  It's a 1/2 mile from my house to the street light.  I rode up and made a left.  Feeling great, I went further down the road where it goes more rural.  I follow it all the way to the stop sign and my body gives out.  I've gone two miles and now I have to figure out how to get back home another two miles.  I also made the mistake of going 15mph over the bridge to see if I could do it.

I start pedalling back home and make it about 1/2 mile before I have to stop and take a break.  I'm inhaling water as fast as I can and start up again.  I'm going about 5mph and less.  I suck it up and get to a hill.  There's no way I'm going to make it up so I walk the bike up at 2mph and most of the way home.

Lessons learned:

* Don't push yourself.  You do have to get back home.

* Don't go so far in hot weather.  I'm grateful I didn't fall over from heat exhaustion.

* As much as I hate to admit it,  looks take a back seat in biking.  I'm getting a pair of spandex shorts and if I look like a muffin top, hopefully it won't be for long.

* I may need a mirror.  You can hear the cars coming, but you don't know exactly how far away they are.  If you look back, you run the risk of going down the embankment.

This is fun.  Really.  I also thought I'd be limping around the house by now, but I'm not.

Don't the basketball shorts rock?  Well, maybe not, but they are really comfortable.
Whoever designed biking shorts didn't take fat people into consideration.  Actually; 99% of the population don't belong in them either.  Spandex is a great invention, just not realistic.

Riding in jeans is a pain so I thought I'd pick up some shorts.  I wasn't looking for true biking shorts as I know they cost a fortune and I'm just riding around town, not going for a marathon.  I looked at basic excerise shorts.  Again; exercise clothing was not designed for fat people.  No wonder we all sit around.  We'd look like fools walking or running.

My kids love basketball shorts so I thought I'd try on a pair. If I wanted a tent, I'd head to the sporting good section.  Small on top and huge as they go down.

Capris of any kind looked terrible with the same problem as basketball shorts.  Companies assume that if you have a large waist, your calves must be that fat as well.

I really hadn't tried on the true biking shorts and wondered if I should swallow some pride and try on a pair.  Then I thought, if I fall off my bike, 70 dollar shorts aren't going to save me.  Not that basketball shorts would either, but those are easily replaced.

I finally went to my local sporting shop.  She's really nice and carries all the high school sporting needs.  Maybe I might get lucky or she'll tell me that it's hopeless and bring me down gently.  She does stuff for the local kids, not adults.

I explain what I'm doing and she goes over to the women's shorts and brings me back a pair.  I look at the size and I think there's no way I'm going to fit into a 16/18.  I haven't been that size in years, but I give it a shot just to make her feel better.

They fit.  Not kidding.  They slimmed down to the knee perfectly.  No muffin top or riding down low went I bent over (you know you don't want to see skin while driving behind a biker).  They are perfect.  If she'd had more, I would have bought them all.

Thank you Nike for making this fat woman feel like a person again.

Before you think I'm degrading myself, I am at least 50lbs overweight.  If I could get to 175 (where I should be) I'd be so happy.  I don't think losing that much weight will happen this summer.  I also think I have great looking legs.  It's the middle that needs help.

I'd show you a pic but the shorts are in the wash and you'd go blind seeing my white pastelike legs.


Friday, May 06, 2011

I have a new bike.  My first ever new bike.  My parents always got bikes from other people when I was a kid.  Being in a family with 6 kids made anything "new" hard despite me being the oldest.

Wanna see?

Mine is the red one and my son's is the giant blue one.  His wheels are 29 inches where mine are 26.  29 inch wheels seem to be the new thing right now, but they are just too big for me.

I can't ride a bike very well as I've discovered.  Just getting over the bar is hard and my legs get caught up in the seat.  The seat needs to be a little higher, but if I raise it, I can't make it over.   I am really relearning to ride a bike and I feel so embarrassed.

I did make it around a couple of blocks twice before my legs turned to spaghetti.  I played with shifting gears and suddenly my gears started clicking and it wouldn't shift up to 2nd.  I could get it to 3rd, but 2nd would protest with all the smaller gears protesting as well.  Great.  I get a bike and the second time I ride it, I mess it up.

After I got home, I checked the gears/chain.  The gear things are all scratched up.  True to my ability, I manage to mess up something that should be fairly indestructible.  I wasn't doing tricks and I wasn't moving very fast, about 8mph (I made it to 11 one time) so now I realize I need to be a beta tester for the Trek company along with the companies out there with products I've destroyed over the past year.

I called up the store and they said to bring it in.  With my luck, I've totally destroyed something and either need a new bike or a new part that has been back ordered for months like my Topaz part.

I finally got my Topaz back yesterday after, not kidding, about two months because of a back ordered part.  I'm glad I have another machine because that would drive me crazy.  Does that mean Viking screwed up a part and now is paying for that mistake by having to fix everyone's machine?  Or is it just an uncommon part that doesn't break that often needing a wait to get it?  If so, I get to work for the Viking company to beta test their machines.

Now I'm off to get out my ice pack and when my kids get home, take my bike to the shop.

Oh.  I forgot.  This has been amazing on my back.  Not kidding.  Part of physical therapy has been strengthening the front stomach muscles and my glutes.  This is perfect.
I realized I forgot to tell what  "mistake" I had made with my last "Tweets" block.

The feathers on the right bird are under the wing, not under the body.  And the middle feather should probably sit on top of the light blue ones even though they are underneath in the pattern.  Arggghhh.

The good news is that I'm terrible at fusible webbing and the pieces are falling off so I'll be able to fix the block.  

Thursday, May 05, 2011

My kids have been dying for a bike.  I'm fed up with Wally World bikes that break but have had a hard time wanting to spend top money on a real bike.  If someone steals my kids' bikes, I'm out hundreds of dollars.  I finally just did it and bought my kids bikes as my son's Target hybrid bike died.  He was putting 10 miles a day on gravel/street roads and it couldn't handle the gravel.

I took him up yesterday to a bike shop knowing I'd need to spend way more than I did for my girls and he found one that he wanted.  It's a mountain bike with something like 28 inch wheels and as tall as I am, I have to use the curb to get on it.

Of course he wanted us to go bike riding with him, so I grabbed the Target bike and realized it had been 17 years since I've been on a bike.  I nearly crash just going down the driveway as I'm wobbling all over.  The bike starts weaving down the road and I'm holding on for dear life.  There's no "I'm gonna die" handle on a bike and getting off would mean a controlled crash.  At least I remembered that the brakes are on the handle and used them.  I stopped, nearly went off the bike and felt a stabbing pain down my back and the muscles seized up.  The pain went away (maybe the physical therapy is working?) and I kept going.

After a couple of minutes and some serious laughter by my kids, I get the hang of it and follow behind.  I soon understood why my son hated the bike.  I was wheezing up a gentle hill and hacking going up a larger one.  I still couldn't get control of the bike going down and about 10 minutes later my body gave out.

Now I have the problem of getting home.  My kids are getting worried so my DD let me borrow her new one and I slowly wheezed my way back.  Her bike was much better but it was still hard.  I know I'm out of shape, (round isn't considered a shape in fitness) but going up/down some streets should have been much easier.

A couple of hours later, my DS wants to go riding again.  He's SO excited about his bike and I was determined to figure out why (other than the crappy bike) I couldn't get up the hills.  My other DD has a mountain bike and I stole hers.  WHAT a difference between a crappy bike and a real bike.  I made it up the hill with ease, went down without nearly crashing and made it around the curve at high speed back into the driveway.  This was FUN.

DS wanted me to try his bike out.  His bike is huge.  Really huge.  I get on via the curb and start going.  The bike moved with ease and grace even more than my DD's smaller one.  I couldn't believe that a bike this big could move so fast.  The stability was incredible and the speed was a true high as I went down the hill, turned the corner and went back into the driveway.

Ya'll realize that I paid for this "fun" as I'm pretty sore today.   BUT, surprisingly it's a good feeling.  I  used mucles that help stabilize my lower back and I don't feel so "round" today.

I've thought about getting a bike, but would I really use it enough to justify 600+ dollars?  My son hates going by himself and walking up and down the road is plain boring other than I use my Bluetooth headset to talk to DH as he drives home from work.

The one thing is that my son really needs a helmet and reflective gear as he's going down highways where cars are going 60mph.  If he's truly taking this seriously, he has to have a helmet.  No questions asked.    


Monday, May 02, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Here is what is on my design wall:

Oops.  Wrong pic.  That's DH playing "Thor" in Walmart the other day.   

What's really on my design wall is block 4 of "My Tweets":

A couple of things:

1.  There is a mistake.  If you find it, do I fix it or leave it?

2.  Do I add light yellow centers to the flowers?

3.  That the yellow is light fabric and I have green stems showing through.  Any fixes?

The cool part of this was using my Cougar cutter to draw out the pieces on fusible webbing.  I haven't figured out how to cut fabric as of yet, but will try eventually.

To see more Design Wall Monday's check out Judy at Patchwork Times for more inspiration.