Adult Bike Riding 00000000001

I have a confession to make, and it is a shameful one…. you see… I never learned how to ride a bike as a child. Not once did my feet hit a pedal.

That changed Thursday evening – with some trepidation I made an appointment with someone who teaches adults, one-on-one, the basics of riding a bicycle.

To start with she took the pedals off of the bike, for the first step was to learn if I could actually balance the thing. She had me kick off with my feet (it was a “flat foot” bike) and once I got going to take my feet off of the ground. Much to my great surprise we had success! Wheww.. hurdle one was behind me.

Ok, time to put the pedals back on – and to learn about the hand brakes. Much sooner than I would have ever dreamed I was zooming around the parking lot. Ok, ok, starting was wobbly, and turning wasn’t an option, but I was riding the bicycle! Whooo hooo! I was careful to use BOTH hand brakes when stopping, and indeed I got the stopping thing down quite well. So far, so good, no crashes…. yet.

Next step was to start riding around the parking lot filled with parked cars (obstacle course just for me 🙂 and to make turns. Connie carefully explained the proper way to turn – do NOT turn the handebars. So I made my wobbly start on the bike and headed for the outer row of parked cars to make my first turn…. I zoomed around the parking lot at a great rate of speed (probably an entire 6 miles an hour), and the right-hand turns just happened. Then it became time to go back, and to do my first LEFT-hand turns.

Of course it was bound to happen. First time on a bike in 49 years (outside of a few aborted attempts in my late 20s). Concrete parking lot. I wore shorts – though I had a helmet on! And I learned that left hand turns are rather more difficult for me than right-hand turns. I headed for that first turn, cut the corner short a little, and instead of turning left, I met the parking lot. Wham! All of a sudden, instead of being on the bike, I was between the bike and the pavement. Of course it had to be expected.

Once we cleaned up the blood on my leg and elbow (not bad, just scratches), I went out a little while longer. Each attempt was better than the one before, but that left hand turn is a challenge for me.

Next Lesson: August 10 – left turns and shifting are in the agenda.

I honestly do not know if I will continue past the second lesson, I’ve a membership at a great club. Indeed I just switched today, and the new club is charging me next to nothing since I am still under contract to another club that is going downhill pretty quickly. The bike lessons are an experiment – and it was indeed fun when I wasn’t falling 🙂 I will not, however, go to the expense of a good bicycle unless I am convinced that I will actually USE it. I live in an urban environment, and would have to mix with cars if I ride anywhere, unless I took the bike somewhere.

Decisions, decisions, time will tell. I just like having options 🙂

BTW, I found I really like the flat-footed cruser women’s bike with dual hand brakes (no foot brakes). I felt more secure being able to reach the ground with my feet!

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Lowering of the Hammer

The “hammer” of health, that is!

Apparently I am either pre-diabetic, or in the early stages of diabetes. My doctor is unsure which, but one of the two is certain. I do not want diabetes – none in their right mind WOULD, it is a terrible progressive disease that is difficult to live with. However, I am still at the stage where it is possible to have a strong impact and either reverse the course, or at least make things slow down and be more manageable in the long run. Those two words that we all hate to hear our doctors use – eat properly and exercise – I am under doctor’s orders to lose 28 pounds..

But HOW to lose that weight? Outside of occasional exceptions, I do not eat much, and indeed have gained a little weight! Surely I have a slow metabolism, right?

Nope! Yesterday my doctor put me on a machine that is meant to detect my “resting metabolism rate”, and to help determine the optimum range of calories I need to eat for weight loss. Much to my great surprise, my metabolism is FASTER than normal! My doctor tells me that I am not eating enough to lose weight, and assigned me a 1400-1500 calorie range for weight loss!

Now, my kind readers, this is not intuitive to me – eat more to lose weight??? Apparently women in particular can have this arise, if we are not getting enough calories (but not really starving) our bodies “thinks” that we might be in trouble and starts storing everything possible as fat.

So I’ve a caloric range of 1,400-1,500 calories a day, with a carb/protein/fat split of 45, 30,25. Time for the dietician. . .

New Car… again?

Last year I bought the first car ever on financing (before that I always had my cash-paid ancient car). The Mitsubishi Galant GTZ is an incredible car… but the interest rate was WAY too high, and that particular car requires premium gasoline. It is possible to use regular occasionally, but it does require high-test gas. In these times that isn’t so good a combination, so it was time for a new car – or at least a different car with a lower interest rate, better mileage, and a 4-cylinder engine that would be happy with regular gas.

And….. I found it! I have the first actual new car in my life and while the payments are higher, the interest rate is considerably lower and I think that in the long term I have a much better car. It isn’t as sporty – and frankly – I found I really do NOT like leather seats. They look great, but are never comfortable.

So bye bye Mitsubishi Galant GTZ, Hello Mitsubishi Lancer ES (hmmm, there seems to be a developing pattern here 🙂 God willing, I hope this will turn out to have been a good move. The payment is higher than I would like, but I think that over the long term I will actually spend less due to the lower interest. Also, next spring I fully intend on refinancing to get a lower interest rate. We shall see how it develops.

I’ve never had a NEW car before, so right now I am having fun 🙂

Here’s Looking At Ya! (isn’t that a cool front end?)

Here\'s looking at ya!

The Mitsubushi Lancer seems to be their competition with the Toyota Corolla, at least it seems to be. It is a good car and I am quite happy with it. Considering that not-small car payment due every month now – it is a GOOD thing that I like the car 🙂 Very smooth 5-speed and it is geared nicely.

Here is a better look at the car.


What do you think of this?

The person who wrote this poem asked me not to identify her, but when she found out I have a blog she asked me to post this. SHE knows what she means here, but is curious to know if others get it – or WHAT they get from this poem. (I am not so sure that this IS a poem, but that is what she considers it). She is Orthodox, btw. If this isn’t a poem, what IS it?

So, here it is, I will pass any comments along her way:

 ____________________________________________________________________

Far in the distance fading to black
             chains clink
             keys ring
             chaos cackles

Closer in
           boredom waits (predictable)
           routine beckons (illusion of safety)
           distractions entice (delusion of control)

Directly ahead
           Mystery calls
           invisible spectators encourage
           Divine Fire awaits
           Tree of Life in sharp relief

She steps forward . . .