Preparations, preparations, preparations.
With the big D.C. road trip now less than a month away, details are firming up about times, dates and escapades. One of the recent suggestions by my hosts up north was a tour around town via a Segway.
Though I’ve never ridden a Segway, I have a lot of previous experience with the contraption, through a bizarre assignment with my last company that, thankfully, never came to fruition. They’re cool little thingies, though, so I imagine it would be fun.
But a couple days later, a new question was proffered me: Am I a cyclist? I responded that I owned a bike, but was not currently experiencing the joy of cycling travel. I was pointed to a website describing an extended tour of the town and sights in a bicycling tour. That also sounded like fun. All the equipment would be provided up there, so I wouldn’t need to lug my bike on the 1,000 mile journey.
Given the possibility of the biking adventure, I figured it would be a good idea to actually ride a bike again to get myself practiced. As I was discussing with my tennis buddies, I wasn’t so much concerned about the legs as I was with the butt and lungs.
Yesterday, I spent a little while on the patio cleaning up the bike (leave anything outside in Florida, even on a patio, and you’re going to collect a variety of things that need cleaning off). Then a few moments of pumping and the bike stood ready and inflated. Though it was too late by then to take off (I wasn’t going to try my first extended bike ride in a while during rush hour), I planned on taking it for a spin today.
I was talking to my Dad on the phone while I was cleaning the bike and he asked me if I had a helmet (no) and whether I planned to get one. I see all the people on bikes with helmets. I get it. But can I ask a question? What happened? Did bikes get less stable? Did people get less capable? What’s with all the roller derby get up today? Sorry, unannounced digression. Move along please.
We actually got three sets of tennis in this morning, but I still felt pretty fresh, so I put the Bluetooth and phone in my pockets, took one house key and rolled the bike out the patio door and took off. My development has a nice wide walking/biking path that wraps around the area with little interaction with real traffic except at some key points. Running the route all the way to its extreme and back is about five miles.
I thought that I would cut the trip roughly in half, seeing as this was my first run in a while. The first thing I immediately noticed was how much my knees hurt. Crazy, huh? Maybe it was the tennis this morning (I’ll find out tomorrow when I go for another spin), but those knees ached when I was pedaling. It’s been a while, as I’ve said, but I can’t recall the knees being a problem before.
On the plus side, there wasn’t a problem anywhere else. Yeah, I was puffing a little on the home stretch, which was into the wind (why is it that no matter what direction I start, I always end up coming back against the wind?), but no issues from the calves, back or butt. After putting the bike away, I felt a little tight in the calf, but that was gone after my shower. I expect I will do a little pre-ride stretching next time.
I have a few weeks to try and tune-up my bike riding prowess (which, in those long lost times of my youth was sufficient for some significant bike rides with my old school buddy), which will most likely entail simply riding the bike every day (weather permitting) and extending the distance as I grow more competent. Hopefully, the knee thing was simply a result of three sets of hard court tennis. I’ll try not to combine those two exercises in the future…or at least not in that order.
There’s nothing I can do to “practice” on a Segway, but I hope to be fully bike-worthy by the time I hit the “mean” streets of D.C. I’m really liking the idea of biking. Unless it’s cold. Then I’ll be taking public transportation and bundled up like an Eskimo.