I've been really good friends with my bike lately. She's a hybrid, not a road bike and not a mountain bike. She really is a good looking bike. I got her last year but once it got cold, I was done. Riding Blue Betty doesn't hurt my hip at all and it actually feels like it's getting better. And in the process I've found that I really like riding. It's usually never too hot to go out since you have a nice breeze blowing the whole time. And the miles go by much quicker than running and it feels good to go fast. I've always been afraid of going fast, o.k. more like afraid of wrecking while going fast. But the more I ride, the more confident I'm getting. Blue Betty is the first bike I've had since I was a kid and it's the first bike I've ever had with gears. Everything about it has been a learning experience. It's surprising to see how much my once a week cycling class has done for me. It's taught me the proper positioning on a bike (bend like a Barbie at the waist and don't hunch over, that cadence is more important than speed, to shift down on the uphills and keep my cadence the same, to shift up if I'm even slightly bouncing on the seat, to move back in the saddle a little to relieve some pressure on that rear end, and work on scraping through the 3 and 9 positions on the pedals rather than just pushing down. Of course that last one's been hard to do since I've just been wearing my running shoes until yesterday.
Yesterday was the big day that I've been dreading for a while now. I've heard horror stories of people not being able to clip out of their pedals and falling down at stop signs. But since my mileage on the bike has gone up and my feet have started aching I decided it was probably time to get those clippity clop shoes give it a shot. Really, biking shoes are so much different than running. There's as stiff as can be, no flexibility at all, set you back on your heels, and are fairly tight fitting. No thumbs room in the toe there. But there's one thing they're the same in; they're both expensive. I don't want to admit how long it actually took me to figure out how to even clip in the first one. But after I did, there was the second problem of how to get the other one clipped in while now moving and balancing on the bike. I'm sure if anyone was watching me, they were getting in a good laugh. Probably pulling out their cameras for an America's Funniest Home Video moment. Once I got clipped in though, it wasn't bad. So I went for a little ride. Wow, there is a huge difference between pedaling in shoes and being clipped in. For one thing, it works your hamstrings. I know this because I was already sore there and I could feel almost every movement. However, this makes it so that you get a really even workout. It also makes for a smoother, slightly faster ride. As I rode around my usual loop, I realized that I was going to have to stop and cross main street. I had unclipped at a couple of stop signs but had plenty of time to get clipped back in across a not busy street. I unclipped about a block away just to be sure and was able to clip back in fairly easily. I turned the corner to get back to home very pleased with how well I had done. As I was congratulating myself about my good job, I pulled into the driveway, put on the brakes and realized that I wasn't unclipped as I fell to the ground. Yep, congratulations Jen, you made it clear to the driveway and then wiped out standing still. Nice. After bandaging up my knee I went out again lesson learned. Unclip before you brake and don't be cocky.
Lastly, the thing I love the most about biking is the smells. I don't know why I don't notice them running. Maybe it's a speed thing. But I can smell the best smells while out riding. Grass being freshly mowed, roses blooming, the trees, and the further away from town I get the better it gets. There's fresh hay being cut, hot dirt (I don't know why I like this smell, maybe it reminds me of my childhood), even the water in the ditches smells good. I love being outdoors and seeing some really great scenery. I'm going to take my camera next time because it's absolutely beautiful.
So this is what I've been up to the last couple of weeks: I hope to mix some more running in there as my hip is feeling better all the time. But for now I'm just really enjoying my time riding Blue Betty.
Monday- weight class, 20 mile bike ride
Tuesday- 22 mile bike ride
Wednesday- weight class, 11 mile bike ride, 3 mile hike with the Cub Scouts
Thursday- 15 mile bike ride
Friday- cycling class (12 miles), 28 mile bike ride
Saturday- 10 mile run
Monday- weight class, 29 mile bike ride
Tuesday- 20 mile bike ride
Wednesday- weight class
Thursday- 4 mile run, 17 mile bike ride
Friday- cycling class (10 miles) 22 mile bike ride