Back on the bike. Hoo-freakin-ray. Rode to work Monday, and then rode to work and over to vote Tuesday. That’d be two fer two on the week, and the first couple rides I’ve been on since - oooo boy - May 10th.
Lungs felt like raw meat both days. But, yesterday I even shifted into the big ring for a brief interlude (slight downhill and had to jump two lanes to get to the left turn spot), so there’s already a bit of palpable progress. Feels good to be riding even if it doesn’t always feel easy to be pedaling. Hopefully the comfort will increase. It sure fell off considerably while lying around for the past few weeks. It’s funny what gets sore when you stay sedentary. As an example, I’ve got this wierd soreness in my tailbone. It disappears when I ride, and feels better already after a couple of bike trips. I actually know from personal previous impact experience that bit of the body is slow to heal. So, we’ll see. Wrangle the system back to movement and rest, activity and recovery, as opposed to frantic work during the few moments of lucidity followed by beached whale lethargy.
Moseying around yesterday in the still-chilly (l/s wool jersey and knickers) June weather, I had a chance to play with crosswind response techniques and to modify the model that was in my head.
A recent thread on the iBob list about “High Trail Stability vs “Down the Road” Stability” gave me a head-slapping moment that probably most folks have figured out.
Somewhere in the conversation, it was stated that crosswinds act primarily upon the rider, with the body acting as a sail which pushes the frame in the direction as the wind. Since there is a “hinge” in the system at the headset, the tendancy will be to turn the bars and fork into the wind. As the bicycle turns by countersteering, this act pitches the bicycle with the wind, instituting a change of course in that direction.
I have to admit that my mental model of crosswinds has involved the wind redirecting my front wheel. Thus, when I actually think about how to respond*, my actions are exactly wrong - i.e. holding the front wheel “against the wind”.
Luckily (?), yesterday the SF Bay Area winds were out in decent force. It gave me ample opportunity to try some new concious techniques for crosswinds. I found that by relaxing the lee-side hand and arm - in effect turning the bars slightly in the direction the wind wanted to send me - it was incredibly easy to keep going straight.
I’m sure this is already obvious for a lot of folks, but restating the model in this way was such a eye-opener, I thought I’d say it here.
* In many cases, I’m probably doing the right thing, as I’m generally able to hold a pretty good line. But, when I’ve encountered really strong side winds and start focusing on those, it seems that things get a little squirrely.
It’s 5:15 as I type this, and the eastern sky that can be seen through the shades has gone from indigo to lightening white over the past quarter hour. I’ve been up since a little before four and feel curiously awake. In fact, it’s only in the past minutes that I’ve poured coffee.
The little dog popped up, skittered out here to see what was going on, then wisely negotiated her way back onto the big bed once her doggie business had been attended to. Tashi is still puttering around, as she’s been for the last hour or so. I’ve given her a few snacks to keep interest up, but am trying to maintain the discipline of the 6 am breakfast. So, she’s got to hang in there for at least a half hour.
Went to bed just around midnight, on the couch. Since Tashi has decided that for whatever reason, she now likes to sleep out in the living room, I come out here so that I can close the doors to reduce the nail-clacking echoes before she settles.
Last night was a pretty rare event. My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Just how rare was exemplified by a comment one of the people made. She’d gone looking for a 50th Anniversary card, and found to her dismay that no one seemed to have them. Clearly, they have made it to the thin end of the bell curve. I couldn’t be prouder of them.
It was fun too, as they’d collected a pretty good-sized audience, between friends, out-of-town relatives and the like. Got to see folks who were in their wedding party. I’d been putting together a computer slideshow of photos which spanned from their high school yearbook photos until now. Everything went off without a hitch or a glitch, and seemed to be well-recieved.
The real fun was getting up in front of everyone with my brother and sister, each of us to make a toast or share a memory. In addition to some wonderful thoughts from both of them, it quickly devolved into a bit of sibling banter that you couldn’t have scripted or predicted. None of it would transcribe particularly well, but it got laughs, got us laughing, and served as a reminder of how strong our ties are, even though geography and circumstance keep us a bit separated these days.
Came home late to the inevitable cleanup. But, it wasn’t too bad and we had things scrubbed up quickly. I took little dog out on a loop around the neighborhood, and realized that I actually felt semi-clear-brained and not bad for the first time in weeks. Hopefully, that’ll hold on now, and I can get riding again. Been too danged long.