Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Ahem! Ewww...I tasted that one..

So, I'm still trying to find my voice. I figure I better write more, either to find out if I'm actually any good at this, or if I'm just a hack, like I am at a being a [quotey fingers] musician. Blogging feels weird, like I'm exposing a body part. Performing on a stage in front of a crowd is much easier than this.

The other day, I mentioned that I would be posting on the weekend next, and it's not that yet. I need more practice than that. Either that, or I just changed my mind. I just learned that, even, gum is doing that these days, so this must mean that fickle is the new committed. Thank goodness for progress.

Way back in the dark ages before I really discovered what the interwebs was all about, someone suggested to me that I should start keeping a blog of my bike commuting tales. In those days, I was riding 22 miles to work, across lakes, freeways, forests, hills, parks, and Bill Gates' neighborhood. There was always a story to tell. Lucky for me, I found a readable blog that told such stories in a better way than I could, I decided it was unnecessary to try to do the same thing. Moreover, now, my commute is half the distance it was, and isn't nearly as exciting. Before, I had a ride; now I have a commute.

So, what will I write about? I'm not really sure, but I'm hoping it turns out well. Chances are good, that I'll write something that will forever damage my blog's opinion of itself and put it into years of therapy. Maybe then, it can run away to a higher learning institution, run up an insurmountable debt, share late night bonding moments with other, similarly damaged blogs, and stop speaking to me for a while. Then, I guess that means I would have done a good job after all; it has something to share with intimate friends. One can hope.

As such, I leave my bike commuting as a backdrop, like a persistent rain. I'm not trying to sound negative; rain is know as 'liquid sunshine' around here. There are other things known as liquid sunshine, though too, that taste much better. I'd like to think I'm a cyclist first, before I'm other things, but it probably comes second. It's tough to be anything other than a woman, first, even in our 'You've come a long way, baby,' world.


With that said, it is Bike Month, and like every Bike Month, people ask me for tips about riding to work.

Every year, I get at least one person that asks me about riding with clipless pedals. A lot of riders take attitude against flat pedal riders. Sure. Once you know how nice it is to pedal your bike in a circle, rather than one side at a time, it's tough to imagine why anyone would continue to ride without them. Sorry, Senor Clipless; you weren't born with cleats attached to your feet. You had to learn to. Flat pedal riders, just don't know any better yet.

Here's a quick how to:

It's important to be aware, that when you're learning how to ride with clipless pedals, you have to accept that the term itself does not make any sense, and therefore, some of things you will do while riding your new pedals will not make sense either. With flat pedals, you could pedal right up to the point of stopping, and then put your foot down and the bike won't fall over. With clipless, you will crash. Bring bandaids.

The simple fact of the matter is, you probably already know how to turn the pedals, it's the stopping that you have to be careful of. For some it's more easily said than done. If that's the case for you, then do that. As you're stopping, remember to remind yourself, "Click out, before you stop,"and you'll be fine. If you say it, you will be more likely to do it. If you're like me, however, and you talk so slowly that your brain has to wait until you've finished speaking to know what you have to do, you may want to shorten this to something more actionable, like 'AAAAAACCKK!!' Say it out loud if it helps.

With that, I also want to point out, that it's important to keep up on proper nutrition and hydration. After you've been working out, or riding around, for a while, your body will be burning calories, electrolytes and sugars. Don't quote me on the exact science of this, but it has something to do with the fact that, because you're doing something, something else happens. If you burn up too many blood sugars, your mind starts to do wacky things, and you will be more likely to fall over, especially if you're just learning clipless. As you're learning, be sure to keep a sports drink with you. With that, I'm sure you will find success. If you don't, remember to take your bike back to the shop where you purchased the pedals, and say that they're defective.

Ride safe! I love you all.

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