Thursday, May 31, 2007

Have you ever.....?

23 miles today. This is really starting to be fun. I am riding west on 22nd St Causeway near Hwy 301 trying to make the green light to cross. Have you ever dreamed of driving a car and the steering wheel comes off in your hands? Well........How about riding a bicycle at the aforementioned location and the clamp on the handlebars comes loose and starts to slide out? Yes......I could not steer, brake, or shift. Well.....actually I could.....but rather erratically with a handlebar that rotates and slides back and forth. So I pull over in the knee deep grass and look in my tool case for the correct hex key. Naturally I don't have one(reminder to get tools). What I did find was an old console TV set, broken. So I picked up a piece of wood from the TV and used it as a makeshift hammer(reminder to get tools) to drive the handlebar back to the center position.(Ingenuity Huh?) But now I needed a wrench to tighten it.(reminder to get tools). So the handlebar still rotates. I drive it back out, find a few splinters from the TV, and shove them under the clamp and then hammer(reminder to get tools) the handlebar back to center. SUCCESS!!! Thankfully I was only about two miles from CardioStart and some real tools.
TGTF Tomorrow is Friday again. Trip to St Petersburg. Maybe a long ride Saturday(with tools).

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WOW....Where do the days go?

Here it is Wednesday already. How time flys when you're having so much fun. I took a short 15 mile ride this morning to Fire Tower Hill and around some local streets. Going to CardioStart in a few minutes. Of course that means riding back in the heat of the day around 3:30/4:00. However, I have convinced myself that gas costs too much. Friday is the day I drive to St Petersburg and I have been filling up every week. I am trying to stretch it out to filling up every two weeks by cutting back on driving and using the bicycle more. I need to get a pannier for the rear, or a rack pack so I can carry grocery items etc.
Back from CardioStart, naturally against the wind again. It doesn't happen very often but I had to pedal downhill as I crossed over I-75. The breeze sure does make it nice in the evenings but rough when riding. Not a bad day after all, 37 miles total.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hillsborough River State Park

32 miles today. Again my camera was at home. It's a nice ride north out of Brandon and around Lake Thonotosassa. A few hills, nothing extreme, but a lot of shady roads. A stopover at John B Sargeant Park and a ride on the Old Fort King Trail breaks the ride and gives a respite to riding with no shoulder and a lot of Memorial weekend traffic. At least Hwy 301 has a wide shoulder and you can use the trail to stay off road for a few miles. I'll give some consideration to the TBF Annual Picnic in two weeks at Sargeant Park, if I can figure a way to carry my 'stuff' on the Mongoose.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Good Day Saturday

Was able to put in 22 miles today and never got more than about five miles from the house. Biked to Wal-Mart to do some shopping then a ride around the neighborhood. Next time I'll take my camera. There was an auto show nearby with a lot of custom cars from the 50's and 60's. Seeing those cars made me remember when I owned a 1953 Ford Custom. I remember paying $0.179 per gallon for gas. Yes, that's correct, seventeen cents a gallon. Later in the day rode to Publix to do a little grocery shopping. I am beginning to think I could probably cut 50% of my auto usage if I really put my mind to it. I am thinking that if I ride my bike places that I previously used the car, I should be able to count those miles when figuring out my gas mileage. In other words, suppose I normally used the car for 100 miles per week and got 20 miles per gallon. Then I start using the bike and am able to cut my auto miles to 50 miles per week. I am actually still going 100 miles to get my 'stuff' done. Therefore my fuel mileage should go from 20 mpg to 40 mpg. As a result my gas expense has been cut 50%. Kinda makes me feel good .

Friday, May 25, 2007


I wish I had a job so I too could be thankful it's Friday.
How's this for alternative transportation? I shot this while in Arequipa, Peru, on a surgery mission. It looks like Momma, Baby and Mother-in-Law, with Dad supplying the power.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Great day.....for a sailboat

Late start today. Doc appointment in Plant City. Was tempted to ride but just could not get ready quick enough and I wasn't sure if there was a place to wash up prior to my appointment. So I was left with only my 22 mile RT to CardioStart as my daily ride. With an easterly wind at my back, all the way, I made the trip to work in a little over 30 minutes. I know you guys with the road bikes are saying, fast??? I ride an old steel frame Mongoose. Never weighed it, but it is heavy. The bad part is the return home ride at 4:00 PM, against the same wind. Would you believe 1 1/2 hrs? Of course I did stop twice to hydrate. St Petersburg tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Happy Wednesday

Just finished a breakfast of cheese grits, banana, orange juice and a few slices of apple with decaf coffee. A short 12 mile ride this morning around the neighborhood, Davis Park and local roads. Just have too much work to catch up on. The July cardiac surgery mission to Grenada needs some fine tuning and I need to head to CardioStart House to check on the recently poured concrete pad and to see how Ernesto is doing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Little of My Life(continued from About Me)

During WWII my Dad brought home my first bike, a single speed "English" bike with "skinny" tires. It was so big I had to step up on a wooden crate to mount. Once I got rolling I had to move my butt from one side of the cross bar to the other to pedal. I learned to brake(coaster brake) and jump off at the same time(usually). Sometimes it was not so graceful. Many skinned knees, elbows, other abrasions and contusions later, I became a master. I was allowed to leave the confines of our driveway and venture out into the beckoning world of Shallcross Avenue.

In the year 1943 there were not very many automobiles around to make biking unsafe. We had enough trouble with running into curbs, trees, light poles and the neighbors hedges, we didn't need automobiles. Mrs McCann's hedges saved me many an embarrassing "too fast to turn into the cinder driveway" arrival home. As years went by a new Columbia single speed cruiser appeared under the Christmas Tree and the old "English" bike went away, I guess to eventually be turned into our 1953 Ford Sedan.

The late 40's saw us fixing flat tires by carrying a roll of friction tape(pre-plastic electrical tape). A few wraps around the tire and rim and you were good for another days riding. Rather a bumpy ride after several tire repairs. Summer days were spent biking to the local airport for airline stickers to adorn our two wheel steeds. When we got home it was tough trying to explain to Mom & Dad that we did not ride about 20 miles to the airport. Some days it was just a ride to the creek for a day of cool bathing in the old swimming hole.

I guess I never really lost my love of biking although many things became more important. Like school, work, love, marriage, family, weddings, and finally(I hope not literally) I am back to my love for biking. My interest was probably renewed about 1999 after my first heart attack and subsequent second heart attack. Then two total knee replacements gave me something to prove, that my knee replacements were better than my originals.(and they are) Also needed to rebuild a lot of heart muscle, which I am doing by my exercising, riding, and tackling the dreaded Lithia Springs Hill.(Now you locals will know where I ride).

My son Chris,(the tri-athelete), tells me I should get a lighter and thus faster bike.(I ride an old steel frame Mongoose Mountain Bike). But heck, I am in it for the exercise, not the speed. If I was to buy a lighter, faster steed I would need to ride further to get the same exercise. Now I ride 12 miles each way to my "work" and on off days and weekends I try to do at least 20/30 miles a day. I subscribe to the mag "Adventure Cyclist", read it cover to cover, several times, and dream. if only............

I feel great. But I know to many of you, that is no surprise. Biking does that to you. Tell me about your experiences, your adventures, what started you biking. You all know now that I am an old man, so I promise not to flirt with the pretty ones. Even if I did I probably wouldn't remember why I was firting.