Archive for ‘biking’

July 29, 2012

Need for Speed

Am writing this while watching the Olympic hopefuls sail along rainy London streets on their bikes. The women are so fast. I love sports where you go fast, like skiing and biking.

The other day I was riding my bike to work and there was a woman running faster than I was riding on my bike. That was one fast runner.

There’s used to be a myth that only men liked the adrenaline rush of the high-speed chase. But women (and kids) do too. It’s a human instinct to push our physical limits and thrill with the ride. We were born to run.

And now that I’ve admitted my own need for speed, let me post a couple of pictures from my long walk in the Adirondacks.

While I love to run and ride and go fast, it’s easier to snap a pic when you walk and amble and go slow. It’s easier to savor the moment when you slow it all down.

To catch a good photo, you have to pause to frame it. To enjoy a moment, you have to stop and savor it. And any sport that you do outdoors, reminds you to love nature.

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July 12, 2012

Biking in New York City

signage in a bike shop window in Portland

I love riding my bike in New York City. I love when I forget my helmet and I feel the wind in my hair. I used to not wear a helmet at all but then I had kids and I valued my life (and my brains) more.  I always make the kids wear a helmet now too.

I think I started riding a bike in the city when I was about 30 and had just broken up with my ex. At that time, if a girlfriend and I were going out for a drink, my friend’d take a cab and I’d ride my Schwinn. We’d set off at the same moment. And I’d always get there first.

Mostly now, I just ride my bike to work. The bus or subway takes about 30 minutes. I’ve pedaled the 45 blocks in less than 15 minutes.

my morning commute

Besides, staying healthy, saving money, I sail past trees and grass and flowers and happy people in the park. I have a lovely commute through Riverside Park.

Pulling in to my work garage, I used to think people were kind of laughing at me and my bike. Now? Am I imaging it? — coworkers seem slightly jealous. I have a sweet ride.

Ten thousand new bikes are about to be launched on New York City streets through a bike-sharing program. Cool. Every day, my fellow New Yorkers will discover my secret pleasure — commuting to work by bike.

I’m not worried about my route getting clogged with bikers, because most of the bike stations will be in midtown and downtown.

This blog post could easily have been written for another one of my blogs, My Beautiful New York blog. I love New York City.

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May 27, 2011

Love Tennis

I love biking, tennis and soul food.

That’s what I was thinking when I was riding to work yesterday. But I couldn’t think long, because I kept stopping to snap pictures of peonies.

I played tennis two nights this week. And thus, my energy for blogging has waned. I’ve been waking up all creaky from the tennis, but then anxious to play again. Last night Dan invited me to play for the third night in a row (Thanks Dan!). But instead, I chose sangria and soul food with girlfriends (Thanks Angelique & Cindy) at the fabulous Melba’s in Harlem (Thanks Larry for the recommendation).

I discovered when we walked back to unlock my bike after Melba’s that Harlem was spinning and there was something stronger than white wine in those white sangrias!  So I stuck to biking through the safety of Central Park not the mean city streets.

And even though I didn’t play tennis last night, I woke up today, again, all creaky and achey. Tennis or sangria? Pick your poison. You’ll pay in the morning.

Just stop on the way to smell the flowers.

May 14, 2011

Room for Bikes

With no fanfare a bike room opened in the basement of 475 Riverside Drive, the Interchurch Center.

Bikes now have their own bright room. (Thanks, I think, to the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and Bike New York who have both moved into the building within the last five years.)

Bikes used to live in a corner overshadowed by the exhaust fumes of the cars. The bikes knew they were second class citizens to the cars. Heck, I knew. And I didn’t really want to admit tell my bike.

The bike racks were in a dusty corner. On more than one occasion, I bumped my head against the fire alarm and knocked my shin against my pedal getting the bike in or out.

I know I shouldn’t anthropomorphize my bike any more

— the way I anthropomorphize ice cream

http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/public-school-rules/

or my creativity http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/good-enough/.

Bikes aren’t human. They don’t get crushes on other bikes as I’ve previously reported.

See https://runningaground.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/damn-you-gary-fisher/

But I can’t stop. My bike is my child. As my real children get older, I still have my good old bike. It will live with me always. It needs its own room. As a teen it needs privacy. But, as a parent, I still need know what it is doing in there.

Like children, biking in New York City has grown up without me noticing. Mine used to be one of a few bikes in the basement. But now there are more than a dozen — more fun for my bike to play with.

May 2, 2011

5 Boro Bike Tour

Coming back on the ferry

I did it. Along with more than 30,000 other bicyclists. The 5 boro bike tour. I can cross it off my bucket list.

I started around 8 am in Manhattan right before Central Park South. (I’d heard the beginning of the tour at Battery Park was a zoo so skipped to the Park.) I finished 45 miles and four hours later in Staten Island.

After a while, all the bridges and boros (boroughs) looked the same. Was I in Brooklyn or Queens? I knew it wasn’t the Bronx because that leg of the tour was brief.

Occasionally a family would be picnicking on their front steps, cheering us on. That felt good. I’d yell to them, “Thanks! We love Brooklyn.” Then I’d wonder, ‘Are we in Brooklyn? Or do I love Queens?’

Although I ride my bike almost every day to work, I’m not  a spandex-wearing hottie. In fact, I only just bought bike shorts for the tour. (Still, my tush is a little sore today!)

I usually use my bike just to get someplace. Yesterday, my bike got me to every boro and then at the end, I got to the NYU Hospital. Not for a problem though. It was a celebration for all kids who have had heart problems called the Mend-A-Heart party. My kids love this annual party. And my son is so proud, “Look because of my heart problems, you get to go to this great party!” Yay for broken hearts that are repaired!

Back to the tour — my new bike rocked. It’s a hybrid, not a racing back like most of the bikes on the tour.

I think this was Brooklyn

I was glad I had a basket to throw my banana peels and health bar wrappers into. Also, I could peel off layers of clothing as the sun and exertion warmed me. Occasionally after hitting a pothole, I had to pat down the contents of my basket while riding so my water bottle wouldn’t go flying.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Of the 5 bridges you cross on the 5 boro bike tour, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at Mile 35 was the deadliest. It just kept climbing for miles and miles and miles. At several points going up, I had a mirage that there — just ahead — it was about to go downhill. But no. It was completely uphill the whole way. Okay, maybe the last two minutes I hit some down hill.

I was thinking that whole way up — what goes up must come down. Then just when I felt like giving up, I was inspired by my friend P’s text, “Stay strong,” she wrote. “Free massages at the end.”

But I didn’t need one of those free massages, I just needed to lay down in the green grass of Staten Island. Really exhausted and really proud.

April 21, 2011

Small is Beautiful

When I posted on this fitness blog that I wanted to lose 5 to 10 pounds, I got a huge number of readers — more than 60. The number of readers inspired me. I’d hit a nerve. I planned to update regularly on the good news of my easy weight loss. Ummm… Hmmm… Not so much.

Since posting that goal, I’ve said nothing on this blog. I have nothing to report.

As someone who’s never tried to lose weight, I’ve discovered that the story of weight loss is boring. And not too fun. I am not a fan of depriving myself, even in small amounts.

I have tried to cut my portions. Like last Sunday, instead of eating a whole burrito from Chipotle, I split it with my son. I am trying to eat a little less, eat a little healthier and ride my new bike a little more. This does not make for a good story. Good stories have drama — big news, big changes, big ideas, big laughs.

Yet — small is beautiful. Take, for example, small boxes from Tiffany’s, small children in strollers, small status udpates, small acts of kindness.

I’m all for little things making a difference over the long haul. I’d like to post some huge, big news. But all I’ve got today is this one small idea. Small is beautiful.

April 9, 2011

How To Lose 5 to 10 Pounds

I'm totally embarrassed to post this picture...

I want to lose 5 to 10 pounds. It’s not a lot and it’s not a big deal. But I want to be faster and lighter. Being fast is important to me, as an overachieving Type A mother and writer living in New York City.

My weight has crept up. When I first met my husband about 18 years ago I was just under 110 pounds. I’m about 5’6” so yes, that was too thin. Since those happy salad days when I was single and 30, I’ve eked up a pound or two every year.

After my son was born 14 years ago, I was around 135, and then along came my twin daughters and another pound or so every year. You get the idea. A pound a year isn’t much, but if I live to my late 90s, that’s another 50 years and another 50 pounds! And I’ve heard from older women, as we age it’s harder to lose weight.

So I’m posting this goal on this blog, Running Aground. There’s been a kind of magic for me to blogging — it’s turned some things around. This is my goal — by the end of 2011, I’m aiming to lose 5 to 10 pounds and be back under 140 pounds.

Blogging works. I achieved my goal of running a 5K after blogging about it. I”m proud of myself for running a 5K on a rainy, hilly Upper Manhattan race a month ago.

Like my 5K goal, this 5 to 10 pounds weight loss goal is a SMART goal — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Sensitive.

I see two trends I can immediately implement to work towards my goal: more cardio, less carbs.

Since my plantar  fasciitis, I’ve slacked on my cardio, but with the nice weather, I’m going to dust off my bike (or buy a new one) and bike a bit in Central Park and Riverside Park to kick in the endorphins.

I’m doing this to feel good, and, yes, to look good too. And to stay fast.