A Good Day

After another wind-swept ride on Saturday, in which I had a disappointing time in a 30-mile route, I spent Sunday with my lovely wife.  Our first activity was going on a 4.5 mile run together.  By “run together,” what I mean to say is she slowed down to a 9:00 minute/mile pace and I struggled to keep up.  You will note a distinct lack of photos.  This is because I do not take good pictures when my heart rate is over 90% capacity.

Our run completed, we then cleaned ourselves up and went grocery shopping.  I was much better able to keep up with my wife in this activity, although it must be said she is exceptionally dexterous in a crowded store and I had a few moments where my ability to follow with the cart was tested.  Sadly, I did not take any photos here either.

Then we went for a bike ride.  Finally, we were in my element.

The Absolute and The Madone at rest during the lunch stop

My wife has not yet reached the point where riding on roads seems to be a rational thing to do.  We therefore opted to stay on pathways for eight miles, which took us to a local shopping center.  Once there, I introduced my wife to the bicycling tradition of the mid-ride snack.  We stepped in to a local Subway sandwich shop and had a lovely break, all the while watching our precious machines through the shop window.  I could have locked the bikes up but there were no bicycle racks nor anything else which would serve the purpose.  Also, it was early on a Sunday afternoon and things were moving slowly in the area.  It was highly unlikely they would be taken so we decided to live life on the edge.

Heading home, mere moments before the demise of the soda cup

By now, the discerning reader will have noted the snazy rack bag on the back of the Absolute.  This handsome addition was purchased a few weeks ago and it was put to use on this ride as the place where my sneakers were stored.  This allowed me to enter the Subway without clomping about on my road shoes – very nice.  My wife also attempted to store her soda from lunch for the return trip.  About half a mile into the return, she discovered that a significant bump (in this case, a road gutter) would launch the cup from this position into the air whereupon it would land on the ground behind her.  This was an inexpensive lesson in the capabilities of her newly bought bike bag.

Heading home on a pleasant Sunday afternoon

Finally, my wife was pleased to try out her very first set of cycling clothes and happily discovered the benefits of a proper chamois pad (which she affectionately calls a “diaper”).  There were far fewer issues with her seat than with previous, unpadded, journeys and morale soared commensurately.

In the end, the ride was about 16 miles.  I was able to introduce my wife to all sorts of exciting aspects of cycling.  In addition to the previously mentioned mid-ride snack, she had a chance to dodge cars coming from side streets, do a little bit of drafting, hear another cyclist shout, “On your left,” and grumble at the slowness of traffic signals to give pedestrians the right of way.  At one point, she flew past me on a hill as I was patiently spinning my wheels to let her catch up.  I attempted to explain that what just occurred was a microcosm of competitive cycling – she attacked on a hill and I was in the wrong gear to respond.

She looked at me like I was an idiot.  I guess she still has a ways to go before fully embracing the roadie ethos.

It was a good day.

A sign of Spring - pollen accumulating on my front tire

The First Day Of Spring

As predicted, the weather for the first “official” day of Spring was fantastic and demanded a ride.  This year’s event was made more special with the maiden voyage of my wife’s new bike, a Fuji Absolute 1.0.

Picking up the bike last month

We bought the Absolute several weeks ago at Big Wheels bike shop in Alexandria.  My wife hadn’t ridden it yet because she is a normal person and hasn’t (yet) been convinced that riding in temperatures below 60 degrees is enjoyable.  So she bided her time and this afternoon provided the perfect opportunity to take it out for a spin.

The Absolute is technically a hybrid bike, but it is basically an entry-level road bike with flat handlebars, a triple crank (normally found on hybrids and mountain bikes to make hill climbing easier), and a rack over the back wheel for putting stuff.  The shifter is a Shimano 105 series, just like what I have on my fancy-pants Madone.  The tires are 28cm, just a tick wider than the 23mm version one normally finds on a road bike.  My wife noted that she often has back problems while riding bikes and the dealer threw in a stem raiser for free, which moved the handlebars up a couple of inches.  Nice.

You can't get companionship like this when riding solo

In memory of my first bike ride on my hybrid in March, 2010, we took the same route – a 13.6 mile course out to the county land fill and back.  Despite a stop for taking off her hoodie and for me to deal with a thrown chain, we bested the time I made on that fateful ride two years ago.  This is all the more impressive since this was her second workout of the day; she went on a five-mile jog in the morning.

Despite the relatively short length, we got to experience most aspects of any bicycle ride.  We dodged pedestrians, joggers and fellow cyclists.  We discussed traffic.  We climbed some hills and flew down the other side of them.  We even had a mechanical (my chain derailment).  All in all, it was a great first ride and I’m hoping for many more to come.

A proud cyclist and her bike