Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15!! No, not just tax day (104 commutes by muscle in 52 weeks)

Day 366!  Grand total:  127 commutes by muscle.  

Lesson:  City cycling is not for weenies

Worse for wear

NEXT:  UP THE ANTE.  Transportation by muscle 3 times a week for a year.  Want to join me?  

Thank you visitors and followers.  Shutting down here for a few weeks.  Still sloggin', I mean bloggin' away at

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Home Stretch Reflections: Week 50

"Our teapots are broken,
 our rocking chairs smashed, 
and our bicycle tires
 all blew up when we crashed..." 
from Horton Hears a Who

There's a bicyclist in town who sports an impressive set of safety gear: front and rear helmet lights, a headlight, tail light (all lights going, day or night), reflective jacket and vest, reflectors on the fender, reflectors on the spokes of his wheels and on velcro ties around his ankles, all topped off with a flag.  I'm tempted to ask if this was because of some kind of bicycle trauma that he doesn't want to repeat, or if he just likes gear.

Not that I blame him.

There was a time when I avoided wearing safety equipment. It felt like a bull's eye, all that flashing and winking and shining. Come on cars, here I am.  Come and get me. 

Reflective materials, however, have risen in my estimation ...

...especially when someone else wears them.  Illumination in a drizzle, or before dawn, or at rush hour, is good.  

The anonymosity of dark in the city lights
Photo by Boegh (Flickr)

Anyone who bicycles in this car-mad world deserves to strut their stuff.

Reflective design on my rain jacket

"We are here, we are here, 
we are here, we are here!"
 (Horton's Whos)

Week 49:  walked 1x, bicycled 2x.
Week 50: bicycled 3x 
Week 51:  walked 1x, bicycled FIVE TIMESEnd date:  April 15.  Grand total:  124, TWENTY in the bank.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Update: 104 commutes by muscle in 52 weeks

Week 45:  walked 1x, bicycled 3x. 
Week 47:  walked zero, bicycled 2x 
Week 48:  walked 3x, bicycled zero. End date:  April 15.  Grand total:  112, 16 in the bank.

MILESTONE:  Week 45: 105

6 weeks to spare!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mission Impossible (Commute by Muscle 104 Times in 52 Weeks)

The new boss: a list. Make it. Check it twice.

Remember Mission Impossible? This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds.  There's a new Facebook app like this. On the sender's order, it erases a message ten seconds after it is read.  Kaput, gone forever.  Who would put something so secret on Facebook that it needs to be immediately erased? Forget I asked. Let's just say now anyone can put something awful on the Internet and before it can be used as evidence --poof-- it disappears.  Everybody gets to feel like a spy.

I digress.

Make a list.  Even though, like all lists, it doesn't have any real power, even though it can fall through the cracks in the sofa or get chewed up by the dog, it mysteriously carries more weight than if you tell yourself, in your head, today I'm going to bicycle.  Your head is very good at talking itself out of things.  

This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds.  

(Update on the quest to commute, powered by muscle, 104 times in 52 weeks.  Week 43:  walked 2x, bicycled zero. Week 44:  walked 2x, bicycled zero Week 45:  walked 1x, bicycled 3x. End date:  April 15.  Grand total:  103, 13 in the bank).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Reaching Your Goals, With A Little Help From Your Friends (Commute by muscle, 104 times in 52 weeks)

"Let's walk," says my friend.  

I start to say, "It's cold. Let's drive."  

Conversation in my head

"OK. Let's walk."  

The sun comes out for the first time in a week.  She points out daisies blooming in the grass.

Another day, it's pouring rain, so naturally I drive.  A friend shows up in a snazzy neon jacket, leggings and a dress, ruddy cheeked and smiling.  She bicycled and she looked great. Could have been me. Should have.


Sunday morning, hunched over the laptop and the man of the house says, "I'm going for a walk.  Want to come?"



We walk seven miles.  It's cold and foggy, but doesn't take long to warm up.  We see brave souls getting ready for the polar plunge fundraiser for the Special Olympics.  If that doesn't make me feel wimpy ...

2012 Polar Plunge, photo by KVAL
Ten weeks to go.  Life and love might pull me over the finish line, in spite of myself.  

(Update on the quest to commute, powered by muscle, 104 times in 52 weeks.  Week 40:  walked 2x, bicycled zero. Week 41:  walked 2x, bicycled zero.  Week 42:  walked 2x, bicycled zero. Start date and end date:  April 15.  Grand total:  95, 11 in the bank).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Do 4 Things. Reach Your Goal. 104 rides in 52 weeks.

Why oh why do we fail to follow through on our goals? 

Wait. Does walking the parking lot from grocery store to Bi-Mart count as a walk? (No.)

What if it's a really big parking lot?

Photo: thank you Morguefile and jppi


It's only Jan. 12, and my resolution to get out of the car is already crumbling. The extra commutes-by-muscle accumulated last summer are dwindling, and my one-year deadline (April 15) to car-free-commute 104 times in 52 weeks is speeding toward us. 

My excuses:  
Too cold. Helmet hair. Takes too much time.  Biking is too scary. Too many cars. Violates the herd instinct.  Blah, blah. 

This calls for an intervention.  

I conducted a study of Self Help experts on the subject.

To reach goals you need to do 4 things:  

1. Make a plan.  Write it down. Divide it into 5 subgoals.  Write them down.  Choose a reward for every milestone.  Write it down.  Look at all three, every day.  

2.  Imagine how reaching the goal will benefit you and other people.  

Photo by mrhayata at

3.  Tell someone else your goal. 
Photo by law_keven
4.  Start.  Just start. Subconscious minds don't like unfinished projects and will niggle and nag until a job is done.  People who don't get started, don't get started.  Or finished.  They procrastinate instead.

OKAY.  Tomorrow I walk to the mailbox and back, or bust. 

Photo: thank you Morguefile and Schick

(Update on the quest to commute, powered by muscle, 104 times in 52 weeks.  Week 38:  walked 1x, bicycled zero. Week 39:  walked 1x, bicycled zero. (BOO) Start date and end date:  April 15.  Grand total:  89, 11 in the bank).

Source of the authority on how to achieve goals:  59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot, Richard Wiseman

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Holiday Insulation

(Update on the quest to commute, powered by muscle, 104 times in 52 weeks.  Week 35:  walked 2x, bicycled zero. Week 36:  walked 1x, bicycled zero. Week 37: walked 1x, bicycled ONE! YEAH! Grand total:  86, 12 in the bank).

Ta dah! Just when the check-in on how often I use my muscles to get around was getting to feel like a Weight Watcher's Weigh-In after a cookie exchange ...
... the urge to cycle descended from, or perhaps was ordered by, the heavens.  The sun came out, the frost sparkled, the leaves in the bike path dried up. 

It was cold as the North Pole, but I DIDN'T CARE.  See what a couple weeks of holiday eating brings?  Insulation.  

Shook out the puffy coat, ear warmer and mittens ...
A friend noted that this coat makes my head look small.  Believe me, nothing could be further from the truth.
Checked the tires and CYCLED. 

Frozen puddle
Auspicious start to 2012.  Happy cycling all.