Jacque Anquetil's 1962 Tour de France Winning Bike

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The First 14

I turned 49 on June 30, 2011.  Forty-nine is too old, so I call my age seven squared.  Seven squared feels much younger.  On my birthday I picked up my new Llewellyn and took it for a ride on July 1.  It's a very nice ride: smooth, spunky, confidence-inspiring, and because I have no electronics on the bike measuring my performance, it's simply a pleasure to ride.  The next day, we went for a week to UC Santa Barbara's Family Vacation Center.  On the drive down, I came up with an idea: marking the last year of my fifth decade with a ride every day.  An idea and the impetus for this blog were born.

What qualifies as a ride?  I decided that 15 minutes of pedaling of some sort is a ride.  This allows for rides on stationary recumbent bikes in hotel gyms during business trips, rides on trainers during an illness, and for other exigent circumstances when there is no time, strength, or will for a longer ride.

Definition in hand, I was ready for ride number two.  When we arrived in Santa Barbara, I did a quick and flat 40-minute ride on Foothill Bike Route and the streak was born.  Ensuing Santa Barbara rides (Rides 2-9) ranged from 40 to 90 minutes.  Some were flat, others included a climb with other vacationers up Old San Marcos Pass Road.  I went on a vacationers' ride.  At 27 miles, this was the second longest ride I've done since I gave myself a trimalleolar fracture on March 29.  I left Santa Barbara with nine rides in my legs.  The next day I rode with my friend Barry and his neighbor Mike (Ride 10).  This was very much a conversational ride up Tunnel and across on Grizzly.  I had to turn around at Steam Trains.  Monday through Wednesday, I rode at VeloSF (Rides 11-13).  Today, I was sleepy and my ankle was bugging me, so I bagged the Thursday morning ride and slept in.  At 8:00 a.m., I rode to Jack London Square and took the ferry to San Francisco, then rode to the office (Ride 14).  Commuting counts.

I have to be careful not to overtrain, mixing in a healthy dose of recovery rides or I'll get sick and injured and become irritable.  I'm glad you've joined me on this adventure.

P.S. Happy Bastille Day


  1. Really pretty stem!!!
    49. Women go through an obvious change of life when their hormones start shutting down. Men do too, but as we don't have noticeable monthly events we can pretend things aren't changing. We lie to ourselves. We can either embrace the change and adjust to it or flail away at it in frustration. 49. I was just thinking, 49 was about when the shit really started to hit the fan for me. Yep, that was the year I replaced the ping bell with a rear view mirror. ;-)

  2. Yesterday I talked to a guy I used to regularly ride with. We kind of parted ways because of our politics. I can handle almost anything, but he was always trying to convert me - to save my political soul. Anyway, he told he doesn't ride anymore because his knees swell up - sold his bikes. :-( Just when I was thinking he might be right after all.

  3. Sorry I took down the stem photo. Will post pics of my Llewellyn soon, though the stem on mine isn't as nice.

    The changes I've notices are, unfortunately, self-inflicted: ankle fractures and surgery. The injury and recovery, in part, provide an excuse (fantasy?) that if I rehab diligently, I'll be back to the way I was before I got hurt. Thus, I have an incentive to keep working at it. If reasonably diligent efforts fail in medium or long term, I may have to resort to lying to myself, though that's a classic symptom of mid-life crisis, isn't it? Then call me a "flailer," not ready to embrace it yet.

    Eventually, if I have to choose whether to replace the bell with a mirror, hmmm... I may choose not to choose: why not appear really old and use both?

  4. I'm 66, but I'm not REALLY old, which seems to be a combination of prudent living and a lucky genetic package.