This afternoon, I needed to run over to CVS to pick up a prescription and a couple of other small things (one of which I just now realized I forgot). Because it wasn’t too hot, nor too late, I decided that this would be a good opportunity to get onto my bike for the first time in way too long (probably 8 months to a year).
So I located the bike lock and my “sling” pack, filled my SIGG water bottle and went into the garage to pull down my bike (which is the only one hanging on the hooks). As I was taking the bike down I noticed that both tires were flat, so before heading out I had to inflate them. And, it wasn’t until I’d finished – or so I thought – with the first tire that I found the pressure recommendations. Of course, the minimum was lower than what I’d guessed. More for time than any other reason, I filled up to enough above the minimum. Once I’d put away the pump (which lives in my car) I headed out.
The first two short blocks weren’t bad. But when I turned onto the access road for out neighborhood (Mantinal Road) I started heading up a steep hill. Before I made it all the way to the top I was on the largest gear in the back (I was still on the middle gear in front so I did have one better gear ratio, but I can never map the numbers on the shifter to bigger and smaller gears in the front) and was still not making it up the hill. So I gave up and walked the last quarter block or so.
Once I got to the top, I rested a bit and then turned onto Rancho Bernardo Road (heading west). The hill continued for another few blocks, but not quite a steep. But by the time I reached the peak, I was quite tired. I had been able to shift into faster ratios. But then it started a long slow drop.
This drop felt pretty good, except for the realization that I’d have to come back up it on the way home. Most of the way to the bottom I reached the road I’d have to make a left turn onto to get to the CVS, only to discover that the only cross walk was on the near side. Given that RB Road is a 50 MPH 4 lane road, I figured I’d be better off walking the bike across at the cross walk, so I waited twice for the light. I then headed less than a full block to the center entrance and to CVS.
The next discovery is that CVS (nor anywhere else in the quite large “town plaza” shopping center that I could see) had any bike racks. And I was far from the only bicyclist shopping – even if I was the oldest by 30 or so years. So I chained the bike to a handicapped parking sign and when in and got my prescription. I then went back out, drank about half of my water and headed back out.
I decided to walk my bike out to the corner rather than making a left turn across a somewhat less major road with no light, or ride the wrong direction along a fairly busy parking lot. Since the center has a sidewalk that leads directly to the corner – even if I had to walk between a couple of restaurants – this was not too difficult.
The ride home started with the return trip up the long, but less steep hill. I didn’t do quite as badly as I did on the way to the store, but worse than I might have if I wasn’t already tired from the trip out. I did get a couple of breaks for red lights (yes, when I’m on a bike I stop for red lights – I know not all cyclists do). These were kind of mixed blessings. I got to rest, but then lost any momentum I had.
Once I reached the top, the downhill was a nice relief. The only major problem was that I had to stop part way down where I was going to have to turn (left again). First, I had to stop for the light when it changed for unnecessary traffic calming (I was about the only vehicle stopped by this red). Then I had to wait for the light a second time so I could cross since by the time it turned green there were cars waiting.
Once I got onto the access road, I hardly had to peddle until I was nearly to my first turn. On the other hand I think a malicious cop could have given me a speeding ticket for exceeding the 25 mph limit – as opposed to when I was doing 5 or less along a 50 mph road, at least with a bike lane.
Once I got home, I realized how tired I was, and collapsed on the bed with the fan running while I drank the rest of my water and tried to warn the cat that I wasn’t anyone he wanted to snuggle with at the moment.
I enjoyed the ride, but again was reminded how badly out of shape I am – or at least how out of shape I am with regards to the muscles used extensively in biking. I also was reminded that I’ve never really learned how to climb hills effectively, something that was rarely a problem in Bartlett, but is a major issue in Rancho Bernardo – and most of San Diego except for the downtown areas 30 or more miles away.
One thing I do need to do to help with this is get out on my bike more. Given our weather around here, the only excuses I have for not riding most days are time and lighting, and lighting could be solved by applying money to acquire technology.