Two Wheel Tuesday: Share the Road

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I LOVE THIS

We are having some real problems with automobiles in Tulsa peeps. We’ve had a few scary instances with cyclists being cussed out and or literally bumped (by the truck) off the road. I stick to back roads and or trails when I ride for this very reason. That does impact my mileage, and I’m okay with that at the moment.

 

I don’t want to stay that way because of fear. I need to get passed it. In the mean time, I’m educating myself on the laws of the road. I hope you will too. There is a large group of cyclist that ride on Wednesday nights in Tulsa – including the Divas. I really want to get over my fears and ride with them.

So — don’t be a jerk, share the road you guys. We have a legal right to be there.

This was posted on the Wednesday Night Ride Group page — I think it’s very informative and worth sharing.

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Oklahoma DPS Manual: Chapter 11: Sharing the Road: Pedestrians • Bicycles • Motorcycles • Trucks • Trains • Slow-Moving Vehicles

 

Bicycles are mentioned 25 times in our states driving manual.

A persons responsibility as a defensive driver includes making allowances for and adapting to the other people and vehicles on the road.

A bicyclist can ride in the full lane when:
• The rider is overtaking and passing another vehicle going in the same direction.

• The bicyclist is getting in place for a left turn at an intersection or turning left into a private road or driveway.

• There are unsafe conditions in the roadway, such as
parked cars, moving vehicles or machinery, fixed obstacles, pedestrians, animals, potholes, debris.

• The lane is too narrow for both a car and a bicycle to
safely share the lane. In this case, it is safest to let the bicycle take the full lane.

• If you see this flag on a bicycle, slow down; the bicycle rider
may have impaired hearing.

• All bicyclists must ride in the correct lane of traffic

 

I Will Beat Her

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I saw this yesterday on my cycling group page and fell in love with this.

I am totally putting this one on my bathroom mirror!

I’ve heard it said many times that performing artists are basically needy and insecure. I’d laugh, but it’s kinda true at least for me. I’m an approval junkie for sure. I also want to be fit and healthy again. I get really frustrated at times by how long that is taking me. I’m not rolling with set backs as well I used to either. My husband is a great encourager in that regard. He keeps me from giving up, which is a good thing.

My husband, son and I tried to go cycling last night. I’ll admit I really didn’t want to. I’d been to the doctors in the morning to talk about my neuropathy in my left leg and was feeling a bit overwhelmed at the possible causes, cures et al. I don’t yet know the full extent of what is going on with my leg and part of me is afraid to ride. I’ll see a specialist in the next week or so and have and EMG performed to test the nerve functions in my left ankle and foot. Hopefully that will provide some answers. I don’t have diabetes, we know that, and I’ve learned that peripheral neuropathy can also a sign of hypothyroidism and blood work will be coming up after the EMG. To add to the fun mix the middle finger on my left hand is now spontaneously twitching. I could very well simply have a pinched nerve in my back. I’ll know more in a couple of weeks, no point obsessing at this time. Not that logic like that stops me, you know?

I can ride, doc said so. I just shouldn’t ride alone, which I’m not. I always feel better after I ride. I just need to do it more often.

I ran out of excuses last night and recognized that look that communicates he’s run out of patience and conceded to ride with him. If I’m going to make him drink green smoothies and try vegan dishes, I darn well better hit the trails.

We finally get to the trail head only to discover our bikes were trying to copulate. His pedal was somehow stuck on my water bottle holder and nothing we did could untangle them and we had to go home and find a screw driver in order to separate the bikes. Amused is not the word I would choose to describe our mutual state of mind when we got home.

We’ll be getting a bike rack for the back of the pick up this week.

All that’s wrong really is I’m afraid. Old fears have no place in my world today. They still show up and it’s my job to silence them.

I’ve genuinely overweight for the first time in my life. This has been an eye opening experience, let me tell you. The assumptions, and prejudices that come with that are astounding. On one hand I enjoy not being hit on anymore and I do enjoy being taken more seriously on an intellectual level (both are bonuses to me) on other hand I don’t enjoy the whole stigma that comes with it. Not to mention the impact it’s had on my own self esteem or my health. My looks used to be very important to me. Not that I was ever vain or shallow, I just worked hard to look my best. I’ve really had to reassess how I see myself. I didn’t get this way because I gave up, truth is I landed here through fad dieting, bulimia, and probably menopause. I can change most of that.

 I’ll write more about that later. suffice to say, deep down there is this little girl who is afraid of failing yet again. She does like to show up once in a while and I’m not going to let her win. I will beat her, after all, no one knows her like I do. And that is a good thing.

I Bonked, and I’m Back: Cycling Update, Unexpected allies and third base

Bonk : Hitting a wall, In endurance sports such as cycling and runninghitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by sudden fatigue and loss of energy. Milder instances can be remedied by brief rest and the ingestion of food or drinks containing carbohydrates. The condition can usually be avoided by ensuring that glycogen levels are high when the exercise begins, maintaining glucose levels during exercise by eating or drinking carbohydrate-rich substances, or by reducing exercise intensity. (Source Wikipedia)

I’ve learned that nothing kills my personal enthusiasm for cycling like having a hot flash while riding my bike in triple digit weather. Puking at the top of the hill in front of my husband and the cars passing by on Sheridan Road is a moment I will not soon forget. Neither will anyone else, I’m sure.

Star date – 360 something since I bought my first road bike, and I’m still learning. I’m a newbie in the cycling world and I spend a lot of time trying out new things, asking questions and following teams and cyclists on blogs and twitter. ALL of my cycling friends are male. I do not know a single female cyclist. Even so, my hope is to one day run with the big dogs, or at the very least keep up with my friends who are already road warriors in my opinion. The problem with only knowing male cyclists is they don’t have the female answers I sometimes need. Or so I think. Men don’t have hot flashes while riding, and being able to relieve the call of nature anywhere they want, personal restroom stops are not as important. Cutting back on fluid intake because I’m unsure of where the bathrooms are, is not smart and can put you in the ER with a bladder infection if you are not careful. Don’t ask how I know that.

I want to learn and therefore I read whatever I can find, and since I can only find male bloggers about cycling, I read them. While I do receive instructional benefit regarding diet, and how to avoid bonking I must confess, if I read one more cycling blog on the benefits of “man-scaping” for cyclists, I’m going to throw up again. While I realize that male cyclists who blog about cycling need to cover all bases, I really wish they’d leave third base out of it. But they can’t because it’s important to their over all health.

In my pursuit of cycling knowledge, I discovered that the universe is shrinking. I know this because I once saw my gyn’s name fly across my twitter screen. It seems he is an avid cyclist and I was following his racing team without knowing it was his team. Once I cleared the coffee spray off my screen, neurotic un-following and mass apologies quickly followed. Chalk one up for neurotic boundaries. I’ve been flying solo ever since and that journey has had more ups and downs than the hills on the trail I ride.

My husband purchased a bike this summer and I’m excited to have a riding buddy. He’s also taught me about shifting gears and powering through hills. The only real downside is the only time we could ride together was for 30 minutes in the morning. I push harder when I ride with him and I built muscle riding the hills. The downside is losing out on the cardio benefit with those short rides. While I haven’t lost weight, I have gone down a full clothing size. That’s a plus. Now that it’s too dark to ride before work, I’m back riding solo. Not wishing to ride alone, I got pissy and blew off September. Not surprisingly, my weight has plateaued again.

A friend from Colorado reminded me that if it’s important to me, I’ll find a way, if not I’ll find excuses.  It’s time to get back on the bike. For safety purposes, I’m hitting Riverside trails where there are people. Safety in numbers and all.

I’m also back to reading blogs, and asking questions.

Of all the people I thought to ask questions of, my doctor was the last person on the list. I didn’t know how to start the conversation – oh yeah I saw you on twitter and found out you ride — (that just sounded creepy to me) and I wasn’t sure that I want him in my personal life. I mean, he’s seen me naked, you know?

We run in adjacent social circles, have for years. How we’ve never run into each other is beyond me. Now that I’m cycling, our circles are intersecting more and more. I was worried that I’d crossed a personal boundary by following his team and tried to extract myself as discreetly as possible. Turns out I was worried for nothing. Having a doctor who is a cycling enthusiast can be an asset. At least, it’s an asset when I’m not being whiny or trying to make him laugh.

I do not suggest telling a man who just completed a 400 mile bike tour that you are working your butt off and still not losing weight as it’s all laughably relative at that point and it just sounds whiny. Just sayin.

Opening up and telling him what I’m attempting has been beyond beneficial. It also turns out that third base is important, especially if I want to ride more than ten miles at a stretch.

Three things I did wrong my first year out:

1. Hydration Hydration Hydration. — If I’m avoiding fluids because I’m afraid of being a water hazard he can fix that. I’m not alone on this issue. Many women wrongly adjust to their circumstances by cutting back on fluids and that is the worst thing you can do to yourself and your body. And trust me on this Bonking sucks.

2. Get fitted for your bike. – Form is important. Bikes are not a one size fits all. There needs to be a balance between the seat and hand rails in order to take pressure off your spine, shoulders and nether regions. A good bike shop will do this for you in no time at all.

3. Wear the right clothes. I’ll be honest, I avoided cycling shorts for obvious reasons. I think they look ridiculous and I’m attached to looking “cute” while I sweat and puke. Good quality cycling shorts come with much-needed padding in the right places if you know what I mean. Your seat is important. Chaffing can be avoided with the right gear. Your thighs will thank you. The right shorts make all the difference in how far I can ride. Being comfortable has now outweighed the whole “do these make my butt look big” issues in my brain; of course they do, accept that and move on. The trick to remember is don’t wear panties with these or you defeat the purpose and get out of those shorts as soon as possible after the ride to avoid unnecessary infections. Also a good chamois cream with anti-bacterial ingredients does not hurt.

Lastly doc put me on an estrogen patch to help with those hot flashes and night sweats. I presently believe that an estrogen patch is to menopause what a morphine drip is to pain — No more insomnia, hot flashes or night sweats. Does wonders for our married life as well. The mood swings, however, have more to do with my personal temperament than my hormones though so I need to work on that.  Comes with being a redhead.

Getting and staying in motion is important to my overall health. It impacts me physically, emotionally, and spiritually and that is a good thing.

Happy riding you guys!

Full Circle…

People ride bikes for different reasons. Some like the fellowship. Some like being outdoors. Me? I want to live. It really is that simple.

Tiffany’s death last fall scared me. We’d grown up together back in Michigan. One day she was Facebooking about the most recent cuteness of her 5-year-old son and the next day she was gone. pulmonary Embolism. That’s not fair.

My mother is 71 and is dying from COPD. She has suffered from severe depression on and off for most of my life and hasn’t had a drink since Aug 12, 1977. I would do anything for her, we even offered to buy her a house so she could live near us and she turned me down. Her depression keeps her from truly seeing and receiving love and some days it’s hard. She has convinced herself she would be miserable here and that she would die within six months if she moved. I have no choice but to let her live her end of life as she sees best.

While I spent roughly 30 years in Alanon, Mom doesn’t have a recovery program and I wish she did. Maybe that’s why I like Anne Lammot so much. She and my mother are a lot alike, only Anne chose a different path. I get jealous sometimes when I read her books. I still read them because I hope they can help me find my path and stop trying to live everyone else’s.

Don’t even ask about my Dad. I feel responsible for him as well.

I started having chest pains last summer and was sent to a cardiologist. When the tests came back perfect (except for a slight murmur) we assessed that perhaps my issues were more on the emotional bend rather than physical. I finally fessed up to some of the stress I was feeling and told her what was on my plate. Her response was a very simple statement. “I’d smoke too.”

Not the answer I was looking for, but she was right Codependency can kill.

I’m one of those people who puts off dealing with things until I can get away from people for a few days and have a private melt down. Then I pull up my bootstraps and carry on as the song goes. I didn’t get to do that last summer. August was full of commitments and I kept telling myself that this would have to wait. I could cope for a while, I’ll deal with it later. As if later will somehow take the sting away.

I should have known I was in trouble when I went in for my annual check up. If my doctor had been any nicer I would have burst into tears on the spot. It’s hard to handle kindness when we aren’t being very kind to ourselves. I had a very difficult time hearing his kindness over the voices in my head and my own woundedness screaming “What do you want from me!”

A middle of the night trip to the ER with stomach pain that made childbirth feel like a paper cut and chest pains that made me throw up scared me enough to change.

I can’t fix the people I love. I can’t make their choices for them, nor do I need to make myself responsible for their choices. The serenity prayer tells me to accept the things I cannot change, change the things I can, and find the wisdom to know the difference.

Instead of buying a house for my Mom, I bought a bike for myself. That’s a good step in the right direction.

Instead of reading blogs on fixing other people, I read blogs written by people who are after the same things I am; Healthy living. Emotionally, Spiritually, and Physically. The link below is one such writer. He’s a recovering alcoholic and is open about it. He rides to live, just like I do. I hope it inspires you as much as it does me. Click on the link to read his story.  Full Circle….

If nothing changes, nothing changes. Let it begin with me.

Ride.

Live.

Adventure: It’s a Bike!

Okay ladies and gents, I have some great news. Are you ready?

I bought a bike.

I know, that news seems pretty anti-climactic really. Especially after telling you guys how I totally lost my mind (or found it, either way) and went Democrat this fall. Compared to that, buying a bike may not sound like all that much.

You see it’s like this. I own a five speed and I hate it. You have to pedal like crazy just to get it to change gears. It can’t handle hills, it hurts my back and I can’t keep up with my friends when we ride the river.

Why do I own a five speed that I hate? Because my husband insisted I get a different bike, and I was in a mood that day. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s a man or he’s the primary bread-winner and I feel… well I don’t know how I feel. I just know that  the more he insisted I’d hate it, the more deeply my stubborn heels dug into the concrete and linoleum floors of Wal-Mart.

Who buys their bikes at Wal-Mart?

We do. Or rather we did. We purchased four bikes that day and he didn’t want to go broke doing it.

Like a lot of married couples I know where one partner works outside of the home and the other inside the home, there are at times power struggles. We were eyeball deep in just such a struggle the day we purchased my nasty bike.

My husband chose the store and the price he wanted to spend. He’s the breadwinner and I was in a… well let me just say a bad place in regards to how we handle things financial in our home. So when he picked out my bike, I balked and walked over to this really pretty dark blue five speed. The more he insisted I get the bike he picked out, the deeper my heels dug into the concrete and linoleum floors.

Home she came.

One ride up and down the moderate hills of our bike trails in Tulsa and I knew he was right. I hated it. Did I tell him that? Nope.

That was four years ago and yes, I’ve ridden a bike that I hate for four whole years because I am not about to tell him he’s right.

Now, I have a dilemma.  I’m trying to lose weight  and I have a bad ankle from a childhood injury that makes running, walking, and anything aerobic really very painful. Cycling, is my best option.

A lot of my friends ride. Some of my friends even compete. They are a wealth of wisdom. This time, I didn’t take my husband shopping with me.  Applause for stepping out of my normally timid, hugely co-dependant/male-dependant butt would be appropriate here. Really, I won’t mind.

This time, I did the research and picked out a bike I knew I would enjoy, be able to ride and could afford.
20111114-073911.jpgFor starters, I didn’t go to Wal-Mart. I went to Tom’s Bicycles in Tulsa. Tom’s is locally owned and operated. If you want to save jobs in America support locally owned stores. Toms has two stores in Tulsa, one on 68th and Peoria and one in the heart of MidTown on 15th (Cherry Street). I know nothing about bicycles and their staff helped me make the best choice for me. You can click the photo of the water bottle above to learn more about Toms.

20111114-073855.jpgThis is the bike Jenny helped me pick out. It’s a Giant Brand and is just my size. I’m only 5’4′ and I did not know bikes came in small, medium and large. This is the first size small I’ve had in years. This dieting thing is working already. I love this bike. It has 18 speeds. The bottom nine are on the right handle and the upper nine are on the left. I can changed gears up or down with a simple click of a switch.

This is a street bike. It’s not a blend or mountain bike. The tires are thin and oddly bare. I didn’t expect that. Not sure how it’ll handle on wet roads, but I’ll find out.

 Click on the photo above if you want to more about Giant Brand Bicycles.

Now, this bike does have one slightly annoying quirk. It likes to throw me off.

20111114-073814.jpgThey say that once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget. “They” have never met the likes of me with a new bike and toe straps. See this photo? That little bugger held my left foot hostage five minutes into my maiden voyage and I crashed right in front of my house. I have gravel in my hand and elbow and my left thigh and right breast are deeply bruised by the handle bars. But you know what, I got back on and only crashed one other time.

Toms is closed on Mondays, but come Tuesday, the straps come off the pedals and I head back to Toms for gloves and a helmet. I’m thinking that’s probably wise. Don’t you?

So there you have it. I Deana, researched and purchased my very first street bike.

Let the adventure begin.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. November 14, 2011. All rights reserved.