Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bend it like Red

I keep getting bike-blocked.

Here's my list of excuses for not riding in the past few weeks:

  • knee/arthritis flareups
  • extreme cold
  • snow
  • tunnel closures

Today, while the temperature was hovering in the mid-20's I decided to try and run an errand to the Strip before work. I got all layered up and when I got on the bike, the front tire was rather low on air. Long story short: I bent the valve. Why? Because I'm still a moronic noob with these presta valves.

I spent my lunch hour changing my ruined tube, this was a first-time experience for me to change tires on Fizz with really tight beads and disc brakes. I wrestled a great deal and ripped some skin off my hand but eventually got the change completed.

So, with my inability to ride, I've been making progress on a wool blanket. The colors remind me of a sock monkey.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Back in the saddle

I ran an errand on the bike today, I rode to my orthopaedist's office to have my stitches removed.
Parking was an exercise in creativity. Racks are located out on the street, in the elements and in sight of potential thieves. The nice, dry garage had this fence I locked to.

The stitches came out easily. The young man who took them out noticed my helmet and we started talking bike: he commutes by bike from Bellevue on a 1953 Schwinn. Sweet.

Doc came in and showed my the photos he took during the operation.

One of the chunks of loose meniscus
Another chunk

The chunks, extracted and laid out next to a ruler

I'm told the bottom photo is my ACL, which he said looks good.
 He mentioned how bad my kneecap was, apparently this shows the back of the kneecap, completely devoid of protective cartilage.

On the way back I noticed this poor "Yield to Pedestrians" sign had been run over so many times that it now lay in pieces along North Shore Drive.

This is how the sign is supposed to look.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Winter commuters and beaver barriers

Ten miles. I rode ten miles today.

I can safely say that while I'm still a bit wobbly mounting the bike... I'm back to baseline. I can ride again. I fully expected to out of commission for much longer, so I couldn't be happier with my post-surgery progress and recovery despite being forced to take way more ibuprofen than I'd like.
I get the stitches out in 2 days and I can't wait. They poke out from underneath my bandages and get caught in my clothes: a total nuisance.
I'll be delighted to bike to the appointment rather than drive as I have been, the parking at my orthopedist's office is five bucks. I hate paying that much to park.

In the morning, I lazily rode into town and up and back through the Penn Ave bike lane. It was cold and damp, not ideal riding weather... but there were so many commuters! I think I counted somewhere between 15 and 17 in my travels. This is as many as I'm used to seeing in fair weather. "Feh!" to those that think bike commuting in Pittsburgh is seasonal. I even saw one woman wearing the same houndstooth Cleverhood that I own!

On my lunch hour, I went down to the Bastille to get some air in my tires and find another piece of ClohnArt cubist/paper artwork that I was alerted to some time ago. I had looked for it previously, but was unsuccessful. I found it today.

I also noted much beaver damage to the newly planted trees that didn't have plastic beaver tubes protecting the trunks. *chomp*
Dam beavers.

Note to self: don't Google "beaver tubes".

By the end of the day, I had reached and surpassed my 10K steps goal on the FitBit for the first time in almost 8 weeks. I can start working off the 10 pounds I gained.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

First post-surgery ride

It was just a mile. Only a mile.
Let me rephrase ENTIRE mile. Pretty damn good for having been in an operating room just 5 days ago.

Pre-surgery: "Here, let me show you how to use the cameraph..."

My surgeon wanted to be sure he operated on the correct limb.

Post-surgery ginger ale (I get barfy from the anesthesia)

24 hours after surgery, I was no longer using the crutches and back to work 5 days later. It went very well despite accidentally yanking out the vein port they'd inserted into the back of my hand and drizzling blood all over my recovery area.

The doctor's special purple surgical ink refuses to
wash off without a fight.

a gorgeous day with single digit wind chill temperatures.

Everything is falling back into place. Soon, the ice and snow will melt and I will be able go for longer rides.

However, I was rather annoyed to see the building employees had moved the bike storage racks AGAIN. Fizz's front light mount and her bell were bent or loose from some rough handling. Grrr.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Currently convalescing with crocheting

I need stuff to do while I don't have the ability to ride the bike. 
I can only read and clean the house so much and DVDs are only 1-2 hours long.
After seeing Tin Lizzie's post about reflective fabrics and yarns, my interest in rekindling my hatred for knitting was re-ignited. I re-learned the steps for crocheting and practiced a bit. I was still lousy at this. It took a few tries to gain enough confidence in my remedial skills and I ordered some of the reflective yarns. Neon yellow, neon green and safety orange.
This would be the ugliest damn scarf.

I figured out how to chain-up!

Some subdued colors for a less hideous version too.

One color on.
Almost finished!
Pudge is my scarf model

When I started chaining on the third and final color, I became concerned: it looks like a flag. Whoa, what country was this? Would I be wearing the National Colors of some despised entity? Would I find myself cycling past someone and get harassment if they didn't agree with the politics of this nation?

Thankfully, the closest these colors come to an official flag of a sovereign nation is:

Mali (green, yellow, red)

Guinea (red, yellow and green)

Ireland (green, white and orange)
I think I may rip out the orange and use that yarn in another scarf.

UPDATE: I ripped out the orange with plans for the orange in another scarf.

Here's the finished (orange-less) product:

Not bad for a noob.

 I'm delighted to have this new interest... it keeps my mind off the bad things and the worsening pain in my knee. I bought a few more non-reflective yarns and a new larger needle with plans for another project.
I have an exaggerated limp from the increasing pain and I'm glad to be sitting, and also sad to be sitting. I'd rather be on the bike.

Someone said to me today when they saw my difficulties in walking: "I bet you'll be glad to have this surgery."

Yes, yes I will.

1/28/15 Project 2 is finished and project 3 is underway:

#2 Reflective orange with non-reflective black
#3 A cowl that uses the reflective olive/green

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

This is your knee...

...and this is your knee on drugs. Lots of drugs. 800mg ibuprofen 3 times a day. I still cannot completely straighten my left knee. My surgeon will be digging around inside it later this month with the warning: "I might get in there and see that it's a lost cause and then we can look at replacement."

The MRI. Sadly, this view doesn't show the larger meniscus tear and the chunk that's floating around. 


I've been putting off taking Fizz out of my office. For two weeks now I've been making excuses for not placing Fizz in the storage room. I've not tried to get on the bike for fear of twisting my knee, it's had good days and bad days since the injury. It's also been insanely cold: like single digits and teens cold. I resigned myself to a non-cyclist's life, albeit temporarily. I rolled Fizz out of my office and back to the bike storage area with Ruby. I noted a thick coating of dust on Ruby and cleaned her off.

At least they aren't using the bike storage area as a workspace and throwing garbage onto the bikes.

What bothers me more than my inability to ride is that I've become accustomed to not riding. It's going to be hard to get back into my habits and routine.

A balmy 21! That's OK, I can ride when it's warmer.

Friday, January 2, 2015

First 'Post' of the year

Look what came in the 'post'! Thanks, Mary!

You might also notice those are two Netflix DVDs underneath the Coffeeneuring patch. I anticipate watching a great deal of TV over the winter and I upped my subscription. I'm taking a mental tally of all the things that will be different this winter: less biking, more TV, no Errandonnee-ing. Argh, I'm going to miss out on earning that patch!

However, I was able to get some biking in to perform some maintenance on one of my Geocaches today, it's just a mile away from work and it had gone missing again last week. It's a magnetized cache that I've hidden among the War memorials along the North Shore.

I was able to dismount the bike without laying it down on the ground, this is more progress in the knee's mobility. I still need to lay the bike down to mount it though. This means I'm not able to go on errands, group rides or anything that requires getting on the bike in front of other people; I feel silly.