Thursday, April 16, 2015

Cluster****, forgetting stuff and defective stuff

Sunday was a great day to get out on the bike, the new Clemente bridge bike lane was open and it seemed everyone was out jogging, riding a bike and trying the new bike infrastructure. Everyone: noobs, older folks, families with kids in training wheels. WOW. There were also cyclist counting devices installed to count us! Yes! We count! 

 I decided to ride back and forth on the counters from the Strip and back to the North Shore a few times, because: shopping in the Strip! The gap in infra between the bridge and the bike lane was a challenge for the noobs, they hopped onto the sidewalk, stopped and looked befuddled when cars were parked in the bike lane and made erratic unpredictable moves around the parking garage there.

I nearly got left hooked in the Strip, a pedestrian on a cell phone stepped out in front of me again, cyclists riding on the sidewalk rode out in front of me in an intersection. So much insanity. I ran into PaulB Downtown when the insanity was at it's height and he said: "This is CRAZY!" in regards to the incredible numbers of people in Downtown on a Sunday afternoon.


Monday was the first day of a season of baseball in Pittsburgh, the Home Opener. I rode down to the park rather early anticipating long lines at the new walk-through metal detectors, no lines though. This was good. However, bike parking: was hard to find! I had to ride past several full racks to find a space.

I'd forgotten to wear my new cycling sandals. I'd left my Birkenstocks on accidentally. Thankfully, they'd didn't fall off in traffic, which is a fear of mine.

Wednesday, I'd forgotten to bring in all my bike shorts I'd laundered. They were all hanging on the clothes line at home. I'd have to run an errand to the Library without them. I'd become accustomed to wearing them: would I survive? Yes, I lived.

Today, I wanted to use some cheap iron-on reflective tape I'd found in bulk at Ollie's. I'd picked up 4 packages of grey and 2 packages of orange.

I was worried it was relegated to Ollies and steeply discounted because it was defective. I was right, partially. The orange worked fine, I tested it on a tee shirt and it adhered like every other iron-on reflective tape I've used and reflects well. I was looking to make one of my thrift store blazers that I wanted to use as commuter gear more visible in the wee dark hours.

The grey was a nightmare to work with: one of the films would not release from the reflective tape, I had to rip off the first strip I'd ironed on and try and remove the clear film before ironing. It was difficult and frustrating, but it worked.


While running an errand on Thursday, I encountered these interesting obstacles:


A film crew.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Nature: powerful and beautiful

Friday I saw some badassery that I was rather jealous of:

The RiverWalk was flooded after vicious storms, the wind was whipping waves and debris onto it as well. As I was taking a photo, a cyclist appeared, he had ridden through all the water and mud and river flotsam. I gave him a "Nicely done!" as he approached and he told me there wasn't too much splashing. I was actually thinking: "You're crazy!"


The ankle is turning some interesting colors:

Lines: tube sock indentations... not a strange rash!

I've crocheted a  cozy for my u-lock.
Because I can.

You know you want one.

Saturday was glorious, I spent much of the day riding.

Some kite flyers.

The bollards are in on the Clemente Bridge bike lane!

Rode out to the Waterfront and found a huge patch of daffodils on the way.

On the way back, several motorists were rather unkind if not murderous towards me.

After dinner, a glorious sunset over swollen rivers.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Leg Cramp Prevention

I have terrible issues with leg cramps. When I started cycling daily, they only got worse and migrated to muscles I wasn't accustomed to getting cramping issues with.

Since my teenage years,  I got the 'normal' nighttime calf cramps on a regular basis. Bananas and keeping hydrated kept them to a minimum. I've not tried quinine or strange things like sleeping with a bar of soap.

hydration and potassium: good
 When I started cycling regularly, I started getting cramps in new muscles: the front of the calf (tibialis anterior) as well as the toes and top of the foot. Not much fun.

They weren't the worst though: I was getting horrific cramps in my inner thigh: the gracillis
I tried pickles and pickle juice, they helped a bit, but I was still getting cramps after a ride, sometimes all of the muscles cramping at once. Occasionally I'd get them in the middle of a ride.

 It is utterly excruciating pain.

Pickle juice works well.
When I started reading that magnesium helps with muscle cramps, I researched foods that have magnesium because tablet supplements don't agree with me (or many people for that matter: they're very distressing to one's digestive system). Coffee is high in magnesium, and I already drink a ton of that. Another food high in magnesium is a weed called 'dock'.
Sorry, my grocery store is always out of dock. Additionally, there were clams, purslane, swiss chard and many other green leafy weeds and such. I like green leafies, especially seaweed and kale, but I don't eat enough of them.

I found I'd had a liquid magnesium supplement already in my possession that I'd stopped taking after the first dose because it tasted so bad. It's processed water from Utah's Great Salt Lake. It's supposed to contain a myriad of minerals we don't absorb from foods very well, mainly magnesium.
I tried taking this liquid again, but this time I learned to chase it with a beverage like coffee or water to get rid of the awful taste.

Ionic magnesium liquid

So, after suffering much of the winter not riding and still having that constant feeling of a spasm about to take hold, it stopped when I started taking the liquid magnesium. I went on 20 and 40 mile rides and didn't spend the evening dealing with pain. Wow, this might be my magic wand.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Bike lane woes and wows/ Pittsburgh Slow Roll

Morning ride:
I had another somewhat close encounter with an oblivious pedestrian. She was rather rude after I yelled to let her know I was about to collide with her.

Later in the evening the first Slow Roll Pittsburgh ride was taking place. I rode over to Market square and had a drink and noshed on some fries at Primanti's with Jeffery who was also waiting for Slow Roll.

Quite an assemblage for the first ride.

The weather reports told me the rain wouldn't start until 10PM. They lied. It started drizzling as we left. I was ill prepared.

When we reached the still closed Clemente Bridge, I decided to wig out of the ride, grab a photo or two of these tremendous bike lane markings honoring Roberto Clemente and head home before the rain ruined my hair.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Proposals

Today was Easter. Easter is a day that everything is closed. Except REI! Thank you for bathrooms! I had trouble finding coffee, food and more bathrooms beyond REI. They were non-existant. I was hungry, in need of caffeine and riding around with a full bladder. *grumble*
The sun and wind were abundant though. Headwinds in every direction. I got to wear shorts, it reached 70 degrees.

Saw some interesting proposals.

Marriage proposal to someone residing at the jail:

Another proposal for roommates
Obligatory Hot Metal Bridge photo.

Friday's Ankle Injury Update:
The ankle has turned some interesting shades of blue. No pain other than some "It hurts when I push on it" tenderness.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday fish fry ride and yes, I am that clumsy.

Today was Good Friday and that means fried fish smothered in hot sauce for me! Noms.
Marko hosted the Fish Fry ride down to Holy Angels and despite the rainy forecast a few showed: Ray, Dino, Yale and myself. Good food, excellent company, good riding. Not much of the rain reared it's ugly head, which was also very good.

This photo courtesy Marko and his amazing new smartphone.

Afterwards, we rode down to McKeesport and back. This TV was there on the SteelValley trail. Why? I'm not sure, but above it was a recent but small landslide. While I took this picture the conversation turned to landslides. There were gobs of mud rolling down as we talked. Then I started to hear twigs snapping and we left ASAP.


On the way back... well... I'll let the video speak for itself:

My normal approach to a bike fall is when I know a fall is inevitable: don't fight it...just let it happen. Just go down.. let gravity take over and the injuries won't be as bad. However, as the bike laid on the ground the ground-side pedal forced the sky-side pedal to turn and wedge my ankle between the frame and the crank. Tightly too, I was pinned inside the bike and painfully unable to move. Marko carefully untangled my ankle for me.  So embarrassing.

Boy I'm really glad I shaved my legs... you never know when someone's going to have to wrench your ankle out of a bike. Today was this first time I've worn short pants in months, so a shave was long overdue. #winterlegs

One of my Dad's nicknames for me is : Grace a child I was anything but graceful and still as an adult...I'm far from graceful. My Dad's funny.

The crank imprint

The frame-side reddened up and bruised quickly

OMG! Blood! *faint*