Sunday, December 27, 2015

Just a little ride on the Parkway

One of Pittsburgh's main arteries needed to shut down while a bridge above it was demolished.
It was a wonderful chance for a ride on the Parkway in between the time the Parkway was shut down and the implosion.  Kudos to he_who_suggested. Here's some photos and video of our escapades.

Photos pilfered from J and Y:


Noah one-upped us by hitting the Parkway from the other side of the closure and rode in the Squirrel Hill tunnels.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Hair loss and bike gains

Last week the hair loss started. Even after large handfuls fell out, I still had lots left on my head.

 I opted for the interim haircut. It was a way for me not only to get used to short hair, but to reduce the number of red tumbleweeds rolling around the apartment.
I haven't had short hair since the early 90's. I was apprehensive about how short hair would look on me. I was pleasantly surprised and I loved this short pixie/bob.
day 1

day 2

day 4 and you can see the thinning.
After becoming utterly frustrated with hair covering every surface in the apartment as well as bald patches cropping up, I asked Marko to hack it all off. My adorable new haircut lasted all of 5 days.

Tying to interject humor in the process of this traumatic event, we tried to recreate Natalie Portman's hair-shaving scene in V For Vendetta.

"It feels so weird!"

So much hair!
I'd been given clearance to ride hills (with stipulations, warnings and such) so we went on a few short, slow rides while we had warm pre-Christmas weather. It was warm enough one evening to grab some ice cream. ICE CREAM in late December.

We checked out the Kaufmann's window displays

It seemed everyone was out riding on The Eve, we bumped into Yale, Geoffrey and chatted with Noah for a bit near the Eagles Nest. It was good to have this great riding weather, not be limited to the flat parts of the city and deal with the inconvenience of driving the bikes somewhere on the back of the car. It's really nice to just roll your bike out the front door and have shopping, bike lanes and trails within a mile's ride. Living in the City is good.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Holiday Ride

I'm not yet sure if I can handle pulling myself up hills, so Marko's been kind enough to offer to load the bikes on the back of the car and drive us to flat areas so I'll avoid the ferocious hills for the most part. Even if I'm just riding on the flat-ish parts of the city, I'm delighted to be out on the bike.

This was my first group ride in a while, and it being near the holidays, I decked the bike and my helmet out in the antlers, wreath and jingle bells to be festive. Marko decorated his bike with an entire tree on the rear rack and it looks fantastic.

Thanks to fellow Flocker Gerry for the above photos!

Marko's bike-tree and the Schenley trees light the background.

 It was REALLY cold. Well, it was cold for someone who'd not yet acclimated to riding in the cold. (I have to take great care not to injure my left arm with falls and extreme cold.)
We experienced a squall of snow nearing the end of the ride and I delighted in the snowflakes. The ride ended at OTB (Over The Bar) and there was much socializing. It was good to see friends after over a month of non-biking.

This will be the third year of antlers on the bike helmet. So much fun.

 Hopefully doctors' will give me the go ahead to cycle with no restrictions... or fewer restrictions.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Things you don't notice until...

Life's funny...

I've been watching a lot of movies lately... call it 'Netflix and Chill', if you will. We've made a game out of noticing the bikes that pop up in the background. Like children with an attention disorder or a dog that suddenly notices a squirrel: We simultaneously blurt out "BIKES!" and then grin like fools.

We missed this Hitchcock cameo because we were focused on the bikes in the background.
You never notice how often bikes are used in movies and television until you become a cyclist.

When I started going through my separation, the vast number of movies based on the topic of 'Love Lost' became evident. Constant reminders that there are many others going through what you're going through. You're not the only one going through this... you can get through this just like everyone else is.

Then, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I noticed so many commercials, fundraisers and news items about CANCER. Ugh, I wanted to find some respite from it, but the  reminders were everywhere! I chalked it up to the fact that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month... this perpetual barrage would end soon, right?
November came and went and cancer was still all up in my business... cancer is everywhere. Movies about dealing with cancer, bald children on TV asking for donations, a commercial about some new cancer drug, a news item about some new cancer therapy...
Everyone has cancer. Those who don't have it know someone with cancer, are helping them in some way or working to find a cure or prevent it. You can't escape it, you can't hide from cancer.
My doctor told me long ago when a elderly family member was diagnosed with lymphoma: "If you live long enough, cancer will find you."

You're not the only one going through this... you can get through this just like everyone else is.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Blanket is finished and Fred Vests for dogs

This is the wool blanket I started crocheting back in February, while recovering from knee surgery. It's traveled to 6 different states while I worked on it, a separation from my spouse, a new relationship and I finished it while recovering from yet another surgery. I'm hoping my next project doesn't see so many ups and downs in my life. I'd like some calm and quiet in my future, please.

10 months later, The Sock Monkey Blanket is finished.
 Riding on the South Side, we noticed improvements to the Hot Metal Bridge intersection, green paint and widening of the sidewalks on the upstream side of the intersection.

We ended up at the Waterfront (and waved a passing hello to Emma and Q who looked like they were returning from a camping trip) and inside a Petco pet supply store. They're selling little orange reflective Fred safety vests for dogs! I'm easily amused.

Errands and shopping by bike: today felt normal again, not only did my arms feel better on the bars, but we ran errands, shopped and stopped for a meal and coffee: normal things that we did before the surgery. It's good to feel some normalcy again. I'm anxious to get back to commuting back and forth to work, but apprehensive about the hills.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

10 flat miles, a flat, tacos and solidarity

It's been a month since my surgery. I hadn't been on a bike in a month. Sidelined by being filleted and gutted not only by a double mastectomy but the misery of having a chemo port installed in the one place on my body (collarbones!) where I have no extra skin or fat to cram medical devices under my skin. I hate this port. I hope I get used to this thing soon. Chemo treatments and the side effects aren't much fun either.

We drove the bikes down to the flats along the river to test my ability to ride. It would be an easy, slow ride.
I was astonished to see that my front tire was completely flat before the ride. I'd just had a new set of Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires installed the day before my surgery. I knew I'd need some air in the tires after a month of no use, but the front was totally flat. Odd.
My arms had little use in the past month, I wasn't allowed to raise them above my shoulder for a long time and they're still very stiff. I felt the atrophied arm muscles whining at me when I got back in the saddle. I thought I might be sore the next morning.
SEVENTY degrees in December?!
Ready to roll!
We checked out the new Penn Ave cycletrack extension

We bumped into Dan-Y tandem-ing with Catherine around the city IN SHORTS.

After a 10 mile loop around the flat parts of  the city, we decided it was time for tacos and drove towards to the South Hills to Las Palmas again for delicious Mexican street food.

On the way we stopped to check out the Seldom Seen Greenway.

It would make a nice connector to the South Hills
 Two local businesses including Las Palmas were recently vandalized with racist graffiti and the community came out to support the owners.

The lines were long

The door where the graffiti was left was replaced with a mural painted by students

pollo with guac, green salsa and hot sauce. NOM.

We're still trying to figure out the ingredient of the 'super hot' sauce they use, we asked the staff if we could buy some of it to take home (but it's made fresh and not sold to go) and I'm almost certain he told me it was made from Ancho peppers. Good stuff. Today's batch was hotter than a few weeks ago.

 When we took the bikes off the back of the car, my front tire was flat again. WHA? How can a hard-to-get-a-flat tire go flat after 12 miles of use?!?
Marko suspects a small piece of sand or grit made it's way underneath the tire during the Schwalbe change and rubbed a hole in the tube. He changed and patched the tube in the comfort of a living room for me. Best place for a a tire change for sure.

I woke up the next day without the sore arms I thought I might suffer from. YES.