Friday, April 18, 2014

Cop Corks Friday Flock, dualities and The Pedicab Races.

Friday started off with an early dismissal at work which meant I was free to ride all afternoon before Friday Flock. I met hubby for lunch and we ate outside at the Casino and I watched the cyclists on the RiverWalk and folks paddling about on the river go by.  I hate eating at the Casino, but he loves it. I loathe having to run the gauntlet of smoke to get to the buffet he set his sights on. He'll endure anything if it says 'all you can eat'.

Hubby and I went our separate ways and I went back to base with the intention of grabbing Ruby and being on my way, but leg cramps prevented that. I spent 45 minutes stretching, massaging and walking off horrible calf and foot cramps that had me in tears at one point. It's my own fault, I spent the past two days not drinking enough water and eating poorly. The cramps subsided finally and I was able to get over the the South Side and then back into town and taking the Strip/Polish Hill route to Oakland for the Flock of Cycles ride. I probably could have taken Panther Hollow, but I wasn't sure if I was able to ride up that hill. That hill looks like a doozy.

Friday Flock

I hit Oakland just at 5:45, grabbed some Afghan lamb and rice at Conflict Kitchen before heading over to Dippy where we assembled for a ride that ended up at a wonderful ice cream shoppe. In tow were Yale, Stu, Terry, Marko and many regulars. A few of them thought it novel that I wore a dress. I don't really see what's so remarkable about wearing a skirt or a dress on a bike.

A group of motorcyclists thought our group was picture-worthy and they hooted and waved to a fellow 'biker gang' as we rolled by them.
Our group even got a special corking near Homewood Cemetery/Frick Park by a police officer who turned on the light bar. That was awesome ².

The officer was thanked by every one of us, I think.

Parking all of our bikes in one block of Shadyside proved challenging. We got creative.

The cone I had didn't give me a roller-coaster blood sugar ride. That's the mark of good ice cream: not so much sugar, but lots of fat. Ah, milkfat goodness.

Upon exiting the shoppe, I realized I had never been in this part of the city on a bike. I would have to figure out how to get back. In. The. Dark. I didn't even know whether left or right would get me closer to Downtown. I was completely disoriented. I enlisted my phone's navigating app to guide me and it took me down Baum to Liberty and on to the Strip. Whew. Thank you, technology!
On the way there, I stopped in Bloomfield to remove my jacket and put on my reflective vest when a man came over to me after two girls (also wearing skirts, FWIW) on bikes had passed and told me he had wished they were wearing reflectives and lights like I was. I looked up and sure enough, the girls had become nearly invisible just half a block ahead of us. Ninja Chicks.

I felt twinges of thigh cramps coming back while riding through the Strip and I was thankful they didn't fully cramp up while I was trying to ride. I clearly need to take a day (or two) off to let my legs rest and re-hydrate myself.

Being the outsider

On my way past the ballpark, I felt out of place being outside the park while it was full of fans and much noise emanating from them. It was odd, but even more interesting was the dichotomies of the dim silence that was enveloping me where I was.... on a dark bridge, above a quiet river and no traffic around me and the noise from the far off cheering fans in a bright stadium that would wash over me in waves as some exciting play would rouse them in unison. It made me smile as I filled my senses with sound, light and breathed in deeply the smells of the river and our lush city.

Pedicab Races

I passed many pedicabs waiting for the game to end and for their fares to come pouring out of the park. I suddenly found myself in a rare moment where I was able to manage a burst of speed; this would be 16-17 MPH, if you're keeping score. My normal pace is the 10-11 MPH range. I zipped past a lumbering pedicab and the driver shouted up to me, "You're making me look bad!".  I smiled and gave a sorry-shrug back at him. Another pedicab had a fare of 3 in the back of his cycle-rickshaw and they decided it would make good sport to race their cab against me as we waited at a light. I gave them a good show of getting into a low-built-for-speed position and donning my best steely-eyed competitive glare before setting off at a speed just fast enough to over take the sluggish rickshaw.

Bruise mystery solved.

I've noticed a mysterious pattern of bruises on my right knee and I had trouble determining the cause.

Where are these coming from?

Oh, the shifter. *BONK*
They started after I moved the saddle forward. It doesn't hurt when I knee the shifter paddle when I dismount, but I guess I bruise easily in this spot and I'll have to put up with brown and purple spots all over one knee.

A wonderful day, 33 miles.
Coming up: several days of rest for my legs that were torn apart by muscle cramps.


  1. Wow, looks like it was an awesome day on the bike! I enjoy those quiet moments on the bike, just toddling along and taking in the world around me. I'm normally doing that at 4:00 am, though. Great write up and especially enjoyed the word pictures to go along with the camera pictures.



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