As expected, once I stopped taking the poison, Lipitor, and that venom left my body I would be walking and rolling again. To bring you up to speed, Friday May 4th, I could not walk because the cholesterol prescribed to me by my primary care physician decided it would rather destroy my left leg muscles and knee joint rather than eliminating bad cholesterol and triglycerides in my veins. Monday the 7th I rode a bike again after two days off. Then after returning home from KC and Minneapolis I rode every day to work. By Friday I was almost to total health with only the occasional glitch in the knee. But the 7th was the big test.
We found ourselves in Minneapolis to see a rock concert. I had a big fantasy about exploring the trail system so we took two bikes with us. Because we drive a Taurus we had to remove the front wheels from the bikes to fit both into the rear passenger compartment. Bicycles are safer inside vehicles than outside of them during transport. I took my Verenti Substance "adventure" bike for two reasons. First, it had flat platform pedals on it and since I was barely able to walk let alone ride a bike I did not desire to stress my knee out any more than necessary by having to clip in and out of a SPD pedal. Second, the concert we were going to see, Peter hook & The Light, was going to be a performance of Hooky playing both the New Order Substance and the Joy Division Substance albums. Substance being the name of those lps that featured all their 12" singles up to 1987. Seemed only fitting that I bring the third Substance. Coincidentally, the Verenti was purchased from England the home of Joy Division/New Order and Peter Hook.
So I rode home from work, barely, crawled into a vodka and club soda and did not ride a bicycle until Monday. That first trip was from the front door to the car. I had to see if I could pedal. I could although that first pedal stroke HURT but it got better. Then after driving to Minneapolis and checking into the hotel and changing our clothes for the ride I made Mary look the other way while I did that painful first pedal stroke in the parking lot. But it felt better this time. So with that out of the way I did probably the stupidest thing a person in my condition could do. I rode on the streets of a major US city. Bike lanes and not I was hitting the streets in less than 100% riding condition. But I am stubborn and tend to deal with the limits hoping my guardian angel is there to rescue me.
Downtown Minneapolis. A mix of one way streets, bike lanes both protected and unprotected, traffic, giant buses, potholes and broken glass. After using the Google I discovered that Minneapolis is a Lakota word for "arseholes break glass bottles here." To be honest, most of the broken glass was near the curb and on the sidewalks and the further we were from downtown the worse it was. But we saw a lot of bicycles parked at businesses and cyclists in the streets. This is bicycle commuter friendly city. Lots of single speeds. A few bikes with panniers.
As for the bike lanes, they were everywhere we needed them. We started at the Best Western Plus Normandy Inn & Suites on S 8th. Nice place. Great to be able to park the car and leaving it in their lot. Our first mission was to ride to First Avenue to see the venue for tonight's gig. Definitely within walking distance. And we discovered that the Target Center was basically across the street from First Ave. So if there is concert there, Normandy Inn will be the place we will stay.
|Hooky performed both Substance albums. I rode the Substance.|
After the obligatory photo session at one of the nation's best rock & roll venues we consulted Google Maps and picked a route to intercept a bicycle trail that would take us to the trail that goes around one of the lakes. Way back over a decade ago I was up here for business and took my Trek 520 and rode around a lake or two. Nice trail system. Segregated lanes for bicycles and pedestrians. I wish we had these in Des Moines. But back them I started from south of downtown and it was easier to get to the trail. We did stop at Target Field home of the Twins. Eventually we got to the trail but only had time to ride around one lake. The trail was a mix of people kitted out on road bikes, like Mary, and commuters and everyday bicyclists. I wish we had those in Des Moines.
|We knew this was going to happen. Eventually we passed this bus and got on a protected bicycle lane.|
After the lake more street action. Issue with the buses. Guess what pulls into the bike lane to pick up passengers? I was never so relieved to find a protected bike lane. Not overly visually busy like the protected lane on E Grand Ave in Des Moines. Just enough bollard for cars to get the clue. Upon returning to our hotel I noticed a brew pub across the street. Damn, barely enough time to shower, change, grab a bite and get to the venue. Of course it was closed after we got back but the hotel bar was still open.
As far I was physically, some soreness to the left leg and knee but no issues riding. Walking in KC and Minneapolis and standing in front of Peter Hook & The Light helped remove the poison and damage from my leg and knee. I am back.
Final note on Minneapolis. They have a bicycle share program. We saw these kiosks/docking stations in quite a few places even near a residential neighborhood.
After returning home I rode to work for the rest of the week and the next week. Rain on the weekend literally dampened any riding plans. And lawn mowing and tilling the garden. At least I could do that. Both activities require functioning legs and knees.
Finally today, the 19th I was able to ride on a Saturday but once again that ride had an early ending due to rain. What should have been a 40+ mile ride ended up a 14 miler. I was on my best road bike. The previous time on this bicycle I was in top shape when Mary and I rode with team Kum & Go to the High Trestle. I was in great shape. Then everything went south. But today I rode strong. The departure for the ride was delayed by my desire to finish mowing the back yard as it was getting out of control again. And half way into the ride, 7 miles, we stopped to eat at a Mexican restaurant, La Feria just off the 4 Mile Creek Trail in the Copper Creek area. Three other cyclists were there as well, two in Ragbrai jerseys. When we went to pay they were finished too. A large obese man man asked if there was a bicycle race somewhere near. No, our fellow travelers replied, just out on a ride. Then I chimed in, "when we drive cars we wear NASCAR outfits." It was very warm and humid when we rode there. Jerseys and bike shorts were needed for long rides.
After our meal when Mary went to the restroom I checked the radar. Damn, something red was brewing south of town. The temperature had dropped 10 degrees since we stopped. Time to haul ass home! The sky was dark and we made good time. Two men on road bike passed us so we added more coal to the fire and caught them. They too turned right on Scott Ave and headed to downtown DSM. Raised our average speed by 2 mph as well. As I reached for the door handle of our house I heard the thunder. In the nick of time. Just enough time to get the bicycles put away, the extension cord for the tiller inside and put away my single speed commuter before the first drop.
Glad to declare myself fit for riding and long rides. Now if the weather would cooperate I'd be pleased. This will be lowest mileage year in a decade unless I dedicate every non working moment to riding. Nah, I've a life.