National Bike Challenge – the beginning

The League of American Bicylists NBC 2013 banner

May is National Bike Month, and today was the first day of the National Bike Challenge. There’s nothing really fancy about it and although there are some prizes here and there, the biggest takeaway is, probably, the awesomeness factor of seeing all those miles you log and knowing how your miles can help your local biking community.

Oh yeah, and all the health benefits and looking real good in your bike shorts.

Total Baddassery.

And since this is really my first full year of biking, and my first time participating in any “challenge,” I was mulling over the idea of maybe chronicling my bike challenge adventures.

I wasn’t sure but when I posted the idea to my Facebook universe, there seemed to be some general interest. So I’m giving the “Dear Road Rash” diaries a try. I have to note… maybe warn you that most of my entries will probably be an utter bore because some days will just be… a day. But if you’ll read, I’ll write. And who knows, maybe this will be an interesting experience for the both of us.

And since this is a new endeavor, I apologize half-heartedly at any style inconsistencies of these Road Rash diaries posts.

So let’s pedal on!


Day 1 | Total miles: 9.15 miles

Morning Commute

I woke up this morning fairly groggy. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get up with the mind set of biking but I pulled myself together, threw on my gear and jumped on the bike. (Always the best decision, of course.)

This morning’s commute was, perhaps, no different from any of the other commutes I’ve taken (except maybe Monday’s in the soggy rain), except I was a bit more excited about logging my miles.

Hullo Bike Challenge! Thanks for that motivation.

At one of the crosswalks, I came upon this little boy and an older gentleman. Both were on their bikes and from what I overheard, the gentleman was a teacher at some nearby school, while the boy was a 4th grader at some other school. Cute. Though at that moment I couldn’t help but wonder how weird.. or maybe even intimidating it might be to have a teacher talk to you on your way to school.

But then I immediately thought how awesome it is that this 4th grader is riding his wee-little bike to school! He even did the whole run across the crosswalk then jump on the bike bit. Cute.

Kids on bikes are always rainbows and puppies worth of smiles.

On to another thought.

At this same crosswalk, I’ve often wondered if the people driving ever see me and other cyclists and wonder, “Hmm maybe I should give that a try!”

Because really, travelling on Connecticut Avenue (in Maryland it’s roughly between Silver Spring and Bethesda, connecting to the Beltway) looks like an absolute nightmare. It’s bad enough when I have to take the bus on East West Highway, but when I look into these cars, everyone just looks appallingly miserable.

They look trapped.

And me, on my bike, I feel free. Not stuck. It’s a great feeling (not to rub it in their faces or anything).

Afternoon Commute

I know I need sunglasses but today’s commute home basically solidified the immense need for a pair. I have no idea where to even look. Then, of course, that thought led to other thoughts of other gear that I’d like to get, like those Keen commuter sandals.

And here’s a more serious thought/question that’s been bugging me, mostly because recently I’ve been going through some serious tube/tire issues.

When I ride, my tire looks like it’s going flat, but I know it’s not because I check it every freakin’ day. But the last time I got the tube replaced at the shop, I noticed they put in a tube that’s smaller than the tire. (And here comes my total n00bness in the cycling world).

Does the size of the tube make a difference? (Which, I know it does but should I replace it with a more fitting tube?) The tire is a 700c x 28 and I believe the tube the shop guy put in was a 25. The spare tube in my under seat baggie is a 25.

I think I’m going insane. Every time I get to my destination I’m relieved to see my tire is okay. But as soon as I get pedaling and look down, it’s like “faaaahk?!”

On a completely unrelated note. Today I decided to sit on an exercise ball at work. I must say, this is pretty fun. It’ll probably help if the ball was inflated all the way, but it’s great! I feel like I’ve been “moving” all day.

-30-

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