What’s in My Pannier

What's in my pannier.

Inspired by MG’s post, which was inspired by this Lifehacker post, I thought it would be interesting to compare how much I carry on a given commute. This is typical for a multi-modal day, in which I bike and take the Metro. If I were riding to work, I’d also include some change of clothes.

My Arkel Switchback pannier/backpack has three compartments, and I have stuff in all of them.

Front compartment: flash drive, lip gloss (which I haven’t used), lip balm, extra ponytail holder, meds, sunscreen stick, mechanical pencil (leftover from practice– I don’t need this), antibacterial gel, keys, and earplugs (for drum practice), smartphone (not shown in photo because I’m using the camera function to take the photo above)

Middle compartment: wallet, small bag containing front and rear lights, badge for work (not shown in photo)

Large compartment: cardigan (because it is fricking cold at work), plastic container for breakfast (granola), notebook, datebook, book for reading on the Metro (because I rock it old school), u-lock (not shown because it is locked to the bike)

A certain bicyclist (I’m not naming names) had teased me once because I carried so much stuff to work. This doesn’t look like that much to me.

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BikeDC Goes to the (Hot) Dogs: To Purcellville

W&OD from Purcellville.
The last time I rode on the W&OD Trail, it occurred to me that I had never gone to the end of the trail to Purcellville, VA. I had heard nice things about that part of the trail– that it was much prettier out there, and there was a certain establishment that had amazing hot dogs. I hadn’t done a long ride in a while, so I wanted to ride out to Purcellville. I sent a call out to my #BikeDC friends, and Ryan, Justin, Ted, and Rootchopper(!) John responded.
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June 2014 Stats

For the month of June, I rode 137.28 miles in 22 days. I didn’t do a long ride this month– I’m not sure why. I also had a goal to ride to work at least once a week, and I only did that twice this month. I know that I was sick for one week, but I’m kind of disappointed that I didn’t reach my goal.

So for next month, one long ride, and a weekly commute. Just because I want to do that.

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30 Days of Change

Sometimes, I look for other ways of torturing myself pushing my body to the limit. Because why not?

A friend of mine recommended that I look at Neila Rey‘s site. I found it instantly appealing because 1) it lays out exercises in an easy-to-understand visual format, 2) the exercises are manageable to do in short chunks of time, and 3) they mostly involve using one’s body weight. As I am lazy and cheap, doing a quick regimen that didn’t involve having to go to the gym or buying equipment was very tempting. I had to try it. I opted for the 30 Days of Change program to get myself re-acquainted with working out again.

The program involves 30 straight days of doing a combination of cardio and strength exercises, which are mixed up throughout the program so that you aren’t doing the same thing twice in a row. There are three different levels of workouts, which Neila calls “normal, hard, and freakin’ murder.” I started out on Level 1.

The first four days seemed easy to me– almost too easy. I figured that if it wasn’t a challenge, then I should level up. Big mistake. There is a significant difference between “normal” and “hard,” so when I attempted Day 5 at Level 2, I nearly lost it. The plank jacks and duck walks were so hard for me, that I admit I started crying during the last couple sets. From then on, I knocked back to Level 1 for the rest of the program.

I did a few modifications on some of the workouts– I swapped some of the running exercises for biking, and if I thought a particular day wasn’t challenging enough, rather than going up to the next level, I shortened the recovery time between sets instead. I did end up doing some running by Day 8, when I discovered that it was actually not too terrible.*

Somewhere past the halfway mark, I felt like I was getting stronger. I needed less time to recover, doing some of the cardio exercises didn’t leave me a total mess, and some exercises (like push-ups?!) actually got easier to do.

There is also a recommended menu, and I confess I didn’t follow it because I got sick during the program (not related to working out), and didn’t feel like I could do that change then. This may account for why I don’t see a dramatic change in my weight or my appearance. But I do feel really good– like I’m comfortable in my own body again, which I haven’t felt in a while. And more important, I feel like working out every day is easily achievable. I wake up a little earlier in the morning to exercise before I leave for work. It doesn’t take too much time out of my schedule, and I feel energized for the rest of the day. It helps to combat against the morning blues I had been feeling lately.

Even though I’m done this program, I want to keep exercising. My friend and I will be embarking on the 30 Days of High Intensity Interval Training (gulp!), and you can follow my progress on Twitter.

*I stopped running a long time ago because I kept getting injured. I do wonder whether I should come back to it, at least in a limited capacity as part of cross-training, because I think I’m starting to get repetitive strain in certain parts of my body from being on the bike every day.

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May 2014 Stats

For the month of May, I rode 187.57 miles in 23 days. This includes the Tour de DCPL and a ride with some friends on Memorial Day.I also took part in the May Commute Challenge with a group of folks from work.

Two new things:
1. I’m now tracking my rides with SportTracks, which seems a lot more stable than the other program I was using.
2. I’m starting to incorporate some bodyweight training a little every day. I’ll write up a review once I’m done the 30-day program I’m on.

Posted in Stats

Ebb and Flow

Northwest Branch and Trail

There comes a time in a blogger’s life when the blogger has dropped off from posting regularly, and feels compelled to apologize to loyal readers, no matter how minuscule the readership.

It’s been a difficult spring for me. I had somewhat of a mental breakdown last month. It’s been a long time coming, really. Even off the bike, I have a tendency to push myself pretty hard. I’m reminded of my time riding the Urbana 200K– mental toughness may be a virtue in some respects, but it has a boundary, and I crossed it some time ago. I completely fell apart, and am now in the process of rebuilding. It’s going to take a while.

Through it all, I kept biking. That was one of the few bright spots in my life in an otherwise bleak time. I enjoy my daily commute, riding through the woods, watching the trail greening in the warmer weather. I’ve been doing shorter group rides, but I’m having fun with those, too. Being outdoors on my bike rejuvenates me, even though the feeling is sometimes short-lived and disappears once I sit down at my desk.

This is all just to say that I’m sorry I haven’t been writing here regularly, but rest assured that I’m still bicycling. I haven’t given up yet.

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Tour de DCPL

Bike books display

Believe it or not, sometimes I like to ride my bike for things other than food. I also like to ride for good causes.

Libraries hold a special place in my heart, and not just because I work in one. I strongly believe that public libraries do a world of good in the communities they serve, and they should be recognized for the services they provide for their neighborhoods. I love going to city libraries, as you can learn a lot about what they find important to make available for their patrons.

When I first heard of the Tour de DCPL, I was intrigued. A bike ride that tours around the branches of the DC Public Library– how cool is that? Schedule conflicts every year had prevented me from participating– until yesterday.
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