Friday, February 27, 2009

Forecast: Very Windy with a Chance of…KICK ASS

Day 18 – 2/23/09

I have become an addict. I am willing to admit this because…well I am addicted to bicycling. I am glad I have come to this realization because I think I would have to be addicted to be able to bike 3,000 miles in one trip. This last weekend I have biked a total of 55.82 miles. I am going to be taking a break today just to let my muscles heal but man am I itching to do a longer ride.

My trip started in Brookline like all of them have been so far. I went over the route that I chose on Google maps. I checked the forecast for the day and to my surprise (sarcasm) it was very heavy winds. This did not discourage me it actually exited me. I have wanted a challenge, because so far my rides (even the one on Saturday) have been pretty straightforward and simple. So I wanted to have to deal with the elements and really work for my goal.

I finally decided to invest in some glasses for the sun and the wind, so I went to City Sports and purchased TIFOSI Slip model glasses. They have interchangeable lenses and they are really comfortable. They were $50, which was a good price considering I was expecting to pay around $100. I was planning on doing some more research before I bought glasses but I needed them that day and they have a 30 day return policy so if they didn’t work or I find something better I could exchange them. The different lenses are, sunglasses, yellow glasses (for snow or low light), clear (for night), and some blue/orange lenses that I am unsure what they are for but look really cool.

I set off on my adventure to Lowell. I was estimating around a 4 hour ride, with wind and some pretty cold temperatures. What I ended up with was a 4 hour 45 minute ride, a lot of wind and two frozen feet. It was so worth it though, because when I pulled up to my destination (Lara’s Apartment) I felt as though I had worked my ass off, that I had taken on a big task and achieved that task without complaints. I had road my bike for almost 5 hours in one day and I was still not tired of riding. The only part of my body that took any damage were my feet (which for some reason I cannot keep warm for the life of me) I had lost feeling in them about ¾ of the way through my ride because of the wind and the occasional puddle splash.

The trip went through, Allston, Watertown, Waverl(e)y, Belmont, Lexington, Bedford, Billerica, North Billerica, and finally Lowell. I got to race through the first part because I had already gone to Lexington so I knew the route. Once I passed Lexington it was constant up hill climes all the way to Lowell. The sun had set and I was pushing through. Some times the wind would hit me and push my bike and myself to the side, it was an amazing experience. There was so much history that I past that I am sure I could keep biking up and down that same route and continue to find new and interesting things.

While I was riding this time I continued to feel an excitement and an attachment to bicycling. I became more and more comfortable with my abilities on my bike and I loved feeling the air on my face and having the freedom that a bike allowed me to have such as squeezing through small spaces, stopping where ever I would like, and to really feel the road and the environment around me.

The minuteman trail goes right through Lexington and when the ice melts away I plan to ride the 10 mile path and take in all the history it has to offer.


TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 18 hrs 55 min

Emotional Biking and My 100 Mile Goal

Day 17 – 2/22/09

Having a semi long-term goal has really helped me organize my life and stay motivated to continue to do more. This bike ride has given me the focus that I need to keep from wallowing in my own sadness and misery…(dramatic I know).

On Sunday I woke up early in the morning feeling a bit down. Not about anything in specific, just not a chipper as I have been lately. I think I was worrying about financial things (which I do way to much, which I shouldn’t do) anyways… I get out of bed thinking to myself that I really don’t want to put on all my cloths, the many layers of sweatshirts and pants to go ride around Brookline. So I sat there in bed with the sheets half on me and half on the floor, my hair doing its thing, going in every direction, and I took some deep breaths. I don’t like suppressing my feelings so I was trying to just not let them overwhelm me. After a couple breaths I put my head in my hands and thought about what getting on the bike means to me. The Big Picture: Training for my trip across country, it is exercise (which is always good), and it’s a constant challenge that I hope to concur. The Small Picture: It will help me work with my emotions, it will wake me up, and it will push me over 100 miles worth of training (which is the goal that I set for today)! After that little check in I stood up, started putting on my cloths, grabbed my bike and headed out.

The trip was short, just to the JP ponds and back. I really only needed 6.02 miles to get to 100 so I figured that would be good enough. While I was peddling I found my self being very aggressive with the bike, taking my turns sharper, every stroke of the peddle was a bit more defined rather than the constant smooth circle that it usually was. The emotions that I had inside were coming out through my technique. This didn’t bother me; it just was a different experience than what I am used to. Once I got to the JP loop I was bolting around the path, passing people left and right jumping over tree roots and sidewalk imperfections. As I was coming around the pond for a second time this couple and their kid started shouting at me, “This isn’t the bike path!, This is NOT the bike path!” They were frustrated with me; I could hear it in their voices. I felt a surge of anger which was pushing me to just say “screw it” and keep on riding but I knew that that was not what I wanted to do, so I slowed down, turned around (which I don’t think they were expecting) and asked them where the bike path was. After a second of their astonishment that I cared where I was biking they pointed about 20 feet away at another path. I said thank you and headed to the bike path. This incident for some reason cleansed me of my frustrations and anger and sadness. I got on the bike path and my feet were rotating the wheels in a constant motion and I was paying attention to everything all-around me instead of just the immediate 10 feet. Being forced to look at my actions strait in the face and say “I don’t like what they do to me”, gave me the control to focus and enjoy the rest of the ride.

After the trip I worked at Eureka for a couple of hours and then had my Oscar party. The Oscars were fantastic and Slumdog millionaire as I and the rest of the world predicted swept the academy. Some very close friends were there and some new people that I now consider friends were there and I was happy. I had achieved my goal of 100 miles (103.68 to be exact) and I was with good people and good entertainment (go Hugh Jackman sing that song!). Paying attention to the bigger picture, the bigger goal of my bike ride and documentary allows me to stay focused and attentive to the life that is happening around me at this moment. Because after all this trip is for me to reconnect with my country, my family, and my self, and I cant do that if I am only looking 10 feet ahead.


TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 14 hrs 10 min

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Adventure to Candy Castle

Day 16 – 2/21/09

Asking the question, where should I ride? Has yet to bring in any crazy locations but I did get a random one from my friend Cody Fitch. I asked him my travel question and he said I should go to Lexington, MA. I asked him why and he responded, “you asked me and I found a place near by.” Well Cody has always been strait forward and I thank him for that.

Lexington ended up being a great place to bike to. My adventures took me to a place called Candy Castle (1853 Massachusetts Ave Lexington, MA 02420) where all your dreams come true. It is a local candy store that makes its own fudge and sells candy from runtz to saltwater taffy, to the sour powder you can fill straws with. It was a very nice place to visit and the girl that I met working there (Hayley) recommended that I get a chocolate truffle with caramel in the center. (fantastic choice Hayley). After arriving at Lexington I was starving and the gentleman that owned the Candy Castle told me that the restaurant that was uniquely Lexington was MARIOS (1733 Massachusetts Ave Lexington, MA 02420). It was fantastic. I missed it on the way into town because it is a small door and a small window. The restaurant inside is everything you think a place called Mario’s would be. The red checkered table cloths, dimly lit, with the smell of sausage and garlic filling the air. I walked in at about 1:30 and the place was packed so I knew I was in the right spot. There were people from all different walks of life. There was the dad with his suns that asked questions about everything, the mother and daughter that never said a word to each other, the elderly couple that have been coming to this place for years, and the motorcyclists that are there to eat their pasta and chat till they feel the urge to move on to there next location. I felt right at home. The menu was simple. What pasta, sub, or pizza do you want? Meat, cheese, or plain? I got an eggplant sub with red sauce and cheese. It was delish! The cheese oozed out of the sub each time I bit into it and the red sauce, which must have been a family secret because of the seasoning, was just out of this world. It complemented everything and did not overpower anything.

After my satisfying meal I went back to Candy Castle to pick up those chocolate caramels and headed back to Brookline. The trip took me 3 hours and was well worth the ride. I am going to be traveling through here for my trip to Lowell and I will be happy to see Lexington once more.

(Pictures will be coming I am just having some trouble transferring my photos to my computer)

P.S. There is a face book group now that everybody should become fans of. type in "Against the wind" in the search menu and it should come up or you can go to my profile and find it from there.

Thank you.


TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 13 hrs 15 min

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feeling at Home on the Bike

Day 15 – 02/18/09

I just came up with my new phrase for training days like these. The uphill hustle. Cheesy I know, but that is what is seems like. On days like today when I don’t have very much time but want to get in a ride that I can call a work out, I have started just going biking strait for the hills. So the small amount of time that I am on the bike my legs are in over drive and getting a nice burn. My trip was to my friend Devon’s house, just off of Washington St. It was a nice ride, I was twisting and turning up the hill and then my cell phone alarm started going off and I really didn’t want to stop riding because I was so close to the top of the hill. But unfortunately I had to turn around and go back to my apartment. The time went by so fast…its nice having that feeling. That feeling that I don’t want to get off my bike, that I feel at home on it, that I feel as though I can ride for hours. I know when I did my 1.5 hour ride to Stoneham I felt as though I could continue to ride for hours more. Having this feeling has put into my head the idea of riding to Lowell. This ride should take me around 3 hours and I am going to be doing it on Monday the 23rd of February. This will be great. It is the first day that I have completely off (no rehearsals or work, just a day with my self and my bike!). I think that it will be a nice comfortable ride with plenty of things to see and do. Plus I will end up in Lowell with Lara, which is always nice. For the planning of the trip I have been watching the weather. So far it seems as though it will be a bit windy (hooray) and the temperature will be around 30-40 degrees (not bad if I do say so my self). I am going to be checking out the maps for the next couple of days so I can make sure to stay off highways and be able to have a safe enjoyable ride.
Saturday I am going to go on a medium length ride to….I don’t know where. I will figure it out when I get up that morning. I am sure that it will have lots of good things to see and write about.

All right so I would like to start opening my rides up to other’s ideas. So if you have an idea of a place that you would like me to ride to or have a suggestion on a type of destination that you think would be interesting to hear about, just make a comment on this blog and I will do that ride (if humanly possible). I want all sorts of ideas so let me have them. This is something that I want to incorporate in to my ride across the country also because I want you to let me know about places that you have been or would like to hear about all across the country and I will see if I can do them.

I have 26.24 miles to go before the end of Sunday and my 100 mile dead line.


TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 10 hrs 10 min

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Assuming Pie = Pi

Day 14 – 2/17/09

“I’m going to make a pie!” Says the little kid with red and yellow blocks. “What kind of pie?” I asked. “The Greek letter pi!” the little kid says with a serious look on his face.

I had this conversation today during my layover on my bike ride. Of course the kid would make the Greek letter pi, isn’t that what every 4 year old means when he/she say Pie/pi? How silly of me to assume….

My ride today was quick and easy, to Allston and back to my apartment. I have gotten in the groove of riding on Harvard St. I just needed to build up some confidence and get my bike into the lane that I want to be in. (the intersection of Harvard and Brighten still gets me a bit though) I have had a conversation with another cross country biker veteran. His name is Sean (or Shawn) he talked to me about his ride across the northern part of the country with his friends working on AIDs awareness. He gave me some great tips on who to contact while traveling. He said that I should contact alumni from my college because they are probably scattered across the country and are usually willing and able to house someone for the night. I really had not thought about that but hey that’s why I am doing my research. I also got a great story from Sean. While he was in Wyoming he and his buddies had run out of water so they decided to go to this small town that they found on the map. When they arrived the town turned out to be a single bar that only had whisky! So as far as their problem water there was not a fix but hey they eventually got a coke out of it (which helped allot).
When I was riding back, after making my favorite pi, I was thinking about how people assume so much. Like my assumption with Oliver (the 4 year old) and things about everyday life. Assuming that one family’s rules for their house, are the same as yours, is a common one that I have run into. I grew up with a pretty open door policy with friends coming over. People would come over to watch movies, play games at really any time and it was great! Everybody was always welcome to get food or drinks from the fridge and they could have as much as they wanted. Now I’m not saying that when I go over to somebody’s house I just rummage through their cupboards looking for anything I want and taking it, I just simply expect when people come over to my place they know that they can take what ever they want and not have to worry about inconveniencing me. I have always felt as though people wont take advantage of that, but for some reason people do, I guess (I really haven’t met anyone that does do that but I hear they are out there) When ever I hear the word assume that silly phrase always runs through my head “assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME”. I guess I thought it was a funny way of learning how to spell the word, but I think that, to assume the worse out of people or things is what really applies to that phrase. I simply assume that people are trust worthy and that they mean no harm. Whether that makes me naïve, I don’t really care, it has worked well for me so far in my life. Now in the case of the assumption of the Pie vs. Pi, I don’t think there really was any negative assumption going on, but what assuming did cause was a narrow-minded thought process. Assuming that the only pie that Oliver could be talking about was a cherry pie, limited my possibility of thinking outside the box and seeing all the variations that could be there. I think that I simply need to assume that there are always going to be different ways of thinking about everything no matter which way you slice the pi.

P.S. Yes the color planks used to create pi were symmetrical also....what a kid, right?



Sunday, February 15, 2009


Day 13 - 2/15/09

So for the last couple of days I have not been getting on the bike as often as I hoped. I haven’t yet been able to balance going into tech for my play, work at Eureka, and getting my riding done (along with you know…living in general). So I slacked off on the one thing that seemed to be the easiest thing to slack off on, biking… but NO MORE! This next week is going to be one of my busiest I have had in a while. I am going to be working way more than I am used to at Eureka and then we have tech for “Dark Play…” (which opens on Friday, everybody should go! , and my new goal is to get to 100 miles in total by Sunday the 22nd of February. On February the 22nd I will rejoice and then watch the Oscars (and see MILK and Slumdog Millionaire win all the awards). I will provide pictures of my trips and keep the blog updated with the latest adventures.

The little riding that I have done in the last couple of days (which has been 5 minutes rides to grocery stores) there has been lots of wind!!! Nature must have read my last post and wanted to play a cruel joke.

Quick question:
I would love to hear something from all of you.
What time of day do you find yourself checking my blog? (This is so I can make sure to keep it updated so you aren’t reading multiple entries at a time.)



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Smooth Sailing - My Encounters with No Wind

Day 12 – 2/10/09
As far as riding today I did very little, just into Allston and back. It did not have any crazy adventure but it allowed me enough time to think about a question that was ask of me. I was told by my friend David Lawson that he liked my blog but he hasn’t read anything about wind yet…it pulled me back…I mean my freakin blog is called Bike Against the Wind so shouldn’t there be some wind? To explain this I should go back to why I gave that title to my project in the first place. When I first started talking about doing a bike trip, one of the questions was, which way do I ride, east to west or west to east? To my understanding the majority of the people that bike across the country go from west to east. I live in the east so I figured the most logical way to bike would be to go from my home to the west. The only thing with that is that the natural wind pattern across the country is west to east, so my trip would be Against the Wind. Thus the name. So, for the people that are asking the same question that David asked, I have not encountered that much wind, just a bit riding west on beacon st. but other than that it has been pretty smooth sailing.



The Community on Top the Hill

Day 11 – 02/09/09
I don’t know if any of you have been to chestnut hill but…whoa. For those of you who don’t know the area that I am talking about, Chestnut Hill is a beautiful hill that is near Boston College. It is populated by large amounts of New England trees along with the largest freakin mansions you have ever seen. And these mansions are not just big houses they have an elegance and image to them that gives off the feeling that there is no other word but mansion to describe.
I started my ride just thinking that I would go for a nice relaxing 40 min ride through some forested area. Little did I know that I would be climbing a 60 degree incline road leading to a community of luxury and history. Once I got to the top of the hill (which I did without stopping once, Hooray!) I took a picture to prove that I did it. In the picture the road just drops off in the background, that drop off is the vertical drop of a road. Looking at all these mansions amazed me. The beauty of the artwork in the layout of the building and then on top of that the landscaping and statues that were in the front yards were just breathtaking. I felt as though I had wondered into the early 1900’s and was expecting someone to appear dressed in “Gone with the Wind” garb. I turned around at Chestnut Hill Academy which had a beautiful campus that looked like a section of Hogwarts (Go Harry Potter reference). While I went back down the road I was thinking about what type of community the people that own these mansions must live in. They have created a secluded place where they would not need to leave except to go to work. They have an academy for the young kids and then they live right next to Boston College, then there are grocery stores and everything else they need within a short distance to their homes. With all this convenience and seclusion, do they talk to each other? Do these people have a community where their kids can run next door and play in the basement or go trick or treating without worry? Is there a social atmosphere in this community on a hilltop that is not achievable in the city or even in my apartment complex? I’ve started reading a book called Outliers by Malcom Gladwell, This book is the study of what makes successful people in our society so successful. It is very interesting so far and the one thing that has really intrigued me is, in the intro Gladwell talks about this town in Pennsylvania call Roseto. Southern Italians that migrated to the United States back in the 1800’s inhabit Roseto. There was a study done on these people and their health in relation to their social environment. In this town everybody knew everybody and they all talked to everybody everyday. Life was lived with each other instead of separated from each other. A doctor could not figure out why these perfectly average people who had the same exercise, and eating habits as everybody else would have a 80% higher life expectancy. The majority of the people in Roseto would die of old age instead of some desieas or heart attach. The only thing that this doctor could come up with was the fact that these people lived low stress highly social lives. This type of community is something that I am very interested in learning more about. I would like to think that the people up in Chestnut Hill live the same way that the people in Roseto do but I have a feeling that our society being the way it is those inhabitants of those mansions probably don’t even talk to each other. I hope some one proves me wrong.



Sunday, February 8, 2009

Past the Reaches of the T

Day 10 – 2/7/09

My first “long trip”…. comparatively. Living in the city with everything so close together and not having a car, it makes anything that is not accessible by the T (subway for you non Bostonians) just way to far to get to. I mean who would go anywhere where the T doesn’t go…right? A couple of years ago I had heard of this far off place that one of my professors used to live, this far off place was called Stoneham. It was a mystical land that I thought I would never venture near because; well it wasn’t in the 5-mile radius of the city. The mention of this mystical town came into my life recently when Lara Fox was visiting a friend, Ashley, there and I decide to go and visit. But wait, how could I, a lonely city folk, get way far out to Stoneham…a feakin bike! Looking at the map on Google, Stoneham did look pretty far and it was 2 times farther away than any bike ride I have done so far, so I prepped for a great adventure. I wore extra cloths, I packed food, and water, and I printed out directions (walking directions that I altered to make sure I wasn’t biking down a busy one way). And I set out…After taking the wrong turn in Cambridge and ending up at the alewife T stop (which is way to far east of where I was going) I had to sacrifice some time and energy to find my way back to the trail that I had originally planed on taking. Once on track it was smooth sailing. I was going to ride through Middlesex Fells Reservation, which looked like an enjoyable ride, and then I would get to hang out with some grand people. I was cruising along College ave. past tufts university then getting on Main st. in Medford which was a nice calming ride then…. I came to the turning point in my ride. To get to 28, which goes right through the reservation, I had to get through a ROTARY!!! (For those of you that don’t know what a rotary is, let me explain. It is a death trap, where cars drive very fast in a circle till they feel like getting off, then they cut through the two lanes of traffic and jet off in a direction that could or could not be the right one. Supposedly it helps the flow of traffic, but I see it as a minnie NASCAR track that people can enjoy on their way to work.) So this circle of death lay in front of me and I thought to my self “this cant be safe, there has to be another way around”. I asked a local (man in a pickup truck) and he said that the only way that he knew how to get to 28 was to get on the rotary… so I checked in with myself and took a deep breath, came to peace with the universe and started pedaling. I got to the rotary entrance and started pedaling faster to catch up to the speed that the cars were going. My senses were on high alert, I felt as though I could see every movement of every driver of every car, I pulled into the outer lane then signaled with my hand to move to the center lane, the cars coming up behind me were your average oversized SUV and of course the HUGE SEMI truck. This made me sooo calm… I just focused ahead of me and realized that I needed to get to the outside lane because my exit was next so I signaled again with my hands and shot out of the rotary like a freaking bullet onto 28. The whole experience was probably 45 seconds but HOLY CRAP it felt like an eternity to me. After that I stopped in front of this nice little pizza place and had to breathe for a bit. After making a call to Lara telling her that I am alive I pedaled on. The cool thing about riding on 28 is that no body else is on that road. I had a 2-lane road to my self and I got to admire the gorgeous land that surrounded me. I passed by the entrance to the actual reservation and am going to definitely come back and ride in there. When I was about 3/4th through the reservation where 28 crosses over highway 93, I had to stop and take a picture because it amazed me how this huge highway literally cuts through this amazing land, and the people on the road probably don’t get to look out and enjoy all the beauty of what they are bypassing. It made me sad and angry. I know that man and nature have not gotten along to well but to see this highway as a scar on this land affected me. I am sure that on my travels across the country I will run into this sort of example everywhere. And I know that without these highways the country would not be the free and open travel country that it is but man we could have made the highways more attractive couldn’t we? Getting to Stoneham was very nice. It was a beautiful little new England town. I wanted to look around some more but it was getting dark and I had a play date with Lara and Ashley.
Looking back on the ride, the most enjoyable parts where when I was in the middle of the reservation, I felt apart of something, the land (maybe)? I will be exploring this feeling in the future but until I have another day where I can venture off into he woods of Massachusetts, I will bike in my little cement world of Boston and try and stay connected with that bit of my world. At least now I know that there is more out there past where the T lines end.

TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 2 hr 25 min


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mind vs. Mood (don't let the voices win)

Day 9 – 2/5/09
Sore throats suck…they just plain do. I woke up and there it was, that great pain in the back of my throat just daring me to swallow so it can inflict its wrath upon my esophagus. After attempting to not move my throat in anyway I got some water and vitamin C and Zinc and all the vitamins that are supposed to kick the crap out of that little twit and I downed them in one gulp. After that was taken care of I looked at the clock and I had a half hour to do a ride…but I’m sick…don’t get on the bike Mark you’ll just get sicker…the excuses just started rolling in, there isn’t enough time, you’ll be late for work, David(my boss and Eureka puzzles and games) will fire you, you’ll lose your job, you’ll loose your apartment, you’ll have to live off the streets and eat gravel for brunch…you know the normal non motivating voices that are in every bodies head (right?). Well I put that all aside and put on my long johns and my four layers of sweatshirts and got on the bike even if it meant I had to eat gravel for brunch. The ride was short, about 20 min. and I am glad I did it just to keep the habit up but man was my mood a downer. Everything seemed to make things worse, the wind, the cars on the road, the people in the cars, everything just made me want to go home and sleep. After the ride I started focusing on better things, on happy thoughts and that made my mood change. One of those happy thoughts was, I received a message on my Facebook wall from my best friend Cody Fitch saying and I quote, “My ass and my legs hate you for inspiring me to get on a bike again.” This made me overjoyed!! Me inspiring Cody to start riding a bike…me. I later found out that he has set a goal to ride to his work (which is across town) by the end of the summer. He hasn’t touched a bike in 9 years and he is starting to peddle again. I am so excited for him and I know that in the future we will be doing some bike trips together. GO, CODY, GO! As the vitamins started kicking ass and my joy for Cody filled my body, my day became another beautiful day of excitement and adventure. Ohhh how the mind affects the mood sooo much.

P.S. Saturday i am doing a day trip ride to Stoneham Mass to meet up will Lara Fox and her friend Ashley. It will be a ride though Middlesex Fells Reservation. I'll take photos and update my blog as soon as I can.



Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Day 8 – 2/4/09
Yesterday was a wonderful snow storm that added to the wonderful piles of frozen water that line the streets of Boston. It was pretty but I couldn’t ride (well I guess I could have but…well you get the picture) BUT today the streets were plowed and the sun was out so I got on my bike and road down to the JP ponds to do a quick loop. I figured that the bike path that surrounded the pond would be nice and plowed like the streets were…(first wrong assumption) then I assumed no body would be there wrong again (those freakin’ runners always… you know…runnin’) I got to the bike path and they HAD plowed the path but instead of pushing the snow to the sides of the path they just packed right down onto the cement…brilliance! Now instead of a snowy path I have an unstable surface that makes for a fun game of guess when the bump is coming! I did make it all the way around the pond slipping and sliding. I thought I would be going strait and then all of the sudden my back tire was on one side of the path and my front was on the other side…It was FUN! I did not crash, but my bike took a beating. One thing that I learned from that loop was the idea of grounding my back tire to keep traction. Usually when I get into a trouble spot while biking I stand up and put the weight on the peddles but with snow you want to sit down and almost lean back to keep the traction working for you.
I need some suggestions on some books or tricks that others have to take care of my bike in the winter. I keep it inside but I know that with every ride I go on the salt and the sand and the water gets into the gears and can start eroding the mettle of the frame and well that just does not sound appealing to me. So any suggestions would be helpful, just post them to this message. I am doing research into this also so I will keep the information flowing both ways.



Monday, February 2, 2009


Day 7 – 02/02/09
It was dreary today…I had to push myself out the door to get on my bike and just ride. I had no destination in mind I just knew that I had an hour. I headed towards Allston today…No real reason, I guess I was hoping that there might be some side streets that I could take and just get a ride in my pocket. I fought for my place on the road. I would get in to the left turn lane and stay there because that is the turn I am going to take (not being pushed to the side by a car). I was trying to figure out what stories I would find on this trip and I looked around and found that the city was DIRTY…I knew that the city wasn’t the cleanest thing in the world but with the melting snow and the sand that had been laid down for traction, all of this had mixed together to create a huge puddle of mud that engulfed an entire city. Which now is on my bike and my face and pants. I do have to say that biking through the puddles was fun and it made me think about the messes that I will get into on my trip across the country. What types of puddles will I ride through? what type of bugs will I be scraping off my bike helmet? How deep of water will I have to drag my bike through? This, in a strange way brightened my day (that rhymed). Among the brown gunk that was on the road, I had some how found a playground in which I will play in and will look for in the future. This will be the type of things that I will look forward to. I hope that I get really muddy on my trip so I can document the hilarious imagery that would come from that. I am glad I was able to get my butt out the door and on the bike because I feel a new surge of excitement to plan my trip and build anticipation for what adventures are to come.



Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ice-cream VS. Pie

Day 6 – 2/1/09

On each of my adventures I want to run into and find new and different people and places. I think part of my training is not just getting into shape but also exploring the city and towns around me. And boy did I find a new place today. My adventure today started off fairly simple.  I was going to go bike to the JP licks in Newton (I know JP licks again….but hey it’s a nice way to choose a destination) It was around 4 miles away so it was going to be a simple ride.  I headed down beacon street and when I got the intersection where Cleveland circle is, I came upon a group of 5 “bikers”.  They were the athletic bikers that have the cool helmets and shirts that have pockets on their lower back.  I felt as though this would be a great time to observe how “real” bikers bike.  They moved as a group pedaling at the same speed looking as though they’re not exerting any energy. They were almost dancing with each other, moving in and out of formation, waving each other to the side to avoid ice and bumps. They were connected with each other creating a new entity that was not just the individual bikers but one vehicle. I fallowed them the best I could…(from afar). I really wanted to know what this image looked like to a passer by, 5 stellar looking bikers and one biker on a mountain bike with a scarf wrapped around his face and enough layers of clothing to appear as though he was 250 pounds trailing behind. I felt like the nerd fallowing the cool kids around school hoping that the essence of cool would blow off of them and on me.  This fantasy only lasted as long as the road was flat. Once a hill came, the cool kids were gone. They were so far ahead of me I didn’t even get to say goodbye.  Once I got over the biker shun, I focused on the freaking hill that I was huffing and puffing up.  I made it to the top and before long I was jetting down the other side having a blast, always knowing that what I go down I must come back up (I’ll deal with that when I come to it).   At the bottom of the hill was where JP licks was supposed to be…I could not find it.  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a sign.  Not just a Sign…THE sign…THE sign of Signs.  The café was called “PIE” …My breaks where hit and the wheels of my bike were flipped and I was in the store, sitting in front of all sorts of pies in seconds.  This place was great and my stomach knew it.  There were your regular fruit pies, apple, cherry, rhubarb, but then there were allsorts of sweet and savory pies and I wanted them all.  I ended up settling for an eggplant, mozzarella, and tomato “hand pie”  it hit the spot and it gave me enough energy to make it back over that hill.  After finishing my scrumptious snack I headed back on my adventure towards my home.  About halfway up the hill I stopped and took a picture of Mary Baker Eddy’s home (not sure who she is but will find out and will go back to that house because it was beautiful).  After getting over the hill and back into charted territory I was overwhelmed with joy of completing my bike clime.  I was just very proud of my self for learning about other bikers and exploring new places and wanted to take on the next challenge that lay in my path. 

            There was no ice-cream this time around but there was pie. And I think that is worth an equal standing.