Thursday, September 29, 2011

The 31 Day Challenge Begins Saturday

Jessica from See How She Runs and I are going to be doing a challenge for the month of October.  If you accept our challenge, (starting October 1st), you work hard toward your specific goal for the next 31 days. 

It is simply called the "Fall 31-Day Challenge".   

What can you do in the next 31 days?
  • Can you do some form of exercise EVERY DAY?
  • Can you ride your bike 150 miles?
  • Can you run or walk 30 miles?  50 miles?
  • Can you lose 15 pounds?
Let me answer that for you...of course you can.

Our challenge to you is this:

What WILL you do in the next 31 days ?!?!

Respond back here with a comment or at Jessica's site with your commitment.  Then, we'll request updates once a week.

For those of you who are pledging to exercise daily (like me), Jessica has created "buttons" that can be placed on your blogs that show 5 days of exercise, 10 days, 15 days, 25 days, and 31 days.  (They look awesome, Jess!). 

Join us.

Big Clyde

P.S.  If you want to join in and toss it up on your own sites, that is fine with me.  Jessica did the artwork, so please make sure that she gets the credit!  Thanks.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Looking for an Oktober Challenge? (Me Too.)

Last year, I partnered up with Patrick (formerly of The Road, but now at for the OktoberFast Challenge.  It was fun and several people joined in.  The goal was simply to set some individual goal for the month of October to give us all a bit of momentum to work towards.  For some it was pounds lost.  Others chose mileage or workout sessions.  Oh, and we encouraged people to share any "Oktoberfest" beers, foods or autumn-like experiences.

Can I get an oom-pa-pa up in here?
Anyway, I'd like to join in with some others for a similar challenge for the month of October.  Do any of you know of any existing challenges out there that are starting up, or do you have any ideas/graphics for a new challenge?

Big Clyde

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Connect 2 Tucson Ride

On Saturday, Crazy Jim (my good friend) and I did this ride and it was great for us.  The ride was meant to show people the new links that now connect some bike paths into one larger 22-mile path.

Crazy Jim downs one last bite before the ride.
Crazy Jim earned his nickname this weekend, because prior to the ride this Saturday, he had not been on his bike in about 3 months.  Amusing for me, painful for him.  But he is a trooper and never complains.
A gorgeous bike path with the sun shining through the trees!  Loved it!

As for the bike path itself, we were mostly on actual bike paths along the Rillito River in Central Tucson.   The fact that the City of Tucson has connected various river bike paths is commendable and should continue to boost cycling in Tucson.  On the city streets, we were nearly always on designated bike paths that were wide enough for us to be two-wide.  There is an even greater set of connections coming soon that will make this a 55-mile loop.  (Although I've come to realize that the "loop" that they speak of still involves crossing some city streets in crosswalks, etc....a small price to pay).

We got there and were reminded that the event was sponsored by a "move beyond fossil fuels" organization.  Depending on family size, geography, job location, etc., going car-free just does not work for everyone.  However, I commend those that DO choose that lifestyle when they can.  Personally, I try to take my bike or walk for most local errands.   That never would have occurred to me two years ago.

The ride was awesome.  We went at a very steady pace of about 17 mph for the first 11 miles.  Given that we were getting through town and then following a river, the first 11 miles were somewhat downhill (downstream).  It looked flat, but it is pretty great to be going 17-18 mph with little effort on my heavy commuter bike.  For the second half, we were riding slightly uphill (upstream).  It never looked uphill, but it did slow our pace and we were both getting tired.
Waiting for the train to pass...

I feel a bit pathetic about getting tired on a 23 mile ride.  It is not that far, given my history, but I haven't ridden this far in one ride since March.  Instead, I've become more accustomed to 30-45 minute rides.  I need to expand that into 1-2 hour rides more often.  It was fun and it felt like a great accomplishment.

Every Tucson race ends with a mariachi band at the finish line.

At the event, I was able to see a friend of mine who is the editor of  I'll write more about him in another post.  He has a great website that features not only Tucson-based cycling news, but links to interesting stories nationally and internationally.

I also was able to test drive an electric bike.  That was a first for me and it was a blast.  More on that later also.

Keep moving everyone!

Big Clyde

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spinning Wheel - Song #1

 A longer post today with many pictures and a great song.

Let's start with some music.  I've chosen "Spinning Wheel" from Blood, Sweat and Tears. 

According to an old article in Rolling Stone magazine, the "Spinning Wheel" in this song is the band's way of saying that things always come full circle. In the first two verses, he says that it's a shame to become preoccupied with your problems. Whatever is troubling you, whether it is lack of money or homelessness, it will work itself out one way or another and it's just not worth getting upset over.  "Ride a painted pony, let the spinning wheel spin'' suggests a merry-go-round. They are telling you to just get on the ride and let it go. It will eventually stop.

Good advice. 

Though this little countdown series started as a silly thing about my misgivings about selling my gorgeous vintage Schwinn Collegiate, I've enjoyed playing through some videos.  As always, I choose to find some deeper meanings in certain song lyrics.  The description above reminds us that we are very adaptable and resilient.  If you have struggled or are struggling with certain goals or life issues, do your best to keep your head up and pedal through, day after day.  No one has a constant winning streak.  There will be setbacks, but that should not stop us from continuing onward toward improvements in the future.

This resonates with me, since I find myself still very overweight as I hit my two-year blogging anniversary.  I was heavy, lost a lot of weight (with great fanfare from many of you), then quietly and steadily gained back quite a bit.  My big cycling race, El Tour de Tucson, looms again in November and I feel that I am again in bad shape.  But I know that I can drop weight, build up my stamina and enjoy the process.  I'm not going to let the setbacks get me down.

I went out for a late afternoon ride yesterday.  It was just over 9 miles, but it was a bit tiring.  Still 100 degrees outside, with a decent wind blowing...not ideal riding weather.  My bigger ride on Saturday will be at 7am, so it should be much cooler.

And now for some pics:
The one and only bike, built for distance, errands and comfort.

My velodrome...I ride in a suburban area, set in a valley.  Great views!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Want You Back - Song #2

It was 1969 and I was four years old.  I'm sure I didn't know who the Jackson 5 was by listening to the radio, but I definitely watched their tv cartoon.  That led me to love their music.  This song is one of my favorites. 

So, here is song #2, pulled from the same era as my recent bike.  I am glad that I sold it because it was the right thing to do.  But I still want it back.  "Oh darling, I was blind to let you go..." (music starts at 1:21)

Before I sold my Schwinn last Sunday, I went for a great ride through the neighborhood. Autumn has come to the Tucson desert. Just the week before, we had temps over 100 degrees and our afternoon monsoons. Both of those elements are likely gone now and that makes cycling so much easier here. As I rode around, I could smell a fireplace or small backyard burn going and it reminded me of my childhood. I used to ride my bike everywhere. I want to instill that same feeling for my kids with their bikes.

On Saturday, my friend Crazy Jim and I are doing a 22-mile ride on Saturday that is called Connect 2 Tucson.  The good people of Tucson have connected two different bike paths to create a safer, longer path.  In time, it will be a 55-mile path.  Awesome.  Driving in traffic is not tremendously dangerous for experienced cyclists, but very tough on beginners and families.  A big loop (with virtually no hills) will certainly build cycling in Tucson.  I'll let you know how it goes!  Here is the map for the route, or click the link above for more info.

Big Clyde

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crash - Song #3

Okay, okay...I know that this list may be a bit silly (it's already wearing on me), but I like music and had fun thinking of a list of songs to commemorate the sale of my nice vintage Schwinn bike.

#3 on my countdown list is actually a video from the movie Mr. Bean's Holiday.  This was a great film for our family.  We first came to like Mr. Bean when our kids were of the perfect ages where they were still quite innocent and liked Mr. Bean's playfulness.

In this scene, Mr. Bean is trying to catch a chicken that has been loaded onto a truck in France.  His only chase vehicle?  A bicycle (that looks a bit like my beloved bike).  I love that he's not decked out in spandex, helmet and has no bike computer that tells him his pace and mileage covered.  That was what I enjoyed when riding my fun bike around the neighborhood.  And the song is pretty fun too!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cherry, Cherry - Song #4

Do you have a name for your bike?

I think it is is funny when I read people's names for their bikes and I like the idea that people have such affection for their bikes, but I have never been one to do it myself.  I do have my sturdy commuter bike, which I call HUCC-B.  In reality, it was Neighbor Ted who sarcastically named my bike the HUCC-B.  But it came from an authentic place, so I kept it.

But my beloved vintage Schwinn Collegiate?  I never named her.  And now she is gone, traded in for some folding money.  What have I done?  I didn't even have a name to call out as she rode off in the back of that crappy Toyota pick-up.

She got the way to move me...

So I started thinking of music.  My ipod is always with me and I started rolling through some songs.  And her name came to me.

From Neil Diamond's "Hot August Night" album in 1973, just one year before my beloved was manufactured at the Schwinn Bicycle factory in Chicago.

So, here is song #4 in my countdown of tribute songs to my departed "Cherry".  Enjoy.

Come back tomorrow for #3. 

Big Clyde

P.S.  Took the HUCC-B out for a hill-climb ride tonight.  I just about blew a lung, but it felt good to be back on a bicycle, which I couldn't ride for awhile due to a case of lethargy and injury.  Back in the saddle again.   Thanks for never giving up on me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

There She Goes - Song #5

I am filled with regret this morning, my friends. 

I sold my 1975 Schwinn Collegiate last weekend.  What a shame.  I'll miss that bike.  Perhaps you have seen her, if you were following my blog last year at this time.  Read about her here.

In July of last year, I stumbled upon an old cruiser-style bike and became pretty interested in getting an older Schwinn, just to cruise around the neighborhood.  After cruising Craigslist for a few months, I found this gorgeous Schwinn...all red, chrome and beautifully-maintained. 

Though fun to ride, she was not nearly as comfortable, efficient and versatile as my HUCC-B (my tough-as-nails commuter bike). 

So, I didn't ride it as much as I thought I would and wanted to clear some space in the garage.  I got a good price and the new owner seemed to appreciate her vintage style as much as I did. 

As she rolled out of my life, I had some seller's remorse.  My wife thought I was being ridiculous (not the first time).   A song came to mind, "racing through my brain"...

Since I'm in a silly mood about losing selling this beautiful work of art bike, I will be posting five songs over five days, that portray my feelings of loss.  Come back each day this week and feel my pain.

Big Clyde

Friday, September 16, 2011

A New Schedule? Advice needed.

Hello, friends.  I have healed up quite a bit from the back pain that I experienced a few weeks ago.  Physical therapy and time have really helped. 

During this time period, however, I have not eaten well and not exercised much at all (running and cycling).    I'm fully out of all good habits, but otherwise doing fine.  If I were a 26-year-old, that might not be a bad thing.  But I am 45 years old.  This is the age when obese men and women get diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and the concrete begins to set in to that sedentary lifestyle.   

I've read many blogs and people talk of "returning" to their exercise routines from their college days or their younger years.  That is cool.  I admire that.  So many people were pretty active during their teen and early adulthood years.  They remember the early morning runs, or football practices, or track meets.  They had the discipline of early morning workouts or steady routines.  I would guess that those memories give them confidence because they can recall their efforts and rewards from the past.

It's almost amusing to me that I never had those experiences.  I never really saw the benefit  in all of that sweating and exertion. 

Where am I going with this?

I need to get a consistent workout schedule. 

When I started this blog (nearly two years ago), my wife worked A LOT of evenings, the kids were younger and homework was minimal.  Family dinners were rare.  I had lots of time to blog and could leave the kids for frequent nightly workouts.  But now, we are all home every night and we are enjoying family dinners together and there is a constant need to assist with homework. 

Do I workout right before dinner? 
After the kids have gone to bed (sacrificing some time with my wife)?
The dreaded early, early morning workout?   (I've never been a fan)

One thing is "life/health clock" is ticking and I've got to get back to consistent exercise.

What works best for you and your family?  I welcome your advice.

Big Clyde