Kike On A Bike, Me Like…


 Bike To Basics

It has been just under a year since I gave away my Jeep and embraced my bicycle as my primary form of transportation.  Not for one moment have I regretted that decision nor the effects of the transition.  I admit it has not always been easy, and the internal combustion engine still beckons, and even finds me on occasion.  Still, I peddle the hills of Fallbrook daily.

Much has happened in the ten months since I went from 4-wheel drive to 2-legged drive. Here are a few highlights:

Sprint Context: The Hills Have Ayes…

I’m just not wired that way.  I sprint 100% of the time on my bike.  It’s a disease – I can’t passively peddle anywhere.  I am keenly aware of the average time it takes to get to and from my studio each day, as well as the other destinations I frequent.  I consistently challenge my riding times, be it to work, or to the grocery.  Most often I am unsuccessful at besting my best.  Occasionally I do though, and those moments are relished. 

Many of the workers who support the avocado and citrus industry here are Guatemalans and Mexicans; simple laborers of few means.  Like me, they commute before sunrise, and on bikes.  Unlike me, bike is their only option.  Typically the migrant workers ride garage sale bikes worth just a few dollars, peddle modestly, and always smile and nod as we cross paths in the foggy pre-dawn.  I also cross paths with the occasional yuppie-type bicycle commuter.  They are on $3,000 bikes – with all the modern gear.  Oh, and being yuppie douches, they never look up, and smugness abounds.  Enter my legs…

There are not two continuous inches of flat land in Fallbrook. My commute to work is a self-imposed, hill-ridden Tabata workout, many times over.  My rule of thumb: I see no bike ahead of me that I do not pass – period.  To date, I have passed every bicycle commuter I have seen before me, be they agro workers, or yuppie douches.  I ride alone.

Dear Yuppie Douche Bicycle Commuter, I pass you and your $3,000 bike because of I have way more leg-meat than you! Sincerely, Guy With Way More Leg-Meat Than You

A Longer Commute, A Much Larger Dinner

My fiancé and I, though still engaged, no longer live together.  In my relocation, my bicycle commute went from being simple a 12-15 minutes each way to work, to being 45-50 minutes each way.  That I sprint for the whole of it, much has changed in the ways of my hunger and my physicality.

I now spend close to 1:30 per day on my bike, and at a rapid pace.  The need/desire for structured cardio beyond my commute has gone out the window; goodbye stair-stepper.  Despite my long rides, I do want to keep up with my running.  Since I commute 5-6 days per week, this means a few of my running days fall on commuting days.

My cardio room; not spending much time there these days...

After a 9-mile run last week, on a commuting day which also involved 1:30 on the bike, I ate 6 apples and 2 steaks for dinner.  At 3:00 a.m. the next morning I woke from a dead sleep and made a pot of brown rice pasta, ate it, and went back to bed.  These are days when honestly, I just eat whatever I want to eat because I can.  Yes, I am selective on the content of my fuel, but the volume is scarcely unlimited. Despite my increased appetite and consumption, I have not gained a gram since my combined commute went from 24 minutes to 90 minutes each day.

Apples right from the tree...

An Upgrade Of Sorts

Originally my 12-15 minute commute each way involved my red Schwinn beach cruiser.  Now at 45-50 minutes each way, I am using a 20-year old Trek 8000 crossover.  Not quite a road-bike, but my commute is rural and there are several fields I cut across each day; a road bike is not an option.  The Trek serves me perfectly.

A Trek to the beach; Oceanside, CA...

Roy The Car Magnet

Allow me to introduce myself; Roy Cohen, Car Magnet.  Riding a bike on rural roads, often before or after dark and in the fog is not without danger.  I have already been hit (tapped) by cars twice – both without injury or damage to the bike.  There was also a close call which cost me my front breaks, as well as my voice for nearly three days – the effect of me yelling at the woman who ran the stop sign and nearly hit me.

My bike is lighted front and back, I wear a safety yellow cap when I ride, that I be better seen.  Still, I am a car magnet. 

Boomerang Jeep Vs. Discipline

I had given my Jeep to my would-be stepdaughter 10 months ago.  Last month her aunt gave her a better car.  I was given back the Jeep.  For the first week I drove the Jeep nearly every day and let my bike sit…

… I then remembered who I am, and I allowed discipline back into the game.  I had always said, and had made the commitment, that if I lived and worked in Fallbrook, I would ride a bike.  It’s what is right for me at this time in my life.

Now that's what I'm talking about when I say I want my car to come "fully loaded"...

I will keep the Jeep, and allow it to guide me to and from the beach on weekends, and to haul water jugs and laundry to and from my gym.  I am glad to have her once again to haul my kayak, surfboard, and bikes beyond Fallbrook on the weekends.  It is a sporting goods store on wheels.   Monday through Friday however, I will honor my body, honor my commitment, and nourish my soul by riding my bike – drizzly days like today included.  Be well. rc

29 responses

  1. I’m so impressed with your committment to continue riding even though you have your Jeep back. And I laughed when you said you never allow another bike to keep riding in front of you!! Good for you.

    I am a chicken and afraid to ride on the “real road” just because of cars and people that just don’t pay attention to runners and cyclists.

  2. Thank you Diane! I honestly get a little scared some days on the road. Bike lanes here are narrow-to-non-existent. But now that I have the Jeep back, the feeling I get from riding is even more empowering than ever. God has a plan, yes….?

  3. LMAO @ losing your voice for yelling at the one who hit you with their car!

    That IS of what spoke last…the fear of being hit by a car on these rural roads OR by the idiots on the highway. No middle ground here.

    Where i will be in Florida I saw REAL bike lanes on most roads! I’m so excited to be going this winter (maybe this fall if I can manage) and to dust of the bike wheels!

    • Lisa: I relate. The bike lanes here are non-existent, but the lure of riding out-weighs the risk — hope I live long enought to not regret saying that. When you finally get to FL, all I can suggest is to STAY AWARE of what’s around you!

  4. You are a competitive guy, aren’t you? 🙂
    Love your biking stories. So inspiring. And I am totally impressed that you are biking despite having your truck back.
    There are a lot of bikers in SF Bay Area but not many commuter bikers. Everything seems too far for biking. It would take my hubby 2.5hours each way to commute to his work and the exhaust fumes he would breathe would surely nullify any exercise benefits.
    Still, we can bike to the library or farmers’ market.

    • Ewa: Honestly, if I were in the San Jose area, I would never even consider this. What makes it work is that here, there are few fumes, not (too) much traffic, and in 45 minutes of riding, I only have two traffic lights to negotiate. That’s why this is the right time and place to do this.

  5. I’ve always liked riding a bike, from those days as a little kid cruising the neighborhood till today, still riding Desperado, my beach cruiser.

    I find it interesting that the wonderful Wright brothers spent their formative years in the bicycle business before they became famous as aviators.

    I understand the dangers, having too many close calls, and ride defensively. Recently on a ride through town, someone almost ran into me on his bike head-on while texting! That was a new one.

    One good thing about a Jeep is that even sitting still, they can put a smile on your face, though when you visit and we ride in the super car, you will be smiling like Jack Nicholson as the Joker, LOL!

    • Brother: Okay, so I refereed to it as El Diablo and not Desperado the other day. I’m an idiot, and I’m sorry.

      “One good thing about a Jeep is that even sitting still, they can put a smile on your face”

      That sentence is going to lead off my annual holiday letter as quote of the year!!!

      Warning on the March visit; I’m not a very good passenger. Just hand the keys to me and we’ll be fine 🙂

  6. Awesome on the bike!!!

    I bike commute, too – about a 30 minute ride (as a fast pace). I use the time as training for triathlons, too – so speed is good!!!

    And…my bike – it’s a 20 yr old Trek. I thought about a new one last fall – tried out a couple – and came back to mine – I just liked it better (and there wasn’t that cost of $1000 plus).

    Last fall I tried riding in early November – and it was super dark by the time I got home (not to mention … freezing cold here in WI!). My biking season will soon be done through winter (I know…I’m a slacker…).

    On another note – I have an aunt and uncle that live in Fallbrook!!! And a cousin in Vista (just down the road)!!!

    Hmmm…if I get out there one of these years…I’m looking you up (I’m all over that sporting goods store on wheels!!)…

    • Lance: There is a large down-side to living in California; socially and culturally this is the most lacking and void place I can imagine, save Las Vegas…. blechch! I do not believe I will grow hold here. WI is full of life, even if it isn’t always full of green 🙂

      That said, I do love that I can be outside most any day of the year, and I never take that blessing for granted.

      And if you’re ever out here, I will look forward to hiking my favorite trail with you. Wonder if I know your aunt and uncle; a very small town and I am fairly well connected.

  7. Can I see more leg pictures????? 🙂 Wow oh wow!

    Roy, you are one amazing guy! I can’t even get close to what you are doing & yes, you should be able to eat more with all that riding & “chasing” other bicycle riders!!! 😉

    I am not a bike rider, don’t like it & don’t like it with the busy crazy roads here, so I can’t relate but I have much admiration for what you do & awe struck by that! Hmmm, I probably would eat more of my cookie treats on the weekend if I did all that you did!

    One amazing guy!!!!!! OK, More pics now!

    • Jody: It was a very soft lens with no filter. The scars on the leg weren’t visible I take it…?

      I have to also be honest and confess, after one particularly grueling ride, I stopped at Taco bell and ate a few bean burritos. I know that’s not good food, but I was STARVING!

  8. Thank goodness neither you or the bike have been injured in an accident! Helmets are a crucial part of biking, methinks, as a good preventative measure from getting hurt.

    I definitely plod along on my cruiser bike. It’s no sprinter – it’s a luxury ride. But I’ve gotta say, frustrating as it is to have bigger legs sometimes (with regards to clothes/boots fitting well over thighs and calves), there’s something nice about knowing how much MUSCLE there is there – lots of power to keep them wheels on the bike rotating.

    Your commitment to exercise is inspiring.

    • Confession Sagan; I do not wear a helmet. Go ahead, cyber-slap me upside the head now…

      On your other comment; having muscle is a great problem to have — so true so true.

      Hope you have a nice birthday today!

  9. Roy! You’re not alone.

    One night at Capozzoli’s Pizzeria, I accompanied a customer to the parking lot. I said,”Where’s your car?” He replied, “There’s my bike locked against your patio railing.” He then took off.

    No further comments.

    Lots of Love and God Bless.

    Charlie

  10. That is so fabulous that you ride your bike to work every day!!! Even in the not so nice weather. It’s such a great idea to fit your exercise right into your lifestyle like that.

    Maybe I should start riding my bike to my new job – high heels and all! Lol!

  11. Holy Quads! I found what you said about not being able to peddle passively quite interesting. When we take our bikes out we must go long, hard and fast or I won’t even take it out. A friend suggested why don’t I take it out and just do a 2 miler throughout the neighborhood and I laughed and scoffed. It’s not even worth pumping up my tires for that. I think I have become a bike/run snob. Should I try to change that or keep pushing?

  12. Pingback: Taking Back My Potential, Part II | Roy Cohen's Contemplative Fitness

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