August 31, 2009

Car Free Update-week one

By Elisa | 14 Comments »


Today ends my first week of not driving a car at all.  I put 98 miles on my bike, got into a wreck, 2 flats and rode through a rainstorm.

I also feel better at work than ever, am amazed by what my body can handle, am confident on my bike, explored a my neighborhood and am generally happier.

The week started out uneventfully…light rain, easy enough commutes.  Tuesday I went grocery shopping for the first time by bike.  It was a heavy load, but made me realize that i will probably never again impulse buy…no room! I bought Spaghetti sauce, a pork tenderloin, milk, grapes, pop tarts, sandwich fixins and juice.  No bike rack, but a lovely gentleman showed me a secret place I could lock up. Once the Push/Bici bike racks are ready, Publix is on the list of places to solicit.   I was pretty amazed at what I could get home.

I also realized that I am eating about 1500 calories less than what I should be.  I am actually holding weight around my stomach and hips because of lack of calories.  Oops. So I made quite a few trips to the grocery store this week! Each time carefully getting exactly what I need.  I was shocked to learn that I was gaining weight from not eating enough.  Now I am counting calories to make sure I get enough and feel much better.  A diet plan that encourages me to eat more…hell yea!

All week was a bit rainy, but most days I made it to work and home dry.  Thursday that changed.  I was headed to Bici for an open shop night, when the thunder started.  I rode a bit harder to try to beat it.  Then I heard a familiar pop and the bike went wobbly.  A flat!  I pulled over and got everything out to change it.   No sooner did I get the wheel off than the sky opened up and let out her worst.  I changed the tire in the pouring, thundering, windy rain.  Stood for a minute laughing, unsure of what to do.  So, I got back on my bike and continued on.  It was scary, but I had little choice.  I could have called a friend, but was determined to make it on my own to prove to myself that I could.  I made it to the shop soaked and exhausted, but proud and safe.


The next day on my way t0 work, POP!  another damn flat.  This was getting ridiculous.  Realized that my lovely tires were not made for the amount of broken glass, razor blades and sharps I encounter on my commute.  So I got some gatorskins and things are much better.  I went through 3 tubes last week!  And spent much too much time on the side of the road.

Saturday I went on a lovely ride to photograph and explore Woodlawn again with a friend.  It was drizzly, but nice.  That is until I came to some railroad tracks that curve across the road.  I turned to go at them at a 90 degree angle just a second too late and BAM!!  I went down.  Hit my head pretty hard (thank you helmet), tore my hand open and have road rash and bruises on my entire left side.  I quickly recovered and continued on to ride for another 3 hours.  Honestly, I have been waiting for my first big fall so I was relieved to get it over with and be accompanied by a friend.  Today I woke up too sore and bruised to move! Taking a day off from riding today to recover.

So, that was my week.  It had its up and downs, but I loved every second of it.  Truly, I was meant to do this.  Next week I hope to get at least 100 miles logged.

Look forward to the “photo diary of Freddy Mercury” soon.

See you on the roads this week.

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  1. On August 31st, 2009 wle said:

    usually tire ‘pops’ aren;t really from flats, they are from installing the tire wrong, not seated completely on the wheel, so a tiny bit of tube can poke out and eventually pop like old bubblegum..

    as far as changing in the rain..

    a. don;t EVER try to use patches and glue in the rain

    b. always carry spare tubes, instead of patching [just saying as general advice, it sounds like that is what you did]

    c. carry a patch kit anyway in case you run out of good tubes.

    d. at least find a dry place to change the tire, someone;s carport or a building awning to get under

    e. yeah… — @#$#@$$ railroad tracks~!! sorry about the fall


  2. On August 31st, 2009 Trisha said:

    You make it sound so amazing. For one golden moment I allowed myself to wonder if a too-low calorie intake might be making me carry extra weight in my stomach and hips. And then I remembered the chocolate chip cookies I ate this morning. ;-) Here’s hoping for better weather for you in week 2!

  3. On August 31st, 2009 Matt said:

    “I also realized that I am eating about 1500 calories less than what I should be. I am actually holding weight around my stomach and hips because of lack of calories. ” Can you explain this more? Or have a link? I’ve never heard of this before.

  4. On August 31st, 2009 Elisa M said:

    wle-I should have been more clear. I didn’t actually hear a Pop, I hit a big pothole (more of a thunk!) and then was flatted out. I did have a spare tube AND I carry a patch kit, always.

    Matt-I talked to my doctor about it. My body was going into conservation mode and holding every calorie to prevent starvation apparently. I did not diet, I just eat healthy and didn’t increase my intake when I started riding so much. So I was eating well below where I should have been. A little bit less than 1/2 of the calories that I need to maintain my level of exercise and weight. I am actually going to see a nutritionist soon, will keep you updated!

    Trish-I am hoping for nice weather as well.

  5. On August 31st, 2009 jon caradies said:

    You totally rule !!!

  6. On August 31st, 2009 Johnny said:

    Sorry about your crash, but I’m glad you’re Okay and sticking with car-free life:)

  7. On August 31st, 2009 Hayley said:

    Rock on, GRRRL! I also commute to work, but I’m more “car-lite” rather than “car-free.” My ride is about 10 miles one way, and indulge in one car commute on Fridays, so I usually swing about 80 miles a week. I’m lucky to have facilities to clean up at work — on “car-Friday” I bring in clothes for the whole next week, so all I have to carry to work is my ID and cell. I’ve been lucky with the flats so far — only a few times, and both times near a shop. I really need to just practice doing it on my own, let alone in a rainstorm!!

    SORRY about the crash! My one biggie was ALSO on railroad tracks — they are EVIL! :)

  8. On August 31st, 2009 Braxton said:

    Nice! What surprised me in reading this is that your Publix does not have a bike rack and ours does. What gives?

  9. On August 31st, 2009 ToddBS said:

    I’d like to start bike commuting as well, but mine is 20 miles each way. Central Florida heat makes for a nasty commute when no shower facilities are available. And the afternoon thunder storms can get a bit unnerving as well. Still, once fall gets here and the temp cools down some I may give it a go. At the very least do a multi-modal commute by taking the bus for about 15 of the 20 miles. Shouldn’t be too bad that way, but I’d be saving less since I have to buy a bus pass.

  10. On August 31st, 2009 inkandpen said:

    If the gatorskins aren’t enough to keep you flat-free in your conditions, I HIGHLY recommend Specialized Armadillos. They’re heavy as sin, but they REALLY REALLY work. I’ve ridden the SAME TUBES for 8 years, no patching, and have practically forgotten how to change a flat tire. Just bought a new pair of tires because the old ones are starting to dry-rot, but even with their casings starting to come apart, no flats. May the tire gods not frown upon me for this post. ;)

  11. On August 31st, 2009 Emitt D. Dixon said:

    Hi, you guys seem to be in the family of bikers, how about a Bikatrunk?


  12. On August 31st, 2009 Emitt D. Dixon said:
  13. On September 2nd, 2009 Joyce in Chicago said:

    Way to go, cycling sister! I’m so glad you toughed it out and didn’t let problems stop you.

    I have had difficult commuting weeks too, but usually my bike ride is so awesome that it’s worth the occasional trouble.

  14. On September 3rd, 2009 The Opoponax said:

    Good girl! Rock on!

    I’m about a month into commuting by bike, and I still haven’t had either my first fall or my first flat. Which is good, I guess, but it’s making me nervous – especially the latter. My commute to work stays pretty close to public transit, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I was late due to a flat. I’d much rather deal with that trial by fire than have it happen when I’m out in the middle of nowhere on a scenic ride!

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