Friday, January 24, 2014

The New Digs, Some Bike Riding & Burr...It's Cold Outside!

After almost three weeks of moving, organizing and fixing my broken down car I can finally say I'm settled with my family at our new place. My wife and son and I have the upstairs living area with a nice balcony and and a wonderful view to the neighborhood, since the house is built on a hill top. My in-laws have the downstairs section and so far this house has proven to have enough  space for all of us to live comfortably. There are a couple of things that will make this move even more official, like finding a renter for my old house, which I am on the verge of doing.

It can be said that everything is within walking or bike riding distance from my house, from the parks to the grocery stores and restaurants. It is not practical to ride during all times of day here, though. I received a few honks once when riding my bicycle during rush hour, and I was riding on the designated bike paths. People in the neighborhood seem to roll their stop signs or not stop all together, something that worries me if I ever want to ride my bike at night. Having said all that this area has been great to ride on the weekends and during off hours and generally speaking drivers are pretty respectful here if they see cyclists on the roads.

I have already ridden my bike around most of the bike paths in my area and I am pretty impressed with how well made these paths are for recreational cyclists. These paths are pretty full of people on the weekends so it's pretty hard to go at a respectable speed with all the other joggers and children present. The paths here connect to other neighborhoods and parks. They could be used as part of a commuting route along with neighborhood roads to get to destinations within the city. Here's a couple of pictures I took on one of my rides through these trails recently.

With the Schwinn, Exploring the nearby trail system

Riding bikes to the park with the family

I have already ridden some respectable distances since moving here. A couple of weeks ago I rode the Woodrup from my house into the historic downtown center, meeting up with two random strangers as I continued north out into the countryside. They were both middle aged men riding on expensive Wilier bicycles. Despite that I was surprised by their lack of bike snobbery, one of the guys seemed especially nice and inclusive, inviting me to tag along. As we rode through hilly roads, many which were in disrepair in long stretches of road, I almost felt like I had an advantage on these guys with my road dampening steel bike. We stopped at this remote gas station and corner store out in the middle of nowhere. The nicer one of the two stepped inside the corner store and came out with a Dublin Dr. Pepper he bought for me, sweetened with real sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. We finished the ride and parted ways as good acquaintances.

Pretty bad selfie here but here's the guys that I ran into the other day on my ride.

Random Corner store we stopped at during our ride. Check out the rigs these guys were riding!

The next week I tried riding this route by myself but got lost and added an additional 10 miles to my journey trying to find my way back home. The wind was gusting about 24 miles an hour so I felt great going out but was struggling severely on my way back. I was climbing hills about 8 miles an hour and was doing everything that I could not to come grinding to a halt and to make it back home. There was a cold wind chill factor as well as allergens in the air that resulted in me being sick for the next week afterwords.  Will I do it again? Yes, but it will definitely have to wait until it gets warmer.

Speaking of the weather, all I have to say is burr.... . I can't remember the last time I used the weather as an excuse to stay inside and not go riding, but this winter and especially the latest artic chill has sent a rush of cold air through the plains and yes, even down into Texas where I live. The weather here has been nothing like the weather the northerners have had, but it has at least been as cold as Chicago on a normal winter day. As I am sitting here typing this it is about 15 degrees outside. The high will be in the low 40's, and there is a chance of snow for next week as well. This isn't weather that we are used to down here in Texas, just like a lot of people are not used to our 115 degree summers.

This is what I have been up to lately since the move. Subscribed and stay tuned for more updates from A Bicycle's Point Of View.


  1. Nice post, Johnny. I like the Orange bike. A Schwinn, I presume?
    Peace :)

    1. Hi Chandra,

      The bike is actually red but I guess the picture made it look orange. It's a 1988 Schwinn Le Tour. It rides really nice for an older bike. I need to put a bike rack and panniers on it to make it my commuter bike, but right now it has been on my trainer since the weather has been cold lately. Thank you for noticing.

  2. Replies
    1. Those were some nice Wilies those guys were riding. They were pretty down to earth too, my kind of cyclists.