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Friday, November 26, 2010

Loaded for Bear

Corinna and Brian came by my work on the way out of town for Thanksgiving, their bikes loaded onto the car. On the way back, the plan is Memphis to Kansas City in six days, roughly a hundred miles a day.

I wanna go. Though something tells me a trip that ambitious is probably not the one to make your first attempt at touring.

However, I did finally make the leap to truly using the bike as transportation today. The farm I buy eggs from was back-ordered but I made a Wal-Mart run and took care of a couple of in-town errands on the bike today.

I still have some fine-tuning to do gear-wise to be comfortable riding in cold weather, but it was 50ºF when I set out, not really cold at all, and 43ºF when I finished. My fingers were the main issue today, especially the birdfinger with the pins, it's very sensitive to the cold.

I made good time going out, averaged almost 15 mph. Coming back, loaded up, I didn't maintain that clip, finished with an overall 12.3 mph average.

I had a short list as far as Wal-Mart goes, and the thing is, all that money they brag about saving people tends to get spent on shit people didn't need or set out to buy. I did purchase as many things that weren't on the list as I had things on the list, and while none of these qualify as stupid purchases, over-consumption is a slippery slope.

The broccoli, carrots, rigatoni, Alfredo sauce, tortillas, Spam, deodorant and lo mein noodles won't go to waste. But the things I would have bought if I'd come by car would have crossed the line. I know my track record. I bet there were twenty items, maybe more, that I looked at, maybe even picked up, and then put back for fear it wouldn't all fit in the panniers.

For that matter, I had soda on the list, that wasn't an impulse buy, its a concession to my very serious caffeine addiction. But one two liter instead of six or eight I typically buy. And instead of laying waste to it as soon as I got home I decided to see how long I could put off breaking the seal.

As it is, I overfilled the panniers and had to figure out a way to secure a plastic bag to the rack, but I got $50 worth of groceries home without starting my car. Pumping legs instead of unleaded as my favorite poet would say.

And I got fifteen miles of riding in on a day when I probably wouldn't have ridden. I didn't bring my offspring along, obviously, but they were ecstatic about getting to stay home.

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