Sunday, October 16, 2011

Things I get: numbers. Things I don't get: mechanics.

Since I've attached a fancy new odometer to my bike this year, it's been so great to see the effects of my pedal power.

So I will start in my comfort zone - here are some fun numerical facts!
Key info to start with - 216 miles ridden since May 2011.
What does that equal?
At an average of 35 calories a mile = 7,560 calories burned. A vodka soda has 65 calories so that equals 116 FREE vodka sodas. This vodka stat alone proves the worthiness of bus/biking, but please, humor me and let me continue!
My Honda Civic gets about 35 miles to the gallon in the city. Doing the math, I've saved about 6 gallons of gas if I had driven those 216 miles rather than biking them. That's keeping 120 lbs of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere! YES.

Saving gas and EARNING vodka sodas? Sign me UP.

So let's move on to the things that I do not get - anything mechanical. I love stats, numbers, logistics, but man, if you ask me how something works? Please, that's just comedy.

This story goes back to the Tour De Troit ( - which is an awesome 22 mile bike ride through Detroit in mid-September. I had been noticing around a month leading up to the Tour that biking was getting really tough for me. It felt like I was pedaling uphill constantly, couldn't get past 8 miles an hour. I have an old mountain bike (that I LOVE and has gotten me over more curbs and potholes in this town) so I thought - it must be getting too heavy - what else could it be!? I even dragged a friend around bike shopping for a whole Sunday afternoon (thanks Alex) thinking it was time to invest in a road bike. But for some reason, I just couldn't commit to a new bike - the budget just wasn't there, and I was frankly bummed to be giving up on my old trusty (while crazy heavy) mountain bike.

We are getting ready for the Tour and Alex & my friend's dad are loading my bike up on a bike rack. Alex alerts me to the fact that my back brake has been PARTIALLY ON. He does some sort of bike mechanical magic and voila. As Patrick Swayze would say, "she's like the wind". I literally had been resistance training/climbing up a hill/burning through my back brake for about a month. Seriously. Talk about burning calories.

Every year, I make a resolution to try to become more handy. I've been to bike maintenance classes, but there may be some sort of neurological mis-fire (or maybe just too many "free" vodka sodas?) that I'm not sure if I'll be able to overcome. Until then, I will keep to my numbers, stats, and being thankful for having mechanically-minded friends - or people you can hire!

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