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That got a good discussion going, so let's keep going!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

First, I'd like to make it clear that I ride on BIKE PATHs as much as I possibly can. When I ride on the road I follow the rules as enforced within my city. The comments I was directing at drivers yesterday (and most days) are generally where the designated and well published bike path intersects and crosses roads.

The car that was blocking my curb cut? Was poised right over the crosswalk. Illegal activity, by the way.

The people I'm most afraid don't see me? Are talking on CELL PHONES! Illegal activity, by the way.

Good suggestion about wearing reflective vest... I hadn't got one yet, but if I'm going to keep up biking as a means of transportation it's on my list. I do have lights on my bike to make it street legal now.

Oh, to turn it on its head? Things that most irritate me about rude CYCLISTS are similar to what several commenters said yesterday... and may I add one more? Whatever happened to bikers signaling their turns? Hand signals and turn signals (for car OR bikes) are not optional!

So... in the end, I guess it boils down to praying out loud that people will be intelligent, courteous, and follow the rules of the road. I think we can all agree on that!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Hand signals? We have a universal state signal, I'm from New Jersey! LOL emoticon
Enough with the stand up comedy.
I commute from the country to Philly every day. There are racing teams all around here between Rutgers and Princeton Universties and these groups ride in swarms but all wear standout clothing. They may take over a road but you can see them.
It's the local rider at 5 am in the dark who thinks his front light makes him safe while he rides in black shirt and shorts who scares me.
It's also the jockies in the city who blow through traffic lights, weave between cars to get ahead or try to beat the light to make the turn from the right lane across 3 lanes of slowly moving traffic who make me snarl!
That being said, I'm getting my daughters abandoned bike fixed and think I'll start riding! I want to get a glowing orange shirt to wear. emoticon

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REJ7777 5/25/2012 5:34AM

    Many years ago, I was driving down a long steep hill, with my baby in the backseat, when I passed a large group of cyclists. Suddenly, one of the rims blew off a tire because I'd gotten a flat. My heart jumped into my throat, because if that had happened just seconds earlier, one of those cyclists could have been badly hurt! Know what they did? About five of the young men stopped, removed the flat tire and installed the spare. That was over 35 years ago, but I'll never forget the kindness that those cyclists showed to an automobile driver that day! I still get emotional when I think about that incident.

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MEDDYPEDDY 5/25/2012 1:49AM

    Late one evening I dicovered that I did not have any milk for my morning coffee - debated with mysel wether to bike or drive down to the night open gas station... took the bike, ok with lights on but no refexion vest and I could feel myself living a very dangerous llife as it is a lot of traffic and the biker have to go on the car road... felt vulnerable, usually I do wear a vest when itīs dusk, dawn or dark... take care!

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NEWKAREN43 5/24/2012 10:53PM

    I didn't read the start of this discussion, however, I've been considering riding the 3 miles to work this summer on my bike and I've equipped my son with a bike/helmet, etc to ride home from his first job as he's a non-driver...honestly, being safe is such a huge concern! Drivers of cars can't avoid each other with all the rules of the road, how can we as bikers expect that we will be whole when we get to or from work!?!?

It's a scary prospect these to you! And to everyone who decides to venture out without a good shell of metal (fiberglass) around them! Blessings and safety!

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WATERMELLEN 5/24/2012 10:39PM

    The (sad) reality is that many drivers are neither courteous nor careful. And when they make a mistake, they're surrounded by a protective steel shell. But on a bike, you're not.

Keep on biking defensively!!

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SUNNY332 5/24/2012 10:35PM

    Oh yes, do be careful and do get a reflective vest as soon as you can.


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MOBYCARP 5/24/2012 7:39PM

    If you're careful, you might be able to find a reflective vest or harness that's suitable both for biking and for running in the dark.

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LEANJEAN6 5/24/2012 6:57PM

    You be careful on that bike Barb!--I walk/run up the highway, and I swear that a few drivers aim their car right at me--Sometimes I've had to jump off the side---so I know where you are coming from--Be CAREFUL! I need you!!!-- emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 5/24/2012 10:52AM

    Oh heavens, let me count the ways I really, really, really, really dislike distracted drivers. Music blaring, texting, talking on the cell, doing makeup/hair/nails . . . AAARRRGGGHHHH! Personally I think these types of drivers should be sentenced to spend a day in the ICU to see first hand the results that come of distracted driving . . . both to the distracted driver and innocent by-standers.

Guess I spent too much time as an ICU nurse trying to help too many people who had traumatic brain injuries. Totally changed the course of their lives for something stupid!

Ok, off the soapbox.

Totally agree with the reflective vest. I wear one when I walk @ night, too, so I can have a hope and a prayer of being seen.

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DEBRA0818 5/24/2012 10:50AM

    I put my turn signals on even when I know there is no one around -- a habit from day 1 of driving that I've always maintained. Ditto for the seat belt. When biking, I signal when I'm on the road, but not on an empty neighborhood street. Still, I watch for cyclists when I'm driving and for drivers when I'm biking. There are some crazy people down here using both modes of transportation.

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_LINDA 5/24/2012 10:36AM

    I use a reflective vest on my scooter, one of the first things we got. My scooter does have a full set of lights, the back ones being fairly bright (including yellow turn signals), but the front one being really wimpy. In the daytime, they are not easily seen, so I use hand signals. Its astonishing how many bike riders at night not only don't have so much as a single reflector on their bike, but are also dressed in black!!
What really gets me is turning drivers. They seem to have blinders on and don't know you aren't supposed to go when there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk. You are right on when you say no one uses turn signals anymore, both in cars and on bikes.
One thing they generally do right, if they have stopped for a light and are over the crosswalk, they back it up if they see me coming (if they have room behind them)
Don't get me started on drivers doing things behind the wheel. My step dad was waiting in a line up, when all of sudden he got rear ended. The young woman behind him had dropped her hot coffee and accidentally hit the gas :( While she admitted it to him, she wouldn't for insurance purposes :( I had a friend who did her nails behind the wheel as that is the only time she can find for it!!! But this texting is epidemic. My nephew went into the ditch because of it. I don't know that he has learned his lesson. Young people tend to think they are invincible.

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LJCANNON 5/24/2012 10:19AM

    emoticonCommon Courtesy and Hand Signals seem to be not 'Common' at all anymore. I am glad that people do seem to be becoming more aware of Bikers, maybe because more people are Biking.

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DEBRITA01 5/24/2012 8:28AM

    Sometimes people forget or ignore the rules of the road and to be courteous - that goes for all transportation vehicles. Wishing you happy and safe trails as you enjoy your cycling! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 5/24/2012 8:18AM

    The discussion must have been lively!

Reflective clothing is a must for bikers - glad it's on your list.

First time I came upon a car in the crosswalk was coming up 70th - had no energy left, so fell into the (thank goodness grassy) hill
One other caution - if you're riding adjacent to a 4 lane road and against traffic, be aware the drivers will not look in your direction before pulling out - I guess I never did before biking...

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MSLZZY 5/24/2012 7:57AM

    Sometimes it seems like rude is the only thing these
people know. And hand signals fell by the wayside
years ago. So sorry for all your difficulties.

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Barb talks back to drivers

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My mother was a great one for talking to animals, drivers who are behind the wheels of other vehicles and the television set. Me? I seem to have inherited this. I find myself muttering during my bicycle commute. Directed at the drivers of the vehicles on the road came these gems on the way home from work:

"Really? Your car is right across my curb cut! Really?"
"Do you see me? Do you realize I have the right of way here?"
"I don't trust these drivers as far as I could throw their cars!"
"Look over here! See the bicyclist in the crosswalk? Do you SEE me? THANK YOU!"

Yeah, I'm a defensive biker, which is how one becomes an OLD biker. I USE the cross walk lights. I WALK the bike across intersections. I make eye contact and talk to the drivers.

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 5/25/2012 1:55AM

    I have to admit that I am two-faced on this both as a biker and as a driver. I try to be very good, cooperating, taking eye-contact making clear signs and admitting both species right to live...

but sometimes I take shortcuts (bike) glide through sections, bike on pavements, leave the biketrack because the car road is quicer etc. And as a car driver I sometimes is distracted to the verge of danger... I am human and I just hope of the grace that nothing will happen at those moments when I lose my goog judgement...

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    Are you wearing the neon orange or yellow vests with reflective tape?
I totally agree with people being stupid with bike riders but make sure you stand out.

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_LINDA 5/24/2012 1:47AM

    I couldn't agree with you more! Way to ride safely!! As a pedestrian, the bottom of the totem pole, I always make sure those cars know I am in the cross walk and am going to walk across. I always make sure they have come to a full stop too before I cross. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with the comment bikes belong on sidewalks. They do not. They are treated as vehicles here and should be obeying the same rules of the road as those in vehicles. As a pedestrian who has had near misses with silently speeding sidewalk cyclists, I am not impressed!! They scare the wits out of you zipping up behind you!! Especially when the streets here are very wide with plenty of room for cars and bicycles. Some of those guys can move as fast as cars in a school zone!!
I too, have words for people speeding on the sidewalk and rude drivers on the streets..

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MNTWINSGAL 5/24/2012 1:14AM

    I share the road...and this isn't directed at most bicyclists, but every now and then....a GRRR moment. On my way to class I travel a very busy road that does not allow parking on either side. No shoulders either. But....there IS a sidewalk, and I think the slower traffic (i.e. bikes) should be on that sidewalk. So today I'm on my way to class, when lo and behold, a biker is ahead of me in my lane. I had to slow down, of course, which put me off kilter for the timing of the traffic lights. I gave him a wide berth, then went on my way. Sure enough, a couple of blocks later, I missed the green light and had to wait. Guess who came up behind me? And guess who squeezed right by me, with no regard for the red light and blasted through the intersection? I waited for my green and then realized I'd have to pass him again. I certainly didn't feel like giving him the wide berth this time! In fact, for one crazy moment I even considered cutting him off. But I came to my senses of need for TWO jerks on the road at the same time.

What I'm trying to say is, please know that the drivers of the motorized vehicles deserve a little road courtesy too, and I for one totally appreciate your efforts to follow the rules. Why can't there be more like you??

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SUNNYWBL 5/24/2012 12:12AM

    I'm with you, I want to live to bike again. I refuse to bike on roads without shoulders, I'll live longer that way!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 5/23/2012 10:19PM

    Oh, I do my fair share of talking too! Have to agree with BARBAELLEN. I'd probably get my mouth washed out with soap sometimes, too! Oh well, can't be perfect I guess.

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PHEBESS 5/23/2012 8:52PM

    I'll point or wag my finger at a driver so they know I'm watching them!

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BARBAELLEN 5/23/2012 8:48PM

    Counterpoint: Around these parts, the terrain is hills and valleys and lots of two-lane winding roads without shoulders. It's very scenic, so it's become a regional biking Mecca. Keep in mind that the rules of the road requires bikers to ride WITH the traffic. I pray daily that I won't get behind a biker going uphill! The traffic gets WAY backed up and it takes forever before there's an opportunity to pass. Then, some of them are so wobbly that passing is taking a big chance. Sooo0 ... I'm glad to know that since you are far away from here, it's not YOU wobbling up MY hills. If anyone heard my muttering at the cyclists, I'd get my mouth washed out with soap.

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KARIDIAN1 5/23/2012 8:35PM

    Smart moves. Also paying attention to what you are doing also helps.

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WATERMELLEN 5/23/2012 8:25PM

    Excellent strategy . . . making eye contact is good too!!

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SUNNY332 5/23/2012 8:17PM

    Oh yea, I talk to drivers too. I don't given any creative gestures but I do talk.

Stay safe....

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CONCHA77 5/23/2012 8:10PM

    Stay safe out there!
I have to admit I find myself muttering to myself at times also. Not sure where I picked that habit up? emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 5/23/2012 7:32PM

    Fantastic for you!! I just love it. I also walk my bike at the crosswalk. My stepson just shakes his head at me as he bikes the roads for hundreds of miles as if he was a big vehicle. I do plan to become much older. -Marsha

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Sunday's targeted bike ride

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I had a specific place I wanted to bike to this morning (TRI training plan said to bike 8 miles). This is the spot:

I have been threatening to take a picture of that turtle because of the team "Turtles over 50 reaching our goals"... for nearly a year, ever since the first time Becky (KALIGIRL) and her biking chums took me for a ride and I did not have my camera on me.

I tried taking my own photo riding the turtle, but it didn't turn out very well:

It's pretty humerous, so I thought I'd include it, too. I was rescued, though, by the kindness of strangers. This lady came along and snapped the photo at the top, so I took her picture, too. She didn't seem to have much English, or I would have e-mailed her photo to HER, as it is, she's getting Spark credit, here as a kind gal who took my picture!

Anyway, off to do my usual Sunday things now, feeling accomplished and full of those endorphins! Tomorrow, take that rest day seriously, Barb!

Life IS good. Spark on! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWAZY33 5/24/2012 9:14AM

    emoticon love the photo you took of yourself!
and how sweet of that nice lady to take one so we could all see that cute turtle!! emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 5/21/2012 7:27PM

    Hi Barb----My favourite shot is the one you took of yerself--pretty neat!!--Lynda

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EBEAMS 5/21/2012 7:23PM

    Love it ... don't ever lose your sense of humor, ok?

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KALIGIRL 5/21/2012 11:19AM

Love the serendipity!

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MSLZZY 5/21/2012 8:16AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 5/21/2012 2:39AM

    Nothing slow about how you tackle your goals! Well done! I do love this photo, its great!!!

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    You crack me up! emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 5/20/2012 8:36PM

    Looks like a wonderful ride and I like the pictures!

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SLENDERELLA61 5/20/2012 8:35PM

    Love the turtle pics, Barb. Looks like a great ride! I don't have to tell you to keep up the good work. -Marsha

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SUNNY332 5/20/2012 7:51PM

    What fun! You look like you are having a blast. Isn't it great when exercise is more like fun than work? Woohoo!

Love the turtle.

Have a good week.


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KARIDIAN1 5/20/2012 7:37PM

    Barb, you look great and look like you are having fun!

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SHARON10002 5/20/2012 6:40PM

    Now that's a turtle!!!! Great pictures! emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 5/20/2012 6:40PM

    Fun pictures! Looks like a successful ride.

Some of my favorite photos are due to the kindness of stramgers.

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LEANJEAN6 5/20/2012 5:49PM

    Barb--You look great on that turtle!!--LOL--I love it!!----Nice pics---makes me feel like I know yu a bit bettert--Keep on Sparking girl!-Lynda emoticon

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    Great ride - love the crazy lady on the turtle!!
Keep on having fun!!


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REJ7777 5/20/2012 3:55PM

    Love the photos! emoticon emoticon
That second photo really made me laugh! But you look like a fit kid having fun in that first one. Glad you met that kind stranger. She really took a good photo!

From a fellow Turtle. emoticon

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KRISZTA11 5/20/2012 1:26PM

    Very good picture of you, and of the Turtle!

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CONCHA77 5/20/2012 12:25PM

    Love the pic, Barb. I am a turtle lover! emoticon

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Yep, crazy Army Mom here

Saturday, May 19, 2012

In my e-mail, thanks to past participation in fitness events locally, was an e-mail, advertising the Quest for the Vets, a 5K obstacle race to be run on Memorial day.

Now, I'm somewhat intimidated by obstacle courses, especially those that require upper body strength. I have never, in my entire life, been able to do a chin up, much less a pull-up. Doing hand over hands or parallel bars? Forget about it!

Still... the tri training plan has nothin' on it for Memorial Day itself, and I'm dealing with a son, currently serving overseas. What a great way to honor him, by going and TRYING this thing. The ad said they were open on Saturdays to scope out the obstacles... and y'know... DEXTER talked me into it. Yep, that's the story and I'm sticking to it.

This car wants to go to fitness events. He dragged me, kicking and screaming... nope, curious and feeling silly... out to the site where this race is going to be run in a little over a week.

I started walking from the parking lot around the building, when the owner came out to greet me and ask what I was looking for. Then he gave me the tour. And I started "trying out" the easier obstacles... the tire wall you see in the background? Yep, I climbed over that, with a little help from the dude.

I let him take me on a distance measuring trek through it. We skipped several of the obstacles today, didn't do the mud pits or any of that, but did climb the dirt birms, ran through the corn fields, and a-hem "attempted" some of the obstacles. News? There are are lot of these that are built for 6' 3" guys, not 5' 3" little old ladies. BUT... I was informed, any of the obstacles you don't feel safe doing, you can substitute something like 5 jumping jacks and go around. I may be doing that a LOT. There are 24 obstacles!

Anyway, that was my TRI substitution for "run 20 minutes". I had gone to the gym and done the trainer's workout #3, which I hadn't done since she first gave it to me in January, right about the time I was getting sick. Problem? Do I remember what those words on my workout card mean? cough-cough

And after showering off? I registered for the event. Yep, crazy Army Spark Mom here. emoticon Wish me luck.

Have a great and FUN active weekend all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHYOTTER 5/21/2012 3:35PM

    Yea! You'll be happy you went, regardless of the outcome, and those around you will certainly be inspired by your attitude!

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SUNNYWBL 5/21/2012 1:09AM

    The event sounds like a hoot! I love your attitude and know you will have a great time!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    You are an amazing mum - you go for it!!!
You will have lots of fun and I predict that you will do less jumping jacks than you think!! Way to go - cant wait to hear how it all goes - gotta love Dexter!!!

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ANDI571 5/20/2012 9:08AM

    HOOAH! You are awesome. I had missed where your son finally got deployed overseas. My heart aches for you.


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REJ7777 5/20/2012 8:14AM

    You sure are one gutsy lady!!! emoticon
I'm sure your son is proud of his mom (and happy that you've undertaken such a healthy lifestyle).

Sure. Sure. Blame it on Dexter. emoticon
Then again, that sure is one handsome dude! emoticon

I'm convinced you'll enjoy the challenge! emoticon

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    I love you.
I get so much mental exercise reading your blogs.
Now to convert that motivation into real energy. emoticon

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LLREED 5/20/2012 12:24AM

    You go girl! I'm a crazy Army Mom, too, and would have loved to learn of this earlier. I've got it on my calendar for next year, though!

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SHARON10002 5/19/2012 11:38PM

    You are going to knock the socks off of everyone there!! You'll do emoticon!
Your son will be beaming through and through. . .

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WATERMELLEN 5/19/2012 10:37PM

    What a fabulous way to honour your son. He will be thrilled!!

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EBEAMS 5/19/2012 9:55PM

    I am SO TICKLED for you! Way to go ... Your son will be so HONORED and thrilled!

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MOBYCARP 5/19/2012 9:10PM

    Obstacle course, huh? I predict you'll have a lot of fun, even though you won't be the fastest participant through the course.

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KARIDIAN1 5/19/2012 8:22PM

    Good luck on the Challenge. You can do it!

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SUNNY332 5/19/2012 7:48PM

    No matter what you do, you will give HONOR a whole new meaning. I am so proud of you. If I had the lung power, I'd be right there with you.

BTW - thanks for the goodie. That was very nice of you.

Take care and BTW - love Dexter. Too cute - not anything an "short old lady" would drive but something a "winner" would. You are that winner!

Keep up the good work.


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1CRAZYDOG 5/19/2012 7:48PM

    One word, Barb . . . HOOZA!!!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 5/19/2012 6:56PM

    You are AWESOME, Barb!

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_LINDA 5/19/2012 6:42PM

    That is awesome you are taking this on. Interesting they are open every Saturday for training and conditioning for this course and you already used one up looking it over lol. Dragging a tire that looks like it weighs more than you? Don't think so :P I think you may be doing a lot of alternatives.. You will show them how its done!
Spark on Barb!

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MSLZZY 5/19/2012 6:11PM


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KRISZTA11 5/19/2012 5:55PM

    That obstacle course looks like a challenge,
you are very brave and tough!

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Rest day and human powered transit

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday the schedule called for a swim, so even though the bike shop called to say my newly tuned up machine was ready, I deferred picking it up until after work today.

Instead, after work I went to the gym, and put in the pool lengths... 20 lengths of crawl / freestyle (dumb question, is what I learned as the Australian crawl the same as the modern-day "freestyle"?)... and 14 more lengths in rotation of strokes.

The deal about swimming, for me, is that it doesn't really feel like I'm exercising. I just relax into it, the rhythm, the joy of motion, the wet... it's amazing, swimming is.

Today after work, I drove to the bike shop, and even though my new Dexter (car has a name) will fit the bike in the back... chose to put on my helmet and ride the bike home, then walk back to pick up the car. This, too, did not feel like exercise. Today is a "rest" day on the training schedule, so I wasn't pushing for performance.

As I was riding and then walking, it dawned on me that when I was a kid (boy, do I start sounding like Grandma, or what!) the high school was about the same distance from home as this bike shop is from my current home (2 1/2 miles). And I used to ride my bike to school. Or walk to school.

Now, wouldn't THAT take care of childhood obesity that we have such problems with in this nation... if we once again walked six to twelve city blocks each day to school in the morning, and home again after school?

Anyway, the point was, human powered transit is good for us, as physical beings. And we end up getting fit seemingly without effort, purely through a lifestyle.

Not that I'm giving up my car (I know I blogged the fantasy last year)... but this little experience once again reminded me how good it feels to be functionally fit.

Life's good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARON10002 5/19/2012 11:45PM

    Exercising three times in one day!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
You're so right about riding bikes. When I was a kid we would bike down the back roads to the local "swimming hole" every afternoon right after lunch. We'd swim three or four hours, and bike back home - 8 miles round trip. Now that I think about it, I should have been much skinnier than I was. . . emoticon

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THEEASYKILL30 5/19/2012 10:02PM

    I work in NYC and public transit is pretty good but I'm at the point where I prefer to rely on my own two feet. I could take the subway to a bus from the train station to work. Or I could walk. It takes the same time actually but walking doesn't cost me $2.25.

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SUNNY332 5/19/2012 4:47PM

    You drove to the bike shop, then biked home, then walked back to pick up your car - woohoo and way to go.

What a great way to "work in extra exercise".

If that is one of your new kittens in the photo on your page, I would say they have grown up pretty fast. Do let me know.

Take care and keep up the great work.


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REJ7777 5/19/2012 7:37AM

    You drove to the bike shop, then biked home, then walked back to pick up your car?! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 5/19/2012 7:18AM

    Functionaly fit--I love it!---- And that IS you!--I hope when I shed this faty, I can say this too--I always enjoy your blogs! Enjoy the weekend Barb-Hugs-Lynda

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    I want one tenth of your energy. emoticon
I love to walk but I think I get more out of it if I have a destination. Walking just to walk in my neighborhood feels, well umm, circular! It's 2 miles around the main drag in the development. I think I should walk to the stores, 3mi roundtrip just to feel the purpose.
You rock! emoticon

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_LINDA 5/19/2012 1:03AM

    I never got out of human powered transit -50 years of walking where ever I wanted to go hasn't much changed. Not having a driver's license means not ever missing what you never had to begin with. Walking has more then just physical benefits. Walking gives you a peek into life. Enjoying the many and varied gardens and landscaping as you go by houses. Their unique architecture. The people working in their yards never fail to say howdy to someone walking by if you take the slightest bit of interest in what they are doing. The sights, the sounds, the fresh air. It just doesn't get any better than that. Yes, I stop to admire the flowers, and smell the roses :)

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MSLZZY 5/18/2012 11:28PM

    That was a way of life that went by the wayside. I am
thinking that would make such an improvement in
the life of a kid, if they would just walk. Too much to
hope for, I guess.

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WATERMELLEN 5/18/2012 10:28PM

    When we walked everywhere . . . or rode our bikes everywhere . . . with wind in our hair!! . . . we didnt' have to think about extra weight!!

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1CRAZYDOG 5/18/2012 9:34PM

    I'm definitely into the human powered transit as well! Better for us, better for the environment!!

HUGS and have a wonderful weekend.

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