my day off, riding, and how to fall.... - Seattle towards Minnesota - CycleBlaze

August 5, 2007

my day off, riding, and how to fall....

I woke up briefly at 7:30 then fell back asleep until 9:30. That's about ten and a half hours of sleep.

Today is ALREADY a good day.

If only I could combine the two: sleeping late and bicycling. Maybe a summer trip in Alaska?

My plan today is to rest and write, so I settled in comfortably on the couch and got started.

Not long after that Jim walked through the door. I'm glad I was wearing pants. He instantly realized his mistake and backed out.

You'd be surprised at how frequently that happens. Even with a Do Not Disturb sign hanging on the doorknob, the cleaning staff just assumes that, because there's no car, the occupants must be gone.

I reopened the door and he gave me fresh towels.

Heather called and we talked about how I'm going to be getting back to Minnesota. As I mentioned earlier, I never really thought I'd be able to make it all of the way. I did, however, think I'd make it farther than western Montana. Heather, being the clever and resourceful person that she is, researched Amtrak. As it turns out, there's a train that follows my route almost exactly. I can catch it after I get back from Canada, around Cut Bank. I'll be able to put my bike in a bike rack for an additional ten dollars and ride all the way to Red Wing or Winona. That will work better than her having to drive two days each way to pick me up and take me all the way back to Rochester. Perhaps I'll start my next trip where I finish this one.

Around 11:00 I went walking. It's always a weird feeling to take a walk on a bike trip... it's so awkward. Why don't we have wheels instead of legs? It would be so much more efficient than this plodding. You can't even coast on legs! You have to keep walking, even downhill!

My first stop was Cowgirl Heaven, a tiny coffee shop near my motel. I bought some type of muffin, but the main reason I stopped there was for the free wi fi.

After that, I continued my plodding pace to the downtown area, picking up some more sunscreen and ibuprofen, then went back to my room and fell asleep for an hour.

The day just keeps getting better.

In the evening, I selected an Italian restaurant because I noticed they have a seven-layer chocolate cake on their dessert menu. After eating my entrée, lasagna, I ordered a slice of the cake, only to learn they were out. I must've looked crestfallen because the waitress let me know that the grocery store has some really delicious brownies.

I made my way to the grocery store and bought one, as well as breakfast for tomorrow morning, then went back to the motel.

Although I rode my bike when I went out to eat supper, you can be sure of one thing.... butt never touched the saddle today.

That was my day.  Pretty boring.

Here are a few pictures I've taken in the last couple of weeks.

Be careful... the kids around here aren't too smart.
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What the slow children grow up to be.
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This American dream house can be yours! But don't dream too big.
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As you already know, posters here at CycleBlaze go that extra mile for you. In a previous posting, you learned how to take a cold shower, and also received an etiquette lesson on what to do when you’re standing in someone else’s shower buck naked and need some assistance. Today, you're going to get a couple of extras.

First, since I'm not doing any riding today I thought I'd tell you what the actual RIDING is like.  As you've seen, a bicycle tour is much more than just pedaling a bike down the road.... it really is an adventure in which you get to meet interesting people and see some beautiful scenery. (and, of course, sweat) The riding is just the means for you to do it. The actual riding?  Here are some thoughts about it:

The mechanical action of riding becomes second nature. Like walking, it's just something you no longer think about. It's the same with shifting... it just happens (unless you're having problems with your shifters).

So, what DO you think about? I think it depends on a person's personality. For me, I can usually solve all of the world's problems. That takes about twenty minutes, then I'm on to something else. 

I look at the scenery and enjoy it immensely, but I'm not pedaling down the road thinking, "Wow.... This scenery is beautiful." At least, not the ENTIRE time I'm pedaling.

So, step into the Mind of Mark. One at a time, please, there's not much room in there. And speak softly.... there's a deafening echo.

Thoughts going through my head as I ride, in no particular order:

• That's pretty
• There's sweat on my upper lip
• Avoid rock on road
• Sure is quiet
• (Sing ditty in head for a few seconds)
• Do I have something between my teeth? Yes, I do. (work on it for a few minutes)
• There's a flower
• It's (green/brown/dry/wet/flat/hilly) here
• My butt hurts. Maybe I should ask about that butt balm after all.

Mind-boggling, the depth, isn't it? But really, what did you expect?

Sometimes I'll write stories or letters. Then rewrite them, then rewrite them again. I do enjoy writing, and most of the writing I do is for my own entertainment.

I told you earlier that you're getting a couple of extras. Today, you're also getting a lesson on riding technique.

Sort of.

Today's lesson is on:

How to Fall

If you ride a bicycle, it's probably going to happen. Although I myself have never fallen, including that time in Kansas, I believe I can offer some sound advice.

If you fall, immediately hop back up. Even before you check for blood or protruding bones, look around to see if anyone saw you fall. Similar to the three-second rule with dropped food items, if you get back up fast enough you didn't actually fall.

Some riders, especially those who use clipless pedals, have perfected this technique to the point where it actually appears they bounce off the pavement and back into a normal riding position.

If someone did see you, and you’re able to bounce back quickly enough, say, “Whew, that was a close call. I almost fell.”

Once you’re back in the vertical position and you’re sure no one saw you, THEN it’s okay to check for blood and skin on the pavement, and bones poking out of your skin.

If you happen to sustain a neck injury during your fall and are unable to move your arms and legs, attempt to look around as best you can. If someone did indeed see you, immediately begin laughing at the top of your lungs. You might even want to toss in a "God, that was fun!!!" After they leave and someone else approaches, begin screaming hysterically and ask "Did anyone get the license number of that truck?!??!?"

If you sustain a minor injury, such as a compound fracture of the arm or leg, seek medical care immediately. As soon as possible after your release from the hospital or clinic, run down to the local convenience store and proudly show off your wound to your friends.


Having learned how to fall I, and all of the lawyers at CycleBlaze, recommend that you NOT fall on purpose.

Best of luck.

Miles 1.55
Maximum speed 15.2 mph
Average speed 7.2 mph
Time 00:13:00
Cumulative mileage 656.73

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Andrea BrownI just fell yesterday in a nearby thrift store, I tripped over a floor level change because I was trying to stealthily film a person playing one of the accordions for sale. I made a real clatter and some empty 8mm reels rolled around me. The accordionist stopped playing. Immediately everybody in the store I was trying to avoid got up in my business to make sure I was all right. My knee hurt and so did my ego but all is well today. Never happened. Nope.
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