Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fat Guy Rides - Maiden Post

This is my first posting on my new blog titled Fat Guy Rides.  I thought it would be fun to chronicle some of the adventures that I experience now that bicycling has become a pretty normal part of my routine.

As a bit of history, I started riding on a lark.  It was November 2009, I had a 2 year old son and a six month old daughter, and there was absolutely zero prospect of me ever going to the gym to work out.  I greatly envied a co-worker who commuted to work from his home in Sausalito every once in a while.  I decided that, on a slow work day between Christmas and New Years 2009, I would kill two birds with one stone and get a work out in while riding my bike to work.  There was only a few technical issues ... I knew nothing about bikes, had no clue what route to take and didn't own a single piece of spandex (I wish I could still make that assertion ... fat guys in spandex are not super sexy).  My only ride was a Trek mountain bike, with treaded tires, that I bought on Craigslist in 1997 for $150.  But it would have to do.  Without a clue as to what was ahead of me, I bundled up in layers of T-shirts, sweat shirts, a beanie, long underwear and a pair of basketball sweats, waited for the sun to come up and just left.

I don't recall much from that maiden voyage other than the fact that I was totally lost.  I had seen the Mill Valley Bike Trail hundreds of times from the freeway, but I really didn't know how to get to it.  I had heard anecdotally that it was across the street from the Car Wash in Mill Valley, but I really didn't even know how to get to Paradise Drive / Tiburon Boulevard on a bike.  Needless to say, it was an adventure.  But I remember the sense of triumph as, after 2 hours and 33 minutes, I parked the blue Trek bomber outside of Jamba Juice on Battery Street.

Fast forward two years, I now regularly ride to work, typically 3-4 days per week - rain or shine, warm or below freezing.  I have not yet done the math, but I think I am hovering around 4,000 miles of riding for 2011. I have upgraded the bike and track my rides/times with a Garmin, but the effort is basically the same as the first time (minus the route issues).  Its 21.5 miles from home to office in the morning and then I take the Larkspur Ferry home, riding 6 miles from the Ferry back to my house.  My record time for the morning commute is just under 1 hour 17 minutes and my typical ride is about 1 hour 20 minutes.  When I am feeling particularly strong, or particularly bored at work, I will make the ride home for a 44 mile day.

Re: the blog title, those who know me realize that I am not the typical bike riding "geometry" (a nice way that bike people talk about fat people).  Physically, I would describe myself as a marginally fit, former athlete, 5'11" tall and about 230 pounds.  The majority of the guys that I ride with are more like 150 to 180 pounds.  Given my "geometry", I am very strong on the flats and downhill and struggle mightily in the hills.  One of my riding partners often jests that at a casual exertion level, I am easily 10 to 20 percent faster than he is on the flats; where he is easily 100 percent faster than I am on the climbs.  It makes for a fun ride when we are able to push each other in our weaker skills.  Another observation that, despite the significant increase in my level of exercise, I have not lost much weight since starting to ride regularly.  That said, I have redistributed some weight from my my belly into my butt and thighs.  But, in the end, my lack of metabolism ("big bones")  and enormous appetite have destined me to remain in the Clydesdale Category.

Thanks for reading and I hope this turns into something fun.  I intend to follow this post with pictures of rides and other random thoughts about bicycles. My next post should be a photo montage of my commute to work.  I look forward to seeing the pictures myself.

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