First of all, hooray for being back in bloggy-town. I needed that break that the evil spammers gave me, but I felt weird not writing! I hope that the spam comments will be back down to the one or three a day they used to be.
I got my bike almost 2 weeks ago and was sorely disappointed that I had only been on one 30 minute ride around the neighborhood. Wind and rain and just general laziness have been plaguing all attempts to go on a nice ride with Zliten so far. Yesterday, the plan was to get groceries during my special “heathen time” window (when all the other good people are at church – typically before 11am Sundays) when the stores are nice and mellow, not full of screaming children and families. Nothing against them, I’d just rather get in and out of the grocery store without having to play demolition derby with my cart. Then, some cleaning, which ended up just being “crap, at least get the laundry done”, and then we were to head to a nearby park for our neighborhood picnic. It seemed like a perfect excuse to get a bike ride in, so we strapped on our helmets and headed down.
When we got there, we discovered that we were approximately an hour and a half early. We thought it started at noon, but the sign plainly said 2pm. Since we were hungry THEN and didn’t relish the idea of sitting around waiting for the barbeques to spark up, we just kept riding. We both decided that a sandwich shop a few miles down the road sounded yummy, and like a good target, but when we got close, we decided to keep going. It was a beautiful day, and we weren’t ready to stop yet. We kept riding and riding, and soon we were downtown 6th Street.
We were going to find a nice place with a patio to get lunch and a beer, but I had brought up an area slightly south where I said I wanted to bike to someday called Barton Springs, so we pressed on and headed there. After an interesting uphill curly cue ramp and having to walk the bike down some stone stairs, we arrived. We ended up at a place called Uncle Billy’s BBQ, about 9 miles from the house, and soaked up some sun on their patio, enjoying a nice, tasty local Hefewizen, listening to live music, and splitting a gigantic BBQ plate of chopped beef, pulled pork, turkey, coleslaw, and potato salad. At that point, we were almost regretting how far we had gone from home, and decided we would try to ride home, but would be ok if we had to take the bus at least partway instead – also leaving open the option to find another nice patio, and another nice beverage.
We rode back down the curly cue ramp again and back up downtown – went up and down once and decided that the places that were open didn’t look that inviting. After a monster hill we had to stop at the top of, we headed up to the college area. Shops and restaurants, sure, there were tons of things that looked interesting, but no bars. We then decided that we’d stop closer to home, and then soon…we were about a mile away and decided the best place to stop was OUR patio. I was not dead tired by the time we got home, but I was definitely ready to stop. And I was crazy sunburnt. Hey, I started the day with a long sleeve shirt and a jacket, and figured I’d be sitting in the shade for an hour or 2. I didn’t expect to have my sleeves rolled up as far as they could go by the end of it.
Total time – about 3.5 hours (with about 2:20 ridden). Approximate calories burnt: 798 (not bad for a day off). Total guilt for indulging in a beer and some BBQ – 0.
I learned 2 main things on my first ride today. First, I now know why a lot of runners cross train on bicycles – it almost as intense of a workout, but used COMPLETELY different muscles and was even more gentle on my feet than DDR or Cybil the arc trainer. And – it was a hell of a lot of fun. We spent the majority of the afternoon outside, on a beautiful day, exploring the city. Score! The second is that Austin keeps getting smaller and smaller as we find different ways to get around. There are places that are 15-20 mins away by car but are a pain to park at so we avoid them. However, they are also a 40 minute bus ride away. And now, just under an hour bike ride away! I don’t think that it would ever be practical to jog down somewhere to grab BBQ and a pint and jog back, but it’s an option…
We’ve resolved to do one long ride like that AT LEAST once a month. I don’t know why it took me so long to decide to get a bike again, but I’m so glad I did! Today, however, I embark on another avenue of fitness-ical pursuits. How did March go? What am I into now? Stay tuned for actual posts this week!