Well, it’s Wednesday morning again, and I’m comparatively upbeat today, as I’m pleased to inform you and I suspect you’ll be glad to learn. After much effort, some WD-40, and the helpful supplying of a wire coat-hanger by my coworker, I was able to get the seat post out of the frame of my new bike, and with the help of my boss and another coworker—one who does a fair amount of biking—I was able to get my new bicycle together and ready to ride.
I rode it to the train last night, and then from the station to the house, with a mild, modest drizzle pleasantly dampening the way for a bit. That latter portion is about five miles, as I’ve said before, but on the bike it took me just over half an hour, rather than an hour and a half. That’s decent speed for my first time riding any bike in many years, and it’s also what it took me this morning in the other direction. It got me to the train station in time to catch the train that I used to ride back when I took speedier—yet less healthy—means to get there.
Even though I’ve been walking as much as twelve miles a day, and so my endurance is pretty good, biking is a different experience. I suppose that’s pretty obvious, but still, coming into it is something of a surprise. It’s clear that, on roads at least, to bike is much more efficient than to walk, and one can cover the same ground with much less expenditure of energy. But I would definitely estimate that, while it took about a third as long, I doubt that it burned only a third as many calories.
Maybe it’s because my riding is inefficient, but my legs definitely felt the more intense expenditure that riding entails, and my breath definitely came much more rapidly than when I walk, which is a very good biological indicator of the rate of energy expenditure. The buildup of carbon dioxide is the primary driver of respiration*, so I am producing it much more quickly when biking than when walking. This is good, I suppose; it will improve my conditioning.
But boy, I feel it in my buttocks; I feel it in my legs**.
Still, there is, as hoped, less joint pain associated so far with biking than there was with walking, and that is huge. I need to make a few minor bike adjustments, I think, before too long, but it’s not bad overall. I have some issues with bike seats—when the seats are high enough to, supposedly, make pedaling more efficient, I find myself feeling very awkward, because my feet don’t easily reach the ground. Maybe that’s just a function of me not feeling all that secure on a bicycle; my coordination is not superb, especially when my legs are fatigued. Already, I’ve nearly overbalanced at least twice already while getting off the bike, because my legs felt quite heavy and recalcitrant when standing after pedaling.
Presumably, I’ll adapt to this, and may then find it easier to raise the bicycle seat. We shall see. I don’t particularly like having to worry about maintenance and adjustment of the bicycle—that’s one of the reasons I haven’t had one, and why I don’t even feel the desire to drive a car or even my scooter. Such things not only don’t tend to stick in my mind, but they actively stress me out to the point of causing me literally to bang my head against walls. A bicycle is more straightforward, though, and in south Florida, there are many bike shops about, since people ride all year round***.
Well, we’ll see how things go over the next several days and possibly weeks. I suspect my legs will strengthen, and my short-term, higher intensity endurance will improve. In any case, my available time will grow. Last night, I got back to the house while it was still light out, and not just because the daylight is lengthening. I arrived almost an hour earlier than usual, and that happened this morning again.
I doubt it will work very long as a boost to my mood, but maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. I don’t think it’s likely to push things in the other direction, do you?
No, I didn’t think so.
*Not the need for oxygen, as you might suspect. With normally functioning lungs, in typical Earth atmosphere, oxygen is basically in a constant, fairly good supply for the body. It’s the carbon dioxide that has to be blown out, both because, as a waste product, it pushes back the equilibrium of metabolism if it remains, and also because, in the blood, it partly links with water and dissociates a hydrogen atom, becoming carbonic acid, decreasing the pH of the blood, which interferes with many functions. In a person with working lungs (and kidneys) this pH drop never happens to any detectable level; the body is too good at regulating it, and the drive to blow off carbon dioxide is powerful indeed. However, in people with rather severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, their hypercapnic drive can be markedly blunted by chronic inefficiency, with the kidneys taking up some of the slack. In these patients, the respiratory drive can be shifted toward being oxygen-driven, and that creates a serious catch-22 for them, since they often need more oxygen than they can get readily from the air, but supplemental oxygen blunts their distorted respiratory drive, and they can rapidly go into respiratory acidosis.
**The original, but wisely discarded, opening lyrics to Love is all around.
***Interesting side note—when I first tried to write “round” in that sentence, I initially typed “young”, which is not conceptually much like the word “round” at all, but does have the same three middle letters. The first and last letters are not even quite next to the correct ones on the keyboard, though they are in similar relation. I’ve made typos like this before. It seems that my brain encodes, or indexes, words that I type by the overall shape of the word at some level, with the middle letters dominating. I wouldn’t have thought that, but then again, I don’t think I would have thought anything else, either.
So glad the bike is up and running ( so to speak 😉🚴♂️)
Isn’t carbonic acid what they put in pop to make it fizzy, or am I thinking of something else?
It is indeed the same thing. CO2 dissolved in H2O yields carbonic acid, though it’s not a 100% conversion.