Oh, it's so good to be alive. And not simply because of yesterday's post
, or the story
that it referenced. But because today was just a really good day to be alive.
First, let me start by telling everyone that some of my mom's family came to visit this weekend. My cousin Dan, Aunt Kathleen and Aunt Ginny are staying at mom's til Monday. So that means we get to do some interesting things to keep them entertained while they're here. But I'll get back to that.
Today, however, started out great because I went for a little bike ride this morning. I've been contemplating riding my bike to work everyday. But there are way too many hills to try to do the whole ride. So I came up with an alternative plan that I wanted to try out today.
About halfway between my house and work is a Port Authority Park-N-Ride parking lot. Not only is it conveniently somewhere close to the halfway point of my daily commute, it is also past the last big hill on that commute. The ride to work is relatively "flat" from that point on. Kinda...
Which is the reason why I wanted to try this out today. Because the ride seems level enough when you're in your car driving along at 45 mph. But when you have to pedal it you discover that there are more slopes and grades to it than you might suspect.
I started out doing 13mph without really trying. But eventually pedaling became a bit more difficult. Then I found out that somewhere just past the halfway point of the ride the road is nearly all uphill. It's a very subtle slope, but it's noticable in the amount of energy I had to expend to keep a decent speed.
At first, I thought, maybe my tire was low or going flat. Because it was getting really hard to pedal. My speed had dropped from about 9 mph to 6 mph. So I stopped and checked my tires and they were fine. But just to make sure I pulled over into the parking lot of a little plaza that sits about a mile from my work and I rode through the lot from one end to the other where I turned around and started heading back in the direction I was coming from. Sure enough, I was flying along the road without even pedaling. So I used the momentum that I had built up to carry me back through the parking lot and onto the road where I began to trudge my way along toward work.
I managed to get to the intersection where I turn off the main highway and onto the road where my work is. It's a hill, of course, and I knew I'd never be able to pedal the whole way up. But I did get about 1/3 of the way, and that was good enough for me. So I walked my bike the rest of the way up to the parking lot and climbed back on so I could at least ride it until I got to the bike rack. That way I would know exactly how far, and how much time it would take me to do this on a daily basis. It's a little under 5 miles when I subtract for the little experiment to see if the road was really all uphill. And it took me nearly 45 minutes to get there. That may be a bit more time than I'd like to take for my morning commute. But there's a bright side to this.
Riding back to the Park-N-Ride was nearly all downhill. I barely had to pedal at all after I left my work lot. And I didn't have to pedal steadily until I passed the halfway point of the ride. While my computer was telling me that my average speed was increasing from 8.3 (on the ride to work) to 9.6 (on the ride back), I noticed that I was staying pretty close to 11 mph for most of the ride back to my car. I made it in about 15 minutes.
So I'm thinking this might be do-able if I can get myself in better condition to handle the uphill pedaling of the ride in. Because the ride back will be so nice.
And now for the rest of the day...
One of the things my mother wanted to do today was to take her family to the Strip District. In part because she's never been there, but also because she figured it'd be something different for them to experience. So we all climbed into mom's car and I drove us down to the Strip.
We ended up parking about 5 blocks away from where it all begins. Which was OK since none of us mind walking. It was amusing to see the strange fascination on my mother and aunt's faces as they took in all of the sights, sounds and smells of the various cafe's, vendors and shops that are there. Not to mention the people.
We didn't actually stop in very many of the shops. We were more or less there just to look around at all of it. But I had a few places that I had to stop, and one that my Aunt Ginny had to see.
For me, it was one of the oriental food stores. A korean lady that I work with introduced me and several co-workers to Roasted Hot Green Peas. I'm not sure if the coating on these things is wasabi or just very strong horseradish sauce. But whatever it is, it'll clear your sinuses! They are awesome!
For my aunt Ginny we had to head to Feinbergs for Steeler memorablia. I can't quite explain all of the ins-n-outs of the relationship, but my Aunt Ginny is related to Jeff Hartings - who is the center for the Steelers. As a result, one of her grandsons is a huge Steeler fan. So any chance she gets to grab some piece of Steeler "stuff", she does. And Feinbergs is the place to find it. Of course, the strange thing about it, she didn't find anything she wanted at Feinbergs. She ended up buying a few items from one of the street vendors. Go figure!
We did step inside a few of the more popular shops, Penn Mac and Wholeys, but we didn't buy anything. Just looked around and enjoyed the atmosphere. Then we headed back to the car.
Headed back to mom's for lunch and some catching up with one another. And then I headed home so I could do this. And now that I'm here I think I'll start weighing out my plans for the evening. Bob is at his mother's. Aliesha is out putting in job applications, then she'll be going over to her friend's house. So I have the uncommon opportunity to get out of the house for awhile. I think I might just do that. There is a Steeler's pre-season game tonight...
Labels: All about ME, Biking, Family, Steeler Nation