Saturday, May 30, 2009

On Mileage and Bike Lanes

Very often when we tell people we're going to bike 1800 miles this summer, their first reaction is some version of either "Are you nuts?!" or "That rocks!" Their second reaction, after hearing that we hope to average around 55 miles/day during the tour, is to ask how we're going to find the time to bike 55 miles/day while we train, especially since I'm studying about 6 hours/day for the bar exam. The good news is, the distance you ride in a week is how far you can expect to ride comfortably in a day. So we need to average at least 55 miles of riding per week. This week, our first week of multiple rides, we rode a total of 64.2 miles, and we only rode twice. Next week we'd like to ride at least 4 times, so we should be more than a-ok.

Gotta Start Somewhere

After the somewhat harrowing ride described in yesterday's post, I did some googling and discovered Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, an organization devoted to helping make those kinds of rides the exception rather than the rule. One of their big goals is to get bike lanes in Dallas- hooray! Hopefully we'll have a chance to tag along on some of their group rides.

Be well,

Arik and Mia

Friday, May 29, 2009

Not So Fun Being Prey in the Urban Jungle

Yesterday Arik and I ventured across the Trinity again, this time to get a membership at the White Rock YMCA (I can't run anymore b/c I have the knees of a 90 year old ex-mogul skiier so I wanted an outdoor pool to swim laps in) and to stop by the Kroger on Mockingbird. Our ride there was pleasant again- not much traffic and sunny skies with a breeze. We took a rest outside Kroger and enjoyed some tasty watermelon we picked up there, then headed to the YMCA and got signed up.

Our ride to White Rock, and the previous long rides we've done in the past 2 weeks, had made us feel really positive about riding in the big city- we know Dallas is car-dominated, but we hadn't had any bad experiences and were feeling confident and enjoying ourselves. The ride home was not so cheery- there was a ton of traffic, right lanes downtown were often filled up with parked cars, and for the first time we appreciated how tough it is to navigate streets not designed for bikes alongside cars streaking by doing 50 mph with drivers often openly hostile to us being on the road. Bike lanes would sure be a godsend. We made it home in one piece but with our confidence a bit shaken. Like a good nerd, I ordered two books on urban cycling (here and here) in hopes of getting some of that confidence back. Wish us luck!

In other news, we'll be doing the Tour d'Italia, in Italy....Texas on June 20. It has 12, 30, 40, 50, and 63 mile routes and promises free snow cones, but alas, no lasagna, at the end. We're thinking about doing either the 50 or 63 mile routes, but we aren't sure yet.

As always, please let us know if there's anyone you'd like us to ride in honor or memory of, and thanks so much for the support and encouragement.

Be well,

Arik and Mia

Monday, May 25, 2009

Across the River

Many Oak Cliff residents speak of the rest of Dallas as being "across the river," referring to the somewhat underwhelming Trinity River that separates downtown and North Dallas from Oak Cliff. Arik and I made our first bike-powered foray across the river this afternoon. We enjoyed surprisingly light traffic- went across the bridge, through Victory Park, past my new office (won't be in it till November!), hopped on the Katy Trail, meandered through the M streets, then Lakewood, rolled by my elementary school, which I hadn't seen since 6th grade, then slowly rode next to White Rock (tons of people out for Memorial Day) and finally to my casa. It was a pretty awesome feeling to make it so far under our own power, and we shared a celebratory fist bump as we pulled into the driveway. We'd planned on surprising my parents, but alas they weren't home! So we killed some time by biking around the lake. They were home when we got back and rewarded us with a tasty dinner. We had to get movin' pretty quickly to beat the sun, so we bid farewell to them and headed back to OC. Our timing was pretty perfect- the sun started to set just as we crossed the bridge, and we made it home with daylight to spare. Walked the pups in the dwindling light, then kicked back on the couch. In all, we rode 36.6 miles- not too shabby!

Be well,

Arik and Mia

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ride of Silence

Today Arik and I did the Ride of Silence around White Rock Lake, a ride in memory of bicyclists killed on the road and in support of increasing awareness of bikers. My mom fashioned us some makeshift black armbands out of an old belt, and those who'd survived wrecks with cars wore red armbands- we saw a few of those. We were a bit late getting started so we had to get a lil speedy to catch up to the group. We caught up about 15 minutes in and it was really something else- as the name suggests, there was absolutely no talking. Curious onlookers lined the road, unsure of what to make of the hundreds of bikers rolling by slowly in silence. The scene was somber and serene- the lake was calm, the sun was going down, and all was quiet but for a smattering of quacks from the ducks. We often had to slow down almost to a complete stop to negotiate some barriers, so it took about an hour and twenty minutes to make it around the lake, but it was nice to enjoy a slow reflective ride. There were quite a few colorful characters: we saw one guy who wore a belt that held 4 what looked like beer cans, and another guy with a bike wheel tatooed on each calf. At the end, we all lined a parking lot on the lake, bagpipes played, and white bikes in memorium of killed cyclists were rolled around. Then we headed up the street to my parents' house, empowered by the numbers we'd just witnessed, but a little more aware of how dangerous sharing (or not sharing, as is often the case in Dallas) the road with cars can be.

Biking along the lake- Dallas skyline on the right

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Cedar Hill State Park

After spending yesterday morning and much of the afternoon watching the rain and crossing our fingers, we took advantage of a lull and headed off for Cedar Hill State Park yesterday afternoon. The roads were still wet, the skies were still kinda foreboding, but we were happy to get moving! Jeff, Kate, Arik and I left Oak Cliff about 4 and made it to CHSP around 6. We enjoyed mostly low traffic roads and made it through some tough hills. We found a nice campsite, got set up, and had a tasty dinner. The boys went to the marina and bought some firewood (there wasn't any dry wood around) and we got a nice fire going. We turned in pretty early and were awakened this morning by the melodious sounds of...... 20 screeching crows. doh! We ate some oatmeal in the cool morning air (crazy that 60 degrees now feels cool to me- I guess I've adjusted to Texas weather already!) and started heading home. It was sunny and 70 degrees- perfect riding weather! The hills didn't feel quite as bad on the way back, but we did have to survive a high speed chase by a Jack Russell Terrier- that little dude was vicious and he'd clearly chosen my bike as the one to attack! We rolled back into Oak Cliff close to 11. We headed straight to our favorite eatery- Spiral Diner- and enjoyed their Sunday brunch. I foolishly scoffed down about 10 pancakes, and after 2 hours of riding my belly wasn't too pleased! Thankfully we were close to home. We bid farewell to Jeff and Kate and rolled back to the casa. A hot shower and some slobbery kisses from our bulldog later, and we're now well rested. Our gear worked great, we enjoyed a pretty ride, and got to hang out with good friends- overall a great weekend mini trip! Here are some pix:

Leavin' OC

About 1/3 of the way there

On the road

Arik guarding the bikes at Walgreens

Some nice motivation on the way up a big hill

How we entertained ourselves

Our campsite

The crew on the way home

That's all for now!

Be well,

Arik and Mia

Friday, May 15, 2009


Mia graduated from law school last Saturday, and after 20 hours in the bug, Arik and Mia have returned to D-town.

We've met our new bulldog, seen long missed friends and family, and are ready for our first mini bike adventure!

Tomorrow afternoon we're biking with our buds Jeff and Kate to Cedar Hill State Park (about 15 miles away), camping there for the night, and heading back Sunday morning. It'll be our first chance to test out all our new gear and the longest trip we've been on since we got our new bikes. We'll let ya know how it goes and will hopefully have some pix to share!

Be well,

Arik and Mia