Monday, July 16, 2007

Dave's Virtual Bike Tour

After mentioning about a month ago that I really need to lose some weight, I really wasn't sure what to do. I mean, I have a membership to the Hoover Rec and all it's workout facilities, but beyond the cardio room, I have no direction. By that, I mean I could go and lift weights randomly, work out on the nautilus machines and whatever, but I really just needed someone knowledgeable to say "Okay, on Monday, you do this and this... on Tuesday, work on this by doing these things..." I even tried to get one of those $35 an hour personal training sessions, but I never found anyone at the desk nor would they ever answer the phone.

So, the weight stayed. Sure, I could have just run around our big parking lot a few dozen times a night, but honestly... who's going to do that? Not me.

Then, I began to think, what if I just did something. I mean, anything. Perhaps not the treadmill--the treadmill leaves me exhausted and discouraged. I feel really weak and crappy after I get so winded so quickly, and it takes me 15 minutes to run a mile... when I was in 7th grade, I busted out a 7 minute and 3 second mile, no joke. I had to be fast when running from Drew Snell and Shane Gillis, 'cause they chased me on the their bikes.

Anyway, the stairmaster thing also leaves me wiped out after a few minutes... but what about the bikes? The stationary bikes? I love bike riding, always have. If we lived in an area that's more conducive to bike riding, I think Steph Leann and I would both have them, but since we live about a half mile from Alabama's biggest mall, and all the traffic and surrounding major highways that go with it, bike riding here is about as safe as Cindy Sheehan in a VFW meeting. Again, we could ride big circles around our parking lot... but no.

However, the stationary bikes are cool. Sit, pedal fast, watch the miles go by, work up a sweat, and actually keep going for a good 30 or 40 minutes, not just 10 or 15. But, should I just ride? For how long? I need a goal. I always need a goal.

I'm a goal/checklist kind of person. Even when I'm closing at the store, I make a checklist of stuff that has to be done. I enjoy marking off accomplished things. Sitting around the desk, even right now, I've found random scratch sheets of paper that have crudely drawn squares with words like "fold laundry" or "return movie" or "finish blog", sometimes with a big X in the square, sometimes the square is empty... but a checklist, nonetheless.

I've always wanted to bike across the country. How neat would it be to toss on a backpack, climb on a 10 speed, and just go? Travel from city to city, try local fare, sleeping in run down motels or in open fields, meeting random people, making random friends along the way.

I went to Barnes & Noble and found the Harley Davidson Ride Atlas, and began to decide where I wanted to "travel". Should I go west? Perhaps the length of I-10, the interstate that runs cross country, the interstate that is 30 minutes from where I grew up, and I always looked at it in awe and wonder (before I ended up living a minute from an interstate, that is). Maybe go to the beach, and just navigate the whole of the coastline of Florida?

No, I want to go east and then north. New York City, at least. Then New England. Maybe back across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and head south again, through Kentucky and Tennessee. NYCJenni lives in... well, NYC. Maybe stop and meet her for lunch. My buddy Jess is in Kentucky, maybe we can meet up for ice cream. Tons of people in Tennessee I know.

Thus was born "Dave's Virtual Bike Tour".

Using Google Maps, the Harley atlas and a road map from Steph Leann's car, I've officially mapped out a route to Washington DC (1016.7 miles). I've drawn out a way to Allentown, PA, but don't have the mileage for that just yet.

Essentially, each day, I hope on board the bike and ride. As the miles add up, that's a little farther down the road I've gone. And here's the "details" of my first week...

Week One of Dave's Virtual Bike Tour...

23 miles to Leeds, AL. Almost got run over by a big Yellow Freight truck that weaved out of his lane. Not that I really have a lane. Alabama highways aren't known for their "bike-friendly" highways and byways. Was pretty tired, met up with Ken & Kerry Brasher who live out that way. We had a quick lunch, and I was on my way.

Cook Spring was 11 miles down Highway 78. Ah, the memories of Cook Springs... retreats and conferences. Actually, I don't remember Cook Springs at all, it was Shocco Springs I've stayed at a dozen times or more, but I'm not in Shocco, I'm in Cook. So, ah, the memories of Cook Springs.

Nine more miles later, its Pell City. Stopped at the gas station where Steph Leann broke down years ago. Ate some really bad, stale chicken fingers. This won't help my weight loss program.

Riverside is 7 miles down the road. The beauty of a bike tour... never even heard of Riverside until I passed through it on my 13-speed. Seems like a nice town. Don't stop.

Eastaboga. Yes, there is a town called Eastaboga. The first time I heard the name, it sounds like one of those fictional town names you make up when describing a place that's way out in the middle of nowhere. "Yeah, I had to park my car in freakin' Eastaboga!" Its probably not too far from EBF.

Sign says Oxford, 11.2 miles. Looks like I'll get there by tomorrow.

How soon will Dave be in Atlanta? And who will he get to see? Tune in Monday on the next episode of "Dave's Virtual Bike Tour"


  1. Dave, this is a great idea. Well done.

  2. (i, like 'scptt,' also think this is a great idea)


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