Thursday, January 29, 2009

Florida: Mannasota Keys Beach area

Dave C., Bob B., Margie, Doug N looking out on the Gulf at Mannasota Keys Beach.
Margie, Vicky, Sara on the beach, Mannasota Keys
The sea shell sculpture at Mannasota Keys Beach.

Week is going fast, haven't had time to even Blog. Today we rode 70 miles from the Veranda to Boca Grande. Absolutely beautiful day, and the ride was one of the best of the last 2 weeks. We stopped at the beach on Mannasota Key beach road and some took their bike shoes off to wade in the Gulf. It was 81 degrees. While some of us were wading in the sunshine, those back home in Ohio were wading through piles of snow! I would like to stay here until next spring!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Round Two inFlorida

Nan is soooo happy to stop, rest, and soak up the SUNshine!
Now THIS is how Florida weather should be . . .nice and warm in late January. Nine of us went out for a 40 mile ride this morning. Karen had a flat tire even before we left the Veranda -- so with a quick change by Al we were out on the road by 9:45. We stopped about half way at a small shopping plaza that has Scrambles Cafe. No one really wanted a sit down lunch but next door was Robert's Whole Foods. A nice size organics and health foods grocery store. Everyone bought small bags of goodies from the bulk bins. Dried fruits, dried peas, nuts and such. Sharon even bought sweet potato and beet chips. Everyone 'shared' their goodies and we passed our little baggies around to each other for samples. It was just enough of a treat to fuel us for the remainder of the ride. Returning we all changed out of the bike shorts and left to go for lunch down the road at Ed and Dave's favorite bar/grille called Norma Jean's. Nice place, with lots of TV's playing sports channels.

After the lunch most everyone went back out riding for another 20 miles -- led around by Bob F. Saw lots of boats on the inner coastal this afternoon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sunset Ride

(Click on photo to enlarge)
We gathered out front of the Veranda Inn for the 30 mile last ride of this week. We have called this our sunset Ride. Some left after the ride and headed to Fr Myers to catch an afternoon plane back to Ohio. Others will be leaving to drive back to Ohio starting tomorrow morning. There will be 10 of us staying on for a second week of riding. Al J. did a great job once again of organizing this the 4th year of the Stark County Bike Club coming to Venice, Florida.

Toni is in charge of this next week and has gotten together a good schedule of rides ranging from 40-73 miles a day. Dave C is already pondering which restaurants we should go to each evening. Just never enough days to go to the many fine places around here.

Sorry that my Paul must leave to go back to Ohio tomorrow, and head back to work on Monday. The Veranda Inn has given us once again a whole block of rooms that we can use again next year. Most of us have reserved the same room for that last week in January 2010. This sure beats the cold weather back home!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 23, 2009

Round 'n Round the Rotunda

Dave C. and I riding through Myakka Park
Erika and Peg enjoy the surf and sand on Siesta Key
Riders favorite treat, Ice Cream! Mal, Bill and Carol
Waiting at the Circus Bridge while boat passes through
Don at Pop's Sunset Grille - huge Grouper fish sandwich.

58 miles today that took us into to Rotunda. It is a confusing place, we almost always get lost. Except this 4th time down here we didn't get quite so lost getting out of that round and round community. I was on tandem with Dave and we took a turn on to what we thought was the Pioneer Trail and it was not -- it was a golf cart path, and we ended up going out into some golf course following this trail/path until we realized we weren't going anywhere, and the golfers were telling us we were on a golf course! Two miles back down the road we found the right trail entrance. We only had about 2 miles on that trail.

We had a treat stopping at Bud and Margie's house to have fresh squeezed orange juice from the trees in their yard. They winter down here and they ride a tandem and Bud comes out and rides single with us too. A few of us stopped at a favorite place, Conch Cafe. Corner of Pennell and Rte 776. Home of Killer Food at Killer Prices. Starting out we had to wait for the Circus Bridge to go back down before going over it. That is a frequent thing down here since Venice is on an island and we are always riding out and over to the mainland -- we end up waiting for the draw bridges to let boat traffic go through.

Oh and the weather was much warmer today! Finally I could ride with short sleeves about 5 miles into the ride.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Boca Grande and headwinds

Nice plug for Ernie's Bike Shop, back home in Massillon.
Great big Banyan trees on Boca Grande Island

Larry and I ate at the Loose Caboose Restaurant.

We drove a short way to Lemon Bay park and then rode a 55 mile loop out over to Mannasota Beach and on to a 9 mile stretch with a tailwind to the causeway that leads to Boca Grande. Larry and I ate at the Loose Caboose in the shopping district, others when out to the WhiteHouse Restaurant about 3 miles down the beach for Conch and Grouper and other good fried stuff. Followed Bud and Margie Scott back to the section where the head winds started -- they live local and they went on home. Toni had a meeting at 5:00 to go over the next week's rides. There will be about 15 of us staying for week number two. Tonight we went to Pop's Sunset Grill over near Casey Keys. Weather was still cool, but really it has been great to ride in weather that isn't so hot we are roasting all the time. Suppose to be 71 degrees tomorrow -- and warm up for next week.
some photos from today:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Riding Fun in Florida

Another day of bicycling in the sun. Though it sure isn't warm (yet) down here. It was 50 degrees when four of us started out on the route this morning. About 15 drove to Sanibel Island to ride, others stayed local. Doug and Vicky had cued a 38 mile ride around here. About 8 left with them at 9:30, but those I rode with wanted to wait until it warmed up a little more. It was very cool with a brisk breeze the entire ride and I had to keep leggings and jacket on the entire time. But it was sunny and that is great! Five of us are going to a Greek restaurant, Althea's, in downtown Venice at 6:00. I'm hungry after all this riding!!
Here is a photo of three tandems with their Captains and Stokers that have been out there everyday:
L-R: Mal/Debbie, Bill/Carol, and Dave/Sara
L-R: Dave, Sara, Debbie, Mal.
Though the sign says "Motor Cycle parking -- we think our cycles have 'very special motors' -- our strong legs!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Myakka State Park

Another day with miles of smiles down here in Florida!
Dave and I rode tandem again and we did the full route of 64 miles, with a few changes to avoid eleven miles of headwinds that were near 20 mph and gusting higher than that. Though it was in the mid 50's today, most everyone was in some long sleeves and a few put on tights too. Here is Dave C and I with his tandem at the start in Myakka State Park, about a 20 minute drive north of Venice. We loaded bikes, went to the park and did the ride loop. Flashing a big smile, I caught Larry J on camera as he came up along side us - and stayed with us on today's ride. I like riding tandem for taking photos! Easy to just keep pedaling and snap pictures too.

Half way through the ride there was a stop at a gas station convenience store. They have some tables/booths to sit and eat and a TV was on. It was about 15 minutes before the swearing in of Obama as the 44 president. All heads were on the TV. Then just before the swearing in, 3 minutes to go, and that TV lost it's signal! So we all got back on our bikes and continued on the ride, missing the historical moment on the tele.

Larry had a flat, and that took about 10 minutes to fix - by that time we were far behind the group that was doing the long route. Was quite chilly and windier by the time we finished around 3:30 PM. I thought maybe it would rain a little -- but it didn't! Look at all that Spanish moss hanging from the tree above us. It is a lovely sight riding through the groves of trees that are thick and line the roads throughout the park. I don't know if this stuff is good for the trees or not, but it sure makes a nice scene to ride under it.

We went to Olfelia's Italian Restaurant tonight. One of my very favorite eating spots down here. I especially savour the hot, crispy crust of boucle of bread they bring to the table and the EVO with whole roasted garlic cloves dropped into the oil. Um, um, good! Some ate a calamari dish, another had pasta, I had a delicious piece of roasted salmon with honey ginger sauce. Perfecto!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fire Ants - Yoga - Biking - 64th Birthday

The group Yoga class at 5:00 PM this afternoon, at the beach in Venice, FL.
Sara(L), Margie (R) doing some warm-ups for the Yoga class on the beach. Fran and Kathy (standing to the right of Margie) were there too.
Sara (L), Karen (R) do some sun worshiping before the Yoga class begins
Bob B. gave me a little carrot cake this afternoon - a "HAPPY 64 BIRTHDAY to me. Wasn't that nice!

Today I am 64 years old! And our Tom is 42 years young! It was a grand day today in sunny Florida. A 40 mile bike ride (riding tandem with Dave). I had wanted to stop at the Nakomis Orchard on Albee Farms Rd and take a photo of all the grapefruit trees. That was fine, except I got into a FIRE ANT hill. I sure did move fast and was batting those stinging ants from my legs to get them OFF of my exposed leg. Got six welts, but Dave and then Margie each gave me some stuff to put on the bites and they didn't hurt much after that. It was about 72 degrees today -- it was just absolutely perfect biking weather.

At 5:00 PM five of us went a few blocks down to the Venice Public beach and attended an open session Yoga class. There were about 50 or more that showed up for the class right on the sand at the beach. (They have these every morning and some afternoons on the beach, free!) Frank, Rich and Gary showed up after the class started and moved in next to us and tried it do the poses too. Good for some laughs.

Eight of us went to Markers 4 Restaurant down on the water front for a seafood dinner. Bob B. had surprised me with a loaf carrot cake earlier, before we gals took off to do the Yoga. So when we got back to the Veranda I served up pieces of it to some who stopped into our room. That was really nice of Bob to do that!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Perfect Bike Chain Tatoo. Florida 2009

About 43 people from the Stark County Bike Club descended upon Venice, FL and the Veranda Inn. When I drove to the airport yesterday morning my thermometer said minus 13 degrees!!! though Florida was warmer, it was unseasonably cold here. I wasn't complaining as biking in 60-65 degrees was wonderful! Arrived here and almost immediately went out for a bike ride with nine others. We checked out the new Legacy Trail that goes from Venice to Sarasota. It was GREAT to be on the bike again after a 2 week hiatus because of the snow in Ohio. Today we all started out at 10 AM -- and the weather was perfect for riding. I rode tandem bike with Dave C. I put on my 'extra' Specialized Jett saddle. I have that one on my Trek Madone too, and had just gotten another one to use when I ride tandems. We rode 30 miles yesterday, and 40 today.

We went for lunch at the Gold Rush BBQ place a few door down from the Veranda. They are famous for their barbecued meats. Dave (see the photo) 'pigged' out on the chopped pork platter. They have fabulous homemade chicken noodle soup. I had that for my lunch. Rick and Nan joined us and Rick had to show off his "Perfect" bike chain tattoo. You can tell he does his yoga -- look at that flexibility!

Friday, January 16, 2009

How to Make Jumbo Stuffed Shells

So sad that I couldn't bike, nor did I venture out to ski yesterday. It was -13 degrees outside, so I stayed in and made this casserole of jumbo stuffed pasta shells. BicycleGirlCooks was in the kitchen yesterday making this easy to prepare for the oven dish. The complete recipe is on the information section on YouTube. Baked Pasta Shells - ala Mex-Italia
Go to the column on the right and click on the information section (the 'more' word will bring up the ingredients list). Served with some hot Italian bread, um, um GOOD. I brought this dish to the New Year's Day bike club get together.

I'm looking forward to getting down to Venice and the Veranda Inn tomorrow! Florida isn't having a heat wave, but it sure beats biking in sub-zero up here! SCBC folks are looking forward to biking in the sunshine! 60's and 70's are fine with me. So OK, for now watch me fix this yummy food:

P.S. I posted several new videos from last Saturday's SCBC banquet on the SCBCrider video channel on YouTube. Here

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Removing Bicycle Chain Grease

Don't you just hate it when the grease from the bicycle chain jumps up on your best piece of bike clothing?

The other day I had on my Craft Pro-Zero zip mock neck base layer shirt. It is long and hung down below my jacket. Just happens to be white and wouldn't you know, as I lifted up my bike to put it on the car bike rack the shirt came up against the chain. OH NO! The dreaded bicycle chain grease stain! About 3 days later (in general don't wait that long) I took care of it before adding it to a load of clothes in the washing machine. I have found the grease removing Heavy-duty cleaner LESTOIL is the only solution that will wipe out bike grease stains from clothes. It is also wipes out grass stains right now. There are a lot of these bike garments made these days in this day-glow color and those fabrics are just very hard to release the bike chain grease stains. But Lestoil will get it clean. If it does dissolve the stain right away, launder and do it again. It's never failed me. I use an old toothbrush to work the liquid into the grease. Just be sure to treat the stain as soon as possible after the run in with the grease.

Here is a little video clip I filmed as I removed the stain from one of my favorite cold weather bike garments. I have seen flashy ads and clever jingles, but have never seen anything work as well as Lestoil does for me

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Toasted Cheese on George Foreman Grill

When I come home from a bike ride - or just lots of other times - and I'm hungry for a great, super fast, toasted cheese sandwich I plug in my small Champ George Foreman Grill.

Thing about these grills is they cook the food twice as fast because they cook BOTH sides at the same time. I start with my favorite 10-grain bread that I get at the West Point Market, home of the famous original Killer Brownies - they are deadly! Delicious that is. I buy 6-7 loaves at a time and usually have them sliced 3/4" thick. I keep the loaves in the freezer.

I use a use a vegan buttery type of spread on the bread (just the outside that touches the grill plates) and then put a slice of cheese in between the bread. I like the Monterrey Jack cheese. Jarlsberg cheese is super good too.

This grill is great for putting some veggies (green, red peppers, thick slices of onion, zucchini) on it and in 1 minute you have delicious grilled veggies. It will cook a chicken breast in 2 minutes. Do a frozen burger in a jiffy too. I love salmon on this grill. 4 minutes flat and its done to perfection. First I marinate the salmon for 5 minutes in some different marinates that I keep around. With the little tray sitting below the grill it will catch all the fat -- so way, way less fat in your food preparation too! I purchased my little George Foreman at Bed Bath and Beyond. They are available all over the web too. I think it was around $20.00. I have a large size one also to do more than one (veggie!) burger, a big batch of veggies, or two sandwiches at the same time. This large one has a temperature control. I really like the small one best. I can keep it on the counter top and it is handy to plug in anytime.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Think Dogs Are a Problem for Bikers?

. . . And we thought dogs were only a problem for bikers.

Due to the snow, our bicycles are still hung up so a group from the bike club went x-c skiing again. Dick was with us on our skiing adventure at Quail Hollow yesterday. I sent him the original photo I took with just one of 'Jessie' dog, and it came back with multiple doggies in the picture! Here is his exclusive account of how our day went out there:

"We had a terrible day at Quail Hollow trying to x-country ski today. Deb decided to bring her dogs. They kept stopping in front of us on the downhills. (see photo).

Karen went off trail trying to miss one of the dogs (don't know dog's legal name) and hit a tree. She fell in the snow unconcious for 20 minutes.
When she woke up she thought she was in Florida.

We told her it does not snow in Florida and then all the dogs started licking her face. Good she does not wear too much makeup. The lipstick did smear a bit and we thought it was blood until we looked closer.

This photo is just before Karen broke her nose missing the dog (don't know dog's name). Sylvia and Gary were the only smart ones. They walked down the hills to avoid skiing over the dogs.

I like those orange dog vests (don't know all their names, sorry, no disrespect intended), they are like the Canton City Street Repair persons wear. I may get one of them if they come in my size."

Now don't believe all of that . . .
We all had a blast and we're game to try it again today. Too bad Deb has to go back to work today, she and her little doggie Jessie won't be there.

Do I look like some sort of ski patroler? I must watch for DebbieDogs! I carry my camera in the zipper pocket on the front of that Nathan's runner's vest. My GPS is in another pocket on the front. It has a water bladder on the back. It is a superlightweight thing with open mesh material.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Feeling just a little stressed today? Feeling rushed while you are packing bicycles and gear to go SCBC Florida this weekend?
This is the most beautiful rendition of this song I have ever listened to. It is so peaceful. I'm putting it on my iPod to listen to when I am falling asleep at night. This song is sung by 14 year old Emma Fitlness on the album Angelis.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - Angelis

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Put Away the Bikes and Go Ski

(Click on photo to enlarge) (See video below)
After yesterday's heavy snow fall that dumped from the heavens about 12" of snow in a matter of 3 hours -- those of us from the Stark County Bike Club were excited and quickly shifting our thoughts from bicycles to skiing. At the annual SCBC banquet last night we left with a time today to meet at Quail Hollow State Park. We gathered at the entrance to the trails and paused for the unofficial official opening of the 2009 meeting of the S.C.B.C.S.G. (Stark County Bike Club Ski Group) cross-country skiers. The bikes are hung up momentarily. We had a great time out there playing in the snow. There was Mal, Karen, Margie, John S, Al, and myself. I brought along the small digital camera. So the video quality isn't the greatest in this composite YouTube video -- but I couldn't resist getting some footage of us. As we came on to the trails we made our way up a small hill and stopped to remember a former member of the SCBC, Diane Barken. Her bench was placed along the trail in remembrance of her.

This was the scene outside my kitchen window yesterday morning (1/10/09). In just over 2.5 hours this is what it looked like! We went from no snow - to this. Yes! we love it because we can go x-country skiing, finally. But a lot of us will be in Florida by this weekend, bicycling for a week or two. So we will enjoy this for a few more days.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Watch Me Make Stuffed Oatmeal

My first BicycleGirlCooks video has been posted. View it below. And wow, today it is featured on this bicycle guy's blog: Biking to Live

Read this great oatmeal blog post from a bicyclist who re-introduced himself to Oats after gagging on it as a kid. My mom too served it day after day during cold North Dakota winters, I loved it - alternating between Quaker Oats and Cream of Wheat. Especially liked how she sprinkled chocolate chips on the cream of wheat. Now as an adult this guy says he came to his senses and found out about the health benefits of eating this whole grain food, oatmeal. He is actually scarfing it up now on a daily basis. Another one has become a member of the Oats Club! After reading his post, he asked for some comments on what we thought of oatmeal. That got me up and going on editing a video that was sitting in my video file/folder on the computer. One morning a few days before reading his post I took my new JVC Everio GZ-HD6 video camcorder into the kitchen and recorded myself preparing my Loaded Oatmeal. I Twittered him and said if he was interested I'd post my Oatmeal video. Hey, he liked it. Now it is the featured video on his blog today.

Speaking of Oats and Oatmeal . . . This photo was taken the final morning of my 52 day cross country bicycle trip, 2006. The leaders from America By Bicycle had presented riding buddy, Chuck, and I with boxes of "Quick Oats." He and I were always the very first ones up at the butt-crack-of dawn every morning downing some oatmeal and chomping at the bit to get out there and ride our bikes. They figured all those oats made us quick on the pedals. Oh such fun we had. Sheesh! I really kept my hair short that summer. It did make it very wash 'n go those days out there on the bike. After averaging 85 miles of day for 52 days on the bike there was no desire to fuss with the hair do!

It's deadline time right now for the Road Captain. - So after things settle down and I get the February Stark County Bike Club ride schedule, and Road Captain's Report article sent over to The Spokin' Word newsletter editor I can spend some time preparing to post my little cooking school videos. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Build a Bicycle Snow Plow

I have friends in other states that are complaining about the snow and being trapped in the house having to ride their bike on the indoor trainer. Totally boring for most. Actually, I like my bike trainer. I don't have time to watch TV so when I'm on the trainer (treadmill, or Nordic Track Ski machine) I can be a news junkie, or dream about those HGTV home re-decorating ideas for at least thirty to forty minutes. But there are times when you have to get outside to tend to the business of snow clearing.

Looking at the weather here in NE Ohio we just may have some accumulation of the white stuff coming. Soon. Will have to get out the shovels and snow blowers. But why not get in a bike ride while taking care of the chore of clearing the snow? Yes! I'm thinking of rigging up one of these bike snowplows. Do you have one?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Toasted Toes and Hot Hands

I could not be bike riding (or snow shoveling, or x-country skiing) in this cold weather with out using these two items. Instant heat packs for my toezees and my finners. (Click on photos to enlarge) Feet: Before putting on my bike shoes, I stick them on top of a pair of wool socks . Sometimes I put them on top of my socks, sometimes on the bottom of my socks. They are a thin, flat, light adhesive backed toe warmer. There are times I have put them on the top of my bike shoe inbetween the shoe and the Gore Bike Wear Shoe Cover. It all works well. It is a lifesaver toward being comfortable out on a cold winter bike ride. I even wear them into the springtime too when it is still chilly. I just don't add the shoe cover. I'm one that has very sensitive-to-cold digits, and I need them often when others can go out there wearing just bike sandles in the middle of the winter!
Hands: On the coldest days I use these Burton mittens with the heat packs. The mittens have a little fleece lining and this handy zip pocket on the outside. I just slip in the packet right there. I have also dropped them in a windproof light-weight mitten and wear another glove (if the temperature requires it) inside. I can bike along squeezing/touching this little heat pack and warming the fingers. I have used them with some fingered gloves too, by inserting them down in the glove to the palm, or on the back of my hand. The heat will still radiate to the fingers. With it next to the palm, it still isn't too much in the way when you have the hand on the handlebars of the bicycle.
I can buy them at my local Gander Mountain store. But this season since I have been biking every day in the cold weather I have purchased them online in a 40 pairs count box. Cheaper that way. I have to check several websites because the prices vary. I like to go with who ever has the cheapest (or free!) shipping at the time. There are several brand names of these instant charcoal activated heat things: Toastie Toes, Heat Factory, Hot Hands to name a few.
Now I have figured out how to use the hand and the toe warmers TWICE. As soon as I finish my bike ride (or skiing, or snow blowing) I put them in a zip-lock baggie and zip it closed to cut off any air/oxygen. They are reusable the next time. So this cuts the cost down to half the price.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Don't Stop in the Shade in the Winter !

Heard this today as I was riding along with the back of the pack. It was a fantastic day because the sky was so clear and the sun was absolutely brilliant how it was filling every bit of the sky with sunshine. What a treat. Four of us are rolling along coming near the home stretch on the last of a 25 mile ride. I could see Gary F. up ahead. Looked like he had stopped to take a brief break along side of the road - about 20 miles into the ride. I come rolling up and he is just pushing off on his pedals and begins rolling along with us. I ask, "Everything OK?" He says, "Yup, I was just stopping in the shade." What?! You got it WRONG, Gary. Not the shade! It is 22 Fahrenheit degrees and the sun (newsflash! newsflash!) is shining here in NE Ohio. You got it wrong. You stop in the SUN when it is this frickn' winter cold and the sun is shining. You stop in the SHADE in the summer heat when it is 90 degrees blazn' hot! I guess he must be part polar bear?

Captain Kaos Fan Club

Meet Captain Kaos
Click photo to enlarge
I asked Steve the other day how it was that he has become known as Captain Kaos? Mike G, he told me, started telling him a cloud of chaos hung around him when he showed up for the bike rides. Steve loved the teasing, and soon we were calling him Captain Kaos.
Don't know what I did to deserve this but he said I could become an official member of his very own Captain Kaos Fan Club. You gotta love it. After the bike ride the other day I was ready to pull away and he comes running over to my car with this membership card and invitation to join his fan club. Really special because it says on it, "Only special people are invited to join this elite club."

Life around Steve is a little Kao-tic - especially when he is out riding his bike with us. He has some powerful legs - that he says he keeps in shape between bike rides - with weight training at the local gym. So riding with him I sure can't keep up for long. His youth and power on the bike leave me in the dust. But Steve, he is just, well Steve. On more rides than I can count, we'll be riding along and ask, "Where in the world is Steve?" Lost. Again. He will miss a turn and he will be off for hours trying to find his way back to the finish of the ride. But he is so good natured and will still laugh at himself for all the trouble he gets himself into on his bicycle rides. I wish I had his good naturedness when I get myself in a pickle!

If he isn't on his bike, he'll be on his cell phone calling his fan club, at the public library checking his email, or tooling around in his little green monster (you'll know it's him because he has a magnetic 'Captian Kaos' sign stuck to the side) trying to find the ride start location. I'm sure you have heard him say a million times, "Sweet!" Ah yes, for Steve life may be Kaos, but still he's a treat, quite simple and sweet. Someone in the club said about steve: "The Captain is the nicest person I have met at scbc. I really appreciate him and he has taught me alot about how to be happy."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Videos: Riding to eat - Eating to ride

My first bike ride of 2009. New Year's Day 1:30 PM. It was a chilly one (about 25 degrees F) but the sun came out and I did the cued 16 mile ride from Dave and Marilyn's. Best part was the huge feast that we devoured afterwards at their home. A great start to the year: "Riding to eat and eating to ride."

4 Things I had NEVER done before

1. Ride a Tandem Bicycle.
2. Play Disc Golf (some call it Frisbee Golf).
3. Taught myself how to use the voice-over feature on ProShow Gold software.
4. Ride my bicycle in very cold weather.

Mal and I on his Cannondale Tandem

Over his shoulder shoot with my camera.

OK, so here it was the very last day of 2008, New Year's Eve. I was thinking back over this passing year - I always like to recall if there was something, anything, that I did during the year that I never in my lifetime had done before. It dawned on me that I did four things. It is like breaking through barriers of my brain and body that have not been touched before. Thinking outside the box. With a couple of these I had to widen my comfort zone. Researchers say learning to do something new can keep your brain cells doing good things, and fend off dementia. I don't know about that, my 'senior moments' are getting all too frequent. Here are my 4 never dones that I did in 2008:

1. Riding a tandem bicycle. I have wanted to try that for so long. But no one asked me to ride tandem with them -- so I just figured I would have to wait and see if my DH would get one after he retires. But one day this summer I had volunteered to mark a road route with spray paint for an invitational bike ride. Mal too had volunteered to do this. I was joking when I said, "It would go faster if we rode on your tandem, and I could just lean over at the intersections and spray the arrow on the road." He said, "OK, meet me at Bolivar School and we'll get the job done." Wait a minute! I've never ridden on a tandem before! He said, "Well no time like today to learn." What fun that was. I brought along my spd clipless pedal shoes, as his tandem doesn't have the Look pedals that I use on my Madone. I just took a few deep breaths and trusted Captain Mal up front - just leave the driving to the pilot and stay cool in the stoker's saddle.

We got the job done. We didn't fall over going up the hills. Wheeeee, what a thrill going down the hills! I tried to pedal as hard as I could -- so he would not think I was just sitting back there watching the scenery go. Now this is the kind of Back of the Pack (position) I like to be in. I must have done OK, because Mal asked me to ride on some club rides as the summer/fall went along.

New things #2, #3, and #4:
I'll come back and post on these later. I have a ton of stuff to do to get next month's SCBC ride schedule ready for publication in the club newsletter.