Monday, May 4, 2015

My Sunday Ride

Did another ten mile bike ride today, another Trader Joe run. I try to go at least once a week, even if it's just to get a six-pack of beer. The ride is good for me. The more I do it the easier and less far it seems.

It's kind of an interesting ride, I pass by a lot of pros, as this city is a popular training destination, I pass by bicycling tour buses from Quebec, Canada all the time. You can tell who's a tourist by their skeletal white legs. Because if you live here for any length of time and wear shorts everyday, I don't care if you are naturally as white as a ghost, you're going to get a brown tan fast. Anyway, I get passed up by these super fast pros all the time. Though as a consolation to myself, I remind myself that my bike is probably twice as heavy, I'm wearing a backpack and have a rear rack and loaded trunk, and they don't, they are as super light and fast as can be. Yeah, they're probably fitter too, but believe me, no matter how fit you are, riding a bike that's twice as heavy than the other person's is a significant handicap for anyone.

Anyway, I ride my ten miles, but for the seasoned bicycle commuter, ten miles is nothing. Some people commute by bicycle 30 miles a day, five days a week, and sometimes that's only one way. I've read about it. I've never done nothing like that though. But if I were to do that, I think it would be a lot easier if I didn't have to contend with traffic, if there were separate bike paths, like they have in the Netherlands, then I think I would feel differently about it, it would become a much more appealing option. Because for me, other than the heat, the biggest challenge is the traffic, the danger of getting hit, and the pollution from the car exhaust. Otherwise, the distance itself isn't a problem at all. I find that after the first five miles, the pedaling becomes almost effortless. Actually, by the time I'm coming home from my ten mile round trip, I feel like I've gotten a good warm up, and could go further. But because I have groceries, usually, I call it a day.

On the way back, stopped in ranch country, took a picture of my bike next to a couple of what I believe may be Desert Ironwood trees. [Edit: Though in retrospect I think they could be Desert Willows. I'd have to get a closer look at the leaves and flowers to be sure.] Desert Ironwoods have pinkish purple flowers that bloom in late April and May, which I've learned are edible, and in June they turn into seed pods, similar to Mesquite seed pods, which are also edible. Maybe tomorrow, or if not, sometime this week, I'm going to go on a little expedition to pick some Desert Ironwood flowers, to eat. Firstly, I will make sure that it is absolutely without a doubt the right tree, by looking at the shape of the flowers and the leaves and the bark, and if it is, I'm going to taste the flowers. I'll let you know how that turns out. And in June, I'm going to pick some seed pods, and taste those too.

My goal is to become an expert in identifying every plant and animal within sight, and knowing whether or not it has edible or medicinal properties. Just a little side project of mine. Not a career objective, just a hobby.

Meanwhile, it's getting hotter and hotter. Yesterday, it was 96. Today, we had a cool down of a high of 90. This upcoming week, we're having a further cool down of highs in the 80s, with the slight possibility of rain. Before you know it it will be in the 100s again. I hate it, but got to make the best of it. I am finding refuge in my wild plants identification project. Getting outside, getting acclimatized to the heat. Also dedicated to riding my bike all year round, even when it's 105 degrees, you betcha (spoken in a heavy Wisconsin, borderline Chicago accent). Also, am going to become a runner, even if it kills me. The key is to limit the beer consumption. That's been a major obstacle, because I like it so much, which is fine, just got to make due with less, like I do with everything else. 

That's all for now.

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