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2019! The “How was your commute?” thread!

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2019! The “How was your commute?” thread!

Old 06-18-19, 03:35 PM
  #1126  
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Was riding across town to a client and took the MUP. I got behind a guy who was riding really slow, but there was a jogger and a narrow bridge coming up so I just held back for 1/4 mile until I went over the bridge and got safely past the runner.

As I approached the guy on the bike I called out "passing!" like I usually do. As I came around his left side he saw me and literally screamed. Like horror movie screamed. Apparently I startled him. He was so frightened that he swerved and I was afraid he would crash. He acted like seeing another bicycle on the MUP was the last thing he ever expected to encounter. He then proceeded to chew me out for not announcing that I was passing him.

"Ummm... dude, I did announce I was passing. Perhaps you should switch to decaf?"

Once ahead of him I could hear him fussing for the entire 30 seconds I was in earshot. I decided that there had to be some sort of mental issue in play as a normal person doesn't act like that.
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Old 06-19-19, 05:08 AM
  #1127  
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It's time for another edition of the Tundra_Man Heart Surgery newsletter. Yes, this is what you punitively receive because you didn't forward that chain e-mail to 10 of your closest friends. Had you just done what you were told you would have received $245 from Bill Gates, AOL would have cured the boy with leukemia, and hypodermic needles would no longer be found underneath gas pump handles. But instead you foolhardily deleted that email, so now you're receiving this. Live and learn.

It's hard to believe that eight weeks have passed since my surgery. Fifty-six days. Almost two months. One-sixth of a year. It sure doesn't seem like it's been that long. I guess time flies when you have your chest cracked open like an egg in a Denny's omelette commercial.

So last week's newsletter had the cliffhanger of me being told by the cardiologist that I needed a pacemaker, and having an appointment scheduled to talk with the electrocardiology pulmonologist ("When we last left our heroes...") That appointment was last Wednesday afternoon.

The Tundra_Girl and I both met with the doctor, who surprisingly looked a lot more normal than what you would expect for someone called an "electrocardiology pulmonologist." We had a long discussion, and I had prepared a list of questions asking what was involved with a pacemaker and the whole process. The doctor was very patient and was in no hurry as he explained everything.

Basically if I were to receive a pacemaker, the type they would give me would be set up to regulate the lower limit of how slow my heart would be allowed to beat. The goal would be to address the occasions where my heart rate has slowed to under 20 BPM. During my Holter test this happened only once (thankfully) and it was while I was sleeping. So ideally the pacemaker wouldn't get triggered very often. The model I would receive would not be the type that has the cardioverter defibrillator to jump start me in case my heart stops, as the Holter test did not raise that as a concern.

Right now they have taken me off the beta-blocker medication that helps with atrial fibrillation (AFib) as that medicine works by slowing the heart. Without a pacemaker installed they don't want my heart to slow down any further. So if I were to get a pacemaker then they would put me back on the AFib medication. The meds would slow my heart, and the pacemaker would be there to make sure it didn't get too slow. It would be very similar to putting your foot on the gas and the brake at the same time.

He showed me the pacemaker that I would receive. They've come a long way from the old ones. It no longer would look like someone sewed a hockey puck under the skin above my collarbone. The new pacemakers are about the size of a match book and are hardly noticeable once installed. They also are completely programmable by the doctor to perfectly dial in the functionality to match exactly what the patient needs. The devices communicate via Bluetooth, so tweaking the programming is a non-invasive procedure. I did ask if I could connect to the device with my phone, but sadly the doctor said, "no." Rats. I was looking forward to saying, "It's going to be a wild night, honey! I'm cranking it up to 90!"

Much to my relief, the surgery to install the pacemaker does not involve re-opening my chest. It would require an overnight stay in the hospital, and about a month of recovery. However, the recovery would be fairly minor compared to my last surgery. Basically I would be a little sore for about a week or two, and I couldn't lift anything heavy with my left arm or raise that arm over my head for four weeks. That seems like a piece of cake compared to what I just went through. Plus, a hospital stay would give me an excuse to have another awesome ham and swiss sandwich that is on the kitchen menu. The battery in the pacemaker would need to be changed every 6-12 years depending on how often it triggers, but the battery replacement is an outpatient procedure with little recovery needed.

So after our long discussion the doctor said that in reading my test results, I'm right on the bubble. He could make a case that I should get a pacemaker, and he could make a case that I don't need one. Therefore he opted to wait six months, and then re-test to see how things look. He said that odds are I will need a pacemaker at some point in my life, but sometimes hearts are able to heal themselves and correct their rhythm problems so maybe in six months I'll be just fine. In the meantime, if I notice things are getting worse I can always make the decision early and call them, and they'll schedule the surgery.

I left the office feeling a lot better about the situation than I did before going in. Unfortunately, on Friday my heart went AFib again for about 30 hours until it straightened itself out sometime on Saturday morning. That helped me start to accept the inevitability of getting a pacemaker. AFib itself doesn't hurt when it happens, it's just a bit unsettling. I just get a sense that "something is not right" and then check my pulse to find that it's weak and the rhythm is all over the place. I also notice it takes a little bit of the shine off my diamond when it comes to motivation to accomplish tasks or participate in activities. I don't really feel bad, I just feel blah.

I've noticed a new thing with my incision scar. If I sit for a while in a position where I'm slumped over, when I stand back up I feel like the skin has shrunk a little bit and hit hurts until I stretch it out. Overall, though, the pain is almost gone even when I lift really heavy things. I hadn't taken any Tylenol in over a week so I finally put the bottle back in the closet instead of leaving it on the kitchen counter. I've only sneezed once in the last two weeks (post-surgery sneeze count now at 18) and it hurt, but five seconds later the pain was gone. So that is a huge improvement as well.

I survived my first week back to work. By Thursday I was definitely noticing I was starting to wear out a bit. It was probably the culmination of adjusting my sleep schedule, my return to bicycle commuting and no longer being able to grab the occasional nap during the day. In any event, I pushed through it and survived. Life marches on even in the other eleven months.

I'm still walking every morning before work and trying to stay obedient to my exercise regimen. Since my surgery I've walked 193 miles and ridden my bicycle 123 miles. Yesterday's riding totaled 38 miles which is the most I've ridden in a single day since probably last fall. Plus, this week I actually ran a little bit. It was only for 1/4 mile and at a pathetically slow pace going down hill with the wind at my back, but it was still running. I was also surprised that my chest didn't hurt at all while running (my legs are another story.) I'm hoping to slowly incorporate more and more running into my exercise routine as it's a lot more time efficient to run versus walk.

I've slept lying down in my bed for more than a week now. As I suspected, after a few days of adjustment I seem to be sleeping just fine. Sleeping on my stomach is still uncomfortable. Usually about once per night I'll roll onto my stomach and wake up thinking, "I shouldn't have done that!" But I roll back onto my side and fall right back to sleep so it's really not a big deal. I think I'm done with my lift chair, so if you know anyone who is in need of one in excellent condition, hit me up. I'll make them a deal.

So that's enough rambling for this week. Got to save something for next week, know what I mean Vern?
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Old 06-19-19, 06:55 AM
  #1128  
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A dry ride - 1st this week! Actually it was a beautiful, 70F, no wind, sunny morning. I soaked it in because thunderstorms are back this afternoon (pun intended)
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Old 06-19-19, 11:36 AM
  #1129  
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Today was my fastest ride in since my own heart surgery in February. This prodded me to take look at my trends. I am going faster, when I feel good. When I feel bad I'm about 20% slower.

Here's a funny thing: in April, my times marched faster, with two of my fastest morning rides on Apr 29th and May 2nd. In May, my times marched steadily worse. Now through June they are improving again.
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Old 06-19-19, 07:59 PM
  #1130  
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Not today's but here's yesterday's commute to work and back "anonymized" (ie, starts a few minutes after I departed and stops a few minutes before destination). I chose a more direct route in the morning and a more scenic route in the afternoon. So if you're bored and want to see what my commute looks like... It took some time before YouTube published them in FullHD hence why yesterday's and not today's commute.

Morning:

Afternoon:

Btw, at 14:50 on the commute back home, my cam recorded the aftermath of a car crash.
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Old 06-20-19, 06:40 AM
  #1131  
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Nice ride in this morning. Overnight lows have stayed above 70F the past couple of days. Plus the 70 or so dew point makes for a pretty muggy ride. Breezes help. Had a mix of crosswinds and headwinds this morning, but not too strong.

Ready for the weekend.
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Old 06-20-19, 07:26 AM
  #1132  
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I left work early yesterday to miss the storms, and of course rode right into the middle of it. It rained so hard that within the span of 30 minutes it went from light drizzle to flooded streets. This morning it was just spitting rain a bit, really hoping for a dry ride home. I can hope!
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Old 06-20-19, 07:37 AM
  #1133  
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Alarm went off at 5:30. I didn't want to get out of bed, but forced myself because I need to be a good boy and get my walking in before I leave for work. Upon checking the weather it looked like there was a pretty good storm coming and it would hit about 15 minutes into my walk. I was seriously tempted to use that as an excuse to skip the walk and nap in my recliner for an hour. However, I knew I would feel guilty about that later so I decided to go ahead and at least walk a little until the storm hit. I brought my umbrella with me. I figured I could turn around early if the rain started coming down hard.

Well, I walked all three miles (about 50 minutes) and the rain never hit. I got back to the house, grabbed my bike and right as I was leaving the house the skies unleashed. So I had a very wet commute the eight miles to work. Thankfully the possibility of hail didn't occur.

Got to the office and wrung my clothes out and hung them up. I have to ride to a client's location at noon. I'm guessing that my clothes will still be pretty wet at that point. It really doesn't matter as the forecast says it will likely still be raining so I'm going to get wet again anyway, but there's something that feels weird about putting on wet clothes.
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Old 06-20-19, 09:36 AM
  #1134  
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This morning I started a bit late, last night's rain had passed so it was nice and cool. I was going to post about the cute blonde in the shiny new red Mustang I followed, but then the last mile and a half it started raining. Smallish, sharp feeling raindrops, the kind that get under the glasses and hit hard on the sensitive lower eyelid. I found a gas station to cower under, and pulled on the cycling cap I brought just in case it rains this afternoon. Clothes are damp, but not as wet as they were a couple weeks ago from pure sweat -- hopefully they'll dry before the ride home.

Originally Posted by Tundra_Man View Post
... there's something that feels weird about putting on wet clothes.
I've debated what's worse: cold wet shorts, shirt, socks, or gloves -- they're all bad.
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Old 06-21-19, 06:14 AM
  #1135  
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Putting on wet clothes is never fun. It isn't so bad once they warm back up to body temp and you get going again.

Finally Friday and a very nice morning. The temp was down only a degree or two, but the dew point was down to 61 instead of the 70F it had been all week. It felt so nice out! I was able to ride a bit faster and had a couple of favorable intersections which gave me an overall average of 16.6mph. It had been closer to 17 but I slowed the last mile to cool down a bit. Wish I could have kept riding.
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Old 06-21-19, 06:55 AM
  #1136  
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I left the house and it was cool and mildly breezy.

By the time I got a mile from the house the winds had picked up significantly. I suddenly had a 20mph wind with 30mph gusts at my back, which was AWESOME during my uphill part of the ride.

But then I turned 90 degrees and suddenly that was a 20mph wind with 30mph gusts as a crosswind. That was .....interesting. It nearly took me off the bike. I got off and walked. Fortunately I only go that direction for about a quarter mile. Then it was back to the tailwind!

And then as soon as I got under the parking garage deck at work.....the skies opened up in biblical fashion and the flood waters fell down.

I was dry as a bone.
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Old 06-21-19, 07:41 AM
  #1137  
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A very nice ride this morning. Weather was bright, cool, and calm, traffic was light and calm, and I was calm too. Pedaling along at a good clip, I guess I zoned out a few times -- wow, at the end of the street, need to turn, how did I get here so fast? kind of thing. Shortly after passing a fire station, they had their morning announcements (or wake-up call?). I don't know what that lady was squawking about, but for a few seconds I was looking back for her sneaking up behind me on that deserted road -- must have been on a bicycle!

The highlight had to be a bluebird crossing and going down the road in front of me. It was close enough to see the beautiful blue back and wings. After it flew off, I checked and I was doing 17.3 mph; it must have been flying 18.8 mph.

I am lucky to be able to ride my bike, often twice a day!

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Old 06-21-19, 10:33 AM
  #1138  
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The ride was fine. But no one brought donuts and the Reese's I had stashed in the freezer were stolen
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Old 06-24-19, 06:27 AM
  #1139  
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Nearly crashed against another cyclist this morning. Totally my fault I must admit.
In an exclusive cycling path, I went way to quick into a tight blind corner, a little bit too much into the other lane trying to avoid loose sand and rocks on the edge of the road. This cyclist was coming in the opposite direction. We both pulled out and nothing happened, but it was a really close call.
How could I have avoid this: well, not coming insanely fast into a sharp bend, sticking to my lane, using the bell.
Strangely, a bit earlier in this same ride, I was wondering about why do I use a helmet in an exclusive cycling road .... got my answer =/
Ride safe!
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Old 06-24-19, 07:04 AM
  #1140  
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@Darth Lefty - at least it was Friday?

Gave the bike a good cleaning last night. It was overdue after a couple of rainy rides the previous couple of weeks. Clean bike, happy bike.

Nice morning ride today. Not all that sweaty upon arrival.
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Old 06-24-19, 10:16 AM
  #1141  
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i broke my rear derailleur cable on the way in Friday. I had my wife pick me up because it broke about half way in and it was pretty tough riding in 2 gears to work. I had a charity ride Saturday and I did not want my legs to be toast for it pushing a heavier bike with gear for 12 miles the day before.

the ride Saturday was great! 63.9 miles in 3 hours and 29 minutes + Plus the generosity of coworkers we gave $500 to the local homeless shelter which equals 194 warm meals and 20nice of shelter.

Bike shop doesn't open until Tuesday and i hope to take my commuter in for a brake upgrade, maybe crankset upgrade and new cable.
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Old 06-24-19, 10:36 AM
  #1142  
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yesterday some CTA bus was mad and honking behind me. i have no idea why. doesn't mean i wasn't doing something wrong, but i am genuinely unaware what that could have been. then s/he floored it and went out of their lane to the right while passing me on the left. to the point of nicking the left grip of my handlebars. fortunately no injury to myself or the bike. i've been honked at a few times because everyone honks over nothing in chicago; they don't mean anything by it. yesterday is the first time someone's taken road rage out on me while i'm on a bike. i of course got a clear cell phone photo of the plate and bus number.

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Old 06-24-19, 11:59 AM
  #1143  
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Lately the mornings have been clear with temps around 48-50F, so I slightly under-dress knowing the rising sun will warm me up. Not this morning; stoopid marine layer. On the plus side, I didn't get sweaty. Today I spent less than 10 minutes clearing eucalyptus debris off the highway shoulder, unlike Friday's 15+ minutes. I didn't clear the entire shoulder, just the bit on the right, and not everything, just the branches and larger twigs. The longest branch today was about 5'; Friday's winner was 6'.

Otherwise it was a beautiful ride, with the tide in the bay, and not too much traffic. Only three log trucks.
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Old 06-24-19, 02:16 PM
  #1144  
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@denada yipe! Are you going to do anything with your evidence?
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Old 06-24-19, 03:17 PM
  #1145  
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after sleeping on it, yes.

everyone, including kind people, occasionally loses their temper when driving. for whatever reason. it's usually inconsequential. because we're nice and separated. in this case, i was not separated and the driver's actions were too dangerous to be ignored. today i emailed the photo with a description of the incident to the Chicago Transit Authority. if it was a one time thing, it won't matter. if it's a pattern for that driver, all the more important i say something about what happened.

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Old 06-24-19, 04:12 PM
  #1146  
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Originally Posted by denada View Post
after sleeping on it, yes.

everyone, including kind people, occasionally loses their temper when driving. for whatever reason. it's usually inconsequential. because we're nice and separated. in this case, i was not separated and the driver's actions were too dangerous to be ignored. today i emailed the photo with a description of the incident to the Chicago Transit Authority. if it was a one time thing, it won't matter. if it's a pattern for that driver, all the more important i say something about what happened.
I'm glad you reported it. That incident sounds really bad, and making contact with you simply isn't acceptable (public servant or otherwise).
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Old 06-24-19, 07:16 PM
  #1147  
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Oops
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Old 06-25-19, 06:46 AM
  #1148  
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Maybe that wasn't an oops and the pump was trying to escape!

Tuesday morning ride was just fine. We got a good bit of rain last night, so I avoided the MUPs that stay wetter and have wood bridges which are slick when wet.
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Old 06-25-19, 07:31 AM
  #1149  
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 754: absolutely gorgeous morning out there today. 63F, sunny and a light breeze. I wasn't the only person who noticed, as the MUP was packed. Not a bad day on which to log 21 miles.
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Old 06-25-19, 09:22 AM
  #1150  
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After not getting to ride at all last week I was able to finally ride this morning. Weather here in Indy has been crazy so it was good to be back on the bike. Didn't see a whole lot of people out this morning either. Was actually a little surprised I didn't see at least a few more walkers or runners. Only saw one other bike rider on my way in. Made me wonder if I missed something on the weather report.
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