Now that the jeep has sold and I have had a couple of days to gather all the necessary items it is time for the rubber to meet the road. Week one was very interesting for a few reasons. I will get to that in a few minutes but first I wanted to share with you just how “walkable” my city is.
I live in Knoxville, TN and it is rated as a car dependent city by walkscore.com. My neighborhood gets a score of 34 out of 100 which means there are a few amenities within walking distance but most errands require a car. I have included a link to the site if you are curious how your neighborhood or city ranks.
We recently experienced what it was like to be down one car for about a month, when my wife’s car decided to spontaneously combust while she was in the store. Lets just say it was a challenge to make sure everyone had a ride when they needed it. I am sure if you ask my wife she will tell you that it was not the best of times. I was not as understanding as I could have been and made my wife feel like she was not as important as she truly is. Going through that experience was very eye opening to me and taught me that I needed to work on my patience and lift up my wife with the love and respect that she deserves. This went a long way towards my decision to sell the Jeep and run or bike everywhere for the next six months because it would only affect my travels since my wife and daughter have their own cars.
Now back to week one. When I made my decision to start on March the 1st, I was unaware that I had a make up volleyball game in Maryville which is aprox 20 miles away that very day. As luck would have it, the game was not until 9:30 pm and the most direct route was on a state highway (Pellissippi Parkway). After reviewing various routes, I knew there was no way I was going to be able to avoid using the state highway and finally settled on a route which put me on Pellissippi Parkway for 9 miles.
Knowing that the total mileage for the first day would be almost 50 miles, I decided that I would be riding my bike. So I woke up bright and early and after completing a few last minute details such as attaching my tool bag to my bike, off I went for the inaugral ride to work. It was different to say the least. There was not a lot of traffic on the roads and the sun had yet to make an appearance.
Throughout the work day, I was heckled and jeered about my decision to ride to Maryville. Some coworkers even made suggestions to different routes I should take and it was nice to see them take such an interest in what I was doing and to actually participate in the process. Well, as you can imagine the day seemed to drag on forever knowing that I had an epic journey ahead of me that I planned on starting around 5:30 pm. I wanted to make sure to give myself ample time to get there, grab a bite to eat, and get some rest. I was going to be playing at least two volleyball games and needed to have fresh legs to do so.
It was finally time to call it a day so I went to change clothes and prepare for my journey. I left the building right on time after making sure I had everything I needed for the trip and checking to make sure everything on my bike was in order. As I started out of the parking lot, I could feel the adrenaline kicking in and was very excited that I was finally starting my journey after talking about it all for so long. I made it less than a quarter of a mile and noticed that the back tire looked a little low. I was very surprised because I had just changed the tube in the tire less than two days earlier. So I pulled over on the side of the road and started changing out the tire. I was frustrated because I knew that I only had one tube and I had a long ride ahead of me. I finished changing the tire and rode to the first gas station I came to so I could check the pressure in the tires and make sure that the tires would not give me any additional issues. Lets just say that I will not be getting a call from any Nascar teams looking for a tire changer any time soon and was now running behind according to my schedule.
I finally got back on the road and was making good time. Shortly after getting on the state highway, I was passed by a police officer and just knew he was going to stop and tell me to get off the highway but luckily he kept on going. It took me about an hour and a half to make the trip and I arrived in Maryville shortly after 7pm. I stopped at a local mexican restaurant and sat outside and had a couple of chicken tacos while recovering from the long ride. I made it to the gym about an hour early and watched the other teams play until the rest of my team showed up. We played two really competitive games but were a little over matched and ended up losing. Overall, we had a good season with only two losses. After the game, I stayed for a few minutes and played some pickup ball until I decided I had better get on the road so I would be home at a decent hour. The ride home was very peaceful and slow there was not much traffic on the state highway and it passes by our airport so I was able to see a couple of planes taking off and landing that was pretty cool. I was pretty much spent by the time I got home at midnight but could not think of a better way to start the process then by going all out on day one.
The rest of the week was small trips back and forth to the office which I have several routes I can take and started out by going the shortest which is just under 4 miles. My legs were still tired for the next couple of days and on Wednesday night I went to bed early and got some much needed rest. Thursday I woke up feeling refreshed and my legs felt much better and I actually picked up the pace a little. I carried a backpack back and forth to work which has been weird and was curious just how much extra weight I was carrying. So I weighed myself without the backpack and then with the backpack and I was very surprised to find out that it weighed 17.4 lbs. I took out my laptop which I had not been taking home daily and the pack still weighed 10 lbs. Now that I was aware of how much extra weight I had been carrying, I did not feel as bad about the slow pace I had been running.
The weekend was upon us and I had a photography field trip scheduled for 8am on Saturday. They were calling for rain and sure enough the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was raining when I got up. I checked my email and the fieldtrip had been cancelled due to weather because it was scheduled to take place outside. Since that was the only thing I actually had scheduled for Saturday I ended up staying home the rest of the day. They were calling for additional rain on Sunday changing over to snow early on. When I got up there was a mix of snow and rain falling and I knew that today I would need to go for a run and some additional errands. I went for a run around 1pm and then when I got home I went to redbox and the grocery store to complete my day and bring my weekly mileage total to 80 miles.