Being an ex science teacher comes in handy

Sometimes you need to finally hit a milestone of some type to realize just how much or how little you have been able to do things.  One of those milestones hit today on the way home, and I did the math to see how long it had been since the last one…

What milestone am I talking about?  On the way home today, the odometer on the bike reached a triple zero number.  Yep, since Christmas of 2007, these legs now have 18000 miles under them!



Just to give some perspective here, that is 3 round trips across the United States!  Now I know some people who restart the odometer each year and don’t worry about the overall tally.  Others restart it at the beginning of epic trips, or when they get a new bike.

Me?  I like to know just how far these, now 50-year-old legs, have pushed me since I have started!  Therefore whether it’s a new bike, a new odometer or just changing the battery, I make sure to keep the running tally going! Yep, I would totally agree this is a bit vain of me, but there are worse things.

When I got home from the ride, I checked to see when the last milestone hit. I was pretty much shocked to see I had hit 17,000 way pack on September 2 of last year.

odometer, 17000

That was 5 months ago.  Hell, do you know all the stuff that happened since then?

Michelle and I BOTH had our 50th birthdays.  Michelle completed he first half marathon.  I completed a major project at work, and taught for a month in Spokane.  Michelle and I did the Jingle Bell 5K (I ran my first mile in years during it!) Christmas, New Years, Valentines day and Ground Hog’s day ALL occurred before I finished riding that last 1000 miles.

As an avid bike commuter, this is almost embarrassing!  But, I will attest, to two things during this time.  First, right after the one day STP, 204 miles, in late July I was a bit burnt out.  I just didn’t go out of my way to complete any extra rides on the weekend.  Michelle tried to get me out there, but I always found something else that needed doing. This went well into September.

Then, most of October – December I was in other offices.  Either without a bike, or with a vert short commute.  Even when I could ride, I wasn’t getting the miles I needed.  Shoot, one month, I barely had 130 miles total.  No wonder it took so long.

However, as regular readers can attest, since the first of year, things are back to normal, and I am riding as much as I ever have.  Damn it feels good.  In fact, after the 67 miles Sunday, I knew that I was only 10 miles away from 17 K.  Yep I was going to hit it Monday.

Monday afternoon hit, I jumped on the bike, headed down the road on a gorgeous day. I was cruising down the road, and looked down, only to see I was traveling zero mph and had traveled .3 miles total (I was 4 miles from work).  DAMN!  

I have a Cat Eye wireless odometer/speedometer.  I had recently replaced the battery for the display, but it still had the original battery (after 500o miles) in the transmitter.  After fiddling as much as I could, I realized I  would just have to ride home without tracking it, 

Editors note:  OK I know I could reset the odometer and add the 17 miles I missed, but children and cats run away when I have to do that.  I always get frustrated and mess it up!  Better to just suck it up and ride today!

I ran out Monday night, got a new battery and installed it.  Yep, no worries it was reading fine each time I spun the front wheel!  Then this morning when I wheeled it to the bike rack, yep 3 mph!  We are golden!

So tonight, I jump on, pull out from work, look down and….I was traveling zero mph!!!  I will not tell you the words that came out of my mouth!  Nothing I could do made it work.  So, mad and frustrated, I pushed off to head home, planning to head for a bike store when I got there.

But, ladies and gents, this is where the ex-science teacher comes in.  As I rode along, I noticed every now and then, the miles would tick up .01 every few minutes.  This meant it was getting some signal.  AND, it worked this morning and as I pushed it out the front door after work.  What could be stopping the signal, or changed in the 5 minutes that it took to get the bike from the bike rack to the front door.

Then it hit me!  (Gotta love science) I was trying to think of anything different at all about this week when I looked down and saw my brand new 2 watt head lamp I got for Valentine’s day!  I had installed it Sunday!  It is on the same side of the handle bars as the transmitter for the Cat Eye.

So, as a science teacher, I experimented.  I turned off the light.  Suddenly I was traveling 15  mph! I turned it back on, zero!  Yep, the new light and its position is blocking or disrupting the signal!  OH HELL YEAH!

Since it was daylight, and I was almost to the bike path, I simply left the light off.  I was racking up the miles as usual, and soon, hit the milestone listed above!  I was a much happier man.  It just seemed like the cycling gods were throwing everything they could to keep me from getting to 18K, and I finally, after 5 months did it!

I am pretty sure if I switch the positions Cat Eye and light, the problem will be solved.  If not, I have a few other ideas.  I will let you know what happens!

Is a big deal in the grand scheme of things?  No.  But to an ex-science teacher and math geek, 18,000 miles seems pretty darn good right now.  It will NOT take 5 months to hit 19K!

Like the wind folks!


4 thoughts on “Being an ex science teacher comes in handy

  1. 18,000 miles — nice! It’s time to change the title of your blog! 🙂

    If you’re ever looking to make up miles on your odometer (plus some), ride over to Performance Bicycles, in the U district. Roll your bike just inside the door, and prop up your bike against the wall, as near as you can to those don’t-you-dare-walk-through-these-stealing-anything metal detector thingies. If your bike computer is anything like mine, you’ll be riding an impressive 70+ mph and earning the miles accordingly on your odometer. The great thing is that you don’t have to do a damn thing — you don’t even have to straddle the saddle!

      1. Allright, 20k it is. Have your way!

        Just so you know, your #1 fan is expecting a title change by year end. No pressure or anything. 😉

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