Getting back on a bicycle was one of my main goals following knee replacement surgery. Between the surgery in early February and my motorcycle trip in early May, I put in a lot of time on the stationary bike at the local gym, but managed to get in only one short ride, that in late April. The motorcycle trip lasted 11 days, followed by a nasty and stubborn 19-day cold: 30 days without turning a pedal, either in the gym or for real. My knee was stiffening up again for lack of exercise, so yesterday, knowing I’d promised to ride with friends this morning, I went to the gym and spent half an hour on the stationary bike. It was painful for the first few minutes, but then the knee loosened up and started to feel better.
This morning our little riding group, the grandly-titled Old Spanish Trail Trash, met at Hy Corbett Field for a ride to 4th Avenue and back, a short jaunt of just over 8 miles. It wasn’t just me … none of us have ridden since early February … but I expect I was the group’s primary excuse. Still. There we all were at 7:30 this morning, all four of us (our name is bigger than our group), and apart from a few knee twinges right at the start I felt great. We all took vows to resume our weekly Saturday morning rides: next week we’re planning to ride the Rillito bike path and double the mileage we rode today.
We rode through the University of Arizona campus to 4th Avenue, stopped for coffee at the Chocolate Iguana, talked to a lady who was out walking two dachshunds, rode back, and drove to Mona’s Danish Bakery to celebrate our great accomplishment. While we were downtown we checked out the new streetcar tracks on University Avenue. I took a photo but it turned out blurry, so I found this stock photo online:
The streetcars must be photoshopped in, because as far as I know they haven’t yet been delivered to the city of Tucson. Still, the tracks are in and the streetcar stop has been built. The new tracks will run from the U of A to and through Tucson’s old downtown section. While University and 4th Avenues are complete, they’re still finishing installation of the downtown tracks (we check the progress every Monday evening when we walk through old Tucson).
Like anywhere, we have some NIMBY action going on over the new streetcars: local bicyclists (unsuccessfully) fought the tracks, which have been installed on downtown’s most popular riding routes. One woman, who suffered significant brain injuries when her bike’s front wheel went into the slot, is suing the city for millions. But the new tracks merely replace old tracks that had been around since the 1920s and were every bit as much a hazard to bicyclists as the new ones. You would think bicyclists would know to cross tracks at a 90° angle, but apparently that’s too much to ask. I for one welcome our new robot overlords streetcars, and predict we’ll all learn to co-exist.
Some more photos from this morning, by way of proving that I really am back on two wheels again. Click on any of the thumbnails to see the larger photos on Flickr:
© 2013, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.