Terii’s Cycling Babble

A Little Better
March 21, 2013, 9:52 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

I’m working hard to not pin too much hope on things, but the last outing was a good one.

In all the ups and downs of the past few weeks, it slipped my mind to mention an unexpected meeting that crossed my path.

I was walking Loke as it happened before he’d had the stitches removed. A brisk, chilly afternoon as we were making the final approach back home on the .5 mile ‘business walk loop’ I established back when Loke was an 11 pound ball of fluff and cute when we brought him home. The area was busy with people walking and cycling and a fair stream of cars using the small road.

Abruptly, one of the women on a bike stopped to wave me down. She spoke so quickly, I caught only 1 word in 5. I apologized for my bad Swedish and asked if she could speak a little slower. Instead she changed to English. She introduced herself, adding she was a journalist with the local Uppsala newspaper. After that, she told me that researched had shown 7 of 10 dogs in Sweden were owned by households without children in residence. That had surprised her so she was doing a piece on the subject involving a a series of 3 interviews. A younger single woman, an older (past retirement age) single man, and a couple established in a long-term relationship around the age of 40… all without children in the home. She asked if I was in a relationship and if so, did we have children.

Discovering I was married and we had no children, she was very enthusiastic about interviewing Jens and I for the piece. My interest was pricked and I considered it as we chatted about Loke some. When I mentioned the trike, how Loke runs with it and my attempts at cycle-touring with him for company she became even more interested, particularly when I mentioned the blog.

Then she mentioned that above each interview would be a ‘family’ (Jens, Loke and I) portrait photo, professionally done at their in-office studio. That made me balk. The idea of my photo out there for all of Uppsala to see. I’m quite camera shy. She tried to persuade me and I told her, it would depend on my husband. I wasn’t sure what his schedule was. I offered to send her the address for my blog and would e-mail the answer when I talked with Jens about it.

Jens’ schedule was quite bogged down and unable to work in time for the interview. I let her know as it was important for her purposes that both he and I were involved. I hoped she’d be able to find another couple in time. She asked if it was alright to keep my name in reserve if another article involving dogs came up and I answered that would be just fine. She also let me know that she had found another couple with four Salukis. Talk about a handful!

Still, it was quite an unexpected turn of events. I’ve never been in a newspaper for anything. I’ve been in scene shots for TV news stories before. Once was at a movie theater for the premier of ‘Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves’ with Kevin Costner. Our local SCA group (medieval recreation group) set up a little display in a grassy sward next to a movie theater. The local news showed up as we were giving a demonstration of a medieval folk dance to the people waiting for the next showings. There I was on the evening news with a dozen others, swirling through the high paced step. I think it was a line dance called ‘Strip the Willow’ which is a Scottish folk dance.

If you’re curious to see the dance:

Well, how was that for a side ramble?

I’ve have gone for rides since my last, maudlin post. They’ve been short and spaced far apart in hopes of giving Loke time to stop limping.

The weather has persistently been cold but otherwise gorgeous! Most days have been sunny and often utterly cloudless. A few days have had a bit of cloud sun mix. The past 2 couldn’t quite make up their mind if they wanted to snow. Sun and blue skies with drifts of snow flakes swirling through the air with diamante glitters in the warm March light.

Yesterday was the most recent ride, though I’ll likely go for another in a few minutes.

It was cold, 27 F with a wicked wind. Clouds moved in as we went so the sun often vanished. In spite of it all, I was still decently warm. The foot-warmers are a blessing and I had no idea how much body heat I was losing through my toes on the rides. I’ve been out on the trike in temps of 24 F which, before the Hotronics, I would have shied away from and stayed snug in doors. It felt no worse, better actually, than rides in 28 F to 30 F.

The outings with Loke have been fairly mixed. He started out fine, but fizzled out into a ‘bleah’ pace in less than a quarter mile and after that first burst of speed, he wouldn’t pull at all, his pace way down. A hitch in his step that often went into ‘limp’ status. The ride before yesterday’s, he was walking fine and in the next step went on 3 legs for a bit before limping badly the last half mile home.

Yesterday… yesterday was a good day. The best since Loke went from standing funny to hobbling on 3 legs in less than 2 hours way back in the 3rd week of January.

He was calm as I got everything together for the ride. He only yodeled a bit. Once I settled into the seat and loosened the brake, he was off like a shot. I expected him to settle into a slow 6 mph trot, slacking the tether, by the third turn, but he powered on. Past the school and still pulling and clipping along. He wanted to lope down the slope of the underpass beneath the 55 and had nearly 2 inches of tether drawn out to try keep up the speed on the climb.

And his paces? They were fine! Not the least little hitch or hint of a limp. His stride remains shorter than it was, but it was brisk and clean. My spirits soared and I found myself smiling in spite of thickening clouds and a wind that had still had the fangs of winter in its bite.

It wasn’t until a bit after mile 2 that the tether began to jingle with slack and it came after a short hop like he had a sudden, sharp pain in his foot very briefly. The step after was normal, but he quit dragging.

Before all this came to pass, I didn’t mind slack in the tether when out with Loke. I regarded it as an opportunity for extra exercise…. that I was keeping up with the furry-one’s comfortable pace. Now, particularly when my gears are frozen, it’s more an indication of how slow Loke’s being. Or his lack of energy or perhaps a showing of arthritis and that worries me.

Even after he quit pulling though, he didn’t slow much and the movement of his legs continued smooth and crisp.

It wasn’t until we were pulling into the parking lot that he gave another ‘OUCH’ hop and this time went across half the parking lot with just 3 legs. I think he stepped on a ‘stump’ of the hedge where it had been cut close to the ground. Essentially a deeply rooted stick thinner than my little finger sticking up. Even with a perfect foot that would hurt.

By the time we were inside, he was bouncing around with his stuffed squeaky toy before flopping onto his pillow. As I went back out to put the trike in the car, he had wriggled onto his back, legs tucked to chest and belly and snoring through his bared teeth as gravity pulled his upper lips toward the floor. Goof.

I also took an opportunity for a little experiment with the trike. I wanted to see if I could fit the Sprint 26 in the back without folding the rear seats down. It turns out I can… sorta. The trike itself fit fine as did the pod bags and the non-trike related things that are always in the back of the car. The seat proved to be the problem. Actually, I should say it’s the running bar attached to the seat. There was just no way to ‘Tetris’ it in that the bar wouldn’t be poking a passenger in the back of the head in the fully loaded car. If I removed the bar, the trike and even a bit of luggage could fit for 4 people to go on a trip.. provided the two rear passengers didn’t mind sharing the backseat with Loke.

Something to keep in mind!

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