Terii’s Cycling Babble

Briefly Shining!
February 21, 2015, 2:46 pm
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

After riding on Sunday and Tuesday, I had hopes of making this week the first since the stroke to do rides every other day for the full 7 days. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I had an appointment at the health ward in the morning, but that alone wouldn’t have stopped the trend. What did throw a wrench in the works was Jens announcing on Tuesday evening that he’d made an appointment at a dog grooming salon for Loke at 11 am Thursday.

I toyed with the idea of doing a solo ride, but after dropping the furry off with the incredibly nice American born woman and warning her about his allergies and that it was his first time ever with a groomer, she told me it would be just a couple hours. There went any thought of riding what with the timing once we got home, dressed, shoed and got the trike out. The days are quite a bit longer now, but I feel stressed if it seems dark is rushing in and push too hard. That leads to aching knees.

So, I ran around on some errands instead.

About 1:30, I arrived back to reclaim my furball. The woman gave me a big smile as she clipped a bischon frise. Loke had apparently been an absolutely ‘lovely boy’ and asked she asked if I wanted to see him. When I said, ‘Of course!’, she called his name. Nothing. She told the little dog to stay to go stick her head into a back room and told Loke to come on.

The apartment lighting and iPhone didn't do justice..

The apartment lighting and iPhone didn’t do justice..

My jaw dropped as he came out. I think it’s the best he’s looked in years. The results were far beyond anything Jens and I have managed with baths and brushes. The white parts of my furry practically glowed and he looked smoothly plush. Not a single hint of a stubborn clump that resisted brushing. He’s always been a beautiful dog, but he was stunning at that moment.

That wasn’t the only reason I gaped though. He didn’t see me and went trotting around the styling room, sniffing. He pretty much ignored the woman as she tried to get his attention on me. More shocking was the fact he completely ignored the 4 or 5 other dogs too. I said his name and Loke’s head snapped up and he ran over to put his paws at the top of the half door, ears back as he wiggled his incredibly fluffy tail adorably. He was sooooo soft. Almost (but not quite) as soft as when he was a puppy.

I chatted with the woman for a bit. I also showed her Loke’s tricks. She’s worked on quite a few huskies apparently, but the sight of one that did tricks floored her. She laughingly told Loke, ‘Didn’t anyone tell you that huskies don’t do that?’. I thanked her profusely for the wonderful job. She said fur flew everywhere with the high powered drier. It apparently is strong enough to get down to the skin to blow away every bit of loose hair that can hang on in the undercoat no matter what the brushing and washing. She said the swept pile of fur was nearly as big as Loke. I felt guilty for not having him groomed years ago. I told her we’d probably be back once the weather gets warm to shake loose the last of his winter coat in hopes of giving him a cooler summer.

I mentioned it would be a pity to take Loke outside to splash around in the muddy melt and a greater one still to take him for a run the next day. She laughed in agreement.

Jens was pleased with the results when he got to see Loke upon arriving home from work.

Friday, Jens’ sister came to do a deeper cleaning on the apartment. It’s something she’s been doing roughly every 10 – 14 days since the stroke. I work to maintain in general, staying on the dishes, putting things we use away and such, but she does the complete sweeping, mopping, dusting and vacuuming. It’s been a huge help to me and it puts a extra cash in her pocket.

To get out of her hair, I got ready for the delayed trike ride. I’m sure it makes mopping and the like easier if one doesn’t have a husky prancing around one’s feet as he attempts to bully one out the door for walkies.

Loke was thrilled to be going. Jens dropped us off and we made it out the door in a reasonable amount of time. I had the foot warmers inserted, but at 41 F, I decided to wait on attaching the batteries.

As we rolled out into the blustery mid-morning, the sun which had emerged on the drive over began to disappear. 10 minutes into the ride, it was gone and gray clouds hit us with a misty, wind-blown drizzle. That wind was whipping out of the west and I changed my mind about doing the Läby loop. The wind was hard enough with trees and hedges hindering it. Out in the open expanses of the country side would be even worse. I wanted something more than the River Loop, but prefered to avoid killing myself before making it back to the storage.

So… off I went in the general direction of the city forest and the American Food store.

I winced as we splashed through little rivers and lakes of melt water, Loke’s legs and belly steadily turning to a muddy gray. Not that he cared. He was happy, especially when I kept him out of the puddles. The cycle paths and roads were 80-90% clear of any trace of slush or ice. Just little bits clinging gamely on to the curb edges. Even mounds that 3 days earlier had been high as my head were barely knee high and most of it gravel rather than ice or snow.

We found one little residential road that had more ice than the rest. Loke went on high alert, seeing the little dog walking with a man before I did. We caught up and the cutie whined and pulled toward us. Might have been a x-breed of some kind or could have been a scottish terrier puppy. He was 12 weeks old. I offered to let them meet and he gave the puppy some slack. He was as fearless as that little chihuahua Loke met at our apartment door a few weeks back. He stood on his hindlegs, stretching up to Loke’s head as his little paws boxed at my furball’s nose. Too cute! Loke was amazingly calm and downright polite. I started to wonder if the obnoxious in him had gone down the drain with his shed hair and grime.

Leaving them, I skipped going into the city forest proper. From the road at the edge of it, there was an unpaved path leading in and it was slick with ice and melt which I completely expected. Unpaved surfaces hold on to the cold and ice better than paved, so surely all the paths looping through the forest were going to be slippery. It didn’t seem worth the challenge as we were going to have comfortably over 7 miles by the time we got home any way.

We zigged along the various roads, heading for the ice rink near the river. When we stopped to cross through the intersection near the hospital, I unclipped to push the trike back a little so Loke would have more room to pass by the crossing light post. My left foot came loose just fine. The right shoe on the other hand, hung on tight. I muttered under my breath as I almost had to roll in the seat to wrench loose. There was really no need for me to look at the bottom of the shoe to know that one of the screws had fallen out of the cleat. It still seemed wise to check that the remaining one wouldn’t be bailing out on me in the next few minutes.

I debated just riding straight for home, skipping the American Food store since each time I clipped in or out could wrench the last screw loose. Still, the missing one needed replaced.

Just a couple doors down from the Charles’ shop there’s a cycle shop. I’ve tended to avoid it except when absolutely necessary. One of the older guys in the shop had been a bit rude when I went in there to find 20″ tires that were thick dirt bike tires with chunky tread. When I explained I wanted something road slicks for a recumbent trike, he’d grumped at me to ‘get a real bike’ and tried to show me some of his. No interest in helping me if it didn’t involve me walking out there with something on two wheels.

Bracing myself, I rolled past the American shop to the cycle shop. It was a shock just looking through the window as I parked Loke and the trike on the walk outside. The interior had been dark and murky (which maybe made the staff grumpy?), but now the walls were all clean white and the cashier counter moved.

I told Loke wait. I walked in and three staff people gave me bright, cheery smiles. A woman with a lean, athletic build that just screamed, ‘avid cyclist’ asked if she could help. Given my limited Swedish vocabulary with cycle terms, I asked if English was okay. It was. I showed the bottom of my shoe and said I either needed a screw for my cleat or a new set of cleats. With a gesture for me to follow, we went back into their tiny little work area where she dug through a drawer of odds-n-ends. She found one used screw, had me sit to take the shoe off and put everything back on where it should be.

We chatted as she worked to make sure it was adjusted correctly. It turns out the shop had actually changed hands about a year ago. It’s gone from selling cycle stuff and skis to just cycling. We also talked about cycling shoes and winter riding, that brought on when she asked about the wire ribbons from my footwarmer when I took the shoe off. We both rolled our eyes at the ‘joy’ of having a freezing wind blasting through cleat holes no matter now good the shoecovers were.

She didn’t charge me for the screw, even before I asked about multi-tools. I had to replace mine as it had apparently fallen through an unnoticed hole in my pannier bags. I think it’s quietly rusting away somewhere between Uppsala and Storvreta. Still need to replace my pannier bags because of now-noticed hole in said bag.

I have to say, I heartily approve of the change. Sullen, unhelpful staff replaced with friendly, chatty and helpful people? What’s not to approve? Unfortunately, I don’t think they can work on my trike. Their ‘workshop’ area had just enough space for a standard bike on a work frame and a single person to move around it. Of course, it now seems I have to make far fewer trips to the south of Stockholm. In spite of 2 tire swaps, my gears remain unruffled. It must have been the sloppy shifting!

About a week back, I came very close to potentially fouling the gears. Wasn’t paying attention and clicked briefly into the 3rd chainring while on the 34 back sprocket. I gave an ‘ack!’ of alarm and snapped it back down before the chain completely climbed onto the big ring. No damage done!

Loke was eager to move on, confused as we looped back to the American Food store. It was Charles’ wife there. We chatted briefly as I picked up nothing more than a couple of Welch’s sodas. Until my cholesterol gets back down, I’m avoiding anything heavy in the fat category.

That’s another reason I’m trying to increase my riding frequency. Odd my cholesterol was lower before the stroke than after when my diet has been lower in fat. The only guess I have is I was riding roughly every other day rather than having stretches going into weeks of no pedaling.

Well, that’s changing! Especially now that the muscle pain issue has all but disappeared! *happy dance*

From there, we just pushed on back to the storage. Rolled to a stop at the top of the ramp with 8.16 miles and a very wet, muddy Loke from the tummy down.

Loke’s been a bit of a pest to Jens at night. Nudging at him and staring though he’s been fed and walked. A few times I’ve slept on the couch with the fuzzy in the living room so Jens isn’t reduced to a zombie during work hours. I’d hoped the extra 3 miles or so would help settle him last night.

Nope, not really. It’s just so strange that he’s changed after a life time of going to bed when we do and not disturbing us.

So, should be another ride tomorrow and hopefully next week will be the first with every other day worth of rides to be stretched into a month… two…

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