This heat wave that NYC is experiencing is seriously cramping my style. It is hot all the time! No matter how early I wake up, the sun is beating down on me and the air is suffocating me. Bicycling in this weather is out of the question.
The heat is also making knitting difficult. I’m going to get gross on you now… but I’m a sweat-er. I sweat a lot, actually. Handling wool yarn with moist hands is irritating and uncomfortable. In fact, I can actually cause the fabric to felt as I work with it. (That’s bad.) Up until a few days ago, I managed to stay cool in my apartment without turning on the air conditioner. However, this heat wave has forced me to break the A/C-less streak. Unfortunately, it’s not working so well so it’s still stifling hot in my place. One way I’ve managed to get some knitting done is by taking it outside! Last week, I met a girl through Ravelry who actually turned out to be in my extended circle of friends (we have friends in common — small world!) and we knit together at a nearby cafe. Coffee, pastries, knitting, friends, and air conditioning: what more could a girl ask for? We’re trying to make it a weekly thing — establish our own knitting group, if you will — so we’ll be meeting again this week. Yay! (I’m calling it SSK. In knitting, it stands for “slip slip knit,” which is a move that removes a stitch and narrows the knitting. For me, though, it stands for “South Shore Knitters” ’cause we’re both on the lower half of Staten Island.)
In the meantime, I’m vegging on my couch (with my cat by my side) while I re-watch Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix Instant. Bliss!
I’ve been on a real bicycling kick lately. This is good news because I really want to go on a small bike tour this summer and because I’ve signed up for the NYC Century Bike Tour (just 55 miles, not the whole century). This was all spurred by the TD Bank Five Boro Bike Tour in which I had participated back in May. It was exhilarating biking through the five boroughs (40+ miles) in a matter of hours! Thirty-two thousand people (and bikes!) had shown up for the event and it was insane. I had never experienced anything like it. After Alex and I completed this tour, I was determined to get back on my bike and ride regularly. Finally, a month and a half later, I’m taking this promise seriously.
Last week, I decided that I ought to start taking my bike out early in the mornings before it gets too hot. (The weather has been in the 90s lately, with high humidity. This is awful for bicyclists.) There really isn’t anywhere to go so I just head to the nearby parks. At 8:30 in the morning, these areas are deserted and I feel so serene looking out over the water. (The benefit of living on an island is that almost every park has ocean views.) It’s a great way to start the day. I also sometimes do yoga before I head out to help me wake up and feel energized. (It’s amazing what physical activity does for the mind.) Then I spend the ride maneuvering the streets of Staten Island in solitude, just me and my thoughts on my bike. It’s really the best part of my day and I regret not making this part of my daily routine sooner.
However, because I eventually want to do long tours on my bike, these excursions are not just for relaxation. I have to keep track of the rides so I can build up my tolerance. I recently upgraded my iPhone to the 3G model specifically because it has GPS capabilities and I knew that there would be apps for runners and cyclists for just this purpose. I downloaded RunKeeper and I’m now able to track my rides. Thanks to this app, I know that this morning’s bike ride to the Conference House Park was 9.44 miles long and that I climbed 381 feet. (That explains why, 7 hours later, I’m still so exhausted.) This is longer than Friday’s ride (9.27 miles, 492-foot climb), which was longer than Thursday’s ride (8.18 miles, 352-foot climb). I can take progressively longer rides and increase my tolerance. Hopefully, by the end of this month, I won’t feel so tired after a 400-foot climb over 10 miles.