First bike in SF

SF Bike Map

Routes with bike lanes in SF

Today, I did my first bike ride in SF since moving here.

The prep

I looked online for a list of good routes. Most pages I found seemed to be about good routes outside of the city, which wasn’t very helpful to me. I live near the center of the city, so I needed to know how to get out there. I found this map showing roads with bike lanes to be very useful, and I’m going to try to explore the main ones in the future to see which ones I like best.

The route

I eventually settled on commuting up and down Polk Street, a main N-S road in the city. The path unfortunately reminded me of Massachusetts Ave a bit — a road somewhat in need of paving with plenty traffic lights and stop-and-go traffic. You could easily spend 45 minutes getting across SF with this route, with a not inconsiderable amount of danger (there is a decent amount of hoping that people won’t open their car doors). However, all in all, things weren’t that bad — there is, in fact, a bike lane through the entire road, which you can’t say about many places.

The bike

Took my Specialized Allez out for the ride. This is my road bike, and the one of my two bikes that has been repaired — my Fuji tri bike needs some serious love, but I still haven’t decided what to do with it (maybe will sell it and get another tri bike that is higher quality/fits me better).

The fit of the bike was noticeably bad — I was putting nearly all my weight on my hands, rather than on the seat. That made it hard to control the bike and also to safely take my hands off the handlebars to signal turns, etc.

Was the fit always this bad? Possibly — during my half ironman, my hands started going numb. And I’ve always found it hard to balance on, and signal from, this bike. Possibly it’s simply too large for me, and so to reach the handlebars I have to move my center of gravity far too forward.

The plan

Biking during the work week is probably going to be too time-consuming, so I’ll keep it as a weekend activity.

I’ll also probably take the bike back to the shop to get it properly fitted, that is, if I can improve the fit much myself fooling around on my trainer.

My new diet

I try to avoid grains and foods with added sugar now. This diet, in conjunction with some new ways of thinking and exercise, has helped me lose around five pounds.

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Today’s hotel breakfast of yogurt, orange, and coffee.

I’m still allowed to eat meat, eggs, fish, dairy, vegetables, fruit, fats/oils, and legumes (although the only legume I would seriously consider eating is soybeans, since I’m not a huge fan of most other beans). So it’s not terribly restrictive, although there are many cases where I’d love to have a nice bowl of teriyaki chicken over rice.

Some of the benefits of this diet:

  • Proteins and fats tend to be higher-satiety foods than starches
  • Cutting out foods with added sugars removes many “hyperpalatable” foods from my diet. Hyperpalatable human food tends to override our natural weight-regulation mechanisms
  • By reducing the variety foods I eat, I run into diminishing marginal returns more quickly and get bored of the foods I have available.

Another useful tip I have used in conjunction with this diet has been to eat only when I’m “actually hungry,” which I test by asking myself whether I’d be interested in eating an apple or piece of grilled chicken. If the answer’s “no,” it’s likely that I’m hungry only because some hyperpalatable food is in front of me.

A typical day for me is:

  • Breakfast: Soylent (bland enough that even though there are carbs in it, I don’t tend to overeat it)
  • Lunch: salad with chicken, bacon, and cheese; no dressing
  • Dinner: generally I would get delivery, and it might be Indian food (tandoori chicken!) or Thai food (without rice). Of course, I always eat healthier when my wonderful girlfriend cooks something from scratch!

Snacks tend to include yogurt, string cheese, fruit (apples, bananas, and tangerines), and tuna fish (in oil).

Many of these ideas are due to this post.

Decent mile today

Did my mile today in around 7 minutes. A bit off pace, but definitely stretched myself to my limit.

Interestingly, I thought I was doing quite well during the first half, but not really. On my PR, I did the first half in 3:19, while this time I did it in 3:24. I guess I was just feeling good?

Run 2015-03-26

Good run today; did 3 miles in 25:30. My first 5k pace time was 30:30, so I’ve definitely shaved some off… maybe those intervals are actually helping??

I also jogged (say at at 9:15 pace) an additional 1.5 miles, but it was a bit unclear how far it was since some of it was not captured on my Garmin.

Result on Strava.

Upping my speed

I’ve long had a goal of running 3 miles in 21 minutes (7 minute miles). I feel like this is a reasonable goal for someone who is fit.

Maddeningly, there are very few details on how long it would take to get to this level, so it’s hard to set deadlines/goals, which I think are really important for progress.

So I’ve decided to set myself the deadline of doing it by the end of next month (April 30). This seems fairly impossible — I can only run one mile at 7:20 now. However I feel like I need some serious urgency to get my crap together and just do it.

Annoyingly this is going to conflict a lot with work. Clearly work is a priority here. Just gotta try to get up earlier in the morning, and focus more.