Spurring Myself to Ride Further

Blue Me-Mover in front of vintage yellow Ironton Railroad pump car
These body-powered vehicles are from different eras but are certainly kindred spirits.

There’s nothing like buying a new toy to guarantee a few days of rain. After my successful first ride on my Me-Mover, I had to sit out the next few days as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey moved through the area. It was a gentle, soaking rain here, and there was something oddly relaxing about it despite the devastation it has caused to parts of Texas. Yet I yearned for my next Me-Mover ride.

My chance came on a bright, sunny evening after work. I headed to the Ironton Rail Trail spur with the goal of doing a longer ride. This portion of the trail was freshly paved in the last year, making it a pleasure to ride versus what had been some rougher gravel during utility construction over the past few years. There are no big hills to deal with, so I knew I could have a good test ride there.

Blue Me-Mover on Ironton Rail Trail in damp conditions with light cover of leaves
Even a day after rain from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, some of the shaded parts of the Ironton Rail Trail remained damp.

As with any new venture, some adjustments were in order. My first ride had left me with a backache and greater fatigue in my calf muscles than I had expected. Per feedback I received from the Me-Mover community and Jonas himself, the first thing I did was adjusted the foot straps to get the ball of my foot more forward of the pedal axle. There is a good illustration of this adjustment on page 20 of the “Quick Guide.” Although I had followed this when assembling my Me-Mover, what I came to realize as I made the adjustments is I had worn different sneakers when assembling the Me-Mover than when I did riding it for the first time. The result was a less-than-optimal foot position for my first ride. Properly adjusting them to the sneakers I plan to ride with regularly made for a better second ride. The lesson learned here is that the foot straps may need frequent adjustment to accommodate different footwear.

The other adjustment was increasing the height of the handlebars so that I wasn’t leaning as far forward. The nice thing about the quick release clamp is that you can tweak the adjustment quickly and easily (but only do so when you’re not moving). Once I found a height that gave me a natural and relaxed stance, I was more comfortable riding. Some experienced riders who have gone long distances on their Me-Movers say they often adjust the height several times during a ride just to prevent fatigue from being in one position too long.

Blue Me-Mover next to Ironton Rail Trail sign
Fresh pavement on the Ironton Rail Trail spur between Chestnut Street and South Church Street

The ride itself went well. I parked in a lot near South Church Street which is the mid-point of the spur because I did not yet know how far I could ride. I did not want to overcommit on the way out only to find out I did not have enough steam to get back. I started by riding to the western parking lot on Portland Street. This has a slight grade up so I found myself taking frequent breaks. There was a shaded portion of the trail that had not yet dried out, but I was pleased to find the Me-Mover was sure-footed through this stretch. The new part of the spur beyond Portland Street is gravel, and I decided to save that for another time.

The ride back to my starting point went easier with the slight downgrade. By then my muscles had warmed up and were feeling good, so I continued east to the MacArthur Road underpass and turned around just before the steep hill. By the turnaround point, fatigue was setting in. Still, it was obvious the adjustments I had made to the footsteps and handlebars had allowed me to go much further without causing pain.

I was satisfied with the 4.61 miles I logged upon returning to the parking log, and even more pleased with the fact that I was feeling confident and capable on my new exercise machine. The biggest issue I have at this point is the difficulty lifting the 54 1/2 pound machine into and out of the bed of my truck. Once again, I will turn to the supportive Me-Mover community for advice before my next ride.

Blue Me-Mover in front of Ironton Railroad passenger car undergoing renovation
The renovation of this vintage passenger car has been slow going, but I look forward to checking on its progress every time I ride here.

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