Saturday, March 28, 2009

Commuting to work by bike

I've started commuting to work by bike a couple days each week. I tried a couple different routes over a couple weekends and came up with one that, while a bit farther, keeps me off of what I would consider 'bad' roads - in particular, a pretty busy intersection at 1825 and I-35. And since I would hit that at rush hour, I'd rather not deal with the cellphone using, food consuming, iPod wearing drivers ;-).

The distance is 11.3 miles, it takes me anywhere between 40-50 minutes of ride time, depending on the wind. There are some lights I always seem to hit, so the elapsed time is a bit longer. For now, I'm using my LiveStrong messenger bag to transport my laptop and work clothes. Once it warms up more, I'm pretty sure I'd want to use panniers instead.

I added a few trinkets on the bike to make it a bit more of a commuter.

For lights, I had a lower power front (Cateye EL130) and back light (Cateye TL-LD130) my kids had gotten me a couple years ago. I've kept them on the bike but have added 2 Planetbike Superflash Stealths on the rear and a Fenix L2D Q5 LED flashlight on the front. These are both painfully bright. However, since DST has begun, my commute both ways is done in the daylight, but it's good to have the backup in case I am delayed. I added some reflective tape onto the frame, it's red, closely matching the color of the bike, and thus, is close to invisible in the daylight.

I also added some fenders, SKS Race Blades. These are 'quick release'. They do a reasonable job even though they are not full fenders. My commute yesterday was into an unexpected thunderstorm, the fenders worked pretty well. My goal is to not use them again, of course ;-)

Even though I carry a CO2 inflator, I felt more comforable adding a pump, I got the Topeak Turbo Morph. It's a little on the heavy side, but for commuting, that's not a concern. I like the flexible hose, makes it easier to pump and not worry about the stem on the tube.

I've only had one driver yell at me so far, from what I could tell, I slowed him down by about 1 second. Pretty stupid driver. Funny thing was he yelled twice, since I passed him due to traffic congestion after the 1st session, and the 2nd time, I was in a bike lane impeding no one, so really, what was the point other than to prove you are a nitwit?

Rosedale Ride 09

I participated in the Rosedale Ride again this year. This one always sneaks up on me being early in the year, so I registered at the event this morning. I considered whether riding would be a good idea, a vigorous cold front came threw yesterday, lowering the temps to the high 30s this morning, and making it very windy. Very, very windy. Did I say it was windy? ;-)

There was a very good turnout, the announcer said about 1500 folks had signed up. Waiting for the start was tough, not moving gave me the chills, but I knew once we started, I'd get warm quick enough. They only made a few adjustments to the route from the year before. I was worried about some of the roads, they have been working on them recently, and were in pretty bad shape, but it seems a lot of paving has occurred since I last traveled the roads, only one bad section remained.

Negotiating the wind was an adventure, I'm guessing my speed varied from 5 to 30 mph depending on the direction I was going. I tend to not have my bike computer set to speedometer, I don't want it to depress me ;-) I suppose having the route go into the wind for the first part was a blessing, you have more energy then.

There were more than the usual number of folks picked up by the SAG vehicles. I don't think it was mechanical issues, I think it was due to the wind. It was brutal at times. I hope that does not discourage these folks from participating again.

It was fun and challenging, and the ride is for a good cause. Hopefully I can do the ride next year.