Sunday, May 6, 2007

Biking to Work

Well, I have been planning it for a while and have been mainly waiting on the weather. But, last Friday was the first day I rode my bike to work and back.

I estimated from looking at maps that it was around 17 miles one way. I can't take my normal route to work, because there is too much highway type stuff that isn't good for a bike. I found a route with two major roads that seemed like it would work well. I drove it a couple times, making sure there was adequate sidewalk and all the whole way. Riding a bike 17 miles usually would not be a big deal. But, because of traffic, and the roads, this was not the typical ride where you could get on a road bike, and stay on the side of the road and keep a good consistent pace. Instead, I was using sidewalks, crossing streets, speeding up, slowing down. Because of all this, a mountain bike is much more suited to that type of riding. I wasn't ever worried about making it or not. I was worried about making it to work in a reasonable time to be able to do it without taking forever.

I wanted to train a bit, and work myself up for it. But, I didn't want to take off and leave the family alone, and ride for an hour in the evening, to go nowhere, and ride in circles. I am not one for doing stuff that doesn't actually accomplish something. So, I rode a hard 2 miles around the neighborhood, and called it good : ) I figured it was only going to happen if I just did it.

Here are some lessons I learned from the first trip:

- It was farther than I thought.
- It was farther than I thought.
- I used to ride 15 miles of actual mountain bike trail, without it seeming that difficult.
- Did I mention that "used to" has a whole new meaning now : )
- I learned what side of the road to be on in certain areas, because the sidewalk ends sometimes.
- I learned that the spot where the sidewalk ends is different in different directions.
- Even though people pulling out of roads and driveways have plenty of room before and after the sideway, they will always block the sidewalk, and never be aware of it.
- Even though you would catch the occassional breath of exhaust, and the air is probably not as clean as it should be, the mornings are a lot nicer on a bike, than riding in a cage.
- Watch the weather forecast for wind. I had to ride home right into the wind, and it was much tougher.
- It did feel rather nice coming home, when there was Friday traffic on 12 mile, and I was going much faster than all of them.
- Did I mention that it was farther than I thought?

Overall, it worked out rather well. Especially on the way in, the more fat, old women I saw driving hummers and drinking an extra-large coffee, made me feel that much better. The only change I think I will make is that I will start taking my bike to work in my truck. That way I can ride it home, then ride it in in the morning, and not have to do it twice in a day, until I get more used to it. Between that, getting my route more figured out, and getting more used to the ride, I should be able to get to work a lot faster here soon. It took me 1 hour and 34 mins to get there. I got up early, so it was no big deal, but I would like to cut it down to an hour. Sorry, no pics :(


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