Sunday, November 2, 2008

Commuting Habits Part II

The agony
My big plan to bike to work has been curtailed once again. Literally, "the will is there but the body is weak". I had no idea how hard it is to bike 14 miles to work!

The struggle
It took me forever to plan the route and talk myself into riding to work. I got the bike ready, told co-workers and family and then had to face the inevitable ... and actually ride the bike.

The valiant effort
Now, I do know how to ride a bike. I used to ride my bike to school every day since second or third grade. But I haven't ridden in the street since 2000 when I fell off my bike when I hit the curb wrong, let go of the handle bars and landed on my face which broke my jaw in 3 places. I recovered fine from the spill, but I'm timid when riding on the street, which is the first and last part of my trek to work.
But I have a nice Trek comfort bike and the center of gravity is positioned more like a cruiser. The likely of a wipe-out on this bike is a lot less likely then on my previous road bike.
So, before actually hitting the route to work...yes I know I'm killing you! I decided to just ride around where I live. I wanted to get used to street riding again. One Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I did just that. And wow what an eye opener.

Still not there yet
First of all, it was a lot harder than I expected. I don't live in a flat area so the little hills were a challenge to go up, but fun to coast down.

Second, 14 miles is farther than I expected. I didn't even ride 14 miles that day and it took me 90 min because I was slow on the up hill and had to stop at the traffic lights. My ride to work takes me onto a path so I won't have as many stops but I will encounter as many hills. My test run was also about 10 miles, so I should estimate a 2 hour ride to be safe. Since I need to be at work by 6:30am I'll need to leave my house at least by 4:30am. At 4:30am I can barely find my bathroom from my bedroom let alone try to balance on a bicycle! So, I need to build up some speed to keep from having to get up so early before I make this ride to work.

Any benefit?
So is there any benefit in this sad story? Yes, I learned I can run errands using my bike. The 2 paniers are the size of 2 large grocery bags. I have plenty of room to make a trip to the supermarket. I used my bike to drop of 2 bags of clothing at a collection site near where I live. So, yes I'm making progress and will continue to choose my bike over the car for those trips under 10 miles from my house. I still want to someday ride to work, but I will need to work on increasing my speed and shaking off the excuses!

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