Coming off the New York City ride yesterday, I thought it might be a go idea to try something else that was new. And what better thing then commuting to work by bike for the first time.
I have been flirting with this idea now for the longest time. I have owned my mountain bike for almost as long as my road bike and it has just been sitting hereÖ like a good bike (but partially sad since I havenít ridden it) and it only has 5 miles on it.
So I thought it might be a good time to turn it into a commuter. Long story short, about three weeks in the making to get everything I needed like fenders, panniers, a rack, headlight for helmet, horn of some sort, gator tires, etc. Finally, it was done (almost at least).
AndÖ. Watched the weather and there was no rain in the forecast plus I only had to work a half day today. What perfect ingredients for a successful dish! I woke up, showered, at breakfast put on the cycling clothes, packed the panniers and off I went.
Now, the panniers hold a lot of stuff. They might not look like they do but they do. And I didnít really plan on the whole ďbringing clothes to work the day beforeĒ thing so I had to bring in all my work clothes plus work shoes. And I am a big guy so it takes up some room for sure. I happened to lift my bike up and WOWÖ.. so heavy compared to my road bike. Yikes! But no more excuses or delayÖ. It was time!
Off down the road I went. I first noticed that it was tough to gain speed. So OKÖ. Maybe commuting to work wonít be about speed at this point. Letís just get there safe and sound. I also noticed how NICE it was to have an upright position (on the mountain bike) versus a road bike. I can see soooo much more stuff. Itís amazing. I was looking left and right a lot and noticing the finer stuff that you donít see if you drive a car.
The bike felt really heavy and I played with the gears a lot, especially going up hills and yesÖ there were some small hills.
I got to work and struggled for a place to put the bike. I didnít want to park it on the bike rack because itís all open and exposed. I knowÖ. But I donít want my bike sitting in the rain or snow or anything so I found an undercover parking area for my bike and locked it up to a fence that was put up for the smokers to have a place to go under and smoke. I parked it on the outside of the fence.
Then I grabbed my panniers and headed inside to change. I was hot and sweaty. The gym, where one could shower, is located in the middle of my work in a building so I am not sure how simple it would be to get to if I wanted to change but I will work out the details as I go.
Got changed and still couldnít stop sweating. And it wasnít even hot out! Yikes.
Worked a few hours and then it was time to go home. Packed up the panniers and off I went. Got changed in the bathroom and went outside to load up. What do I find? A smoker sitting on my damn rack on my bike. Really? I mean REALLY? That pissed me off a little. I donít sit on his car. Maybe I should. Note to silly self: donít park there!
The ride home was nice. Palms started hurting a little. But I made it home. Total 22 miles round trip and each way it takes me about 55 minutes.
I am glad I went to work by bike today. I loved the feeling. One thing though is that both trips made me really tired. I mean I feel tired. Eyes a little heavy too. I wonder if this is typical. One of my coworkers said I looked half glazed over.
Things I learned:
1- Need to get order when it comes to packing my panniers. I swear, it took me forever to find my apartment keys. I need organization.
2- Donít park the bike where smokers are.
3- I sure hope it gets easier!
Bike fit will need to be addressed as I go along and I hope it gets easier too. I plan to try to park my bike in a storage area across from the kitchen I work in. We will see how that goes. First time using my U lock!
All in all, it was a wonderful ride. I thank so many people who helped me and encouraged me.