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  1. #1
    coitus non circum. Mars's Avatar
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    Very long commute club: week 24

    I was thinking about my defeat last Thursday, when I had to call my wife for a ride. Maybe we can share stories of when our VLC got the best of us and we had to surrender for the day. Obviously, we rose to fight again, so the defeat was temporary. What are your stories of defeat?
    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

  2. #2
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Pulling into a Dairy Queen in Pennsylvania in a torrential hail/rainstorm and calling my Wife to come rescue me
    It bothered me for a while but now I am not bothered by this stuff. My whole outlook has changed. I commute for my sanity and fun. I go slower, relax and dont feel I have to be a martyr. If I need pull over to take a gulp of water on the way home I do...If I need to take the geared bike instead of the fixer on ruff days, I do !!! No computer, no pressure, only fun ! I have to confess I even rode my motorcycle 4 days 2 weeks ago because I had stuff to do immediately after work
    I wouldnt look at taking a break as 'defeat'......How about 'recharging'(?). If you feel something is becoming a chore mentally, you eventually dont want to do it any longer. I look at little breaks every now and then as ways to keep this burnout from happening. Im 47 right now so I have at least another 60 years to pace myself for
    -ADVOCACY-☜ Radical VC = Car people on bikes. Just say "NO"

  3. #3
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    My latest and worst defeat had to do with a bad chicken salad sandwich. I'll leave it at that {shivers**.

  4. #4
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Last winter...on the way home, dark, just finished raining, and only my 2nd ride on new "uber puncture resistant" tires....PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Son-of-a-b!tch! Luckily I was just passing a supermarket. I probalby spent near 20 minutes in the parking lot trying to change that tire. I couldn't get the stupid thing back on (wire bead)! My hands were cold and wet so I couldn't grip the darn thing. I think I busted a tire lever too. Sadly, I had to walk it in to the little entry way of the store and call my g/f collect to come get me. She hated me riding anyway. She was angry, full of "I told you so." My bike was coevered in road grime. I had her bring lots of garbage bags to line her trunk with. Luckily just inside the door at the store they had complimentry paper towels to dry off shopping carts that had been outside. I think I used 2/3 of a roll while I waited for my g/f to come get me.

    It's because of that night I only use kevlar beaded tires now. Their few extra dollars in cost is totally worth it to save a hassle like that night.
    ...take your protein pills and put your helmet on...
    2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, 1983 Univega Nuovo Sport, GT Team LOTTO
    Looking for GT Course ~ 58cm PM Me!

  5. #5
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    I haven't been defeated yet, but I suppose it will happen someday. I do carry a mobile phone in case I need a bailout ride... I have a few friends (who drive by where I commute) who would probably relish that call.

    My closest to defeat was one day I didn't eat much during the day, and it was I think the 3rd straight day of my commute.. I had no "emergency Gu" left, no bananas, nothing. I left for home, anyway. On the way home I bonked HARD. I suppose much of that was mental... I was passed by a guy on a rickety wheels-bent MTB. I felt like I should be riding a kids trike.

    In other news... My trusty Light & Motion Solo died. The bike shop traced it to the battery. Odd, since it worked fine Thurs. and not Fri (I charged overnight). That was interesting... I push the button and... NADA. There it stand, in the pitch black. I sat around for awhile until it became a little lighter and then left.

    My LBS gave me a battery to borrow while they ask L&M to replace mine. Big shout out to Roll on Polaris Pkwy for their excellent service!!!
    My bicycle commuting blog: lop

  6. #6
    On your left fatty Gusboh's Avatar
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    Well... Being that i am the resident destructive cyclist..

    Last Friday was good. Lost wallet, lost phone charger - effectively no phone. Busted spoke. Homebrew light decided that it was the right time to die. Busted my rack. Dinner was at 8 - took 3 hours to limp home, late for dinner. Almost in the doghouse.

    Still smiling - when i wasn't scared that the next car was gonna clean me up.

    How i destroy so much bike stuff i'll never know. Mostly weight related i'm sure.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    My most potentially damaging bail out happened on my very first attempt of the VLC. I made the trip in on my Xmart bike, but about a mile into the return trip I broke a couple of rear spokes. My bike ground to a halt and I was stuck. I made the call for a pickup and then had to walk about a mile to a convenient pickup point. Despite the bad luck on that first ride I stuck with it (made a great excuse to get a real bike).

    My other bailout was actually too much fun to be a disappointment. It was this winter and we had 11 inches of snow. For the hell of it I decided to ride in. It took me a little over 2 hours but I finaly made it. Riding was extremely difficult and in many places my axle was in the snow. By the time I got to work I knew I was too tired to make the return trip, so I bailed and got a ride home with my wife. The whole idea of riding in those conditions was just so ridiculous that bailing out was more humorous than depressing.

    I second Lem's comments -- bike commuting should be relaxing and fun. If its not, take a little break or change your riding style to go easy. The end result is you will ride more because you won't have burn out. I have to admit that after a year and a half on the VLC it no longer feels long at all. Its easy to get so caught up in the goal, that we forget to have fun.
    God grant me the serenity to accept the hills and winds I cannot change;
    courage to challenge the cagers I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
    (with apologies to AA)
    24 mi. roundtrip -- Maryland suburbs to DC and back.

  8. #8
    Senior Member CigTech's Avatar
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    I have not bail on a ride yet. I did have a flat on the bridge across Tampa Bay. And it did start raining hard for 30 min. I did not have any patches left and no tubes. So walk in the rain with the bike for 2 hours to get a patch kit from a drug store. Then fixed the flat and rode the other 9 miles home. Man it felt good to get back on the bike after that long 6 mile walk.

    And the other time I tought I was going to have to call the wife was when I through the chain off. Used a small screwdriver and a rock to get it back on the bike and then road the rest of the way home. It took me 20 min to fix it. Now I have a chain tool I bring with me and a 6 inch piece of chain.

    Oh by the way, I have a new job. Not the best but it will pay the bills. I'm a Shift leader for Block buster Video. I have a friend who is a store manager so I hit him up for the job.
    Last edited by CigTech; 09-17-06 at 11:23 PM.
    May your feet keep move'n with the wind to your back.

    CigTech

  9. #9
    Zinophile tibikefor2's Avatar
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    In 15 years of commuting I balied once, which was due to the typical DC thunderstorm but with a tornado warning. When I left work it was not raining so that I thought that I would give it a chance. About half way home the skies opened up and it sounded like the g_ds were angry. When a lightning stike hit about 100 feet from me, I decided to call it quits and sought refuge in a nearby carport and called the wife.

    Well had a bit of bike path road rage this morning. A person who commutes in the opposite dierction of me does not like my light. I have an L&M HID which is pointed down and slightly to the right. Last week he swerved and almost hit me. This morning he stopped his bike and impeded my progress. I will be making a call to the Vienna police this morning just as an FYI.

    I am thinking of doing this next year:
    Arrival (June 9, Saturday)
    We will arrive in San Diego with riders from all corners of the world. After we assemble our bikes we can have a leisurely ride to the beach for photos in front of the Pacific Ocean. That evening we gather for a festive dinner before our adventure across America.

    Day 1 (June 10, Sunday) San Diego, CA to El Centro, CA 128 miles
    We depart the Pacific Ocean and begin climbing the first 50 miles. After crossing four mountain passes from 3,000 to 4,000 feet elevation we drop back down to sea level near the 100 mile mark. The desert will be 110 degrees at this time of year. The climbing today is almost 7,500 feet. With all the climbing and desert heat this day is a tough introduction to the Elite Tour.

    Day 2 (June 11, Monday) El Centro to Gila Bend, AZ 178 miles
    Today the good thing is the route will be mainly flat. The bad thing is that we ride across the burning desert all day. A 1,000 foot climb over Telegraph Pass near Yuma, Arizona is the main climbing for this section. With a little luck we could have good tailwinds the last half of the day.

    Day 3 (June 12, Tuesday) Gila Bend to Globe, AZ 147 miles
    The first half of the day we climb and descend several gentle grades in the desert. After lunch we begin climbing steeper grades gaining over 3,000 feet. The Pinal Mountains offer cooler temperatures and relief from the heat.

    Day 4 (June 13, Wednesday) Globe to Springerville, AZ 148 miles
    The first challenge of the day will be the steep climb out of the Salt River Canyon. Dozens of hairpin turns along the edge of the Canyon give us spectacular views across the valley. After departing the town of Show Low the route climbs to over 9,000 feet. The final 20 miles are a fast ride from the forests down into the ranches of the valley.

    Day 5 (June 14, Thursday) Springerville to Socorro, NM 158 miles
    Today we cross into New Mexico. The tall forests give way to small scrubby pine trees. Hills and cliffs of red rocks line the road as we climb to the Continental Divide at 8,000 feet near Pie Town. The wind will dictate if the ride across the range country is fast or not.

    Day 6 (June 15, Friday) Socorro to Roswell, NM 167 miles
    Another day of big rolling grades. There are several three to five mile climbs. Over the final 30 miles the road drops from the mountains into the prairie. By the time we reach Roswell the only thing alien to us will be the feeling of fresh legs.

    Day 7 (June 16, Saturday) Roswell to Hereford, TX 165 miles
    This is the flattest day of the tour. The scrubby vegetation changes to farm fields and cattle ranches as we enter Texas. It could be windy!

    Day 8 (June 17, Sunday) Hereford to Elk City, OK 200 miles
    We continue across the flat Texas Panhandle. In the afternoon we drop off the Caprock and begin to roll along the frontage road of Oklahoma's Route 66. The old remaining cement slabs offer a glimpse of highway travel 60 years ago.

    Day 9 (June 18, Monday) Elk City to Ada, OK 216 miles
    The scenery changes with more trees and rivers offering variety to the landscape. This is the longest day in miles but it will be interesting with many small towns and rolling hills.

    Day 10 (June 19, Tuesday) Ada to Mena, AR 178 miles
    This day will be remembered for the steep 15% grades of the Talimena Parkway. This Parkway follows the backbone ridge of the Quachita Mountains into Arkansas. 8,000 feet of climbing are packed into the final 50 miles of rollers.

    Day 11 (June 20, Wednesday) Mena to Pine Bluff, AR 180 miles
    Today is a recovery day from the steep climbing. We enter the dense pine forests of western Arkansas. Lumber and paper mills are the major landmarks today.

    Day 12 (June 21, Thursday) Pine Bluff to Batesville, MS 183 miles
    We leave the forests and ride out on the flat delta region. Rice and cotton are the main crops here with an occasional catfish farms. We cross the Mississippi River and climb up the rolling bluffs leaving the river behind.

    Day 13 (June 22, Friday) Batesville to Philadelphia, MS 166 miles
    We return to the forests and hills in central Mississippi. Rural highways and farm roads make this a nice cycling day.

    Day 14 (June 23, Saturday) Philadelphia to Camden, AL 155 miles
    Any rider who has made it this far is looking forward to the finish. The terrain and mileage are easier than anything we have traveled so far.

    Day 15 (June 24, Sunday) Camden to Eufaula, AL 160 miles
    A good variety of rural roads through the forests make this an interesting day. The humid heat will be the biggest challenge of today.

    Day 16 (June 25, Monday) Eufaula to Dublin, GA 159 miles
    As we enter Georgia, the big rolling hills are suitable for small chainring climbing. The ride becomes flat as we cross more than half the state today.

    Day 17 (June 26, Tuesday) Dublin to Tybee, GA 145 miles
    Our last day of riding. The route is nearly pancake flat with a slight downhill to the Atlantic. We cross the historic city of Savannah then ride the final 15 miles to the beach, arriving by mid afternoon. That evening we celebrate the completion of the Elite Tour with an awards dinner.


    Hope everyone has a great day.
    Last edited by tibikefor2; 09-18-06 at 07:49 AM.
    Tibikefor2

  10. #10
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tibikefor2

    Well had a bit of bike path road rage this morning. A person who commutes in the opposite dierction of me does not like my light. I have an L&M HID which is pointed down and slightly to the right. Last week he swerved and almost hit me. This morning he stopped his bike and impeded my progress. I will be making a call to the Vienna police this morning just as an FYI.
    You should try the lemon-juice-in-the-squirt-*** method. Aim for the eyes. That usually deters most trail side pests
    ...take your protein pills and put your helmet on...
    2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, 1983 Univega Nuovo Sport, GT Team LOTTO
    Looking for GT Course ~ 58cm PM Me!

  11. #11
    Zinophile tibikefor2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDL
    You should try the lemon-juice-in-the-squirt-*** method. Aim for the eyes. That usually deters most trail side pests
    I was thinking more of the pepper spray that they use to ward off bears. No this just gives me the willys.
    Tibikefor2

  12. #12
    Survival of the Fitest TheDL's Avatar
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    Ha! One word:

    "joust"
    ...take your protein pills and put your helmet on...
    2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, 1983 Univega Nuovo Sport, GT Team LOTTO
    Looking for GT Course ~ 58cm PM Me!

  13. #13
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    That's just nutty. It just goes to prove that bicycles will NOT solve the world's road rage problem--just bring it to the path

    Sheesh.
    My bicycle commuting blog: lop

  14. #14
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    I have yet to bail in 5 years. I have had to walk a few time...broken bike and broken wrist. I don't have a cell so SOL if I need to call. I have had to duct tape spokes, single speed it and ride in the dark. Those at home are waiting and expecting the call. I am sure; I too will have to make the call. Just haven't done it yet.
    Today I was almost t-bone at a round-about near home. I have had this same problem at this same spot. I was lit up like a Christmas tree. It always happens just at daybreak or sunset. Not really dark but not light. I always fear this time and this round-about. I think in round-abouts the person is looking behind you to see what is entering AND not what is IN the lane. I need more side lights.
    tibike: mighy ambitious, I wish you a lot of luck. 17 days to cross the country is some serious biking.
    As for your a$$hole biker: You ought to post this to some of the local forums: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BikeWashingtonDC/

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    TiBike -- too bad about the idiot rider. Given all the attention crowding on W&OD trail has been getting the police might be more responsive to calls like yours. Although I do like DL's suggestion of a joust -- somehow it seems fitting.

    As for your ride -- it seems a little soft compared to your past exploits Will you wear a sweatsuit on the ride to increase the level of difficulty? Actually it is a very impressive plan, I wish you luck. Lets hope you arrive at the Atlantic with the same number of riders you began with.

    It was just a beautiful ride this morning. Temps in the 60s, bright sunshine except for a layer of fog in the Potomac valley. I love dropping down through the fog and mist -- its my favorite riding condition. The miles just seemed to fly by this morning.

    I'm pretty psyched since I hatched a plan to take my son (and possibly the whole family depending upon schedules) on a long weekend camping trip on the C & O in October. Of course our total mileage for 3 days will only equal about 1 day in TiBike's plan. Its a whole different world of touring. If we don't get rained out it should be fun.
    God grant me the serenity to accept the hills and winds I cannot change;
    courage to challenge the cagers I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
    (with apologies to AA)
    24 mi. roundtrip -- Maryland suburbs to DC and back.

  16. #16
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    carry-over from last week:
    Velo: How was the anniversary ride?
    Mars: your reports keep getting worse.

  17. #17
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    Congrats on landing the job so quickly, Cig Tech! That's one less stress to worry about.
    My bicycle commuting blog: lop

  18. #18
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    I got clipped by a car and sprained the ACL in my left knee. Was off the bike for 5 days.

    Tibike, that ride sounds awesome, I wish I were going with you. As for the nutter on the path, how do you know it's your light that's annoying him? have you exchanged words?
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  19. #19
    Senior Member CigTech's Avatar
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    well it's only 3.22 miles to work now. So I'll have to come up with a long way round ride there and home. I did it today and it only took RT 10 min 20 seconds. with two stop lights. That gave me a AS of 18.75 mph.
    May your feet keep move'n with the wind to your back.

    CigTech

  20. #20
    Senior Member
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    Cig -- congrats on the new job, but you're right its not much a commute. The good news is there are always more streets to ride.

    It was a gorgeous ride home tonight as the good weather continued. I guess its just prep for tomorrow's rain.

    So Mars did you make it through a Monday without incident? Here's hoping you're in one piece after a smooth ride home.
    God grant me the serenity to accept the hills and winds I cannot change;
    courage to challenge the cagers I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
    (with apologies to AA)
    24 mi. roundtrip -- Maryland suburbs to DC and back.

  21. #21
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CigTech
    well it's only 3.22 miles to work now. So I'll have to come up with a long way round ride there and home. I did it today and it only took RT 10 min 20 seconds. with two stop lights. That gave me a AS of 18.75 mph.
    Cig, nobody says you got to take the shortest route.

    I used to have a 9 mile commute that used to take me 25 miles to complete
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  22. #22
    Zinophile tibikefor2's Avatar
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    Cig, congrats on finding a job so quickly. Cig to lengthen your commute, ride to work, ride home have breakfast and then ride back to work.

    After telling a friend of mine about my episode he came down from Merryland to ride to work with me. If the guy pulled his shenanigansagain, my friend was going to stare him down. My friends moniker on the serotta forum is Too Tall, as he is 6 feet 8 inches. Well we missed the no headlight two rear blink guy by about 15 seconds. It was nice to ride with an old friend.

    Newbie, I will be riding home in the rain, so maybe I can redeem myself
    Tibikefor2

  23. #23
    Senior Member CigTech's Avatar
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    Hey Guys,

    New new guy Redrom. Asked this qustion in last week post.

    "Hey, I haven't visited these parts in a while, but I'm trying to get up the courage to give it another try. I have been wondering since I gave up my 21 mile each way commute for safety reasons, if I wouldn't feel safer on an upright, and if getting a road bike might actually enable me to do the commute in an hour instead of 90 minutes. I've lost 50 lbs this year, and am now under 180 lbs, and wondering if my reduced weight might resolve the pain I had been experiencing in upright riding. But the critical factor in me deciding to take the plunge is speed and I was wondering if those who ride long commutes could give me an idea of how long it would take them to do 21 miles each way, and which bike would be preferred upright or recumbent, assuming mild hill conditions."
    May your feet keep move'n with the wind to your back.

    CigTech

  24. #24
    Code Warrior mwrobe1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CigTech
    Hey Guys,

    New new guy Redrom. Asked this qustion in last week post.

    "Hey, I haven't visited these parts in a while, but I'm trying to get up the courage to give it another try. I have been wondering since I gave up my 21 mile each way commute for safety reasons, if I wouldn't feel safer on an upright, and if getting a road bike might actually enable me to do the commute in an hour instead of 90 minutes. I've lost 50 lbs this year, and am now under 180 lbs, and wondering if my reduced weight might resolve the pain I had been experiencing in upright riding. But the critical factor in me deciding to take the plunge is speed and I was wondering if those who ride long commutes could give me an idea of how long it would take them to do 21 miles each way, and which bike would be preferred upright or recumbent, assuming mild hill conditions."
    Well...not that its all that impressive...but I can do my 19 miler in an hour and 15 minutes, on a MTB w/slicks...in a urban/surburban area...the first 9 miles has me stopping or slowing down every 1/2 mile or so (for stoplights). Of course...with no wind (and not having to stop)...I could attain and hold 19-20 mph forever...after that ...I ain't got no more gear. I won't know if a road bike would improve my time drastically until I get one...keep in mind...your time depends on the terrain and level of congestion too...not just the rig your riding.

    EDIT: I should also state that the hour and 15 minutes time is completed without totally killing myself either. I'd actually say (after doing it 1-2 times a week for the last month) that its almost leisurely. I can't wait to see what a full week of me quitting smoking does to my time!
    Elwood: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, 1/2 a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.

    Jake: Hit it.



  25. #25
    Zinophile tibikefor2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CigTech
    "Hey, I haven't visited these parts in a while, but I'm trying to get up the courage to give it another try. I have been wondering since I gave up my 21 mile each way commute for safety reasons, if I wouldn't feel safer on an upright, and if getting a road bike might actually enable me to do the commute in an hour instead of 90 minutes. I've lost 50 lbs this year, and am now under 180 lbs, and wondering if my reduced weight might resolve the pain I had been experiencing in upright riding. But the critical factor in me deciding to take the plunge is speed and I was wondering if those who ride long commutes could give me an idea of how long it would take them to do 21 miles each way, and which bike would be preferred upright or recumbent, assuming mild hill conditions."
    I usually do my 21 mile commute betwen and 1:02 and 1:10 depending upon lights and street crossings. This includes me being able to roll along in the low 20s for the flat sections of my commute. When I first started the commute, it took me closer to 1:35.
    Tibikefor2

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