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  1. #1
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    Very Long Commute Club: Week 22, 2007

    Sorry for the late start this week, but I've been swamped with stuff at work and home improvement projects.

    I'll just say I'm coming to love my touring bike-turned-commuter. A comfortable ride, lots of space and just so cool to be riding a classic. I took my bike into the LBS over the weekend to get a new derailleur cable and even the mechanic commented on what a cool bike. I guess I've found the right LBS.

    This week's topic: things falling from trees. Around here, black walnuts are just beginning to drop onto the MUP. Has anyone been hit by one of these natural bombs? I know before long parts of the MUP will be covered in them, making quite an obstacle course.

    The only thing I can say is better black walnuts than the fruit of the osage orange or bois d'arc. Those things look like a pebbly green softball and weigh about the same as a bocce ball. There is a tree near the MUP, but the fruits don't seem to land on the trail.
    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.

  2. #2
    Laid back bent rider unixpro's Avatar
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    I'm just curious, but what, exactly, is considered a very long commute?

    Around here its just leaves and branches that fall from the trees. The leaves tend to collect on the road and become very slick when wet. When riding uphill, it's can get real exciting to suddenly find your traction go away

  3. #3
    Thread Killer evblazer's Avatar
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    I remember using studded tires for snow and wet leaves back north. Down in Texas it is mostly pecans and pinecones. Falling isn't so much a problem. When they are all over the ground that is the issue.
    That and squished frogs. There was a day recently where there were just hundreds and hundreds of them in one block.

    What is a Very Long Commute? I think there are people on here with all ranges of distances and time spent on said commute. I think some people at my work would consider a mile a very long commute by anything but a car. I am now doing a 42 mile round trip up from roughly 20 previously and both are pretty long to me but I have seen longer and shorter on previous posts in the VLCC threads.

  4. #4
    One Man Fast Brick hubcap's Avatar
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    On my old commute, I used to have to dodge apples that had fallen onto the trail in the fall. It was often dark on both ends of my commute and every once in a while my mind would wander and I wouldn't be watching closely what my lights were lighting up in front of me and I would hit one. I never went down from that, but boy would it ever shock me back into attentiveness.

    On my new commute (well, I've been doing it for over a year, so it's not so new anymore), the biggest falling object issues have been tree limbs that come down during heavy winds. A good chunk of the distance I ride is adjacent to forest preserves with trees growning up close to the road. A decent sized limb will block a whole lane, but nothing has fallen on me yet.

    unixpro, I'm pretty sure the official definition of a VLC is whatever you think is a VLC.

    Maryland, have you checked yet to see if you have any appreciable difference in speed between your two commuting bikes?

  5. #5
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    Unixpro -- hubcap is right, a Very Long Commute is whatever you think it is. It could be long because of distance or hills or traffic conditions or whatever makes it a very long commute for you. When you get a chance, why don't you give us some details on your ride. Good point about slippery leaves on the uphills. We're all wary of them on the downhills and on curves, but I'd never thought about the issues on the uphills. On my route the leaves tend to get blown off of the few hills there are.

    Hubcap -- I have not compared speeds. In fact, I haven't even moved the bike computer over yet. I've been enjoying a couple of weeks of Zen-like simplicity in my riding. I'm going to try to switch it over this weekend so I can do some comparisons. I have a feeling it is not a lot faster, it is just feels different and seems like less work to maintain the same speed. That might be just an illusion, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts.
    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.

  6. #6
    beer disposal technician
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    I was hit by a bird last week on the W&OD in Sterling. Near the two dips between Sterling Blvd and Crestview. I saw this black thing swoop down from one of the trees and then it just disappeared. A few seconds later I look down and see the poor creature wedged between my front fork and tire. By the time I realize what happened it gets ejected. I hope it was a quick and painless death.

  7. #7
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    VA Dave -- that is wild. I've come close to taking out squirrels, but have never actually hit one. Glad it didn't cause you to crash.
    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
    Zin
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    On your what?!? Zin's Avatar
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    What ever happened to the VLC? I think I now qualify for the VLC with a 34 mile RT commute and would like to participate.

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