Hello. My name is Carl. I have been commuting to work now at least two or three days a week for the past few months. I travel from Briarcliffe (Glenolden for those that may want to map it out) to Ridley Park by the Delaware River. It is a fairly straight-forward route and not long at all. It's only 5.5 miles though there are a disproportionate amount of hills in this area it seems.
I was riding a Schwinn Super Sport as my first bicycle since I was a young teenager (13 or so) for about two years until I destroyed the head set trying to tighten it. I over-tightened it and shattered the cap while at work. Had to get a ride home then.
This spurred the setting into motion of buying a new bicycle because I wasn't about to throw money into a generally boring and low-quality bicycle even if it was just a headset that needed to be replaced. I was never happy with the way the bicycle felt, and shame on me for not doing my research on fitment, what to expect from a decent bike shop, etc. before buying the Schwinn in the first place.
I purchased a Jamis Aurora Elite from Trophy Bikes in Philadelphia on Walnut Street. I did not ride the bike home though because it was late and getting dark. I took the train home and wound up in the wrong car since I'd never traveled with a bicycle on a train before. I made a complete ass of myself to be sure.
I am a Clydesdale without a doubt. I weigh in currently at 340 pounds, and hopefully falling again within the next week. I have been off of the Weight Watcher's bandwagon for about three weeks now, and that needs to change. Or at the least I need to make some more intelligent decisions about what I eat at work instead of just taking whatever is easiest out of the cafeteria.
I don't care very much about averages, mileage, etc. other than figuring out if I'm going to survive a longer trip or not. The longest I've gone is probably 25-30 miles. I do have a basic computer, but I generally ignore it unless I'm going particularly fast down hill and want to see how fast. I expect to take part in my first group ride in a couple of weeks with "The Historian" and some others from the forums here into Philadelphia via the Schuylkill River Trail. It will be the longest trip I've taken, and also the farthest I've ever been from home with nothing more than a bicycle with some stuff attached and a cell phone, and a little bit of cash. I look at it as my first step into touring, though ultimately we'll be eating cheese steaks in Philadelphia, which doesn't exactly fit into a weight loss regimen, though I don't care.
I expect to become much more involved in Delaware County to support cyclists. There is no shortage of immature drivers in this area that make life harrowing at times on a bicycle in this county. Apparently the site of a larger person on two wheels moving himself around is incredibly threatening, but if I was sitting my fat ass on a Harley, no one would have a problem with it, and in fact would probably be a little concerned for their safety instead of the other way around. It's basically like being a kid again sometimes and you just have to put up with the crap that comes with the lifestyle. Often times cycling and being a homosexual male are intertwined in people's minds, even if you're riding with a woman.
I have not been doored, and hope to never be doored. I was almost doored just today for the first time ever. I was also almost left-crossed but was paying attention and avoided both problems after some words with both offending parties. I am somewhat aggressive and will defend myself as/when necessary from boneheads behind the wheel. I was a bonehead behind a wheel once, I know what it's like to be one. That's why I took up this lifestyle. I am no longer allowed to be a bonehead behind the wheel, and I'm using the time off gifted to me by the Pennsylvania DMV in conjunction with my local law enforcement folks to do something good for myself. I will get healthier and already have a considerable appreciation for what not to do behind the wheel when I do get my license back, though by then I'm not sure I'll even want it.
In a year's time I hope to be in shape enough to make a tour at least down to the New Jersey shore (Cape May area) for a day (leave Friday, enjoy Saturday, ride back Sunday). My sixth grade math teacher did it once as some sort of thing for the school and he was successful before the advent of Google Maps and basically the World Wide Web as we know it today. Now at least we have exceptional resources on how to get there and what to expect along the way. People such as that teacher helped to pave the way.
I will stop now because I think this is probably already too long.