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Ruckin 05-14-08 02:04 PM

Hopefully starting a new habbit
Okay, not actually new... twenty plus years ago I rode my bike everywhere mostly
because it was either that or walk. I have decided to stop making excuses and
just bite the bullet and ride to work. Twenty years of not riding, sampling microbrews,
too much business travel, etc has pushed me up to 225 lbs or so. Doc says to loose
weight/lower bp, etc...

So this morning I get up and toss the bike into the truck and drive part way to work.
I hop on the bike and discover that while it isn't technically raining, the bike path is
very wet and within 100 yards so am I. If I get near the small end of my freewheel
the derailleur keeps changing gears. Lesson: Don't assemble bike ride it around the block
once and assume that it is "all set up" I hop off and adjust it then it works fine for the
rest of the ride.

When I get to mile 8 I note that I am 1/2 way to work and am now entering into
territory that I have not ridden before. At mile 10 I get off the path and have to
take the next 2.5 miles on city streets. I was quite nervous about this as the county
bike path labeled this road as a "red" one. Red means lots of traffic and no place for
a bike to go. This red section was one of my significant excuses for not riding to work,
but it was only really bad for less than a mile of that stretch. I get past the "red road"
and am back to a different trail system.

Next I look down and see that I have gone 15 miles and work is nowhere in sight. :wtf:
I keep riding (btw, I am getting tired now...) 18 miles into my 16 mile ride I feel like I am
getting closer and things looking familiar. Get to the office and the little box says 19
miles. Lesson: Just because it is 16 miles by motorcycle doesn't mean that it will be that
distance on the bike path that wanders along the river...

I am now sore! Oddly enough I managed to pull a muscle when I was taking off my shirt
while changing my clothes. My tookus is a bit sore but I had just been riding for an hour
and a half and I am not used to biking that long. Hopefully the ride home does not put
me off so bad that I decide to just ride my motorcycle to work from here on out. I am not
sure if I will do it again tomorrow or take a day off and try for Friday.

I also need to work out a way to carry my monster big heavy work laptop to/from work.
My backpack is currently sized to carry either clothes or computer and unfortunately I
need to have both at work.

BTW, I built the bike from a redline conquest frame, xt disc hubs, dt rims, and sram rival
drivetrain. I have come to the conclusion that I really like index shifting. My previous
road bike had a six speed freewheel and friction shifters on the down tube...


.ps Hopefully, if I make this a regular thing I will someday get kicked out of the clyde club.
I am only 5' 9"

Little Darwin 05-14-08 02:13 PM

First, it should be clear, you will not be kicked out of the clyde club, you will simply get emeritus status.

Second, it is no shame to take a day off, especially while you are building up to your commute. 19 miles is a heck of a first time commute, and as you add the return trip, that is a good day of riding.

In fact, your 19 mile one way commute is inspirational. I am trying to build up my confidence enough to ride my 8-10 mile commute, so enjoy your accomplishment! You took a big step... relax, enjoy it, and get ready for the next step. :)

CACycling 05-14-08 02:24 PM

WOW! That was a heck of a starter ride. I think most would have driven much more of the way before switching to the bike. It took me months of daily riding before I had the guts to tackle my 5 mile commute to work. Keep it up and you'll find yourself shopping for new clothes in no time.

Ruckin 05-14-08 02:30 PM


Originally Posted by Little Darwin (Post 6694270)
You took a big step... relax, enjoy it, and get ready for the next step. :)

The next step is getting home :speedy: without bonking

Trebor Snave 05-14-08 02:50 PM

Good LORD, man! It took me a month of riding last summer to get to the point of being comfortable on a 20 mile ride - you're doing two in one day!

Crap. Now I have no excuse for not doing one leg of the commute... (I carpool)

Neil_B 05-15-08 08:00 AM


Originally Posted by Ruckin (Post 6694391)
The next step is getting home :speedy: without bonking

Did you?

BTW, I was riding for months before I tackled my 34 mile round trip commute, so my hat is off to you.

bigwies 05-15-08 08:24 AM

great job. I commute 19 miles round trip and really enjoy it and you are at 2X my efforts. Just a few suggestions.

1. Check out the Commuting Forum for lots of info on commuting by bike.
2. Drive to work one day/week and bring in the clothes you will need for the week. Bring home your dirty stuff the next week when you drive in again. Then all you have to deal with is your laptop.
3. I keep 2 - 3 pairs of pants, a belt, my shoes, a towel, and a complete shaving kit at work and then bring in my shirt and socks each day. That really reduces the amount of stuff I have to haul to the office each day.
4. Make sure you have a multi-tool, spare tube, a pump/CO2 inflator and a patch kit. I leave my lock at work attached to the bike rack.
5. Take a day off when you body says it needs a break. Also make sure you are getting enough sleep. I know my riding suffers when I don't get enough shut-eye.
6. Make sure you carry enough water/sports drinks with you, especially when it gets hot.

Can't wait to hear about your ride home.

Air 05-15-08 08:43 AM

19 is an amazing commute - congrats!!!

Tom Stormcrowe 05-15-08 08:50 AM

Agreed with everyone else, great job! As you harden up, you'll find that it gets much easier. Now, here's a couple of commuting tricks.......
  1. Keep a weeks worth of suits.undershirts, dress shirts at the office and that reduces the need for carrying so much, On laundry change day, just drive. If it can be worked into a bad weather day for laundry day, that's even better. ;)
  2. Get a messenger bag that's weatherproof
  3. Get a garment bag that can roll and be lashed onto the rear rack.

See if those ideas don't help you out a tad.....

kenseth03 05-15-08 08:55 AM

I wish I could ride my bike to work but I can't imagine how nasty I would feel after sweating badly on a 90+ degree day in the humid summers we have here in Va.

Ruckin 05-15-08 11:14 AM


Originally Posted by Ruckin (Post 6694391)
The next step is getting home without :speedy: bonking


Originally Posted by The Historian (Post 6698782)
Did you?

Nope. Like an idiot I didn't eat enough at lunch and just hopped on the bike to
go home. Speeds started dropping significantly about 7 miles to go. I blame
part of it on the fact that my tookus is not used to sitting on a bike seat for
a 40 mile ride and I was getting very uncomfortable. I also must have tightened
up the straps on my pack too tight and my shoulders hurt quite a bit today.
On the plus side my route home was shorter and I only clocked 18 miles on the way home.

I wussed out today because I was too sore. I will also make sure that i always
have a granola bar or something to eat with me at all times.

Because of off site meetings and other activities I will need to drive/ride my motorcycle
a couple days a week. (Unless I can carry a laptop, work clothes and a duffle bag full of
dinghy sailing gear) I wish I had a good spot to store a weeks worth of clothes.
The lockers are 100% full. Heck the bike rack at work has no spaces left after 7:30 am.

I will be putting on a rack that I can put my clothes in then I will just have to put
the laptop in the backpack. I think I will try to do this commute twice a week until my
body gets used to the exercise. If that commute gets too easy, I will consider going
door to door and adding 4 miles and 600ft of elevation gain on the way home but that
wont be happening in the near future.

Thank you for all the supportive comments and suggestions.


Ruckin 05-22-08 02:01 PM

Day 2!
Well I got up this morning and was still asleep, put the bike in the truck and drove to the trail.
I have optimized my route to work and it is only 18.5 miles. Finding a shorter route isn't cheating
is it? I have a banana and a granola bar for the ride home (bonk prevention).

I guess I will be on the once a week program until my tookus can do the entire ride without
being too painful. I have an allen wrench to make mid ride tweaks but some of it might just
be not enough miles under my belt.

Now if it would stop raining on my commute, I would be much happier!

I knocked 5 minutes off my ride time from the first time. I am still not going as fast I would
like but the trend (lol) is in the correct direction.


jyossarian 05-22-08 02:50 PM

Adjust what you got or try a Brooks saddle. Lots of people swear by them. A few swear at them. Wall bike (I think) has a 6 month return policy so if you don't like it, just send it back.

Ruckin 05-25-08 09:45 AM

According to my ancient cateye cyclometer I averaged 12.9 mph round trip on my first commute and 13.5 on the second. A pre ride banana and a granola bar 1/2 way through made a difference! I was also pleased when my wife said that I didn't look nearly as whupped. The bathroom scales has not changed in the last two weeks, but I guess with only one day
a week of commuting it is too early to expect anything.

v1k1ng1001 05-25-08 10:35 AM

you need to get a big messenger bag

Ruckin 06-04-08 09:32 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Work has sent me on the road so no bike riding this week :(

But here is a picture of the commute bike Attachment 73148:

This is the bike I take on the days that I don't ride :) Attachment 73149

I will be in town two days next week, and with a bit of luck I will be on the blue bike for one of them...

ban guzzi 06-05-08 01:03 AM


Originally Posted by Ruckin (Post 6821693)
Work has sent me on the road so no bike riding this week :(

But here is a picture of the commute bike Attachment 73148:

This is the bike I take on the days that I don't ride :) Attachment 73149

I will be in town two days next week, and with a bit of luck I will be on the blue bike for one of them...

Nice GS! Are those Jesse bags or the stockers?

sorry to go OT...

Ruckin 06-05-08 10:02 AM


Originally Posted by ban guzzi (Post 6822528)
Nice GS! Are those Jesse bags or the stockers?

sorry to go OT...

Those are the stock bags. My commute is about 25 miles each way. If I have meetings in other places it can be an additional 20+ miles (each way) and I am not able to pedal that far without taking all day. I am working on getting my fitness level up to where I can take the conquest or my salsa la cruz into work on a regular basis.


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