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2024 How Was Your Commute?

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2024 How Was Your Commute?

Old 01-02-24, 12:23 PM
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2024 How Was Your Commute?

Since yesterday was a federal holiday in the States, for many of us this is the first work day. So for today and for all of 2024: How was your commute today?
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Old 01-02-24, 02:34 PM
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A good start to the year. 22 degrees with a 10MPH headwind. I'm never a fan of a head wind, but I managed to hit the correct combination of layers to be comfortable in this condition. So I call that a win!

Definitely looking forward to having daylight again...
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Old 01-03-24, 11:00 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1803:

New Year's day was a holiday, and then I took the 2nd off because I had some vacation time that needed to be used. So today (Jan 3rd) was my first commute of the year.

I actually rode 14 miles on the 1st. My LBS does an annual New Years Day ride. Most years I'm traveling on New Years Day, but we got home late on the 31st so I was able to join in. There was a pretty good turnout. Probably somewhere between 80-100 riders. The temp was a reasonable 22ºF, the sun was out and the wind was a relatively South Dakota calm at 12 mph. And the post-ride chili afterwards was delicious.

This morning was kind of strange. The forecast called for clear skies. From doing the New Year's ride I knew the MUP was mostly clear with only occasional patches of ice. I decided to pack for my road bike. I figured the increased speed of the road bike on the clear pavement would probably offset the few times I would need to walk across the icy spots.

However, when I got up I looked out the window and saw snow falling. There was probably 1/8" down on the ground. That was completely unexpected. So I changed plans, repacked gear and took my mountain bike with studded tires. I rode through falling snow for about six blocks when suddenly it stopped. Now no snow was falling, and there was no longer any snow on the pavement. I guess the falling snow was limited to the area right around my house. Never seen it quite that isolated before.

I thought about turning around and going back to get the road bike, but didn't know if I would hit any more snow (I didn't) so I just kept on riding that bike. It's definitely slower than the road bike. The temp wasn't bad at 24ºF and there was a light 10 mph headwind.

As I was riding I heard a weird noise which sounded like a tire crinkling as it's going flat. I looked down and my tires appeared OK, so I kept going. Then I heard it again. Then again. I pulled over to give my tires a squeeze to make sure everything was OK. As I was standing there motionless, I once again heard the noise and figured out it was coming from inside my bag. Turns out I had an empty plastic water bottle in my bag and it was crinkling and popping as the air inside it cooled and lost pressure. That was kind of funny.
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Old 01-04-24, 01:15 PM
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First winter commuting, finding my limits

Discouraged both by how little I managed to bike this year, and by how out of shape I was the first few months, I decided to do some research, get some gear, and see what my comfort limits are when it comes to cold weather and cycling.

Turns out, 24F is about my limit. Since today started out above 32F, I was actually a little warm when I got to the office after 7 miles or so; fortunately I keep a spare shirt in my office.

Just the process of thinking about cycling in colder, and darker, conditions forced me to reevaluate many of my practices. I found that it shook me out of complacency, and that was a good thing.

So the answer to 'How was my ride' is: satisfying.
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Old 01-05-24, 06:40 AM
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Sunny and at 15 degrees C reasonably warm for January this afternoon. Had a good quick ride with an average speed of nearly 30km/h, which is one of my best averages on my commute in quite some time.
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Old 01-07-24, 06:23 AM
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It was -1°C this morning....and the roads were glistening with iced dew. My 25mm tyres are at 80psi (i.e. not super hard), but I seriously considered turning back and driving to work as there are some uphills and turns en route. But I kept going...I love having just enough winter gear on to be just a little chilly starting off warming as you go!
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Old 01-08-24, 10:02 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1806:

After getting off easy in November and December, winter finally arrived to eastern South Dakota.

I woke up to about 8" of snow on the ground, with snow predicted to continue to fall through tomorrow morning. When I went to bed they were estimating between 5" - 10". If it continues to snow at the current rate we'll be well above that amount.

Schools got cancelled for the day. Many businesses were closed. I briefly considered working from home and breaking my streak, but then I remembered I left my laptop at my desk on Friday afternoon, so there wasn't any way I could work remotely. Then I briefly considered taking a vacation day so my streak could stay intact, but then decided that was the weenie way out. So I sucked it up and rode my bicycle.

I left the house at 6:45 AM hoping that between things being closed and the early time that I could avoid heavy traffic. I took the fat bike on its inaugural run of the season. Virgin snow was too deep to ride through, so I had to walk the bike down my driveway and out into the street where I could ride in the ruts made by a truck which had gone by earlier. I immediately gave up the idea of taking my normal route to work, which included a substantial percentage of MUP riding. There would be no way I could ride the unplowed MUP with this amount of snow.

Instead I took to the main streets. I was hoping that the emergency snow routes would be plowed, but the ones that I rode on had not yet had any snow cleared. However, enough vehicles had driven on them that I could follow their ruts. I couldn't see my speedometer in the dark, but there was no way I was maintaining more than 5 mph. Even in the ruts the snow was causing a ton of resistance. The snow was too deep for drivers to venture outside of the established path in order to pass me, so when I would notice three or four cars stacked up behind me I would pull over and let them pass. The street route I rode was about a mile longer, and a lot hillier than my typical route, but overall was a better choice than trying to ride the MUP.

I almost went down a couple of times when I would hit drifts while crossing intersections, but never did hit the ground so that was a good thing. The temp was 23ºF with a moderate wind, but given how hard I was working I wasn't cold in the least. I actually started having a hard time with my glasses fogging over due to how much heat was coming off of my face. I had to stop a couple of times to try and wipe the lenses clear so I could see. It's rare I have trouble with glasses fogging. Usually that's a problem I fight with goggles.

During one of my stops I noticed that my pannier bag was only holding on by one of the three mounting clips. Had it fallen off I probably wouldn't have heard it hit the ground in the snow. This would have been a bad day to have to go back a couple miles to search for a lost bag.

About two blocks from the client's office I pulled over to snap a photo. That way when all the emails started coming in from people saying the roads were too bad to drive to work I could just reply with this picture:


By the end of the week the temps are predicted to drop to sub-zero F, so winter has definitely arrived.
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Old 01-08-24, 02:55 PM
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Yep. I'm enjoying my last "nice" commute today on summer tires. Clear roads, 27 degrees, and a 10MPH headwind. Tonight I'll race that big snowstorm on my way back home.

Tomorrow it'll still be snowing heavily. We'll see how well the plows do. I'm not equipped for deep snow. Nor am I looking forward to the predicted 27MPH headwind. I might switch to studs or I might just drive.
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Old 01-09-24, 08:51 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1807:

Yesterday's ride home was as challenging as yesterday's ride in. I was surprised that a primary artery, which is also one of our designated "emergency snow routes" was still unplowed. Those ESRs are supposed to get plowed regularly as soon as we receive more than 2". My route had me riding about 2 miles on this street. Because of the lack of plowing that meant I had to ride out in the middle of a lane in order to stay in the tire ruts. That didn't make me real popular with the drivers.

This morning the snow had mostly stopped. I think the total was somewhere around 11". I got up an hour early and spent time clearing my driveway of snow. It took a little longer than expected. Then I hit the road around 7. I was back on the fat bike.

The temp was 19ºF and there was a 20 mph headwind which put the windchill somewhere around 2ºF. The plows hadn't yet gotten to my neighborhood, and the streets were in terrible condition. I had some struggles riding until I got out to the above mentioned main artery. Thankfully, the plows had run at some point during the night on this road. It wasn't down to pavement, but they had removed enough snow to make it more ridable.

Had one guy in a pickup honk at me. Haven't been honked at in a while.

The day's high temp happened at some point while I was sleeping, and it's going to get colder throughout the day down to single digits. I'm hoping that the MUP is plowed by the time I ride home tonight. At minimum I should at least get a tail wind.
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Old 01-09-24, 09:09 AM
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According to Wunderground's Wundermap parts of my ride were in the mid 20 F. Coldest for me in a long time. While complaining to myself at how cold I was, I passed a dog walker in his shorts. LOL.
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Old 01-09-24, 10:25 AM
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First commute to work of the year

It was 48°. Warm!

Left early enough to arrive 5 minutes early. Hope that is a pattern I can keep up!

I drove yesterday, first day back at work. It wasn't because it was 36°. It was sheer laziness.

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Old 01-09-24, 01:16 PM
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I was working from home to cover for my wife's dr appointment and planning to leave the house about 11, but it was raining. So instead, I took the time I would’ve spent riding and investigated a little problem on my bike. The rear tire had been losing air, over about an hour. It wasn’t keeping me from riding to work, but I had to pump it up every time. Since I was home, I pumped it up in the bathtub and found it leaking at the spoke holes. This means it’s a tubeless tape problem. So once I knew that it was pretty easy to find.

This tire came off really easily, which is unusual in my tubeless experience so far.

I'll "stop by" the bike shop after work, it's not really on the way but close enough




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Old 01-10-24, 04:42 PM
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Here is a nice clip from today's commute.

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Old 01-10-24, 06:44 PM
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I was looking for a new route to/from work in anticipation of major flooding along my commute. I ended up taking an actual bike path. It was along the remnants of the old Morris Canal. There were backyards on either side, but the canal was still visible, and the towpath was the bike path. It was even paved and plowed and had signs and benches. I had passed this literally 200 some times and never checked it out before.
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Old 01-11-24, 09:13 AM
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Canal paths are really good for doing your own mini TT. Few people, few intersections, dead level. If they are not out of your way that's even better
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Old 01-11-24, 09:55 AM
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Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1809:

We got an unpredicted inch of snow yesterday afternoon. That puts our total snow since Monday at 12". It's supposed to start snowing again later today, with estimates for this storm being as high as 10". I'm not Norwegian, but "Uff Da!"

This morning the temp was right at zero. Thankfully that is Fahrenheit and not Kelvin. High today is supposed to top out around 8ºF, then temps are going to plummet below zero and not rise back into the positives until late next week. South Dakota summers are gorgeous, but our winter is the price you pay to get those beautiful days.

Had an 8 mph headwind as I rode in to work, which put the wind chill at -14ºF. I rode slow, due to a combination of the wind, the fat bike, the inch of unplowed snow and my excessive weight.
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Old 01-11-24, 06:02 PM
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I don't commute by bike much anymore. I need to set some goals. I do want to put on more miles this year than last year, and commuting can be part of that. But today, as I rode my bike to work and back for the first time in a few weeks, I pondered all of the obstacles I overcome to do it. I'll write about that later.

Today's commutes were splendid, and I don't use that word often. I checked the weather, and it looked favorable, especially for the morning. It was about 44ºF with a moderately stiff tailwind pushing me in the direction of my workplace. Everything came together. I wore just the right clothes, the weather was clear and crisp, I wasn't hot or cold, and my back didn't hurt. It was so pleasant that I started wondering why I was so comfortable and happy: what was I doing right? Since it's January, the number of bike commuters on the heavily used route is reduced. I guess people figure it's not a good time for cycling even though the weather is great. Well, that made it less stressful for me, because there were fewer people to watch or dodge. And the tailwind reduced the noise in my ears, so it was blissfully quiet.

The route is 13 miles each way. I got to work in record time, I believe, exactly one hour on the bike.

I knew coming back would be harder, and I considered taking an inland route rather than a route along the river path. I did take the river path, and I told myself I could veer inland if the wind got bad. It started out not being bad, but it built up, not because the weather changed during my ride but because the terrain varies a bit, and my route is slightly curved. I was veering increasingly into the wind. At several points, it was challenging, and it did lead my back to hurt. But the light was so bright, and the air felt unusually clean, I wasn't going to give it up. My return ride was 1:17 long. And of course, I figure the physical and mental challenges of work make me a little less strong which also explains the slower time.

I'm super glad I rode today, and I will work on making it a somewhat routine thing.

And since I work in a school now (rather than a college), I'm done with work at 2:30 or 3:00, so I make it home before sunset. Very nice.

AM commute GPS tracks

PM commute GPS tracks


Morning picture. That's the George Washington Bridge in the distance.

Hudson River

Hudson Yards and The Vessel

Hudson River Greenway

Hudson River Greenway

Little Island, built recently by a generous wealthy person as a donation.
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Old 01-11-24, 07:32 PM
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One of my random past times commuting is counting the days before/after the equinox, multiplying by two and dividing by seven. We are now out of the darkest six weeks of the year!

Trying to avoid flooding everywhere on the ride, especially home as the rivers continued to rise. I had the inner thrill of taking a wheels-dry route through the (aptly named) Willowbook Mall to get to dry roads. Cars couldn't do that because much of the mall was flooded. I powered through many mostly empty parking lots, but my secret path was a sidewalk behind a movie theater where the road was full of river water but the sidewalk was dry.
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Old 01-12-24, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty
Canal paths are really good for doing your own mini TT. Few people, few intersections, dead level. If they are not out of your way that's even better
Too many people dog walking, fishing, camping, etc. here. You have to slow down at the underpasses.
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Old 01-12-24, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
One of my random past times commuting is counting the days before/after the equinox, multiplying by two and dividing by seven. We are now out of the darkest six weeks of the year!
I like the optimistic view! I am starting to notice the increased light. But what do you do with that quotient? I think we are about 69 days to the equinox, rounding to 70, multiply by 2 gives 140, dividing by 7 gives 20, and now what?
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Old 01-12-24, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by locolobo13
Too many people dog walking, fishing, camping, etc. here. You have to slow down at the underpasses.
That's too bad. Sacramento has a long winding river trail that attracts that kind of use, which is appropriate (except the camping). The canal that goes along Sunrise from the American to Consumnes rivers is deserted by comparison.

Sometimes instead of commuting I do a lunch break ride that would start from work, go up to the overlook above the Nimbus dam (over ONE HUNDRED feet of climb), and then through the tunnel to the canal for as long as I had until I had to turn back. I hit some of my best ever speeds on my old steelies. The modern bikes are never as fast for me somehow
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Old 01-12-24, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Tundra_Man
Consecutive bicycle work commute number 1809:

We got an unpredicted inch of snow yesterday afternoon. That puts our total snow since Monday at 12". It's supposed to start snowing again later today, with estimates for this storm being as high as 10". I'm not Norwegian, but "Uff Da!"

This morning the temp was right at zero. Thankfully that is Fahrenheit and not Kelvin. High today is supposed to top out around 8ºF, then temps are going to plummet below zero and not rise back into the positives until late next week. South Dakota summers are gorgeous, but our winter is the price you pay to get those beautiful days.

Had an 8 mph headwind as I rode in to work, which put the wind chill at -14ºF. I rode slow, due to a combination of the wind, the fat bike, the inch of unplowed snow and my excessive weight.
With temps like these, are you the only bike commuter out there, or do you pass others?

Also, you should post a pick of what you wear during these winter commutes. As a Louisianan, I have no idea what I'd wear on a freezing commute.

Love your videos and updates!

-Matt
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Old 01-12-24, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
I like the optimistic view! I am starting to notice the increased light. But what do you do with that quotient? I think we are about 69 days to the equinox, rounding to 70, multiply by 2 gives 140, dividing by 7 gives 20, and now what?
The shortest day of the year was December 21st, which was 21 days ago. Multiply by 2 to account for the days before that were roughly the same as the days after. That gets 42. Divide by 7 days in a week - 6 weeks.
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Old 01-12-24, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by locolobo13
Too many people dog walking, fishing, camping, etc. here. You have to slow down at the underpasses.
I didn't see anybody on this canal path, except for at the street through it with traffic, a crosswalk and a crossing guard.
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Old 01-12-24, 05:55 PM
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Today's commute found me sneaking behind the movie theater again to get around the flooding and the traffic. This time, the water was up over the sidewalk a few inches and I got the tires wet.

The good news is that I saw two dumpsters back there that had floated out into the street. They weren't floating this morning, so that means the highest water has passed.

Then my quick link broke because I had worn my derailleur pulleys down to practically nothing. I stopped at the LBS and grabbed a new derailleur, a backup rear derailleur, a spoke wrench, and a seat post. Friday night in the dead of winter is the best time to get great service at the bike shop.
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