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Extreme commute club:week 9

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Extreme commute club:week 9

Old 01-07-07, 11:23 AM
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Mars
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Extreme commute club:week 9

Insanely nice weather here in Vermont. In fact, it's a little distressing, people were walking around in t shirts - in Vermont, in January...

Well, I was reflecting a little about wha tit means to be a bicycle commuter in all weather conditions. One aspect has to be going against typical behavior of the community, family, and office. How do the people in your life react to your commuting? Are they supportive? Think you're nuts?

My wife is supportive but has made it clear that when we have kids I can't take them for rides on a kid carrier or trailer. that tells me that she doesn't think it's safe - well it's safe enough for me, but not for our kids...

My colleagues seem to be pretty cool about it, but working in a university, there are a lot of quirky characters. They seem to think I'm the most nutty when the weatehr is bad.

My students seem to think that I have super cycling skills. They don't seem to think that it's possible for a mortal to ride a bike in the ice and snow.

The guy in the office next to mine is probably the one who is most negative. But his disapproval comes from the lycra cycling clothes. I change in my office, so as I wheel my bike in and out each day, there I am in my bike shorts or tights He has never said anything, just gives me a look....
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Old 01-07-07, 11:39 AM
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I'm seeing more commuters than ever this winter. No wonder: it's January in Toronto and the temperatures are hovering above 0 C, sometimes soaring as high as +13. We've had hardly any snow or ice. It sure makes winter bike riding easier, but you feel a lot less special for doing so.
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Old 01-07-07, 11:45 AM
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Always the disruptive presence wherever you go , Mars !! tee hee...

People think Im a wacko at my job, too. In the area of Vermont my job is located if
you even have the audacity to shun a bigfoot p-up truck or unlicensed quad/4wheeler
type vehicle for a japanese car you are freedom hatin' wacko, too. So to ride a bike
in people were ready to call Homeland Security at first. Now, they are very nice and I
have settled into my roll as company moonbat quite comfortably. They still comment on
it all the time, like wearing shorts in December, etc. One issue I feel sort of bad about is
they always offer me a ride if it looks like rain or snow and I always refuse. A few times
I have seen that it was taken as sort of an affront so now I carefully explain in Ver-bonix
(real Vemontspeak) that I very, very much appreciate the offer but "I need this like you
need fishing ...Its my hobby and keeping me sane
". I then tell them I will take them up
on thier most generous offer at some point in the long winter. Probably when it is very
inconvenient to them and we both have a little laff and go on our way.
My Wife is very supportive and sometimes tells me when I need to go out and have a
dose of my bicycular prozak
Also....Even though cars are very decent about bicycles here in VT. as compared to the
lower states, they are even moreso in the cold and dark months. I guess they feel sorry
for me and give me more room and no hornage to speak of ! The A&S forum guys would
go nuts with nothing to talk about if they had my morning commute
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Old 01-07-07, 08:22 PM
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I think I fall into the category of resident oddball at my office -- although our office is so small its hard to have such distinct roles. Although, the building I am has a least 3 other bike commuters in good weather. Since its a small building I consider that pretty good. My wife seems supportive, although at times I think she doubts my sanity. As I have gotten the family into riding more, her "you're nuts" moments seem to be confined to extremely bad weather days. I probably get the most typical reactions when I ride with my son to school or show up at his school on my bike. Most of the other parents can't believe it and if the weather is bad they really can't imagine not driving their SUV.

It was such a great day on Saturday we did a nice little 20 mile family ride on a local MUP. It was 72 degrees at one point on the ride. Even got to meet a proud town councilman when we stopped for lunch at the end of the trail.

Finally, got around to putting all the bike gear we got for Christmas on my wife and son's bikes so they are now rolling in style. I still have to work out some mods to my light system to improve the mounting system. Maybe I can finally work up something that is both secure for riding and easily removed when I park.

It looks like we might have a week coming up that will be almost like real winter -- no snow in sight, but at least the temps will be down in the 30s-40s. This winter is not one to boast about your year around riding!
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Old 01-07-07, 08:44 PM
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One guy that comes into my store all the time, keeps telling me that I'm am out of control. Because of the speeds I ride at. I guess he has never seen any one going above 10 mph on a bike. But he can drop 200,000.00 into his show car and call me out of control.

My wife thinks I'm nuts I think. The co-works seems to be in awe of my bike riding speeds and milage.

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Old 01-08-07, 07:30 AM
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What a difference here. One, people like the fact that I am not different. Our housekeeper / cook person for the office commutes to work on a bike, and picks up our office manager's son on a bike too. Most errands in town by my assistant is done on a bike. (he does have a car too, and so do I)

But the big one was, we were reviewing the books with the accountant who of course is finding deductions for us. He asked, "where are the expenses for Fred's bike?" Huh? Come to find out, EVERYTHING associated with my bike, cleaning, parts, repairs, etc. is completely deductable from the business we have because is is my primary mode of transportation. Costa Rica recognizes a bike as a very valid means of transportation.

Even food I purchase along the way. Amy (my wife) wanted to list it under conbustibles...

I was racing a motorcycle today - the limiting factor for both of us was the road. We were crusing through town at 32 kilometers per hours. Not particularly high speed, but we sure were getting the looks!

My wife is very much behind me. (especially if we are riding the tandem), I am in great shape now, losing weight (and not much more to go), and cycling is a great stress reducer, so I suspect I am a nicer person too.

I really feel for you guys up there.
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Old 01-08-07, 08:19 AM
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I am given the most surprised reactions by my co-workers even though i work in a (are you ready for this?) bicycle wholesalers! I am the only one in the office who cycles to work and they can never work out why - i am always asked if i was too cold/hot/wet after the morning commute. I was even asked the other day how much longer i was going to be cycle commuting for. I'm only 28!!!

My wife has always supported my choice to cycle, but thinks i'm mad now that she has stopped work and i still don't use the car. I tell her that it's her car and it's for her use - i don't want it or need it, but on the cold, wet monday mornings when i'm leaving at half five, she still takes the time to tell me i'm mad (obviously many hours later when she wakes up ).

Fairly sure the wider family thinks it's a just a phase (that's lasted 7 years so far?!), and i'll go back to motorbikes soon. I'm pretty sure i've moved on though, since i get no pleasure from motor vehicles any more.

£em i Pa - lol @ bicycular prozak!
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Old 01-08-07, 08:51 AM
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A wet but otherwise pleasant commute this morning. This is what I would guess winter in the PNW is normally like.

CRTree -- definitely cool that Costa Rica recognizes a bike so fully. It must be nice.

The longer I ride the more amazed I am at people who would never ride anywhere, but then complain about how hard it is to find time to get to the gym for exercise. Its a shame since there are so many areas in the US where neither terrain nor weather preclude bike commuting much of the year.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:11 AM
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I am glad that this rainy Monday is one of my days off of the bike. However, I will be doing a fir amount of cross training today. 1 hour yoga, 30 minutes swim and 1 hour of rowing.

My office mates have come to accept my pedaling in most weather. The only times that feaks them out, is when DC has freezing rain and I make it to work on my bike and they stay home.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:14 AM
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We were just talking about our lives here and there. There are a few things we miss from the USA - not a lot - but if we moved up there, I would really miss riding in a bike friendly place. I am sure I could find similar up there, but here it is really nice.
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Old 01-08-07, 10:56 AM
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I went for a ride with a buddy yesterday up the MUP. OMG, he. Was. So. Slow....

I dressed in my normal gear for the conditions (in the 40s) but was freezing my @ss off! He was straining and sweating on his hybrid as we rolled down the path. The poor guy never rides a bike but is reasonably fit otherwise. I guess we forget how our constant riding strengthens our legs and lungs compared to civilians.
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Old 01-08-07, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Mars
I guess we forget how our constant riding strengthens our legs and lungs compared to civilians.
Mars, one can not forget the whole cardio-vascular system.
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Old 01-08-07, 11:29 AM
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I have person who works for us - plays sports (soccor) and is about 30, in pretty good shape too. Has been working for the last 2 months to get in condition to go riding with me. You see, he sees me come into the office everyday - and I have passed him on the road before, he was in a car, I was on a bike...

I told him I would be nice on the ride if he wanted, but he still is working at it. I think it is demoralizing when you are 30 and a guy with white hair and nearly fifty is destroying you.

Nothing like riding everyday to make you insanely fit.
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Old 01-08-07, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Mars
I went for a ride with a buddy yesterday up the MUP. OMG, he. Was. So. Slow....

I dressed in my normal gear for the conditions (in the 40s) but was freezing my @ss off! He was straining and sweating on his hybrid as we rolled down the path. The poor guy never rides a bike but is reasonably fit otherwise. I guess we forget how our constant riding strengthens our legs and lungs compared to civilians.
I've got a snowshoe/camping trip coming up on the 20th. I went camping with this same group before I started commuting on a daily basis (only 2x/week,) I was still smoking, and I kept up just fine. Now that I've been racking up 70+ miles a week for 6 months and I've (nearly) quit smoking (maybe 1 or 2 cigarettes a week) I can't wait to see how much easier it is porting a 40 pound load over the snowy terrain.
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Old 01-08-07, 11:34 AM
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My colleagues were suprised I rode in on such a lousy, rainy morning and are even more suprised about riding at night in DC. The rain isn't so bad. I've decided I'll try to ride unless there are heavy thunderstorms or ice. I'll even try a little wet snow, which may be coming soon.... But now I'm looking out the window now and see nothing but sunshine and temps in the 50s.
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Old 01-08-07, 08:18 PM
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2Buck -- The problem with DC riding is rarely the first day of snow, it is the next morning after things have melted and refrozen. That's when you need to be very careful and are likely to run into the greatest challenges. I've ridden through it all in the past 2 years (snow, sleet, rain, lightning, high winds) and the worst is refrozen ice and snow. Of course, this year your biggest problem may be finding sunscreen in January.

Mars I can sympathsize since I feel that way when I ride with my family. Generally, I either shift to a very easy gear and spin so that I don't go too fast or gear up and slow my cadence down to work the muscles more, but still go slow. We've also taken up the staggered start where my wife and son will take off while I'm still packing up our gear or finding a trash can or whatever. That way I can ride for a little way at a more normal pace. That was one big plus of towing the trailer on our tour. The extra weight and drag was just enough of a handicap to put me on a more equal footing. Hopefully they will be picking up the pace as we ride more.

It was a nice ride home tonight except for the occasional gusting headwind. It wasn't very cold and the rain had stopped. I'll be riding with my son to school over the next couple of days so that should be a pleasant change. Hopefully we'll have no rain, although it will be pretty cold in the mornings.
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Old 01-08-07, 11:59 PM
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Tomorrow's weather forecast for the commute home:

40F. 30F with windchill. 25mph SSE winds. 90% chance of heavy rains.

Lucky me! I'm heading straight into it for 7.5 miles!
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Old 01-09-07, 07:24 AM
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Nice commute in, Temp about 30F at the start. Hopefully, the rain/snow will hold off until I get home.
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Old 01-09-07, 08:45 AM
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Tibike -- I think we won't see much of the bad weather until possibly tomorrow AM. At least if finally felt like winter today.

Tried out the new goggles I got for Christmas and I think I like them. They came from Kroop's Goggles (https://www.kroop.com/) and they fit over my glasses well. They are very lightweight and are even designed for biking. They definitely stop the eyes tearing up and freezing on your cheeks problem. I can only bet that they will be even better in colder temps. Winter riding does become a lot easier when you have the gear.
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Old 01-09-07, 10:49 AM
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Ohoh. I have a mystery sound coming from the back wheel of my recumbent. It can get quite loud and I can't figure out what it is or what to do about it. The sound is a rythmic scritch scritch scritch sound. It goes faster with increased speed of the wheel. I only hear it when pedalling, not gliding. I have to be pedalling fairly firmly, just spinning the pedals doesn't produce the sound. It gets worse as I ride and I often won't hear it at all for 5 miles or so. The speed of the noise does no alter with pedal speed differences. The speed of the wheel seems to be primary.

I have eliminated anything rubbing of the wheel as a culprit. I opened up the brakes, so it's not the brake pads.
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Old 01-09-07, 11:27 AM
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Mars:

Could the sound be coming from your freehub? I wonder if one of the pawls is having a problem. Just a thought.

Newbie: I hope that you are right about the weather.
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Old 01-09-07, 11:38 AM
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I would check the bearings and the freehub. Could be a flat sided bearing or the freehub ratach pawls like tri said.
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Old 01-10-07, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Marylandnewbie
Tibike -- I think we won't see much of the bad weather until possibly tomorrow AM. At least if finally felt like winter today.
Newbie: Keep your day job, as it rained all the way home

Very nice commute in this morning, as the sunrise over the Potomac River was quite nice.
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Old 01-10-07, 08:46 AM
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Tibike -- you're living in the wrong place! North of the Potomac in the land of milk and honey it only rained lightly for about 10 minutes.

Now that I've used my goggles twice I can say that I really like them. In this morning's wind they really helped and made for a comfortable ride. It was a nice day to ride and with the temp down around 30 it was actually a winter ride. The colder weather has definitely thinned out the traffic on the MUP.
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Old 01-10-07, 09:49 AM
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Yesterday afternoon's 25-30mph winds and torrential rain cleared the MUP of the 'fairweathers' that had been out the past two days. It was nice seeing so many people out on the path, though: It reminds me daily of the impressive number of commuters, as well as recreational cyclists there are up here.

The wind and rain turned to cold and snow last night, so I could tell exactly how many people were out this morning. There was one set of footprints (which turned out to be from 'grumpy jogging guy who never says hello' ) and one set of tire tracks on my left (assuming an earlier commuter coming the opposite way,) and I only saw one other cyclist (who always covers his HID light and always says hello )
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