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The Lonely Commuter

Old 06-01-11, 01:40 PM
  #26  
I_like_cereal
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I looked into a different route. I think I may try it tomorrow. Basically it adds another 3 miles and another 5% hill, but the drop off the back side is -10 to -11%. Plus it goes through a park and the highest point in Portland. I figure it will end one of two ways. It will either be a great adrenalin rush or I'll fly off the hill. Either way it should be interesting. The downhill looks fairly straight, no switchbacks or major curves.
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Old 06-01-11, 02:13 PM
  #27  
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I would love to have someone to ride with occasionally
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Old 06-01-11, 02:49 PM
  #28  
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I'm not sure that I think about anything. When things come together right I disappear. I don't think it's some Zen state. More likely I'm just sleeping.
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Old 06-01-11, 03:12 PM
  #29  
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These days my commute isn't too lonely, especially in the afternoon/evening. Dunno if it's the cool weather or the lack of MUP traffic, but I strongly prefer late fall and early spring commuting. Gives me more time to be "lonely". There are some other year-round commuters I see fairly regularly; we usually exhange a friendly nod. Otherwise, when I'm alone on my commute I look for wildlife (squirrels, geese, etc.) or just enjoy the scenery if conditions don't require more attention.

I'm one of those guys who's happy not to have to talk all the time and can also honestly answer at times that I'm not thinking about anything. I like to get into this state on my rides when I can.
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Old 06-01-11, 03:24 PM
  #30  
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Lactic acid in my quads seems to keep me company. Or sweat running in to my eyes. Or that little noise from a slight derailer drag on the chain. Or a little "tick" as the plastic decal on my wheels passes lightly by the brake pad on each revolution. Or that slight click I feel in my right pedal as it passes 6 o'clock.

Mostly I try to stay above 15mph because I love the sound my Contis make when going fast.
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Old 06-01-11, 03:42 PM
  #31  
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Maybe I am a lone wolf... I just enjoy the me time on bike. No work, no complicated things in mind... kind of off mode. Occasionally, I will be singing as I ride by... around 5 in the morning...
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Old 06-01-11, 09:40 PM
  #32  
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To work, it's so early that I may see 5 cars over the 10 mi... and I typically zone out, but when I do think it is generally "Ok, 1/4 done, that means two hills down 3 to go".

On the way home, it is "rush hour", and all I can do is think defense and about my surroundings. By the time I get home, I'm usually mentally beat.
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Old 06-01-11, 11:22 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by DogBoy View Post
How is it possible that I have a magical route that gives me a headwind both going to work and coming home?
Heh. I've been skipping out on the bike commutes lately because of 20-30MPH crosswinds. Going in, they're left-to-right during the climb on the (wide and usually clean) shoulder of a 45MPH road, meaning any break in the wind leaves me pulling myself into traffic. Coming home, they're right to left, so any break in the wind leaves me lurching toward the edge of the same overpass with a rail just high enough to smack my shin going over.
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Old 06-01-11, 11:42 PM
  #34  
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I commute with my girls in the morning and afternoon... they are the best riding companions. We book it in the morning so there is less time for chat but after school we pootle along and the girls tell me about their day and I rant about bad drivers...

At most other times it is just me, my bike, and homicidal soccer moms keeping me busy.

My loooong commute is 50 km of highway... never see another cyclist out there unless I am riding on the weekend as it is a popular area for local racers to train.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:42 AM
  #35  
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Yep, I leave the house at 5:10 and I never see anyone but a year round walker and some dogs walking. I never thought about it, but yep, it would be nice to see other cyclists. Though being an introvert, I am in my element, so I just want to see other cyclists and not to speak with them.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:23 AM
  #36  
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I enjoy riding with others, but I also really enjoy riding alone. When I head out alone, I have no work, no cell phone, no e-mail; just me and the bike. My bike is kind of like my Fortress of Solitude.
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Old 06-02-11, 09:17 AM
  #37  
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Since my commute is also my "workout", I'm generally not in a state where talking is comfortable for me, and I'd prefer to be alone. This is especially true in the morning - the solitude and shifting light are essential for me to come into the day in a good way.

That said, I do occasionally find myself in conversations with other commuters if we seem to be riding at a similar pace. I don't mind easing up my pace if I'm feeling tired, and sometimes prefer taking it easy and chatting than pushing it. Sometimes.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:14 AM
  #38  
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my iPod, but I don't listen to shuffle. I tend to listen to an album as a whole and really get a feel for a band's most recent effort. Recently, I've been on the XX. Sure listening to shuffle or Pandora offers variety, but focusing on just one album beginning to end is also nice.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:22 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by groovestew View Post
Like other posters, I like the time alone with my thoughts.
Me too. My route involves so many changes in direction and speed that I wouldn't be able to talk for long anyway, and I'd just as soon not talk with people standing in the middle of the bike path or wondering if keeping left is the right thing to do.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:24 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by DogBoy View Post
Lately though I find that I think only of one thing: Wind. How is it possible that I have a magical route that gives me a headwind both going to work and coming home?
Quit following me and I bet you wont be able to say that again.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:29 AM
  #41  
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I commute alone at night on country roads and really enjoy the peace and quiet.
Gives me time to clear my head and chat with God.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:29 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by I_like_cereal View Post
I looked into a different route. I think I may try it tomorrow. Basically it adds another 3 miles and another 5% hill, but the drop off the back side is -10 to -11%. Plus it goes through a park and the highest point in Portland. I figure it will end one of two ways. It will either be a great adrenalin rush or I'll fly off the hill. Either way it should be interesting. The downhill looks fairly straight, no switchbacks or major curves.
I rode up the local foothills one night for S24O and riding down was the best part! I'm sure I wore through half my brake pads on the switchbacks but it was like a rollercoaster on my bike. Great fun. I'm sure you'll like it.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:30 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Ira B View Post
I commute alone at night on country roads and really enjoy the peace and quiet.
Gives me time to clear my head and chat with God.
Does god chat back? =]
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Old 06-02-11, 02:15 PM
  #44  
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Love to bike, but not too crazy about talking. And, yes, God does chat back. Best company in the world.
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Old 06-02-11, 04:18 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by I_like_cereal View Post
...What keeps you company on those lonely miles?
I'm a year-round early morning commuter on very comfortable routes of usually about 14 miles and often longer, when in training. I don't think of my commuting time as lonely, but rather call it "head" time. Probably work items are my most common head threads, and often mentally composing rough drafts of varous personal or work-related correspondence. I always have a listening device on, mostly a local radio talk show, and the hosts are in a sense riding companions. I think I only once actually stopped to call in while en route but often I am focused on the discussion. Sometimes I will E-mail in a comment, or perhaps call in when I arrive at work. I am known to them as their self-proclaimed "Number One Fan among Boston's Bicycle Commuters."

I'm a reverse commuter so mostly I see other cyclists going in the opposite direction. When I occasionally meet with a rider going in my direction, and he looks like a serious cyclist, I will try to ask if he is a subscriber to Bike Forums, since there are quite a few in the Boston area.

Finally, I find that commuting early in the morning in particularly wet and/or cold weather really makes me hunker down within my own physical and mental (head) space, and I call this state "cocooning."
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Old 06-02-11, 04:55 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I don't think of my commuting time as lonely, but rather call it "head" time.
If I could bend that far, I sure as heck wouldn't be riding the bike while doing it.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:49 PM
  #47  
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I like the solitude, but I have not had the chance to try any other way. I don't go at regular times, and the one or maybe two guys I see all blast right by me.

If there were hundreds of commuters on bikes, it would be such a common activity that we really wouldn't have that in common any more, just as someone in a car or on the bus wouldn't start chatting with some other random commuter just because that person was in a car or on the bus.
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Old 06-02-11, 08:57 PM
  #48  
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People here seem to be really competitive when they ride to work. I see teenagers riding to school who are in groups and chatting, but it seems we adults are all trying to win some kind of race. Yeah, sometimes I'm one of them.
Perhaps it comes of living in a car culture. We've lost the habit of engaging other commuters because it's impossible in a car.
I don't particularly want to chat while I'm commuting, but I do think that if I say "Good morning" to another bike commuter I should get at least a nod back instead of a surly blank stare. What's up with that?
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Old 06-02-11, 08:58 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
Does god chat back? =]
If he didn't then I would have said clear my head and talk to myself. The real trick is knowing when to shut up and listen.
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Old 06-02-11, 10:57 PM
  #50  
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I enjoy the ride, while people are stuck at the lights haha... And usually think about my breakfast lol
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