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How was the commute today?

Old 08-20-02, 07:10 AM
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My first commute in the rain today! It's the first time it's been cool around here for weeks, so the ride felt practically effortless. I'm looking forward to this evening's commute, which will be drier and still relatively cool.

An observation... Despite the fact that I had to ride a full foot or more to the left of my usual riding line (to avoid puddles and wet, slippery metal grates), cars did not pull to the left any further than usual when passing. 10-25% of the passing cars left me only 1'-2' clearance, which seems a bit close to me. I think they all see me; they just choose to pass too close.

Forgot to bring an extra pair of shoes. Oops! *slosh* *slosh*

Tim
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Old 08-20-02, 07:59 AM
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The guilt is awful, this won't happen again, I was weak, I can't explain it, I should know better, I'm hanging my head in shame as I walk around the office, nothing is right without my bike.
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Old 08-20-02, 08:45 AM
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Well, it did rain overnight, apparently, but I missed it. It was a beautiful morning, if occasionally a little gray. For one brief moment my toes actually felt sort of chilly (in my SPD sandals) but that didn't last. Still, it was the coolest morning ride in weeks.

Where are you folks getting all this rain from? My lawn died weeks ago.

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Old 08-20-02, 09:23 AM
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Switched to the shorter route today as I am feeling a little less intimidated by traffic. I saw 3 other bike commuters! That seemed a lot to me since the summer temperatures are still active around here. Anyway, I only got in the way of one BIG truck hauling construction materials but he managed to get around me. The route was two miles shorter and dropped me below the 1 hour mark on the commute in (55 minutes and 17.5 miles). I seemed to get stopped by more lights but hey, I still got in faster so I guess that is the real point isn't it? Turns out the shorter route isn't that much worse than the longer route, there is only two or three miles without a painted shoulder. I think it is a keeper as it seems to be the route most of the other commuters take so I figure drivers should be expecting bikes.
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Old 08-20-02, 10:05 AM
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Oh boy...

Nice ride in this morning, but I wasn't quite prepared for the truth of the matter as it started to have a major hail/thunder/lightning storm at about 16:30 (4:30 P.M.) local.

I've kept hoping that it would quit, but it looks like I'm riding the train home tonight...no front light, and hail is too nasty to risk on my fancy road bike.

Oh well.

ride carefully (even when it means you can't...*sigh*)
Tom
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Old 08-20-02, 12:01 PM
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no front light
I've started keeping my light at the office in the summer. If I get caught by bad weather or get stuck working late I have it available. When Fall comes and it gets dark earlier, I'll leave it on the bike.

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Old 08-20-02, 12:15 PM
  #432  
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I've been working really long hours and can't usually control when I'll get to go home. So I've been leaving about an hour early and taking a really long route to work. Normally, my ride is 4 or 5 miles through the center of town. This way I make a long loop around the Pocket area. It's in the city but very suburban. Nice wide, smooth streets with good bike lanes and fairly repectful drivers. It makes the distance into work 17.5 miles.

This morning was cool and calm and I felt like a million bucks getting into work. I may have to make this my regular route.
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Old 08-20-02, 12:41 PM
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I commute daily into Washington DC. This morning I had trouble with a driver who stopped in the middle of an intersection to let me pass. A nice gesture, perhaps, but still dangerous. The incident passed without cars piling up behind the stopped car. I shook my head, because I encounter "polite" drivers often.
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Old 08-20-02, 12:58 PM
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Hi Commuters,

First day back in England after a fortnight holiday and the commute felt good. I did some cycling on holiday in California, including a stretch along the "Avenue of the Giants" in the north of the state - awsome! My fiancee played the role of team support vehicle... I was given an old cyclo-cross bike made by Miata- strange aluminium frame, with a steel rear triangle. Actually a very nice ride, until I discovered that the left crank had split at the bb taper and I was living on borrowed time All will be fixed in good time when I'm back in the USA.

In responce to Rich's comment about lights, I always keep my set charged and in my backpack, just in case I get caught late, even in the summer. They are not heavy, and the headlight comes in handy as a torch sometimes - I almost always take this with me when I travel even if I will not be cycling.

Cheers,

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Old 08-20-02, 02:11 PM
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Yesterday was my first day at work after a wonderful week on a small, roadless, bikeless, carless island in Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. My wife's car had to go in for air conditioning recharge, so off I went to Falls Church.

There are a lot of ways to get to my Arlington office from there, but the one with the most shade and the fewest lights is the WO&D/Martha Custis bike trail. The WO&D is is probably not the worst-signed route in the world...I'm sure that there are worse ones in remote war zones and disaster areas. However, every time I have tried to use the thing, I have gotten lost. The road maps don't show the bike paths and the bike path maps don't show the roads.

Amazingly, I was able to figure out the routing this time! I rode to my office, worked, and returned to pick up the car in the evening. I got to enjoy 12 miles of stoplight-free riding on a 15 mile trip!

Paul
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Old 08-20-02, 02:25 PM
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Since they closed the pool for three weeks, I'm taking a very long ride after work. My regular 5mi roundtrip commute just isn't enough exercise. Actually, since they closed the pool, I may go completely carless all week.

I'll be taking off from Annapolis and going over the B&A trail simply because I don't know other routes around here that go for 17 miles. I've been looking forward to it all day.

I just ordered the ADC Bicycle Map for the DC area. I really hope it is worth it.

I'm also very excited as my boyfriend just bought a bike on Saturday and he seems to be as excited about cycling as I am. He's even talking about trying to ride into DC to work from Alexandria. If he can do that (and I'm going to make him do it on a weekend if he doesn't do it during the week), then I can start working on him to commute by bike. Wish me luck!!!

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Old 08-20-02, 08:36 PM
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I had a very nice commute today! (As opposed to Sunday, when the morning was surprisingly COLD and I felt crummy in the afternoon.)

The weather was beautiful! Had a strong headwind again (the wind seems to be from the south this summer, pretty much!)

It had clouded over on the way home, and the not-quite-full moon was glowing behind the clouds. It was darkish, and I got to give my new headlight a good workout.* I had a scare at one point, as I startled a pair of hidden cats by the roadside, and had one suddenly scoot out in front of me and the other run through the grass.

All in all, the most enjoyable ride I've had for a week...I seemed to be a bit 'off' the past week.


*I replaced my broken krypton CatEye with the LED CatEye. It seems pretty good, it doesn't light the road up as bright, but it diffuses the light much better than the krypton version, scatters it over a wider area....and looking at it from the front, it's a blinding star instead of a flashlight. I'm thinking of adding a second one for more brightness.
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Old 08-20-02, 09:14 PM
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Excuse me if this post seems to be in a high-pitched voice but my commute home was unusual in one key respect: I was wearing my wife's biking shorts!!!

You see, early in the morning I grabbed the first pair of shorts I could find and packed them in a bag. I had to catch a ride in this a.m. but I took my bike for the way home. Imagine my surprise this afternoon when those babies got tight ... tight ... tighter as I put them on for the ride home!!

Luckily, I didn't blow a seam and wind up mooning everyone on the way home. They actually held up pretty well. That spandex stuff can really stretch. I was very happy, however, to peel them off when I got home.

Otherwise, an uneventful zoom home overall.
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Old 08-20-02, 09:30 PM
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The commute in was uneventful, it had rained during the night and there was a chill in the air, wore my tights for the first time since last April. Must mean winter is comming up, also had to be at work early dug out my head lamp and had to use it this AM. Ended up working late so I had to ride to downtown Seattle to catch my bus, normally I head north to catch the bus, I am able to avoid many cars doing that. But alas I had to put up with all the irrate drivers who insist on driving in the 2nd most worst traffic in the states. Had several close calls and an articulating bus that tried to cut me off. Held my ground though and made her stop, asked her not to cut me off please! Oh how I hate to ride in Downtown Seattle during rush hour. Anyone who believes the press about Seattle and politness has never had to deal with the Seattle driver. Personally I think it has something to do with the popularity of espresso around here Tomorrow I am going to pedal the whole 35 miles home in honor of my 46th birthday! :fun: Maybe even stop and have one of those hops beverages that we are so famous for, for a carb boast you know
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Old 08-21-02, 12:09 AM
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I had a good commute today, even with the drizzle. I used the rain cape (see the separate thread), and arrived at work with only water on my glasses. It's amazing though, as this is my first commute this week. It seemed to take forever to get out of the house. Forgot a few things (lunch, etc), then finally rode away. I've got to get an easier system in place, so that it mimics just going out to the car and taking off.

Wonderful ride home, enjoyed it so much because tomorrow's vacation.

John
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Old 08-21-02, 12:32 AM
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The commute today was brilliant.

Nothing out of the ordinary really, but it felt so good.

I've been commuting again over the last couple of days after a couple of weeks off.

Two weeks ago I was in Sydney (other side of Australia from where I am in Perth) at a conference for my job as Western Australian Bike for Bibles Coordinator. We didn't get the chance to ride at all.

I got back on the Saturday afternoon and went to visit my dad in hospital. He was very ill and he died later that night.

Last week was spent organising and attending his funeral, spending time coming to terms with losing dad and being there for my wife and kids through a difficult time.

This week I'm working toward getting back to normal and being on my bike is a big part of that.

Commuting by bike is more than just getting to work and back, it's part of who I am.

It's great to begin the journey toward feeling normal again.
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Old 08-21-02, 06:22 AM
  #442  
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Sorry about your dad, MC! I'm sure you have lots of great memories of him to help get you through this time.
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Old 08-21-02, 08:04 AM
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>It seems pretty good, it doesn't light the road up as bright, but >it diffuses the light much better than the krypton version, >scatters it over a wider area

One thing I learned from camping was that a dimmer diffuse light was actually better than a really bright spot light for general purposes (this was walking, not on a bike). A spot light will give you greater contrast and very dark shadows, and will most likely leave you blind for those areas it doesn't directly illuminate. It may be that you want a 'flood' light bright light on a bike, but I'd be concerned about the lack of ability to see what's not in the beam, especially since I'm thinking you're more out in the country? Just something to consider anyway.

A one candle power (it was literally a candle) "bug light" was perfect for most outdoor tasks (walking to the bathroom, messing around camp) after dark, I liked it *much* better than a bright flashlight.

Also...my condolences, MC
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Old 08-21-02, 09:06 AM
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Today was probably the nicest morning in weeks. Sunny, not humid, 72 degrees, lovely fresh breeze (right in my face, but I'm not complaining). If it's this nice going home it's definitely the day to extend the ride. It's supposed to start getting hot again later in the week.

Andy -- just be grateful you have a wife who owns and uses bike shorts. I'd give much to be able to say the same.

Happy birthday, ngateguy. I like tying cycling goals to birthdays, too. I'm trying to increase my annual mileage every year to match my age times 100 (I've already beat this year's 5100 miles, with two weeks to spare), and do a century on my birthday itself every year.

John, personally I think the only answer is to function as if commuting is your "default" mode: all your daily accessories automatically get stored in the bike bag, etc. It wasn't until I adopted that approach that I stopped losing time to double-checking everything in the morning. Getting ready the night before works, too.

MC, my sympathies. Your post is a testament to the healing power of cycling. Wherever one may believe that power originates, I know of no better way to channel it than by getting on a bike.

RichC
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Old 08-21-02, 09:36 AM
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Sorry about your Dad, MC. My own Dad died almost exactly 13 years ago today. And Rich, I would like to second your comments on the healing power of cycling.

My ride today? As with everyone else on the east coast, refreshingly cool.

Paul
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Old 08-21-02, 10:52 AM
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Sweaty back is horrible! So are sore shoulders. Time to say goodbye to the backpack and hello to some panniers. Took my new bike for its first city cruisin'. Went to the store (looking for bike clothing ) and the library. Round trip 9 miles. Not too bad. Motorists weren't all that bad. Got some curious looks in the stores and some smiles from kids. Need some advice for travelling on multi lane roads, however. Maybe I'll put this as a new thread. All in all a good trip.
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Old 08-21-02, 07:53 PM
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MC, bad news, my friend. Sorry to hear about your dad. Hope all's well. A guy who works for me had his dad suddenly pass away just yesterday. Jeez.

No commute today. I was up Seattle. Will pick it up tomorrow morning with a zoom through San Jose on rested legs. And I will make a point of verifying the shorts that I wear are actually mine.
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Old 08-21-02, 08:32 PM
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Yay! No headwind today!

I started out in grey, hazy weather. It had rained all morning, and the roads were just beginning to dry in spots. The rain kicked in about halfway to work, and it felt serious so I put on my rain jacket. A downpour filled my shoes shortly thereafter.

Does anyone else think you go faster when the roads are covered with water? I seem to. I wonder why....

Got to town fine, and stopped to run an errand or two before heading down to the library on Main street.

A big, taxi-yellow vehicle (I think it was a jeep or pickup, I'm a bad witness.) didn't see me and ran out from the stop sign on a collision course with me. Both of us slammed the brakes on in time to avoid an accident. The driver waited for me to go, and I gave him a wave as I went on. Couldn;t really blame him, the visibility wasn't the best and I'm sure he wasn't expecting a bike in the rain.

Unfortunately (and this is the one thing I hate about Grip shifters) I had inadvertently changed several gears during the emergency stop, and I restarted with a lot of popping, snapping, and chain-slipping from the rear...which slowed down but didn't stop. I was afraid I had wrecked my freewheel, but couldn't see any broken teeth. Didn't have time to check it out more thoroughly.

On the trip home (Yeah, I still rode it home. And it drizzled the whole time.) I noticed that the problems mainly occurred in the higher (smaller) back gears, and with enough gap between the pops that I thought it must be the chain instead of the gears that was damaged. Sure enough, when I got home, flipped the bike and turned the cranks, a pair of links humped up on the derailleur wheel. I'll be removing those links in the morning, hope that fixes everything.
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Old 08-22-02, 01:58 AM
  #449  
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The ride today was beautiful. Not too warm but bright and sunny. After two weeks off, with very little riding I had expected it to be tough getting back up to speed, but actually, after the first day's ride I'm feeling good.
Cycling also seems to be a pretty good way to help re-adjust after a long flight and change of time zone - California to England in my case. Perhaps commute rides help to re-establish a regular activity pattern for the body clock.

Cheers all,

Ed
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Old 08-22-02, 05:18 AM
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Yesterday and today were both great commuting days, The air was still and a bit cool at the start of my ride but felt great after a shot time in the saddle. Yesterday I took the hilly back roads through the country side, the traffic was very light and the sounds and smells of a summer morning were plentyful, it was the type of ride that makes commuting worth it. Today I took the highway, new pavement, more hills but not as steep, I took the panniers off the bike so I could move right along. It took me 44 minutes to go my 18.5 miles, It's going to be a long day at work waiting to ride home.
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