Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bicycle Commuting

I’m getting better at bicycle commuting. I need to invest in a decent bag that goes on the bike itself and not on my back because now that the weather no longer sucks, I’m getting really really sweaty carrying my work clothes in a backpack. Icky. I also need to get some more shorts to wear over my tight bike shorts.

See, I learned a way to prevent some bike butt issues, but involves those padded shorts. They really do work but my ass is not up to that kind of display, thank you very much.

I’m still riding my bike to the train in the mornings but I enjoy riding it home all the way from work in the afternoons. The ride home is exactly 11 and 1/3 miles (from the basement parking garage in my building to right outside my door in my driveway. The first time I did that ride it took me over an hour. Today I did it in under 45 minutes. Every time I do it I shave a little time off but I think I’m getting close to the limit. There are a lot of stoplights on the ride home which means there's a lot of slowing down and pokey starts that eat into my mph average. I'm still averaging about 15 mph, though, which is pretty good. (Nowhere near as good as the mister's 20 mph, but that was for the Ironman, where the roads are closed and the bikers didn't have to stop or slow down at any signs or lights).

Things I’ve learned about bike commuting:
  • A lot of drivers are jackasses. The biggest offenders: men in pickup trucks.
  • The biggest danger is people pulling into or out of their driveways.

  • The best way to avoid bike butt is to stand up at every chance you get. Stoplights, stop signs, long downhills where you can coast. Getting your butt off the seat helps prevent chafing and soreness.
  • The worst thing you can do is tighten up your backpack straps too much because it will block your vision over both shoulders and you will have no way of knowing whether anyone is behind you when you’re trying to turn.
  • Bike helmets make my forehead itch.
  • Bangs are a detriment.
  • If you put in nice earrings at work make sure you take them out before you put on your helmet and ride home because the dangly ones will get tangled in your helmet straps every time you turn your head and that hurts.
  • Having a speedometer, even a crappy cheap one that doesn’t do anything more than tell you how fast you’re going and how many miles you’ve gone, is a huge motivator. I love trying to get a new top speed every time. All time highest top speed: 24.9 miles per hour. That was a long downhill with nothing but green lights and I pedaled my ass off.
  • Shoes that clip into pedals are great for helping you ride efficiently but one must practice clipping and unclipping before one goes on a long ride because it’s a little tricky and if you try to do it at a stoplight for the first time you will fall down, get tangled up, and be really embarrassed in front of all the people in their cars waiting at the stoplight.
  • Cucumber melon scented baby wipes make for a great clean-up tool if it’s a little warm out and you’re kind of stinky when you get to work.
  • Get around buses at all possible costs because the diesel fumes they belch out will make you cough and gag for the rest of your ride home.

The thing that’s happened that most pissed me off: some jerk in the passenger seat of a red Chevy Tahoe yelled “danger danger danger” out the window as he drove by and startled the shit out me, causing me to lose my balance and bang into a parked car. I hope he gets hit by a bus.

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