I rode about 50 miles to and from work on my bike in the last week since I started this little commuting project. Observed:
One catcall and one general holler
Two cheery guys with booze in paper sacks
No crashes (did almost fall off this morning and saw one person fall over with a clip incident)
Four trips before I even noticed a McDonald’s along the way
One chunk of broken TV on the giant bridge
Two wrong turns
Felt short in my compact car after riding so much perched on the bike
No near death experiences
Zero flats, hooray
Twenty-plus pounds of gear in my backpack!
Without my laptop, the backpack isn’t that heavy. Well, I guess it still is, but not so painful. I leave a lot of shower and clothing items in the locker room at work, but I do tend to overpack no matter how I’m traveling. I discovered the way in is 150 ft negative elevation change over the whole route, which means riding home is really hard work to recover that (not to mention the up and down of the bridge both ways right by work). That isn’t a huge change in elevation, but when you suddenly weigh 180 lbs with all that stuff on your back, you have knobby tires, and there’s a headwind, it can take almost an hour to go seven miles! I am ready to get a rack and/or panniers to help with the load. I can probably leave the heavy U-lock behind because no one is going to cut a cable lock at my security-controlled workplace populated with upstanding people. I hope to get a new cross strap for my Timbuk2 bag and just carry it messenger style like it was designed, instead of inside the backpack. I must learn to part with more things.
For Bike to Work Day this morning, almost thirty of us left from a bike shop in Irvington to ride together downtown. I was riding just behind the people in the video in the local paper’s sidebar coverage. Riders from 11 points in the city met at the circle for breakfast, press conferences, free bike parking… pretty much all of which I missed because our eastside group arrived late at the circle, and my coworkers were leaving together for our plantsites then.
It was a nice mix of people: racers on road bikes in team spandex, random people like me on mountain bikes, and regular joes in jeans on cruisers. I don’t think those groups mix a lot otherwise, but the point was to highlight bike commuting and riding in a group provides safety and camaraderie, even when you don’t know anyone else.
I liked this shot of my coworkers converging at corporate headquarters for a group picture (which I don’t have). I noticed a lot of them are carrying backpacks too so maybe we just need a lot of stuff at our jobs!
It was a gorgeous day today and I spent more time on the bike trail for scenery, but the ride home still hurt with all that crap on my back.