Drive My Bike


Yesterday’s Great Ride, and Today’s Small Victory

Yesterday I had the best bike ride I’ve had since I started riding again, maybe even the best bike ride of my life. I decided to just “go for a ride”… no real destination or purpose, other than to explore some places I had seen from my car.  It was awesome! I ended up riding about 12.5 miles, but I didn’t know that until I got home and mapped the ride. It was kind of like being a kid again, just riding around exploring. I found a couple of wonderful trails maintained by the city, and I took them almost as far as they would go. It was in the early evening, so the sun was setting and the temperature was great. It was the longest single direction ride I’ve done, yet I came home feeling completely energized and refreshed. That is what biking is about! I wish I had some pictures to share, but I need to get a small pocket digital camera so that I can record journeys like that. Hopefully in the future I can share them with you…

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On this morning’s commute, it looked like bike commuter rush hour! I counted eight cyclists, including myself, and three of them were going in the same direction as me. At one point, there were four of us on bikes, all waiting for the same red light. I would have loved to have known what the motorists were thinking as we all pulled up alongside. Actually I didn’t have to wait for the light, so I ended up with a couple minutes of glory that are hard to come by…

There are a few “regulars” on my route that ride some nice road bikes, and it is not uncommon for them to pass me. This has frustrated me, but I have learned that they are geared better and their bikes probably weigh a third of what my comfort bike and pannier weigh, so they have a huge advantage. Well, this morning I was able to turn the tables a bit, because they were stopped at the light, and I saw that it was about to change, so I maintained my speed, and blew past them as the light turned green. I shifted to my fastest gear and pedaled as hard as I could, savoring my victory. Alas, it was short lived, and they soon caught up to me and passed me, one seeming quite irritated, and the other managing a friendly “hello” as he went by. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, and I had a great workout and a good ride this morning.

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5 Comments so far
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I feel you on the people passing me on real road bikes. I thought they all passed me just because I was old and new at riding. I’ll take relief in telling myself that it’s because I ride a converted mountain bike. Just wait until I get my new bike you fast riders!

Comment by Zach

I have a Gary Fisher Nirvana hybrid commuter and me and my overweight frame have yet to pass anyone on the commute. I get passed daily by at least 3-8 people. I am ok with that. Some of these guys will be polite and give you a wave as they go by — I call it the biker courtesy wave. But there was one, who was all decked out in his spandex biker shorts, biker lycra shirt, racing cleats,designer sun glasses, $3k+ tricked out bike, olympian trim with the complete attitude etc. You know the type. I reached out to him to say good morning, as we reached the red stoplight. He looked back at me with my business casual work pants — the right pant leg tied off with a hankerchief, — worn out grey t-shirt, and work shoes… He seriously let out a snort, faced forward and ignored my courtesy hello. As soon as the light turned green, he immediately sprinted to put as much distance as he could between me and him. It felt like he was trying to snub me. I don’t care what I look like on the road. I honestly think I would look worse with my ample belly falling out of the lycra racing shirt. I don’t have to have the best equipment, as long as I am comfortable and can get where I need. Fortunately, the biker snobs are few in number, but sadly they are out there. It is as if, he couldn’t possible be seen on the same road as me because I was not at his level. With his equipment and fitness level, it was clear I had no chance of ever catching him. He was literally out of sight in 2 minutes.
I recently injured my back. For 10 days I have been recouperating and just got back into my routine today. I usually ride 16 miles daily 3 times a week on my commute to work. Today, due to a little discomfort I could only make 12 miles and hitched a ride the rest of the way. I was nice to get back in the saddle.
-L

Comment by L R

Hey L R, I don’t care what the biker snobs say, you reflect the spirit of what this whole bike commuter things is all about. Ride on, and stay safe. You’ll probably be passing some of those guys before long, but if not, who cares?

Comment by Scott

The bike snobs are everywhere. I make it a point to say hello and bark “on your left” when I pass them. They seem to be so competitive they are missing out on the fun of riding.

Comment by Bob

Scott, I just stumbled on your site while looking for innovative ways to attach a rear rack. I got back into biking almost 8 years ago, at age 49. I have moved from a 1994 Trek Hybrid (steel), to a 1986 Trek aluminum road bike (8 X 2 speed), to a modern Masi road bike, to a Trek Madone, and now to a Trek Pilot. Most of these bikes were purchased used, none for more than half the price of a new one. If you just had the greatest ride of your life, going 12.5 miles, I can say to you that there is a whole world waiting for you out there. Sell the Schwinn on craigslist, go to a friendly LBS (local bike shop), and let them fit you to an aluminum hybrid with carbon fork and maybe carbon seatstay. (Don’t get sucked into drop handlebars before you are ready.) For paved road communting, lose the shock absorbers and oversize tires. I think you would be happy with a 28 cm tire. The resulting bike should weigh half what you have now, and you will not believe the difference! Does SLC have any hills? I think it does. Final advice: buy a strong tire such as the Specialized Armadillo, and leave your pump at home. If the rare flat occurs, call for help or just walk!
Ride every day,
-George

Comment by George




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