Drive My Bike


Choose To Ride
June 19, 2010, 11:19 am
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I had a choice this week… Ride or Drive.

I chose to ride, and it was great. 🙂

Young Boy

I managed to ride to work two days this week, which is quite a jump from the no days schedule in recent months.

Wednesday night I planned ahead to ride Thursday morning, and it was confirmed when my wife asked if she could take my car to drop a friend off at the airport. The weather is getting warmer, and I was concerned that Thursday morning would be a bit chilly, but instead it turned out to be quite nice. I wore a jacket, but started unzipping about halfway to the office. The ride home after work was a good workout, and I was feeling pretty good about myself and my one day of bike commuting for the week.

Thursday night came and I thought about riding again on Friday, but I talked myself out of it. “Don’t want to do too much in a single week yet”, I told myself. Yeah right.

So Friday morning comes, I’m getting ready for work, and I’m conflicted. I’m feeling conservative and thinking I shouldn’t ride again, but there’s a little voice inside that tells me I’m being ridiculous, that I used to do this all the time, and that it is only five miles to the office, so no big deal. I caved, and changed into my riding gear.

It was about the most gorgeous morning for riding that I could imagine. The temperature was perfect, just cool enough for comfort. There was a gentle breeze, but not enough that it was a fight to ride against. Blue skies. Close to perfection. Great ride!

So it’s a long day at work on Friday and the end of the day finally comes about 7:30, and I’m still at the office. My daughter has a softball game on the other side of town in 30 minutes, at 8:00. She’s already at the ballpark with my wife and other daughter. I can ride five miles home and then drive to the ballpark… or I can go into unknown territory and ride to the ballpark. I’d driven there plenty of times, but had never ridden out that way, and I estimated the distance to be about ten miles.

Once again, I chose to ride… and it was a fun adventure. It was about ten miles of urban riding, the last five of which were on a major road with no shoulder (Redwood Road for you locals), so I had to “take the lane” and hold my own in traffic. The traffic wasn’t too heavy, and I only had one person pass me really close. All in all it was a good ride, and the start of the game was delayed a few minutes, so I even made it there in time for the first pitch.

This morning I’m a little stiff and can tell that I rode more this week than I have in a long time, but it was worth it.

Choose to ride.



Just For Fun
June 11, 2009, 8:55 pm
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The other day my friend Jake said, “Don’t you ever ride just for fun?”

I thought… “Well yeah, sure… I guess. Okay, so I usually ride to get somewhere.”

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Yes, I was actually talking to Jake while he is in Africa, live, via Skype. Honestly, it is amazing to be able to do that. Jake says that the internet access there is really good. To quote him, “You can’t drink the water, but I can download the latest Eminem mp3 in a flash.” Sounds like we get our technology priorities messed up sometimes.

Anyway, last week I did decide to take a ride “just for fun”. I had a fairly stressful day and was ready for a break, so I decided to take a ride in the evening to clear my head. I started out planning my route, and then stopped myself. Instead I decided to just “go”, no real plan, no destination.

I took Jake’s bike, which is a really nice modern road bike. I’ve been riding that bike a lot more recently ever since I swapped out the Look pedals with a set of SPD pedals so that I can use my SPD shoes and sandals. The frame is aluminum and carbon fiber, and the whole bike is incredibly light, with all the new high tech features. It is a real joy to ride, and I’m getting spoiled. I told Jake that I’m not sure what I’m going to do when he comes home and wants it back.

It was a great ride. I ended up covering a little over twenty miles, and going places I’d never ridden before. I had a tough ride up a steep section, and that was a little exciting because the front derailleur stuck for some reason, so I couldn’t shift down from the large chainring. This meant that I had to work extra hard to get up that stretch, but I was able to make it, and the speedy ride down the other side was exhilarating.

I was good and tired when I got home, but my mind was clear and fresh. It was a great feeling.

Riding just for fun… yeah, I need to do that more often.



Great Weather, Not So Great Shape

The last couple of days brought some nice weather to ride in, at least compared to the very cold weather last week. When I rode to work last Monday it was 9 degrees. Monday and Tuesday of this week the temps were in the mid to upper 30s, which is still a bit cold, but that is almost 30 degrees warmer. For the ride home yesterday I had temps around 47 degrees, and it was beautiful.

The challenging part of the last couple of rides is that I notice that after not riding for almost a month I’m definitely not in the shape I was in before.

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It’s amazing how fast one’s fitness level can decrease. I was only away from riding for a few weeks, but I can definitely notice a difference. I can feel myself getting some strength back over the last couple of rides, but I have been very tired and my joints and muscles have been complaining a bit.

I did see another bike commuter yesterday morning, which is the first one I’ve seen since things started to get really cold. He was friendly, and had a very nice bike. He came up behind me near the start of my route, and then left me in the dust at the first stoplight, but then I was able to catch up with him while he was waiting for the last stoplight on my route. I was proud of this accomplishment, since he had a super light Specialized road bike, and I had my chromoly Trek mountain bike with probably twenty or thirty pounds of stuff in my panniers. We had some friendly conversation when I caught up with him, and then I wished him a good ride as I turned off for my office.

That little bit of friendly competition got my blood pumping, and showed me that I still had a good bit of strength and energy left, it just needed some strong coaxing to show itself.

What’s the best part about realizing that I’m not as fit as I was before vacation?

Knowing that to get back to where I was I really don’t have to do anything different. I got to that fitness level by riding my bike to work, so if I keep riding my bike to work again I should get back there soon.

I think that is one of the best perks of bike commuting on a regular basis… accidental fitness.