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.

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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.