Print Story Bike Commute Update
By paperdoll (Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 07:46:26 AM EST) (all tags)
Not that anyone cares, but I have finally gotten to the stage in my bicycle commute where I do more than whine about how sore I am.  Okay I still whine about being sore but that's not all I have to say about it.

Week sixteen of my bicycle commute has now passed, at thirty to forty miles a week that is roughly six hundred miles.  I really have surprised myself that I have been able to do this.  It hasn't been easy at all, most days it's easier but it is far from easy.  Some days it is just downright hard, I wasn't expecting that, I thought that it would just gradually get easier and easier.  I was wrong; the last two weeks have been tough a constant struggle just to move. 

My normal commute goes like this:
5:10 am get on the north bound train
5:35 am arrive at the current most north bound station
5:45 am get on the bus
6:10 am arrive at the last stop of the bus
Try like hell to ride the bicycle the last 5 miles and get to work by 6:30 am, so far I have not accomplished the last part.  The best I have done is 6:34 am and I only managed that once, 6:37-6:40 am is far more normal.  I get out of work at 3:30 pm and do the whole thing in reverse to go home.

I had to take a week and a half off due to the fact that I hurt myself on the fourth of July, and the first week back on the bike didn't go well.  My first day back on the bike, the bus goes thirty feet from the train and breaks down, they have no clue how long it will take to fix, or how long it will take to get another bus out to take over the route.  I can't just sit there all day in the train station parking lot, so I got on the bike and started out.  Nervously I start west on 550 I have never ridden this stretch and the month before a bicyclist died on this road, struck by a driver that fell asleep.  I got to the spot where I normally start my ride, and my back tire blew out.  I still had the 5 miles ahead of me that is nothing but hill after hill it was already 6:30 am.  I pulled out my cell to leave a message at work telling them what happened and that I will be very late, well I forgot to charge my phone and it was deader than the bus.  I had made it about a mile pushing the bike over the hills when some of the crew that work at the factory half of my company recognised me and gave me a ride.

I got a lift back to the train station in the afternoon and took the bike to the shop; I don’t know how to change the tire.  It was not ready until Tuesday afternoon.  Wednesday was going as it should; at least the morning did, in the afternoon the bus is supposed to pick me up at 4:15 pm.  They were late, 4:30 pm arrived and I still had no sighting of the bus, the train would be leaving in twenty minutes.  Luckily the ride from the bus stop to the train station is mostly a gentle downhill five miles, but it is still five miles.  I get on the bike and really lay it all out pedalling like the devils on my tail.  Half way there the bus passes me and if I had the strength to flip them off I would have.  Two minutes before the train leaves I pull in out of breath, sweating like who knows what and pretty sure that I was going to vomit.  The ticket agent loaded my bike on the train and helped me to a seat, someone got me a cup of water, I love the train the employees are so nice.  The rest of that week was perfectly normal, but since this experience it is really a struggle to do the normal five miles, my legs just burn and I am totally winded by the end.

I am becoming addicted to the ride; if I don't get to ride I start to get a headache.  Even though I don't get to look around a lot during the ride I miss the views from the tops of the hills on the days I have to drive.  I have learned that wind pretty much always sucks, unless it's pushing you from behind then it is awesome.  I love the speed in my face when I hit the downhill slopes.  I have found that a little gray green weed along the road has the brightest blue flowers I've ever seen, and that a building I pass everyday always smells like fresh baked cinnamon rolls.  Every now and then in the morning I get to race a jackrabbit until it realises it can run in a different direction to escape, there are lizards that live in a big juniper bush at the bus stop, and I have seen a large family of quail scurrying out of my way.  So I do miss it when I can't ride it is like my skin craves all that fresh air.

I ride along a rural highway and there are some things I just don't understand.  I don't know where all the glass in the road comes from. I have never thrown a glass bottle out of a car.  On the rare occasion that I have had something roll out of the car and break I have always picked up the pieces and thrown them away in an actual trashcan.  I also don't know why people honk at bicyclists.  I know there are cars, I am aware of the traffic, there is no need to honk, all that it does is startle me and make me swerve a bit.  Some of these people aren't even on the same side of the highway as I am, or are several lanes away, so I don't get it.  Except for the few honking jerks I have found the people on the road with me to be very polite and accommodating of my five MPH struggle up the hills.

The weight thing is frustrating I know that I am building muscle. I just figured, I was chubby enough that the conversion ratio would still show on the scale.  After 16 weeks, and roughly 600 miles with watching what I eat I have lost one pound, that's right one pound.  Oh well I wasn't doing it to lose weight I was doing it to save money but I did think weight loss would be a nice side effect of all my hard work. 

I don't know where the bike commute will take me health wise, but I am having bicycling dreams, and I fantasise about just how much I could do.  Maybe I should check into public rides on the weekends, or classes to increase my skill.  I probably should learn how to change the tire before I get too involved in longer rides.  I bought a bicycle maintenance book but I don't understand it, I wonder if they wrote a bike maintenance for dummies book.

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Bike Commute Update | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Pagin adhoc in re: bike maintenance. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 08:06:30 AM EST
There's normally classes and such around here...both the community college and some of the bike riding clubs have them.

You should see what sort of community there is in your area for bicyclists, get some tips on good shops, group buys, maintenance, etc.

In re: glass, sorry about that.  That was me.  I'll clean it up later.  I swear.
"You bring the weasel, I'll bring the whiskey." - kellnerin

Go to the Yellow Bike Project... by atreides (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 08:11:39 AM EST
They use bikes they're repairing to teach people how to repair thier own. You get training, they get labor. And I think they'll let you use their shop to make repairs on your own stuff if needed, but I'm no expert...

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

For maintenance, by toxicfur (4.00 / 1) #3 Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 08:23:34 AM EST
try your local bike shop, and ask for recommendations. ad hoc recommended a local shop near here (Boston - bit of a commute for you) that offers classes and space to do your own repairs. In those classes, you use your own bike, and learn how to repair and/or service the various moving parts. I'm certain there's something in your area that would be similar. For minor maintenance, just asking the bike shop person would likely get you a lot of advice.

Also, it's totally awesome that you've stuck with the riding for this long! You're a better woman than I am - I can't even manage the one-mile-each-way to my train station on a regular basis.
If you don't get a Bonnie, my universe will not make sense. --blixco

Thanks by paperdoll (4.00 / 2) #4 Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 08:57:31 AM EST
I thought I was going to die the first 2 weeks.  Being broke finally paid off, if I didn't keep it up  I was going to have to do something drastic with the budget.

[ Parent ]
How old are you? by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 10:44:33 AM EST
You should be seeing some muscle growth, which means your metabolism should be rising which means you should be burning fat while building muscle, i.e., getting leaner. Are your clothes fitting differently?

You should certainly be seeing gains in your aerobic capacity too, but depending on your age that may not happen as quickly as if you were 18, IYKWIM.

Either way - a few extra pounds won't hurt you and the benefits of regular exercise will pay big benefits if you keep it up.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

How's my blogging: Call me at 209.867.5309 to complain.

34 by paperdoll (2.00 / 0) #15 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 09:19:00 AM EST
My clothes fit a bit different, my boyfriend says my back and butt look much different though so I guess it's okay.

[ Parent ]
Bike riding by hulver (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 10:55:39 AM EST
I don't do as much as you. My commute is 5 miles total. I take 7 minutes on the way to work, and 15 minutes home.

Like you, I've been cutting down on food, but I've not lost a pound. According to J I've lost some flab though, so it looks like I've been putting muscle on.

My cardiac fitness has improved an awful lot. I recover quicker and don't get out of breath as much, but my legs still get too tired too much.

I also miss it on the days I don't do it.

Two things though. I need to get a mudguard for my bike. The spray soaks my if it's wet. Although I learned to go commando on those days when it's wet, so I don't have to change my undies as well as every other item of clothing I'm wearing.

It's less weight that way ;)

Stick at it, you're doing really well. Besides, if you stick at it you can tell me that eventually you do start losing weight. Which is what I want to hear.

Also, women who cycle have fantastic bum's. Just sayin'
Cheese is not a hat. - clock

two quick things by LinDze (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 12:49:03 PM EST
  1. You can whip up a ghetto mud gaurd from a 2 liter bottle and some duct tape. Lop off the ends, cut out a third of the cylinder, and tape in place.
  2. Try underarmour for greater undie comfort. They dry much better than cotton, chafe less, and are great for everyday wear. Their sizing is a bit funny so it helps if you can check them out in person. In the states most sports stores  carry a decent selection so they shouldnt be too rare here.

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei
[ Parent ]
If you like female cyclists' bums, by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #14 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 05:09:34 AM EST
dude, you need to check out dancers' bums.

I cycled for years without much bum notice, but was overwhelmed by the attention my bum got when I started dancing.

The only people to get even with are those that have helped you.

[ Parent ]
As soon by paperdoll (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 09:19:51 AM EST
as I know I'll let you know.

[ Parent ]
yikes the multi-modal bit sounds evil by R343L (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 12:27:28 PM EST
that's what is making it hard for you to do the "bike commute". If all you had to do was five miles of biking you'd be fine. And in the country no less! Sweet.

I enjoy my bike commute a great deal. To the point where if I am frustrated, leaving and doing the bike commute makes me a lot happier.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

bike flats by LinDze (4.00 / 1) #9 Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 01:24:38 PM EST
The easiest way to fix a flat is to not get one. Schwalbe makes some real nice tires for not a lot of money. You should be able to get some wire bead Marathon Plus' for ~$20-30 each. These tires can over just about anything and last for 3-5000 K.

The GF and I just rode Schwalbe Marathon Plus' in 32mm a few thousand k across germany, czech republic, poland, and ukraine. Not a single flat between us.

However, if you dont want new tires or arnt worried about repeat flats, you can get by with a flat kit. All you need are tire levers and a patch kit or a spare tube. For levers dont bother with little wimpy plastic ones, they flex and break. Get a pair of SoMa Steel Core levers or a single Crank Bros lever. The Crank Bros levers work great and will probably save your nuckles some skin. For the patch kit Park, and others, makes a decent little all in one kit. Total for the levers and tube/kit shouldnt be more than $10.

For maintenance ask around at local shops. Im betting theres a local bike riders group or community college has some classes. If you want a paper book Park Tools has a real nice manual. Otherwise you can find out just about anything on the Park Tools web site repair section.

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei

I've got an evil slash in the side of my Marathon by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #10 Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 01:59:22 AM EST
I've no idea where it came from, but because it's the rear tyre, I'm just ignoring it.

[ Parent ]
sucks by LinDze (2.00 / 0) #12 Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 06:52:34 AM EST
i suppose as long as the tubes not poking through its safe enought to ignore. ISTR that they redesigned the Marathon Ultra and the new version has greatly improved sidewall protection, along wit ha kevlar bead.

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei
[ Parent ]
Good work. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #11 Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 02:02:51 AM EST
It sounds like there's pleasurable stuff, and in 6 months or so you'll really be enjoying it. And by that time you'll be wanting to ride the bus bit of the journey.

I'm actually jealous of your ride, even though I have to say I'm glad I'm lucky enough to have been riding all my life so don't have to worry about gtting back into it.

I have never by paperdoll (2.00 / 0) #17 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 09:21:57 AM EST
really ridden before this.  I think the last time I was on a bike I was 14, so it's been an experience.

[ Parent ]
It's fun cycling to work by jump the ladder (2.00 / 0) #13 Sat Aug 04, 2007 at 08:56:48 AM EST
I restarted it 6 months ago doing 20 miles there and back three times a week. It's only now that the weight is starting to go. I think you just build muscle until you're fit enough and then only after that do you start shedding pounds.

Eventually by paperdoll (2.00 / 0) #18 Mon Aug 06, 2007 at 09:23:00 AM EST
I hope to be able to do the part that I bus right now then I'll be doing around 20 each way too.

[ Parent ]
oops I meant 10 each way by paperdoll (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 09:32:18 AM EST
20 miles total but all that will have to wait until the weather warms up.

[ Parent ]
Bike Commute Update | 19 comments (19 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback