Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It's a Long Way To The Top If You Want To Rock n Roll

Hills. They’re all around us. It’s hard to travel anywhere around here without running into one. The ones that get me are the invisible ones…the wind. Headwinds in particular are tough. You can’t see it, but you feel it. It’s easy to deal with a regular hill. You see the incline. You know when you reach the top. With a headwind, it can go on for miles, never knowing when the end is near. I swear my commute is uphill both ways – real hills on the ride in, and the invisible hills on the ride home. If you’re riding in a car, you don’t even notice it. Ride a bike, however, and you wonder why you are pedaling so hard and only going about 10 miles an hour. The same stretch of road without the headwind allows for an easy 15 or 20 miles per hour travel. The flip side is a nice tailwind, giving you a little boost. I cannot ever seem to find those for some reason. I must be always riding in the wrong direction. It’s hard to complain, though. Winds, hills, they all just add to the adventure…and the feeling you get when you have conquered, or at least survived, them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Not Easy To Sort of Be Car Lite

First of all, I'd like to say that I envy those who can live a truly car-free or car-lite life. As much as I enjoy bike riding and commuting by bike, I have a long way to go before I can say that I do not need to rely on a car. Over the last couple of months, I have relied on the crutch that is my car for more often than I care to admit. There have been after work commitments, weather issues, and lately, a lingering cold that have kept me off the bike most days. The thing is, when the car is there, it is all too easy to wimp out use it. I know that without easy access to the car, I would either be riding or taking public transit. Taking public transit would add about a half hour to the commute, plus I would have about a half mile walk to the bus stop. Certainly doable when there are no other options. However, when you are already financially committed to owning a vehicle, it seems to make more sense to go ahead and use it on the days when riding not a likely option. Yes, it hurts to watch the dollars tick by when filling up with gas. And yes, it is painful to sit in traffic, especially when I see another bike commuter. I'll get back into the groove soon, but it is a drag being out of it right now.

Friday, December 11, 2009

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

What a lovely time of year. The evening ride home is delightful with all the holiday lights decorating the houses. What better way to enjoy them than riding a bike. It is a much better experience than seeing the lights wiz by from a car. Plus, you get the brisk air in your face! It makes arriving at home and warming up inside all the more rewarding.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Who is NOT riding today?

Who in SoCal is NOT riding today? Or, who are the brave souls that ARE?! It's pouring rain and gusty winds around here. I am today enjoying being stuck inside the office. :-)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cold as Ice

It was a bit chilly this morning in SD. Guessing somewhere in the 40's. I know other parts of the country think we are wimps to even talk about the weather unless it is something like 10 below, but nonetheless, it was chilly. I broke out the knee warmers and jacket this morning. Probably could have used to full-finger gloves too. I'm not a big fan of getting decked out in cycling gear, but those knee warmers are so nice! Those plus a cycling vest are probably the 2 best pieces of cycling clothing to have around here. Even in the 40's and 50's, the knees can get damaged from the cool air if you are working them hard without any protection. The vest is great to keep the wind off your chest while the back can still breathe. I wore the jacket this morning since I had on a short sleeve shirt. With a long sleeve jersey or arm warmers, the vest would have done the trick.
The cooler times of year are my favorite for riding for some strange reason. Maybe it is knowing that you are one of the few "real" cyclists when you are out there when others are taking the bus or driving. You know what they say, "the weather is never too bad, you're just not dressed appropriately."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Slow Ride, Take It Easy

It's been one of those months, or two, where normal bike commuting has been interrupted with various obligations that made driving the car more common that I wished. As soon as I get in a good groove of biking to work, I am off the bike for several days of driving. The rhythm of the commute is so different between the two. While biking, I feel more free, able to get a better grasp on the thoughts for the day. While driving, it is all about watching the road, the other drivers, lights, and more lights. Seems like it is all stop, go, stop, go. I have to admit, though, that driving is actually faster for me (at least in the actual time from home to work and back home. I know there are arguments that overall, biking is faster. At least once you factor in the time for earning the money to pay for the car, maintenance, etc.) When driving, it is easy to get into a "hurry-up" mentality. Late? Just drive faster! Late, and riding a bike? Well, too can only pedal so fast. That's one big thing I have learned about cycling. You are forced to slow down and pace yourself. You have no choice but to "take it easy" sometimes. If you're running late, well, you're gonna be late. You have to physically and mentally adjust to cycling for transportation. In an auto-centric society such as ours, it can be difficult to explain to others (boss, spouse, etc) why you need to leave or arrive several minutes early or late because you are cycling. "Why don't you just drive?" That's the expectation. If only we were all in the slow down frame of mind...