Thursday, May 08, 2008

I want to ride it where I like.

This morning I enacted yet another resolution for my well-being: I biked to work. I launched my freshly-showered and street-clothed arse out on a mission to bike commute once a week. It's sort of a wussy resolution, but one day of biking will save me almost a gallon of gas each week while injecting stealth exercise into my schedule. (It's stealthy only in the sense that it's a matter of transportation rather than being specifically a workout. I will be entirely aware of the fact that I am getting exercise. In fact, I will probably be engaging in the same type of exasperated hate [exasperhate] that is usually reserved for running.)

The plan seems very doable right now, but then I picked the perfect day to launch: 55 degrees and sunny, no big wind. Wait to hear how loudly I moan when it's 85 and about to thunderstorm. The genius of my plan, though, is that I can choose the day I bike commute based on the weather report (and whether or not I need to see people when I get to work).

Today I learned some things:
-My bike is slow, but then I myself am not fast.
-My helmet hair is not so tragic as I forecasted.
-I took a slightly stupid route that I won't repeat on the way home.
-I should probably get some wicking underwear.
-Being sweaty for the first half hour of work is no big deal.
-I will probably end up buying a different bike if I keep doing this. Or at least skinnier tires.


  1. Hell yes. I'm all about hard core bike advocacy. Sounds like an awesome first run. Me and Loops have been as one as of late; grocery shoppin', commutin'. The girls and I rode our bikes to Maya's dentist appointment the other day. Just feels -- again -- old world communal.

    I also just read yesterday in the LA Times that 40% of Copenhagen's 1 million population rides their bikes to work, even in winter. That's hot. I was just looking at this fun blog about the bike culture there:

  2. The other thing to do is get with a group of bikers and do big group rides. There are a few of those in Denver/Boulder. They dress up and take over the city, ringing bells and wishing people well. It's pretty great.

    We just biked to and fro dinner at the Ethiopian place with some friends. It was cold on the ride home and I was grumpy because we had to take the sidewalk part time, and it's a bumpy old thing with my skinny tires. But it's great to go out at night by bike, no way around it. One of our friends from dinner had biked home today from Aurora, where the med school is, up to his apartment in Golden, which is basically the foothills. Twenty miles probably. Don't know if I'm ready for that.

  3. C-Mo loves his bike, and he enjoys bike commuting as well. I'm sure he would say "f*ck yeah, wicking underwear!" if he was reading this post right now. It is a necessity. He would also probably advocate a wicking shirt, but he probably sweats more than you do.

    It has been my intention to do the bike commute thing this spring, but I'm still waiting on a part for my little bike...grr!

  4. I keep some hippie baby wipes at my desk to wipe down after a particularly sweaty ride. Then again, I change my clothes usually too b/c I need to be fancier at work than I can ride a bike in. Good for you!

  5. Hey, that's an excellent plan! Some unsolicited advice from me:

    -- Any questions at all, shoot me a note.

    -- Slow is good. Style over speed.

    -- Routes are probably the most important thing to learn and know about. Not only the "right" one but all the alternates that exist, so that you have some second choices for when the right one is under construction, has been swept into the river, or is just jammed with traffic for some reason.

    -- You should DEFINITELY get some wicking underwear.

    -- In hot weather consider changing clothes when you get to work. I wear all sorts of things cycling everywhere, but when I worked at an office, I had a stash of "officewear" at work that I could change into, because it's no fun working in clammy clothes all day.

    -- Wool. But you knew that!

    -- Buying a different bike may be a good idea eventually, but keep in mind that the slow feeling is not necessarily a result of un-skinny tires. The tread and the condition of the tires (and of your bike) contribute more to your real and/or perceived speed. (Actually, skinnier tires have more rolling resistance, but that way madness lies, so just take my word for it.)

    Consider doing some minor work on your current bike so that it is more comfortable and speedy, and then, after bicycling to work for a few months, you'll have a much better idea of what you want.

    -- Hey! For fixups, new parts, or an eventual new bike, Hiawatha Cycles is the place to go. Tell Jim that Patrick from Hen Waller sent you.

    -- I hope to see you, and your bike!, on Vélocouture.

    Enjoy the ride!


  6. Dude! Patrick, you are most def my biking role model. So thanks for the info. We actually have showers in the building where I work, so I will likely bag my morning ablutions at home when it gets hot and just do it all once I get to work.

    And I will check out Hiawatha Cycles, coincidentally probably my closest bike shop.