Bike to Work, day 95

September 30, 2008

I’m back!

21:48, 6.3mi
59ºF, Odo 2432mi
avg 17.4mph, max 27.8mph

What a beautiful day to ride.  It sure feels nice to ride gears after commuting an SS, feels nice to have that connection with the pedals.

I think it all boils down to an intense desire to fly.  I want to soar through the sky.  Cycling is the closest I’ll ever get, since I don’t plan to buy a plane.  I’m not complaining, I love the feeling.  Soaring, cutting through the world on wheels.  Exhilarating speed plumeting down hills!  Climbing with strength I didn’t think I had left–at the top I’m a champion!  Harrah!

20:14, 6.3mi
64ºF, Odo 2438mi
avg 18.8mph, max 30.0mph

Not a bad ride home, a little slow, though.

Different Morning

September 29, 2008

Several strange things happened this morning.

  • I woke up refreshed!  Not sloggy, slow, stupid, drowsy, or like a zombie back from the dead.  I can’t remember when this last happened, but I suspect it was a different decade.
  • No Alarm.  There was no beeping alarm, no annoying buzzing, nothing but the soft patter of rain.  It’s 6am and I usually wake up at 5.
  • Not starving.  I wasn’t ravished the way I usually am in the morning.  I wasn’t even hungry.  As a preemptive attack I had a piece of toast.
  • Warm out!  The temperature this morning is 60ºF.

I would have biked in, but I woke up late and it was raining.  Oh well, that’s the only negative for this beautiful day!

This weekend was amazing!  The main events were the Mt. Auburn Cemetary, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Dinner at Mom’s.  My best friend is visiting from California, so it’s great to hang out with her.  She’s like a sister, parted at birth.


September 26, 2008

This is the fastest man on earth.  He broke the world record for human powered speed. Sam Whittingham rides the Varna Diablo III up to 82.3mph unassisted.

Side view, open

Side view, open

Top View, Open

Top View, Open

And I thought 50 was fast.  What else can I say? This is amazing!  Check out the video:

I used the stopwatch feature on my iPod, but didn’t pause it at the redlight, where I chatted with another commuter.  This was the first time I’ve stopped at a light with another cyclist during a morning or afternoon commute.  Here’s my time:

23:52, 6.3mi
45ºF, Odo 2420mi
avg 15.83mph

Second Impression
It’s a little wobbly, but it was nice to wear normal shoes, and not need lycra shorts (I wore them anyway, under sweatpants).  I kept pulling my shoes off the pedals.  This is slightly disconcerting.  It also feels very strange to have that ability, again; to be able to lift my feet off the pedals.  I’ll install the baskets, that way I can still wear boots.

I felt stupid pedaling fast on this bike.  I felt silly in that I was exerting so much effort for such little result.  Just coast! Certainly, it needed to be done once.  I have my ‘hustle’ time, now I can just relax.

A couple, tattood and pierced, passed me in Manchester yesterday, riding two beautiful cruisers.  Hers was white and light blue.  His was tan and cream.  Punk and fenders.  Welcome to the slow bike movement.

I must remember the goals I had when I chose this bike. Winter Bike, Slow Bike Movement, Fixie, Easy Mount/Dismount, Cadence Training.

Embracing the Bike

Curvaceous and Clumsy

In the few moments of riding since I picked it up (oh, twenty minutes ago) I have developed a subtle fear of the grueling ride I expect tomorrow morning.

Not Quite Featherweight.

Not Quite Featherweight.

It’s got a miserable top speed which is hard to maintain.  On the other hand, it’s much lighter than I feared it would be.



In short, the bike is curvaceous and clumsy, sexy and slow.  These are my first impressions.

Extension of Self

Extension of Self

So here I am, with a new bike and a bit of fear.  I like confronting my fears, they’re never as big or as powerful as they seem to be.  After confronting them, I am much bigger; I am much more powerful than I seem to be.

Selfportrait with Bike

Selfportrait with Bike*

Come on challenges, come on fears!  I have everything to gain!  Bring it on.

Yesterday, I logged some sick time, then drove into the office.  Last night I stayed up way past my bedtime, but managed to get out the door on time this morning.  Fortunately, yesterday’s driving allowed me to check on the construction of my old route, which was scheduled to complete this month.  It changed from dramatic dirt-packed hills to rolling blacktop.  The traffic is lighter on this road, and it allows me to ride a huge shoulder along a short section of higher speed (40mph) road.  Two could comfortably ride this shoulder side by side without impacting traffic at all.  The old route puts me on rt 3, over a busy overpass, and through the work parking lots; it’s much more dangerous.  I’m overjoyed to not have to deal with any of that anymore.  Unfortunately there’s no big hill to challenge me, or to race down.  Oh well, it’s a trade-off I’ll take!

22:23, 6.3mi* New route
43ºF, Odo 2407mi
avg 16.9mph, max 26.5mph

I’m very excited to be riding Tinker Road again.  Way back when I started this madness, I had a really good morning and a really bad afternoon:

day 4:
6.4mi, 26m48s *best to-work time
odo: 64mi
33F Snowing

home again
9.2mi, 39m44s
odo: 73
34F raining *really bad ride.

The story was that when I left work it was raining and cold, but I figured I could race home, let my clothes repel/soak, generate some heat by pushing hard, and generally be ok.  Two miles in, I ran into Officer No.  “You can’t go this way.  Blasting.”  I hadn’t put on the blue ski pants (that never did repel water) nor even long fingered gloves.  My glasses were already worthless.  I was already cold, and this officer was telling me I needed to add more than 50% to my ride.  With a helmet and a steel mountain bike, I thought “I’ll take my chances against explosives, over freezing to death.” but I simply struggled to put the leather gloves on, and added the 4 miles.  When I got home, I immediately started a fire and and hung all my clothes out to dry.

Look at that best time: 26 min!  Here’s hoping the single speed can even go that fast.

20:08, 6.3mi
70ºF, Odo 2414mi
avg 18.8mph, max 29.1mph

I just realized that I can’t ride the new bike without a cyclometer!  On the other hand I can just use the stopwatch on my phone.  Desperate times call for desperate measures!

I was late this morning.  Much later than I’ve ever left before: 6:25am.  Fortunately it was nice and warm out.

22:47, 6.4mi
59ºF, Odo 2395mi
avg 17.0mph, max 24.9mph

What a weekend!  Karate, Cello lessons, then to Boston: Diesel cafe for tea, Blue Fin for sushi, Emack & Bolios for ice cream, Somerville Theatre for The Pineapple Express, Finale for dessert, Sanctuary for dancing until 2am.  And that’s just Saturday.  On Sunday I had my first orchestra practice.  Insanity!

This was not a bad ride home, considering the cold, and the laptop* I hauled.

21:17, 6.5mi
64ºF, Odo 2401mi
avg 18.3mph, max 29.8mph

It’s nice that my bike fits under my desk with minimal impact, for the days I forget my bike lock.

Bike to Work, day 91: Brr!

September 19, 2008

This morning I did everything right.  A reasonable amount of snoozing before showering, getting into warm clothes, making toast and preparing breakfast/lunch.  I remembered to bring everything, and nearly left on time, for what it matters.  I didn’t push myself too hard, it was a good ride in.

24:47, 6.4mi
41ºF, Odo 2381mi
avg 15.6mph, max 25.7mph

It’s funny, really, how caught up I get.  faster faster faster faster faster! Please.  It’s 6am and 41ºF.  Most people are still in bed, some are in their warm cars.  I’m on a bicycle, and I love it.  relax, enjoy the ride I tell myself.  I tried to focus on other things than my current time, such as debunking the thought that I was miserable. what part of me is actually cold? Face, Butt(?!), Ankles, Feet, but none badly.  It was the idea of cold, not actual pain or discomfort.  I looked up at the trees and sky for inspirations of beauty, the view was not lacking.

Two miles into my ride, I felt my body start to sweat.  It’s a sharp feeling; it reminds me of they way a match flares up after you light it.  Almost instantly my face was no longer cold.  Four miles into the ride I unzipped the jacket a few inches to cool my chest.  By the time I arrived, my hands were cold but I was sweating in other places.  Why are my hands cold? I have windproof gloves…  Maybe I need glove liners.  My head was nice and comfy warm the whole time, thanks to my new hat!

21:30, 6.5mi
59ºF, Odo 2388mi
avg 18.0mph, max 28.8mph

Phew!  What a week!

Bike to Work, day 90

September 18, 2008

Wow, day 90!

22:24, 6.4mi
54ºF, Odo 2368mi
avg 17.3mph, max 27.8mph

Next week I’ll hit one hundred days commuting by bike.  Cool!

19:27, 6.5mi
68ºF, Odo 2375mi
avg 20.0mph, max 30.1mph

I used my old formula: Start off at a slow pace, and pick up later.  I enjoyed the trees, the sky, and oh look a hill IT’S POWER TIME.  Then I allowed myself coast down the other side.  The result is I was ready for the next hill.  Eventually, though, I was pushing with everything I had.  Talking myself through it “You can do it. You can do it!

And I maintained that 20mph average speed.  What a great day!

Performance Enhanced?

September 17, 2008



Partial success.  I’m not ready to go 50mph on my bike.  Certainly not with New England road surfaces (read: basketball sized potholes are commonplace).  However, this ring gives me the hope of speed, and that is what I needed.  I needed some hope, some change to believe in, to really push myself the way I did in May, June.  It’s helping!

Progression of handlebar drop

Handlebars Dropped

Dropped Handlebars
Total success. I didn’t know what I was missing with my bars up by my ears. Aero or not, lowering the bars helped me gain balance while pushing hard.  I feel comfortable when I bring my upper body up over the bars, confident.  My legs have more range when I’m standing, unlike before, where I felt like I was up on my tiptoes, with my arms bent severely, and straining.  Now I can leave my arms (mostly) straight and focus on my legs, which feel like they are in exactly the right place; all the while being in a more aero position.  This is awesome for sprint climbing.  I find myself downshifting multiple times while pushing up a hill, standing on the pedals, gaining speed.  What a feeling of power!