September 21, 2010

Cool Commuting

This morning was detectably cooler than yesterday.  Not yet cold...but getting there, I was surprised by the response by the cycling community.  Or, at least, the small sector of said community that I witness on my daily rendezvous. 
Typically I am lucky to see 1 or maybe 2 other cyclists during my ride in the morning.  Today I saw 7!  Plus one upon arrival at work where I greeted my boss (who converted to bicycle commuting early this year).  Amazingly, only one of these 8 other riders shared my opinion that it's not yet cold out.  To the rest of you, don't worry, long pants will certainly be necessary...eventually.  I do agree, though that we have reached the point of full-fingered gloves and sleeves/arm warmers.

I can't bring myself to believe that the cool weather brought these riders out of the woodwork.  Nope, I have a different theory.  My afore-mentioned boss instigated this theory when he began to arrive at work 15 minutes later than normal.  He changed his schedule to maximize his ability to detect potholes via daylight.  He is beating the system.  Take THAT, Daylight Savings!  Oh, wait...Daylight Savings is on our side, or at least it will be.
Of course, here in the northwest, he has waged a losing battle.  Unless you are able to REDUCE the number of hours you work in a day (really, not a bad idea if you can get away with it), you will certainly be relegated to blinky lights and reflective stickers...which is the ultimate in Cool Commuting!

By the theory:  Everyone is changing their schedules to avoid riding in the dark.  I was about to accuse you all of being "Scardy Cats", but then I realized it's a healthy fear, and I'd be a liar to say that I feel completely safe riding in the dark.

September 20, 2010

Shaken Faith

Last Thursday I drove to work because I was going fishing for the afternoon.  The fishing was great, and the weather was decent despite a 30% likelihood of rain.  Driving means I can sleep in an extra 15 minutes.  I was 30 minutes late for work that day.  Hmmmm.  That worked well.
Friday I woke up and laid in bed listening to the rain falling and the cars spraying as they drove by.  I could not muster myself out of my warm cacoon.  Not with the thought of catching spray in the face and pulling spotty-wet clothes out of my satchel to get dressed for work.  Even the bus ride did not appeal to me, so I drove again.  At least I made it on time that day.
As darkness seeps into my commute, I have to be careful about letting myself drive.  Last year it was October.  I didn't ride my bike once in October.  There were extra-carricular reasons, but blahhhh!  I hated it! 
I really need to get my commuter bike up and running again.  That's my bomb-proof old, Miyata, steel-framed steed with one speed, fenders, and a plastic-covered seat.  Mustache handlebars round out the package with bar-end brakes.  I put about $150 into building that bike up a few years back, and it eats through tires like I do peanut butter sandwiches.  Seriously.  The wheels are a mismatch to the frame, so the brakes rub through the sidewalls of the tires.  The fix?  New long-reach brakes and new tires.  I'm thinking about some CX tires to give a little traction in the winter this year.  The damage will be less than $100, and that should get me through another couple of years.
I've gotta do what I can to get through this sap-sucking fall and break me in for the winter riding season.