Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Commute/ride update

Monday, March 26th, 2007

My bicycle commuting has been going well. I’ve really been enjoying getting to ride in the morning and after work, and I now have a Banjo Brothers Pannier, so I’m not dealing with the backpack anymore. I only ordered one pannier, their waterproof model, so I could try it and see if I like it. I think I am going to like it, and will need to order a second one. I probably should’ve just ordered both at once. When I was pushing my bike, it felt unbalanced and awkward with a pannier on just one side, but riding this way proved not to be much of a problem. Still, I could use two to carry more stuff and better balance the load.

IU Fountain
Fountain on IU’s campus (photo taken last week)

Campus dogwoods
Campus dogwoods (from today)

I rode about 50 miles over the weekend. On Saturday, I rode out to the water purification plant again. This is always a fun ride, and Saturday was no exception. I had driven there earlier to show Sarah the route, and took some photos of the plant. We also went down to the nearby park by the lake for a while and took some photos there. I haven’t posted any of those yet, although frankly not many of mine turned out very well.

On Sunday, after Sarah and I had explored the near ghost town of Patricksburg, Indiana (I’ll write more about that once I get the rest of my photos), I rode out to Fairfax State Recreation Area, which is about 15 miles from our apartment (making it a 30-mile round trip). This was the longest ride I’d done so far this year, and was a lot of fun.

I rode by a spot where there was a deer carcass the previous day, but I didn’t see it anywhere. Not that I wanted to see that carnage again, but I was puzzled when it seemed to be missing. I thought perhaps some redneck had hauled it away, or maybe it somehow got pushed back further away from the road. I didn’t think much more about it and continued on my way.

On my way down to Fairfax, I went down a big hill and hit 38 miles per hour. It was pretty incredible, I’ve hit speeds close to that before, but this was different. It was a smooth, straight road, and I was riding the road bike, of course, and once I reached a certain speed, it felt like I was floating. I gained more speed and felt like I was about to take off! It was exhilarating and a little intimidating, but my bike showed no signs of weakness, and its strength inspired confidence.

I rode around the recreation area for a bit, stopping to rest and enjoy a spot near the beach.

Bike at Fairfax (Lake Monroe)
My bicycle at Fairfax SRA

I found a spigot by a restroom and filled up a water bottle I had finished. Then, I started the climb back up the 38 mph-inducing hill. It was a long, long climb, but fortunately not too steep most of the way. I made it all the way up without stopping.

I had a bit of a tailwind on the ride home, which made riding easier. And somehow, the trip home always seems shorter than the trip to my destination, whether I’m riding my bike, walking, or driving. There were some great scenes along Fairfax Road on the way home, so I took some more photos.

The wrong side of nowhere
The wrong side of nowhere

During part of my ride back, I was going pretty fast and really in the zone, and my vision consisted of the road in front of me, and flashes of other images as my eyes checked the periphery, looking for cars, other bikes, and anything else worth seeing. This kind of vision is common when I’m really into it; some day I’d like to make a video to express it, with the main imagery being flying over the surface of the road, and pictures of things ahead and to the sides flashing over it, superimposed.

While I was in this state, I passed the spot where the deer carcass used to be — only this time I saw it, further back from the road, and a huge bird that looked like a bald eagle was tear at its flesh. I doubt it was, in fact, a bald eagle, but its head was definitely different from the rest of its body (I’m thinking it was probably a turkey vulture). It was incredibly surreal, though, because I saw this image for a fraction of a second, and then saw the road going by beneath me. It took me a minute to figure out what had just happened.

I did well on this ride; I’m glad I was able to pace myself. Sometimes, I get carried away and put forth too much effort at once, forgetting how many miles I have still to ride. I caught myself doing that a couple of times, but quickly corrected it. I do need to get a new saddle and probably change the angle of my seat, as the setup I have now isn’t working for me.

3 Responses to “Commute/ride update”

  1. furiousball Says:

    Your bike is really nice looking, I’m all road-bike envious now.

  2. John Says:

    Ha!! Your response in my post tickled me. Especially the “I’ll moo at rednecks”. I only get to see them on TV and movies. Plenty of cows and dogs though.

    You wrote about Banjo Brothers Panniers. I have been considering getting one/two, but am very satisfied with my backpack. Were you force into larger storage by necesssity, or was it simply a convient choice?

    I am also looking forward to read about the “new ghost town”. I’m intrigued.

  3. John Says:

    Your bike broke? It’s April, time to ride. Chop chop.

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