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A few thoughts about my new commute

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

My new bicycle commute is longer (10 miles round trip versus 6) and hillier than my old one. There are no major climbs, but there are some mild-to-moderate rolling hills, some long, gradual ones and a few short steep ones.

Here are a few other features of my new bicycle commute.

  • Parks
  • Wooded area
  • Residential areas — some nice, some not-so-nice
  • A few commercial/industrial buildings
  • Downtown Bloomington
  • Signed bike routes (very nice) and bike lanes (mostly poorly designed). More about this in a future post.
  • A headwind every morning, so far

I’m surprised by how much longer the five-mile trip each way feels compared with three miles before.

I also feel the extra weight I’m lugging around a lot more than I did with my old commute … both in my panniers and around my waist. The solution to the waistline problem is obvious … now, I really need to streamline my commute strategy. Here are some things I’m doing.

  • Leaving shoes at work, rather than lugging them back and forth every day. With the longer commute, I don’t think riding in the same shoes I’ll wear all day is a good idea.
  • Figuring out the water situation. I have been using an insulated water bottle which I carry everywhere. But it doesn’t fit in a water bottle cage, so at first I was bringing a bicycle water bottle too. Solution: bought a second insulated water bottle to leave at work. Now I only carry the bike one back and forth.

Also, I’ve been riding the Long Haul Trucker every day. It is just such a wonderful bicycle … and it handles well with a load, too. I don’t know if I can ever go back to commuting on The Beast, especially with a more challenging commute than before. The Trucker really needs a tune-up, and I hope to have some work done on it while I’m recovering from my surgery. This is convenient, because I don’t like to be without the Trucker, even just for a day or two.

We are on the cusp of spring. It’s warming up, slightly, and I hear birds chirping every morning. It’s going to be very frustrating not being able to ride for a couple of weeks, after my surgery on Friday.

5 Responses to “A few thoughts about my new commute”

  1. Chris Says:

    Best wishes on the surgery. Hopefully, when you are ready to ride again, the weather will be delightful.

  2. Jon Grinder Says:

    My thoughts are with you. Recover quickly and fully!

  3. Bill Lambert Says:

    Yes, good luck on your surgery. Heal quickly. The trusty LHT will be ready and waiting.

  4. Steve A Says:

    If you drive in when the weather’s lousy, you can use that day to lug clean laundry to work and dirty laundry home, lightening the bike load considerably. Shoes at work work well for me. The only downside is that at least a few people now recognize whether I rode in to work simply by seeing which shoes I have on.

    I rarely take a water bottle for a five mile ride. My twenty mile ride runs through a bottle on hot days. My own insulated water bottle stays at work. When it gets over 100, the water on the bike just gets hot. When it goes below 32, the water on the bottle will start to accumulate ice.

    I think that’s an excellent idea to have the LHT all fixed up and waiting for you. It’ll speed your recovery.

  5. Tracy W. Says:

    I leave shoes, belt, towel, and toilitries in a locker at work to keep from having to haul it in every day as well. Like Steve, folks have figured out when I don’t ride by the shoes I’m wearing!

    Good luck with the surgery…..

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