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Archive for the 'Commuting' Category

A few unrelated cycling musings

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

I’ve got a few disjointed cycling thoughts swimming around in my head. I might as well get them out there.

  • Sometime in the last couple of weeks, I reached 1,000 miles of cycling for the year. This feels odd because from January through March, I actually rode more miles than in any previous year. But, nearly all of it is commuting and other utility cycling. Very few recreational rides. So, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been riding as much. I tend to not count commutes when I’m thinking about the riding I’ve done, but truthfully at 11-12 miles per day, it adds up to a lot.
  • That said, I don’t anticipate the huge upswing in mileage in April/May this year that I had last year.
  • I commute on the fixed-gear bicycle on Monday. I found it a lot of fun riding around campus, and town, on the fixed-gear bike. The biggest downside was, I worked up much more of a sweat than I normally would, on a geared bike. Also, I had to carry my backpack on my back instead of in my milk crate. Not very comfortable.
  • On my way home that day, I thought I felt more play in the chain than I should. On closer inspection, I noticed my chainring is coming loose. I’ll have to fix that before I ride the fixed-gear bike again.
  • That made three fixed rides in a row (or four, if you count morning/evening commutes separately). The next day, I commuted on the Trucker. Coasting felt really VERY odd. I was a little surprised at how tricky it was to switch back.
  • Yesterday I found time for a brief evening ride on the Bianchi. After riding the slow Trucker and pedaling harder on the fixed bike, the Bianchi felt even faster and smoother than usual. And, I managed to push up the hills in a bigger gear, too. It just felt GREAT riding such an efficient bicycle. This was the most refreshing ride I’ve had in a while.

State of the bicycle commute

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Bicycles make a lot of sense on college campuses. There’s very little parking, and there are a lot of small paths where cars can’t go anyway. Plus, my wife and I share one car, and want to keep it that way. Using my bicycle for transportation helps facilitate that. In general, commuting by bicycle has been working very well.

That said, since I started school in January, I have changed my commuting strategy slightly. Before then, I was a very dedicated commuter. I commuted by bicycle every day, no matter what. Lately I’ve changed my stance a little bit. Oddly enough it wasn’t the cold, wind, snow or ice that made me change that. It was rain.

Frankly, I’ve never enjoyed commuting in the rain, but it’s worse when I’ll have to slog around campus all day. Sometimes I do enjoy rain on country rides, but in general, rain is one of my least favorite riding conditions.

Eventually I decided that I didn’t need the aggravation of commuting to class in the rain. And I have to say, giving up my stubborn, I-must-always-commute-by-bicycle attitude felt quite liberating. Now when it rains, I take the bus. And while on the bus, I read a book and listen to music. Then I have to walk a ways to get to class, but I don’t really mind walking in the rain, so long as I bring an umbrella. And again, I can listen to music while I walk and see more of the world around me as I go.

So, am I less dedicated to bicycle commuting now? Maybe. Bicycling is about different things to different people. For some people riding no matter what gives them a lot of pride. I’ve been there myself. But sometimes my bicycle commute had started to feel like a chore … and for me, riding is about fun. I’m glad to have some alternatives.

I still ride nearly all the time, but I don’t feel bad about taking the bus when I need or want to.

I had an interesting mishap last week. I had my hardest midterm Thursday morning. I got up earlier than usual to give myself plenty of time — in fact, ironically, I had just started writing this post about how well bicycle commuting is working. But, just as I was maybe 1/3 of the way to class, my chain broke! I called my wife, and asked her to look up the bus schedule (I was right by a stop). But the bus wouldn’t be coming for 45 minutes or so. I’d be too late for my midterm. Fortunately, Sarah was able to leave work for a while, pick me up, and take me to class.  I was only about 5 minutes late for my midterm. Whew!

I’m not sure what caused my chain to break, but I later bought a new one, and fixed it. Not without some frustration, of course. Sometimes I have trouble with even the most basic bicycle repair tasks.

Unbelievably busy

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I can’t believe how demanding school has been lately. This week is the worst yet, with two midterms, and three major projects going on. Most of it is behind me now, except for my hardest midterm. Riding has consisted only of going to class and work, and home, for the past couple of weeks. But next week is spring break, so hopefully I’ll get to do some  recreational riding.

My latest photography assignment was portraits. Here are some of the shots I turned in. Some of my classmates did very commercial/fashion type shots (and some of them were impressive). For better or worse, I went for something a little more “real.”

Dave

Dave 1

 

Mom

Mom 1

Sarah

Sarah 2

Avery (my nephew)

Avery 2

I also had to do a couple of self-portraits.

Self-Portrait 2

Self-Portrait 1

I’m fairly pleased with most of them. The assignment had some constraints that were rather limiting, but overall I was pleased with my shots.

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