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Archive for the 'Commuting' Category

Taking the bus

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

I’ve discovered that I really, really dislike bike commuting in the rain, especially when it comes to school. When I was working full-time, I still didn’t like it, but it was more manageable to bring a change of clothes with me, and let my wet clothes dry throughout the day. Now that I’m moving around campus all day, that’s not a viable option. Sarah and I share one car, and our schedules are different enough that it would be difficult to make that work. Plus, parking is a nightmare on campus, unless you’re willing to pay for a parking garage.

On Monday, it was just pouring all day. I opted to take the Bloomington Transit bus to campus. It was the first time I’ve ridden a bus in a long time. I thought that the bus route/schedule wasn’t going to work for me, but Sarah pointed out that I was misreading the bus schedule. (Note to Bloomington Transit folks: if a GIS student can’t read your bus schedules, maybe you’re doing something wrong.)

I have to say, riding the bus worked quite well. As a student, I get to ride the bus for free. And it’s a lot more  tolerable — even enjoyable, I found — walking in the rain, versus riding. And I still got some exercise in the form of 2.5 miles of walking throughout the day. Another bonus: listening to music and reading a book on the bus.

The buses here do have bike racks on the front, so if I can figure out how they work, I could try a multi-mode commute.

Today I went by the forecast and rode the bus again, given that we had a 70% chance of rain. It didn’t start raining until 5:30 pm, a while after my last class. Oh well.

I don’t intend to take the bus often, but it’s good to have alternatives.


Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

It’s quite been quite warm the past couple of days. It even got up into the 60s today, and tomorrow is supposed to get above 60, also. I swapped out my studded tires for slicks Monday night, and it’s been absolute bliss commuting on normal, slick road tires. I had forgotten what a smooth ride the Trucker has, when not shod with studded tires.

Even though the forecast for the foreseeable future looks warm, I’m sort of expecting it to get colder; maybe we’ll even get more snow. It seems too much to hope that spring is here already. But I’ll enjoy the warmer weather, as long as it’s here.

This weekend a good ride is planned in southern Indiana with RCCS. I’m very much looking forward to doing a longer ride.

Whining some more

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

It seems like I’ve been a little whiny lately on my blog. It’s not intentional, but I get cranky when I don’t get adequate saddle time. The past few weeks have been nothing but commuting, and frankly, most of it has not been much fun. Especially since I’ve basically been sick the past two weeks.

I had hoped to do a long ride over the weekend, and the weather was good, but I have a lingering cough that results in some real coughing fits, even just during my 5-6-mile commute, so riding for an extended period of time was not a viable option.

But yesterday I hit rock bottom, riding-wise. I started feeling sick again yesterday morning and rode to class anyway. I felt worse and worse as the day went on. I left my last class a bit early and rode home. I felt awful. I was dizzy and nauseous, and a windchill of 5°F, including a harsh headwind, made me feel worse in every way. I had multiple coughing fits on my way home. My ears were in severe pain — lingering effects of my ear infections, made worse by the cold. A few times I seriously wondered if I was going to make it all the way home. That should give you some idea of how bad I felt — it’s only a six-mile ride. It was probably the most miserable 30 minutes I’ve ever spent on a bicycle. After I got home, I immediately collapsed on the bed for 2-3 hours. I felt a little bit better when I woke up.

Today, I drove to class and work, for the first time in ages. We have single-digit windchills again today and I just didn’t think my ears could take any more abuse. I thought the rest of me could use a break, too. Driving felt weird, but I do think this may help me finally recover.

This is the first time I’ve driven to class. Parking wasn’t really a hassle, but only because I decided to pay for a spot in a parking garage. $3 for one class period. Yeesh.

In other news, I’ve decided NOT to attempt the 200km brevet on February 19. It’s just too much, given my lack of training. It’s been weeks since I got to go on a long ride.  There’s another 200k out of Carbondale, IL in May. I am contemplating making that my new goal. It seems more realistic. But, that is dependent on getting my butt in gear and doing some serious training between now and then. I think it’ll be doable once I finally get over this lingering illness.

I’m sorry for complaining so much, but sometimes it’s important to recognize that cycling isn’t always fun, especially if you are a daily commuter. Most of the time I really enjoy it, but being even just a little bit sick can make it miserable. I feel like I’m on the mend now. I hope I’m right. I’m going to go crazy if I don’t get to do a fun ride soon!

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