February 26, 2010
My first bicycle commute of the year
Today I bicycled the six miles each way to and from work. It was light when I left and and dark coming home. And I slipped on the ice once when I rode over a huge ice-melt flow that had refrozen. But I saw it in advance and was going really slow, so it was no big deal. No injuries or pain.
The biggest problem I had was that my cheeks were getting cold going really fast down a mile-long hill. I should have had my ski mask for that part. The next problem was overheating. I dressed in layers though, so i could unzip my jacket and open up a little to cool off. All and all though it was easy and fun.
The biggest joy? Getting there by my own power and feeling exhilarated the rest of the day because my blood had a good workout. The fresh air was good too. As a bonus I got to climb back up that mile-long hill on the way home.
I have a really nice lighting system I set up a few years ago so commuting at night is no problem. I have a dual-halogen headlight system with rechargeable battery pack attached to the frame. Plus a 5-LED white blinking headlight in front and a 5-LED red blinking light in back. And I have a reflect vest and leg band to make me brighter. I also have the standard white and red reflectors on front and back of the bike. The headlight system is really handy and it's great to be able to see the road ahead. I originally set up this light system because I hit a curb once that I could not see with just a blinky light and it bent my rim up. So commuting in the dark is a lot more fun with all those bright things.
Now the hardest part about this ride... Getting out the door this morning. Biking in the winter is all attitude. It is actually quite nice biking in the winter if prepared properly for it. People talk to me like I'm crazy when I say this, but then I ask, "how do you prepare for cross country skiing?" Is that crazy? When I started treating winter biking like a winter sport, it was amazing. What I find is crazy is that I know all of this and proved it to myself by biking for a couple of years all-year-round, even through the deep snow. And it was no problem even in 20 below weather. So I have no valid excuses to not bike. Except that I have taken an extended break from exercise, and my body pays the price in not being fit like I used to be. But my mind also suffered consequences. My mind began to make excuses. it's too cold. I'll be late. My bike is not ready. etc. it was only sheer will power that got me out that door with my bike this morning. Once I got on the bike it felt good and there was no turning back. Check out my winter biking category if you are interested in my previous winter biking experiences.
Tomorrow I will bike to the bike shop too.