Ride report, mid-July 2008

ted | bike,chicago | Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

I’ve been riding my bicycle to work. It’s fun, good exercise, cheaper than driving, better for me & better for the environment. So far I’ve found a few things out that I wouldn’t have otherwise:

  1. Even the “big roads” can be a better ride than the small ones. I initially avoided going down Southwest Highway & Cicero Avenue because they were “big”. Turns out taking that route is not only shorter but allows me to ride faster. They both have lots of lanes, too, which makes the cars behind me happier and my ride easier. That route is also over a mile shorter than the other route I was taking.
  2. A water bottle is a necessity. I almost puked my guts out coming home on Monday, as it was easily the warmest & sunniest day yet. Today’s gonna be hotter and tomorrow even moreso. My 1976 Austrian-built Raleigh Grand Prix was not outfitted with water bottle braze-ons, so my secondary Local Bike Shop sold me a handlebar-mount water bottle cage. I will be following up with my primary LBS, the fine gents at Beverly Bike & Ski, to acquire one that will clamp to the frame as well.
  3. Having access to a shower at work sure is nice. I should have a locker assigned to me today and tomorrow I will be able to reap the benefits of not being still glistening with sweat when I arrive at my desk.
  4. This is the first time I’ve ever bicycled all the way to work and home. Back when I lived in Atlanta, I would take my bicycle on MARTA to work with a bit of a ride to the station from home and from the station to work, but no more than 2 miles total. I would then ride all the way home, a distance of some 12 miles or so. Now I’m riding 9 miles to work and 9 miles home. 18 miles a day is pretty good.
  5. I really need a rear rack & panniers. As much as I love my bigass Timbuk2 bag, I need the bike to carry the weight, not my back. Also will assist in me being less sweaty upon my arrival. Unfortunately the rear eyelets on my Raleigh have wallowed-out threads. Right now I’ve got an M5 bolt with a nylock washer on the back holding the fender stays in place, but this prevents me from using my smallest cog. I really need to braze or weld up the eyelets, then drill & tap for a proper M5 thread. This will allow me to use the rack I already own and the fenders I already equipped the bike with, and later add panniers.
  6. Full-finger gloves are nicer than half-finger gloves. I dunno, I just like them more.
  7. Dear everyone in a car forever: there are more lanes to my left. If you’d like to go faster than me, please use one of them and be on your way. Despite your almost Neanderthal-like insistence on using your horn, the sound waves impacting my back do not appreciably make me go faster, nor do they alert me to your presence – I saw you long before you saw me. So please, lay off the horn, pass me on my left, have a Coke, a smile & leave me the fuck alone. I’m trying to do something nice for the two of us, jerks.
  8. I really enjoy riding my bicycle. There’s something almost poetic about being able to get to work in 40 minutes under your own power when it takes up to 30 minutes when driving. The best I ever did on my way to work was 22 minutes and that was full-on Stig mode. I’m less than twice that time under my own power, carrying my breakfast, lunch, snack, work clothes, wallet, keys, pocketknife, sunglasses, deodorant, phone, bandanas, belt, an assortment of bike tools, heavy U-lock, spare innertube, patch kit, air pump & a fistful of change in a bag slung across my back.
  9. Bicycles don’t tear streets up. If the roads were paved nice and smoothly just once and it was a bicycle-only route, it would almost never need repaving.

So far, so good. My new employer has been nice about this, what with helping me find a good, secure, indoor spot for locking up my bicycle, giving me access to a locker & having a shower. My dear wife has been getting in on the act as well and rode her bicycle to work on Monday. I can only hope with the rising fuel prices that others will start to take a look around and say, “Hey, if that fat guy can ride to work, so can I” and actually give it a try.

We just watched a terrible, terrible movie that had an interesting bit of dialogue in it. While I can’t ever recommend anyone see “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash” as it’s simply fearmongering, muckraking and completely devoid of any real content whatsoever (note to Gelpke & McCormack: a bunch of opinions do not a documentary make, it might help if you cited some “facts”), one line sort of reverberated with me. The gist of it was that if you tell Americans, “OK here’s your hydrogen powered car that will solve your part of the energy crisis” they will buy it and go on with their lives like they currently do. But instead if you said, “OK here’s your bicycle” and expect them to radically change the way they get around it’s going to be mass hysteria and chaos.

Don’t be an ugly duhmerikan. Help create order from chaos – ride a bicycle.

1 Comment »

  1. I wish there were a way for me to bike to work without getting killed. I live about 22 miles from my office, and most of the ways into work involve bridges, tunnels, and expressways. This is why I have the dahon, but my ride to and from the train station on both sides is never more than 2 miles

    Comment by mkb — 2008 Jul 56 @ 08:56:07 -0600

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress | Theme by Roy Tanck