Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Bicycle Commuting

A special welcome to all of you who found me through Matt About Money!

Anybody who's read this blog before (all three of you!) know that I'm not some environmental whack job who's proposing eliminating everything that runs on gas. Rather, I'm pro-bicycle because I think it's a great way to get some exercise and improve your health (notice how obese our country is???), save money on gasoline, vehicle maintenance and insurance, and reduce our dependency on foreign oil (since our politicians can't seem to figure out the fact that we need to drill here locally to buy us some time as we develop alternate sources of energy (and the infrastructure to distribute them, such as electric or hydrogen "fueling" stations).

Here are a few links you might find useful to learn more about bicycle commuting.

California Bicycle Coalition: http://www.calbike.org/commuting.htm

Paul Dorn's Bicycle Commuting Tips: http://www.runmuki.com/commute/


The Bike to Work Website: http://www.bikecommute.com/

A few final notes:
  • You probably have everything you need to give this a try - the bicycle you have will get you started.
  • Get in touch with your local cycling coalition (here in Bakersfield, Bike Bakersfield (http://www.bikebakersfield.org), ask them for commuting tips, suggested routes to take, etc.
  • For longer distances, how about combining your bike trip with a bus ride?
Good luck! If you have any questions you can send me a note as well...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Back in the saddle

OK, I'm riding again! About 25 mile round trip yesterday - ride in was nice, as I went early, but was rough going home - it was hot!

My comment for the day - if you go past someone, say hello to them. Be friendly, be polite. It's the right thing to do. Don't be perceived as just another "bike snob" that's too good to acknowledge their fellow man...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

1/1/10 Ride

Happy New Year! Guess I need to start updating this blog more than once every 9 months. :)

Went on the New Years Day ride with a lot of local cyclists (I'm guessing about 70 or 80), and had a great time. We started at Beach park and rode the Round Mountain loop to its peak. Lauren and Kathy were kind enough to be serving hot chocolate, which was a nice treat as it was a bit chilly.

About 35 miles that day.

1/2 (Saturday) got in another ride with Richard Stewart and some of the other "Slow Spokes". This is a group that rides at a comfortable (10-12mph tops) pace, great for new riders and those of us who are out of shape (waving hand wildly). About 22 miles.

Goals for this year:

* Ride more. All year. Part of this is going to be commuting to work on a regular basis.
* Watch what I eat. Weight is creeping back on, need to drop 10-15 lbs.
* Have more balance in my life - rather than just work and be a semi-professional couch potato. :)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back in the saddle

This seems to be a recurring theme with me, one that I don't appreciate very much.

I stop riding for a period of time (in this case, a few months). This time, I was starting to cross train (jogging), and one of my 40-year-old knees wasn't really up to the task. Then, work got crazy, and I got sick with that cold that's going around. That plus family obligations... And I stop working out for the most part.

So, I'm back on the bike again, training for a century in July. Did 22 miles to and from work on Friday, am going to start stepping things up again. Oh, and going to try and lose some weight too, although having dinner at 11pm doesn't really help with that goal. I'm still about 20 pounds down from my all-time heaviest weight, but sure would like to lose some more.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Years Resolutions

OK, so I really don't have any. I am going to start riding more (once I get my touring bike back together - I popped a spoke on the rear wheel coming home a couple of weeks ago, and haven't had the chance to replace it and true my wheel), and work on losing some more weight.

My goal is to lose about 20 pounds, which would put me in the 190 range. (I'm 6'2". :) ) At my work, we're having a weight loss contest, and I plan on winning it. Wish me luck! (lol)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A lot can change in (almost) 11 months

To my two faithful readers - welcome back. :)

Where did I go? I got a new job, which has kept me incredibly busy. The downside of this, too, is that it has made it very difficult to ride to work - the new job is across town (I live in the northwest, it's in the south / central part of town, about 10 miles one way) and is complicated by the fact that I have to see my kids off to school in the morning.

Oddly enough... It just kind of hit me that I've been working way too much, and not really doing much for my health lately. I haven't been working out at all, and am reaping the effects of it - low energy level, just not feeling myself.

Remembering how much I enjoyed the Bike Bakersfield Christmas ride last year (which I'm hoping they'll repeat this year!), I dragged the touring bike out of the garage and got it ready last night. That involved a little bit of rear-wheel truing, adjusting the back brake, and lubing the chain. So, it's pretty much ready to go - just have to get my cold-weather and lighting gear ready.

Ever since I first rebuilt the bike, I've had problems with the rear index shifting. Although I bought decent Shimano bar-end shifters that were indexed for the nine-speed cassette, I went cheap on the rear cassette, going with a 9 speed Nashbar special. It never would shift right, even after fiddling with the adjustment quite a bit.

Anyway, back in January I finally made a couple of additional upgrades to the bike, going to a cartridge bottom bracket, a new crank from Rivendell, and a new 9-speed SRAM chain and mountain bike cassette. (Same Suntour front derailleur as it had when it was a 15 speed - works great for me, why change?) Installing the new cassette and a couple of tweaks - rear indexed shifting works beautifully. Guess the spacing between cogs is just a little off on the cheapo cassettes, enough to throw things off. I can certainly live without indexed shifting, but it is kind of nice to have.

I'm also learning that the $100 wheelset I purchased isn't the best bargain, either. I'm down to about 205 pounds now (from an all-time high of about 230 at the beginning of the year, ugh!), but that plus the gear I carry to work put a lot of stress on wheels. The front cheapo wheel is hanging in there, but the rear wheel (which was replaced with a $75 cheapo wheel) goes out of true easily, has uneven spoke tension... Anyway, I am going to start saving my pennies for a solid, bulletproof rear wheel, either built locally or purchased through Rivendell.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, January 04, 2008

New Year's Resolutions for '08

The experts say that you should have specific goals when setting resolutions.

While my mantra is "ride my bike more", I've set the specific goal of riding at least 3000 miles this year. At a little over 8 miles per day on average, this should be obtainable.

Not only am I counting miles on my road and mountain bikes, but also miles pedaling on the Expresso bikes at the gym (which, believe me, are harder to pedal than regular bikes IMO).

Anybody out there have goals for 2008? Let's hear 'em.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Another year, another post

Well, as you guys (by "guys", I mean the two readers out there! LOL) can tell, I set the blog down for a while.

About nine months to be exact.

However, with the new year, I'm energized to get back into regular riding. Why not? Gas is going to get so stinkin' expensive (with oil prices topping over $100 today, and at $99.27 at the time I'm writing this - see http://www.bloomberg.com/energy/), it's a good time to get out and start riding!

Here's where I'm at:

1. Rode to work a couple of times last week. I also took part in the Christmas Tree Light ride through Haggin Oaks, a joint ride sponsored by Bike Bakersfield, Kern Wheelmen, and the South Sierra Fat Tire Association.

2. Bought some used panniers from Craigslist. These replace a pair my friend Will has loaned me for the past year or so (thanks again, Will!).

3. My SUV costs about $50- $60 to fill up. A tank lasts about a week. At these prices, it won't take long to achieve ROI on the aforementioned panniers, plus the other goodies I bought for my bike.

I ended up stripping down the bike to the bare frame (less the races for the headset, and treating the inside of the frame with J.P. Weigle's Frame Saver. (The tubes that I could examine look great, but why not do something to help 'em last another 25 years or so? )

While I have it apart, I'm replacing the bottom bracket with a sealed cartridge unit, and replacing the crank with a Sugino Triple crank from Rivendell Bike.

Have you checked out Rivendell Bike? What a great store! First, they sell bikes that are made for normal people to ride, not hunched-over racer style. Second, they sell a lot of American-made and other fair-trade manufactured items, instead of a bunch of Chinese junk that's marked way up. Lastly, is their customer service and return policies, both excellent. Prices are more than fair, especially considering the aforementioned return policy plus their commitment to selling unique, quality items. (And no - I'm not getting any benefit from them. I just like their philosophy and way of doing business.)

Have you renewed your Bike Bakersfield membership? I think it's important to support 'em, and just renewed my membership for the coming year. (And yes, I did more than the "Introductory" membership, and not just for the T-Shirt! :) ). Great organization that has a positive impact on our community at so many levels. Check them out at www.bikebakersfield.org.

So c'mon: Dust off that bike you've had since college, take it down to one of the local bike shops for a tune-up and safety inspection, get a helmet, and get out there and ride! Two great places to access the Bike Path are at Riverwalk Park (follow the sidewalks north through the park to get to it) and at Hart Park (East side, by the old water wheel). Take the family or friends, get out and have fun!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Back in the saddle again...

It was tough to motivate myself to get on the bike this morning. Sure, I made sure my clothes were packed and my lunch was ready to go, but I was tired from staying up late (one of my kids woke up at 10:45, having a bad dream) and hopping in the truck was definitely appealing.

But, I remembered that I am beginning to put on weight again (from not eating as well as I should, and not exercising).

And, I remembered how much it cost to fill up yesterday (At the ARCO on 24th, 20 gallons @ $2.789 / gallon = $55.78 yikes!).

Finally, I remembered that the Alta Sierra Challenge, Lung Ride, and other rides are coming up quickly.

These facts, plus the comfort in knowing that it wouldn't be too cold this morning (I got away with wearing leg warmers and a windbreaker, and was plenty warm) got me out on my trusty bike.

On my way to work, met a nice guy named Mario who was commuting to his job on the east side of town. We rode together for a mile or two, talking about work and riding. He's a much more accomplished rider than I am, it would have been interesting to learn more about his experience racing. (He was riding a very nice bike, while I was riding my very retro touring bike.)

You can meet some nice people out on your bike. :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Did you see this in the Californian on Sunday?

Please click on the picture to enlarge.



Sad but true...

(By Rick McKee of the Augusta Chronicle - thank you, Rick!)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Got a multi-story house?

Mind if I bring my mountain bike over?

http://tinyurl.com/2utrmq

This guy rules...

Weather Woes(?)

With an 80% chance of rain this afternoon, I can't help but wonder what my ride home will be like. I'm not too worried about the bike - I still have my fenders on, have my lights, and plastic bags for all the items in my rack pack and panniers - but am a little worried about my clothing.

For my torso, I should be OK. I have a PVC rain jacket that should keep me fairly dry. Gloves - well, they're not too waterproof, so I guess my hands are going to get wet.

For my legs and shoes... Soak city, I'm sure. The fenders should help keep the water out of my shoes, but nothing I'm wearing is terribly water repellent. So, while it's an 80% chance of rain, let's hope that it doesn't come down too hard...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How about a nice little bike ride?

Last weekend, I met a friend (whom I had previously completed the Lung Ride with) and we did the 56 mile Tour de Palm Springs. (There were 5, 10, 25, and 100 mile routes available as well.)

We decided on the 56 because it's still early in the riding season, and we didn't want to completely torture ourselves by doing a century. The day was very nice - high 50's when we started the ride, and averaging in the mid 80's (with a couple of spikes into the low 90's!). It was warm, no doubt, but a welcome change from riding in the cold.

The ride benefited a number of local charities, and had a special "Honorary Cyclist" - Monty Hall. Now, you see some celebrities participating in charitable events, and you can just tell that they'd rather not be there. Monty wasn't that way at all. He stayed for a long time at the pasta feed on Friday evening, and was around to see all of the groups of riders off on Saturday morning as well. (I was hoping to get the opportunity to shake his hand and thank him for his participation, but settled for having him wave to me as I headed out on the ride.)

Anyway, Monty seems like a genuinely nice guy. He looks great and is in great shape for his age (he bounded right up the steps to the stage at the pasta feed!), and has raised hundreds of millions for charity. What a great example - today's stars could take a lesson from him.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Put thousands of $$$ into your pocket each year!

Ditch your car, or go car-lite (drive part-time). To get to work, you could - walk, jog, bike, ride the GET Bus (don't laugh -more professionals do it than you might think!)...

Your rewards:
  • No car payments
  • No car maintenance - oil changes, tires, filters & belts, tune-ups, etc.
  • No insurance payments
  • No gas - just think how much alone this would save you!
Recommended reading (links provided to Kern County Library catalog):

Divorce Your Car, by Katie Alvord - This book is definitely written from a liberal perspective (I personally find the whole concept of divorce to be morally wrong, but I digress), but has a good amount of history about the automobile, how it came to dominate the American culture, and ideas on how to dump your car. A longer read, but very interesting nonetheless. She has some very good ideas.

How to Live Well Without Owning A Car, by Chris Balish - I like this guy - his book is short and to the point, showing you how much money you can save by not owning a car. You could read this book in an evening (or lunchtime) or two. Highly recommended - if you'd like to learn more about this particular title, or read the first two paragraphs online, visit Chris' website.

As a side note - Chris' book has a quote from Kiril, a very cool guy who also has his own website, The Cycling Dude. In addition to being a very nice guy... He's also a fellow conservative. So, there are at least two of us out here in cyberspace. :) Anyway, check out his blog - it rocks!

Friday, February 02, 2007

URGENT!!! Support AB 60

I just learned about California Assembly Bill 60, which proposes to make motorists pass by at least 3 feet when overtaking a bicyclist. This is a good piece of legislation, which should reduce the number of injuries and deaths to cyclists.

You can read the proposed legislation (and learn the bill's status) by clicking here.

Please, email your representatives in the assembly and state congress. (Click here to find out who they are, or their contact information.) In your subject line, state "Regarding: Support for AB60".

I also recommend contacting Assemblyman Nava to show your support. (Click in the "Click here to support bicycle safety" box to send him email)

Thank you for helping make our streets safer!

Share the Road Petition


Just a reminder:

The Orange County Wheelmen are still gathering signatures in hopes of getting the State of California to create a Share The Road license plate, similar to what others states (such as Colorado and Kentucky) have.

To learn more about this effort or to sign the petition, visit:

http://www.petitiononline.com/str1234/

The photo is of the sample Share The Road Plate plate from Kentucky that I own...

Thanks for not squishing me, buddy!

So, I'm commuting to work Wednesday morning (westbound down Hageman), and I get to the point where the lane narrows down for the single left-hand turn lane. Having been buzzed by before, I make it a point to take the lane for the 10 or 15 seconds it takes me to get through there and start my turn, then swing wide to let everyone past.

This morning, I proceed as described - no problem, guy behind me is giving me some room and seems to understand what I'm doing. Then, all of a sudden I hear this engine speed up and come around on the right! That's right, some bonehead in a dark green Toyota Tacoma decided that he wasn't going to wait and cut around me to the right.

I pointed at him and gave him a thumbs down, and yelled something like "that's real nice, buddy", but I doubt the guy got it. He was in his 50's and obviously the 10 or 15 seconds would be an imposition to wait for me.

Thanks for not squishing me, buddy. Perhaps it's time for you to read the California Vehicle Code - bicycles have the same rights as motorists! Why not show some common courtesy, and make both of our commutes safer?

Not that I wish ill upon anybody, but the section he drove through had a bunch of trash in it. Maybe he'll get a flat.

Update - 2-2-07 - took the same route in this morning, and the guy in a white Ford full-sized pickup was patient. He obviously "got" what I was doing. Thank you for driving safely!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ouch!

Don't try this at home, kids... (Warning: Some serious crashing takes place...)




1. Why aren't some of these people wearing protective gear (ie: HELMET, pads, etc.)
2. Dude, did you really think you could jump off a 40+ foot cliff and not SERIOUSLY EAT IT?!?!?
3. That hippie looking, older-guy in the middle should be part of a public service announcement against BWI (Bicycling While Intoxicated)...
4. Last guy on the motorcycle on the end - notice his bike is already primered-up, meaning he's dumped it a few times in the past? Nice how he plants his girlfriend on the pavement...

1 month anniversary!

So, I've celebrated my one month anniversary of using my bike regularly to get to work. With that change, I've got the following to report:

  • Over 200 miles on the bike. My truck averages about 16 mpg city, so 200 / 16 = 12.5 gallons to drive that distance. At $2.30 a gallon (conservative fuel cost), that means I've saved $28.75. Sweet...
  • With a change in my diet, taking my BP medicine regularly and adding the exercise - my blood pressure has dropped back into the normal range, and I've lost 12 pounds. (More need to go, no doubt...)
  • I feel better, have more energy.
Here's to a great February - happy riding, everyone...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Interesting Article About Nutrition & Weight Management

Happy Friday, everyone! I've been off the bike for a few days, due to my schedule and the fact that my rear wheel still isn't repaired yet. :( (I just called Snider's and they said they'd get it done this morning.)

I receive a PowerBar newsletter that had an interesting article regarding nutriton and body weight. Check out:

http://tinyurl.com/27wjmu

Thought the body mass computation was interesting. It put me in the middle of the "overweight" category; more incentive to keep working away at the spare tire I guess. :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hey Clyde(sdale), lose some more weight!

Riding into work today, I see that I've broken a spoke. Granted, this the first one I've broken in a long time; in fact, the first since I replaced my rear wheel with a better quality one last year. I ride carefully over bumps, especially when loaded down with all of my supplies for work.

By loaded down - I'm not small to begin with - 6'2" and 220 lbs. (Yes, I'm working on losing some weight!) The bike, loaded down with supplies - repair items such as a pump, tube and patch kit, and tools, lighting system, work materials, change of clothes for work and food - weighs over 50 lbs. So, that's a lot of stress to be putting on a rim, I know. I watch out for bumps, and get off the seat when I come to a railroad crossing... But I know a lighter load would improve things. I don't see myself reducing the amount of materials I carry on my bike anytime soon, so working on my weight should improve things.

Fortunately, Snider's is just a mile or so from my work, so I'm off to get the spoke replaced.

By the way, Clydesdale is a term cyclists use to describe someone who's larger, generally more than 200 lbs.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Intersting trailer

On one of the podcasts I listen to, I learned about this trailer:

http://www.extrawheel.com/

Interesting concept; I like the fact that it uses a full size wheel. Wonder how stable it is? I'm sure you would have to be careful not to exceed the weight recommendations and load heavier items low to keep the center of gravity down.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Share The Road Petition

The Orange County Wheelmen are gathering signatures in hopes of getting the State of California to create a Share The Road license plate, similar to what others states (such as Colorado and Kentucky) have.

To learn more about this effort or to sign the petition, please visit:

http://www.petitiononline.com/str1234/

(Thanks to Bike Bakersfield to bringing this to my attention!)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bike Bakersfield Needs You!

I received this email from Bike Bakersfield this afternoon:

It is January and we are kicking off our 2007 membership drive. Now is the time to join Bike Bakersfield and encourage your friends, family and coworkers to join as well. We have a lot of exciting programs in store for 2007 and we need your support! Several programs we are going to be strongly promoting this year are: Bike to work, the Safe Routes to School program, bike rodeos, as well as establishing bike clubs into our local high schools. Your continued support gives us the ability to advance these programs and seek out other new, bike advocacy programs. Your support is key to the continued success of Bike Bakersfield.

This past year was a huge success for Bike Bakersfield. We believe that we have definitely increased bicycle awareness here in Bakersfield. Programs such as the Bike to Work program and Safe Routes to School are building steam and expanding. Our bike kitchen is growing and has already helped more than 120 people obtain a bike who might not have been able to by other means. Our first Saturday of the month rides are always fun, and we have joined with several other groups for different rides. One ride was the Christmas Lights & Bikes Ride through Haggen Oaks. It was a tremendous fun and everyone had a good time. We were even on the news! Last year's May Bike month was great. Our largest event for May, Party in the Park, went great. We had bike jousting and battle bikes, food and music. It was a blast and we are looking forward to an even larger success this May. These are only a few of the events that Bike Bakersfield had a large impact in our community, but rest assured there will be more!

All these events, and everything we have planned for this upcoming year are made possible by your continued support. Being a non-profit group, we rely upon you to help us in sponsoring the funding for events and activities. So please continue to support to Bike Bakersfield. Thank you once again for your backing!

Eric O'Connor
Events and Membership Director
Bike Bakersfield
ph - 661.321.9247
fx - 661.321.9251
eric@bikebakersfield.org
www.bikebakersfield.org


I would would strongly encourage you to support this organization. They promote the use of the bicycle for everyday transportation, and even welcome conservative types such as myself. :) You can join for as little as $25.00 - less than fifty cents a week!

Please support Bike Bakersfield...

Bicycle Touring Radio Show

(From the Adventure Cycling Organization's Bike Bits Newsletter, Vol. 9, No. 2, January 17, 2007)

BBC = BRITISH BIKING CRAZE
"Cycle tourism was all the rage in the late 1800s when getting on two wheels and heading off into the distance was described as the perfect way to escape and abandon the pressures of life. This enthusiasm for bicycling holidays continued until travel by car and plane developed from the 1950s." So begins the introduction to an "Excess Baggage" audio piece from BBC Radio 4 that first aired on January 6--and which demonstrates that the enthusiasm for bicycling holidays is alive and well in the twenty-first century. Host John McCarthy talks to Mark Waters, information officer for the CTC (Great Britain’s counterpart to Adventure Cycling) and to other cycle tourists, including Kieron Yates, a Brit who cycled the length of the Mississippi River last summer. McCarthy also visits with Wendy Law Suart, who cycled around Australia with a friend for three years in the late 1940s, when the pair "lived on ice cream". Have a listen to the entertaining, half-hour-long broadcast by clicking here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/excessbaggage/index_20070106.shtml

Still cold, but better today!

Finally figured something out - you've got to keep your body's core warm, otherwise the rest of your body is not going to be warm.

This morning, in addition to my short-sleeved jersey and windbreaker that I usually wear, I wore a polypro jacket sandwiched between the two. As a result, my fingers got cold but were not freezing like they were the other day. (My torso is another matter - I was quite hot when I got to work, so I'll have to be more proactive in adjusting my zippers (for added ventilation) next time.

Because my fingers were cold, I still need to invest in better gloves. (Didn't make it by Action Sports last night, drat.) But, they're much better now so that's good. Probably would help to eat a little something before I head out to work, to give my body some fuel to burn.

Definitely cooler in the central part of town where I work (by Bakersfield Memorial Hospital) - no ice at my house in the northwest, but things were icy in spots around there.

Ride safe...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Cold...

I've got to admit that even though I'm fairly well dressed for the weather... It was cold again today.

Yes, I rode my bike in. Yes, there was ice in spots (from gutters and overspray from sprinklers into the roadway).

How cold? At least 32 degrees. I suspect it was in the high 20's at points - after 5 minutes inside, the thermometer on my bike finally read 32.

Tonight I hope to go see my friends at Action Sports to see if they have any better hand and foot covering than what I have. My fingers got cold and then thawed out, but if I had a flat or other problem while they were that cold, it would have been extremely difficult to deal with. Better to have warmer hands and the safety margin they provide, for sure.

Ride safe, everyone...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thought of the day

This came up in my PlanPlus (organization tool made by Franklin Covey) this morning:

"Our heroes are those...who... act above and beyond the call of duty and in so doing give definition to patriotism and elevate all of us... America is the land of the free because we are the home of the brave."

-David Mahoney

Amazing!

This guy is hard core:

Man Pedals Way into Guinness Book of World Records

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Slow Spokes ride

Have you been wanting to get out to go for a group ride, but are worried about keeping up with the spandex-clad, hard-core roadies that keep a 20mph pace? Never fear, Slow Spokes are here!

Slow Spokes is the title given to a (usually) weekly Saturday ride, led by Dick and Jo (his wife). They cover short distances (the one I went on today was from the parking lot by the bike path @ CSUB to Enos lane and back, about 20 miles) on mostly flat terrain, and keep an average pace of 8-10 miles per hour. They ride a blue Ibis tandem

While this is a lot slower than my usual cruising speed, I went because Dick and Jo and fun to hang around with - they been riding for many years, and knows a lot about cycling gear, nutrition and training. Being a slow paced ride, I geared down and worked on my cadence (note to self - you can't really spin that good at 100rpm yet!), enjoyed the scenery (saw many hawks, ducks, egrets and pelicans, a road runner, and a good sized coyote looking for a meal!), and just enjoyed the chilly day.

We were the only ones today, but the other ride I went on (June of last year) had 6 or 7 riders total. Again, it's a great way to get into riding - it doesn't matter what you ride, with this group you'll fit right in. For more information, click here and look for the rides listed with the "SLOW SPOKES" heading.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The cold

With it getting cold outside, it can be hard to find the motivation to get on the bike. The first few miles can (and should) be a bit chilly - if they're not, then you're going to get too warm later on.

Yesterday, expecting a really cold ride in and home (it wasn't that bad, not as cold as this morning), I wore some shoe covers. They really did make a big difference in keeping the toes warm.

For those that are interested, I run a low-end Shimano SPD pedal on all of my bikes, and use the cheapest Shimano shoes that I could find at the time (they're close to two years old) with them. SPD shoes are nice because you can walk in them and not look like a penguin (as my other road-riding friends do), or not slip and fall on your keister on smooth surfaces such as tile floors.

With these, I wear lightweight socks in the summer, or a heavier DeFeet Blaze sock (no, not the pink ones, for those of you who clicked on the link!) this time of year. The socks really help, but I have found my toes getting a little frosty the last few days. Hence, the shoe covers.

My wife and my office-mates think I'm nuts for riding this time of year. Evidently, most of Bakersfield agrees. Riding home from work last night (around 6pm), I went past 5 people total: one jogger (who was wearing reflective apparel... A light still would have been good, but thank you for making yourself visible!), three female walkers (nothing reflective, hard to see, not paying attention to anyone else out there - c'mon ladies, get a clue before someone accidentally runs into you!), and one teen-aged dude on a scooter (yellow hooded sweatshirt, looked like he was having a cold and miserable time).

But, that's part of the beauty of being on the bike this time of year - it's a good opportunity to wind down and relax a bit on my commute home. Plus, I'm saving money on gas, helping our air quality, and improving my health / quality of life.

I'm still learning about what works and what doesn't for certain temperatures. (Fortunately, I have not yet had to battle the cold + the rain). To make sure I don't completely freeze, I carry two extra jackets (one is a rain jacket, the other a polypro zip-up jacket) and a pair of arm warmers (haven't needed these yet). At any rate, I guess my point is that if you really want to get out there and exercise, you'll make it a priority and figure out a way.

I hope you'll do so.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Why I ride...

I started riding a bit back in my early 20's - it was a cheap way to get to Cal State and back. This was done informally - I had a rack on the back of my mountain bike, and would bungee my backpack to it.

A few years ago, I got back into riding, in an effort to save some money.  This, combined with my wife working part time, I wanted to save some money and do something good for my health.

I started with a mountain bike that I had, adding  bar-ends for some different hand positions. My budget was limited, so I purchased a set of Lone Peak panniers from The Touring Store, a Cateye combination tail light / reflector, and a Cateye LED headlight (both of these have since been replaced with more powerful units).

The first couple of weeks of riding were hard - it was about 6.5 miles from my house to work - but once I got used to it I found that I really enjoyed it. It was a good way to get some exercise, I arrived at work wide awake and ready to go, and I was saving a bunch of money on gas. Sweet...

During the more temperate months last year (including summertime) I commuted to work, but fell out of the habit while holidays and work obligations that required trips to Ventura conflicted. Now, it's kind of cold, so it has been difficult to motivate myself to get back into the swing.

Yesterday, I managed to do it. I rode to work and back (19 miles total) and, properly dressed, it wasn't bad at all. Sure, I got the "are you nuts?!?" looks from people I rode by, but who cares - everyone knows that I'm kind of crazy already. :)

Seriously, folks - this is a great way to (a) save money on gas, (b) improve your health without buying a bunch of expensive exercise equipment or a gym membership, and (c) incorporate exercise into your already over-scheduled life. Why not give it a try - I would be glad to personally answer any questions you might have (ie, how do I clean up at work if I don't have a shower, provide ideas on parking and securing my bike, etc.), or check with my friends over at Bike Bakersfield.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year, New Blog

Hello everyone, and happy new year to you all! (At this point, that would be the three people that read this blog, including myself.)

You may know me as The $200 car guy. However, with that phase of the life over with, it's time to write about something different. I came up with a few ideas:

Should I write Mexican restaurant reviews - nope, already covered. (Someone needs to tell this homeboy to use a light when he rides at night!)

Hmmm... How about blogging about my life? Naw, my life is too boring and besides, it's already covered by umpteen million writers in BlogLand. (One of the more entertaining blogs here.)

So, what to write about? How about something I'm passionate about - bicycling. Every once in a while, I'll post regarding my riding experiences, including bike commuting, weekend rides, and various other rides (including the Lung Ride in May). On occasion I'll post a photo or two that I find interesting, as well as information regarding my involvement with the Kern Wheelmen and Bike Bakersfield


Thanks for checking in!