Monday, July 29, 2019

The Commute, Cycling Edition

Well, I finally have a bike commute under my belt for this year. I splurged on a new ride for my birthday this year and bought a Trek "fitness" bike. It's somewhere between a road bike and a mountain bike. The tires are skinnier and there's less tread, as is the case for road bikes, while the frame and handle bars are more upright. There are no shock absorbers or anything to soak up my pedaling energy as was the case with my previous bike. It is also very light weight.

My only structural gripe is the seat is very hard. Enough so that I'm contemplating a stylish pair of bike shorts with sexy padding where you need it (see below).
Sweet, sexy cycling shorts. Yes, I did deliberately choose a pic that looks like I baboon butt, but these may be an ass-saver on longer rides.
I've been taking more and more rides for small errands and adding distance. Fortunately, much of Bloomington is very bike-able (with a few glaring exceptions) with big shoulders or paths.

Work is an ~9ish mile ride for me and is also decently paved. I picked a route to catch some of the recent path making along a nice boulevard (miles 1.2 - 4). There were two main challenges for this ride. The first was, despite the nice paths, there was a lot of broken up asphalt path between miles 1.2 and 2. The boulevard was also not well maintained here with lots of debris and low hanging branches.

The second challenge was THE HILL OF DEATH. Okay, I'm not writing from the beyond, but felt some hyperbole was in order. It was more so THE STEEP HILL THAT REQUIRED JOE TO GET OFF HIS BIKE AND WALK IT UP SAID HILL WHICH WAS STILL STEEP ENOUGH TO TIRE ME OUT WHILE WALKING.

I knew about this steep grade, but wanted to see how I'd do. It started okay, but at some point I ran out of gears and decided walking would be quicker and slightly less painful on the legs. It probably was, but I was still sucking wind at the top. I did however notice a path entrance just before the hill and according to the Google map on there's a slightly less steep way up. I'll have to try that on the next commute.
This map of THE HILL OF DEATH does not do it justice.
 I was able to make my ride in a little under 50 minutes. Let's see ~9 miles in 0.8333 hours so ~11 mph. Not too bad with traffic stops and hills of death (okay "hill", singular). I think I'll take a slightly different route home and cut through park bike trails, but will hopefully make similar time.

My main dilemma now is finding something to eat. I forgot to pack a lunch and the ride has my appetite in high gear. I did eat some breakfast, but I may want to hit the nearby Subway soon.


  1. I have always wondered, do bike commuters shower at work? You have to have worked up quite a sweat. If you can lock yourself in your office with the windows open, that would be fine but if you have to hang over someone's desk, they might prefer you drive to work. Just wondering!

  2. LOL. I have a towel and lots of AC at work, but no shower. If I shower the night before, or even beforehand, I tend not to generate too much fragrance.