Friday, December 30, 2011

I am ready for a New Year and a New Commute


Since I had some time off this week I converted the commuter bike from the single speed to the fixed gear version. It was actually as easy as flipping the real wheel around but I also had to change the tire to have the correct tread direction (I did not think about that earlier). This also gave me a chance to fix my brakes right away.

I have been trying out the fixed gear and it will take some getting used to. Even trying to get on or off the bike is very different without being able to coast. And getting in the toe clips as they continuously move is awkward!

Since I have been trying to work on my track stand abilities I find it harder with the fixed gear since I no longer have the "back-coast" ratchet feature to keep my balance. I should be able to use the fixed gear to get some front / back motion but with a high gear it is very difficult to get the torque. My balance is also not good enough yet to go backwards - my next goal!

Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stats for the year


Well, I have completed another year of commuting to work and it feels good. My stats for the year show a 58.5% commute rate just short of my goal of >60% (3 days a week average). This was a little down from last year that was ~62.5%. I look forward to trying to improve on that this coming year (maybe with the help of my fixie bike)!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Being prepared for the weather


I sometimes forget how quickly the weather can change in Texas. I need to be prepared for changes. I live only 7 miles from home but with a quick stop by a store on the way home, my ride changed drsdtically. When I left work it was 57degress and quite comfortable. When I got out of the store it was feeling chilly and as I rode against the north wind in my shorts and short sleeves, the north wind started making my ears and head quite cold. It was 48degress when I got home but there must have been a decent wind chill because it felt a lot colder!  I should have been mre prepared and dressed warmer than needed. I realize that it can never be as hot as in the summer so better to be a little warmer than too cold.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Things that “Bump in the night” or “Wear a Helmet”


It has been pretty nice out recently. Yes, some rain and that has been GREAT for us draught stricken areas. But the commute to work has been very nice. It is dark of course so I need all the lights and always a helmet. Why are these two things so important?

Lights: My concentration has been on being visible; flashing lights are a key item. The headlight and rear lights are nice and bright and their flashing drives me crazy. And that is good because that is what gets the attention of drivers. I found out lights are good for seeing where you are going too (more on that under helmets). While my flashing headlight is good for getting a drivers attention, it is not the brightest tool in the shed. Here in Texas, although winter is close, we are actually more in a fall condition. The leaves are falling heavily and covering everything.
That means the trails in some areas are all covered in leaves. This is where ‘seeing where you are going’ comes in handy. On the ride home last night I went off the bike path once and came close a few other times. The handlebar mounted light is not enough for seeing everything. But sometimes that is good. I also heard a couple animals in the bushes (bigger than a rabbit but most likely an armadillo; nonetheless the mind always guesses bigger: coyote? bobcat?). Not seeing everything in those situations is good. And the other night the screeching of a rabbit seemed to say it was losing a battle with something much bigger than it was. I was kind of glad I could not see what was going on out there (and glad it was on the other side of the creek).

Helmet: Yes this is important even on short rides. Last night was again another reminder of this. On the bike path part of my ride we have a tree that came down in the rain and wind the other day. No big deal; on one side of the path I can still get by and that worked well yesterday morning. But last night my great headlight did not seem to tell me the whole picture. Assured I was seeing it all I just moved to the edge of the trail, ducked low with my head to the handlebars and elbows bent way out, closed my eyes, and cruised on by.
CRUNCH!  Well, I did not clear the branch. It was nothing terrible. I readjusted my helmet and this morning I am stretching my neck a little more than usual. BUT, what if I did not have my helmet on!

Wear your helmet even when you don’t think you need to; you never know!


Saturday, December 10, 2011

It was even colder this week


This past week we saw a cold snap come through the area. I know there are many MUCH colder places in the US, but we live down in Texas because it is supposed to be warmer! Tuesday the thermometer showed 20 degrees when I left for work. Luckily my ride is short because although I warmed up well, my fingers were quite cold!

The colder temperatures also mean shorter days and the need for visibility lights every night. I have a nice flashing amber headlight that really gets attention. And the rear red flasher is better than Rudolph himself. Always remember that although you see cars and the people in them, that does not mean they see you!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's getting cold


Well, my new bike is now in full commute mode. I have the fenders, rear rack, raised handlebars and  front and rear flashing light. I think all I need is a bell. Raising the handlebars required new brake cables so I got some nice black ones and cut them to fit. This morning was the first time I realized I put the cables on the worng levers (my right brake lever should be the rear but is now the front). Oh well, I will get to that some other time.

This morning it was 30deg (same coming home this evening). Although it is getting cooler, as long as you dress for it you will be okay. When it is below freezing I actually like to use a Balaclava. It is great to keep warm but when wearing glasses, if you cover your nose you often get the glasses fogging up. I had that problem this morning and had to keep it over my mouth only.

It was a very nice ride. We had a dusting of snow last night so there was some snow on the cold wooden foot bridges. It was really nice to see my tire tracks be the first ones across those bridges.

Happy winter riding!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good to be back


I was out and away from the bike commute for a while so it was good to get back and ride to work the week before last. I finally got the fenders on my bike and just in time since I got caught in the rain on my way home. I got all wet but I did not get all messy like I would have if I did not get the fenders on. Glad we got the rain and I got the new bike initiated in the wet ride. Now I can get ready for the cold weather coming this week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Bike


I got a new bike last Thursday and built it up over the Weekend. It was nice to ride to work and not worry about the rim seam crack breaking and have no wobbling in the rear rim. But I still have to be careful of the cars out there. Even with the new bright bike I had someone turn right into my path as I was trying to cross the street at the cross walk.

So, the new single speed commuter is fun, but I still have to be as careful as usual.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Enjoyed the rain yesterday


Yesterday was a wonderful day. We got some rain (a whopping 0.6inch) that started just as I started the ride home. It was actually a very nice ride home with the rain being very gentle. It has been a long time since we have had the rain here so I enjoyed it even more. As long as I slowed in the corners, started braking early and watched the slippery white lines, all went well. Enjoy your ride no matter what it brings.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Priceless Expressions


I have this thing about wanting people in cars to stay in their own lane when I ride my bike. I don’t know what it is – something about my control nature that thinks people can pay attention to what they are doing and keep their cars in their own lane. This issue comes up on corners where they cut through the inside (like when I was hit once) or just going down a neighborhood street and they drive in the center of the street to make it easier. Well, like I mentioned before, if I am not around it is no big deal. But if the car is coming against me in my lane I do not like it. I guess the right thing to do would be for me to get out of their way, to move out of my correct position and let them have my space (did I word that in a “controlling” manner?). But for some reason that does not occur to me very often.

I have a new game I call “Priceless Expressions”.  What is this you ask? Well, it means if someone is coming against me in my lane, I give them space – but just enough to not let them hit me. I will stay in my lane and not move too far. Someone not paying attention will invariably see me at the last minute (unless they are still on the phone) and when they realize they almost ran into me I see the biggest “oh my gosh…”,  wide open mouth, eyebrows hitting the scalp, hand clenching the steering wheel expressions that I wish I could capture on camera. Yes, a “Priceless Expressions” that amuses me on my rides to work.

I am looking for a safer way to get my point across but for now this seems to be working. The problem is, will I always be paying enough attention to see them? Please watch for bicycles when you drive out there. I guess on the flip side, if someone does ever hit me they may just say they saw a “Priceless Expressions”.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Why don’t Bicyclists stop at STOP signs?

I have this discussion a lot with friends and co-workers. Many car drivers point out that they see cyclists that roll through stop signs without coming to a full stop. Why don’t bicyclists stop at the STOP sign? I always mention that on my bike rides to work, I also see cars that roll through stop signs and only stop if they see someone coming. Sometimes that is too late. I guess it is not “cyclists” or “car drivers” it is just people. We all tend to take short cuts along our path in life. And sometimes the shortcuts catch up with us. Until it does, it is a nice shortcut.
I myself have tended to relax my ways over the years. Can’t I justify a roll through the stop sign if no one is around? When cars or people are around I want to stop (or track stand) to show I am a cyclist that obeys the laws. But with no one around, no one knows what I do, right?
Maybe not. Maybe the laws are there no matter what. I had to think about this the other morning as I did a slow roll through a stop sign since no one was around (and yes, this would bug the hell out of me if I saw a car do the same thing). But as I glanced both ways, I saw a police car further down the street. I slowed down enough I am sure, or did I, or did he see me? Now I was worried he may have seen me not fully stop. And that got me to thinking – why do I act different when a police car is around? I need to act the same way all the time. If I know it is wrong, why would I not stop every time? So, I am setting out to stop when I should stop and go when I should go. Wish me luck, I am not sure how long this will last!


Friday, August 26, 2011

Biking isn't the only way to avoid driving my car.


Well, I have been too busy to update this more often. I am still riding when I can. I also look for other ways to avoid driving my car.
The other day I had a chance to test DART out a little. I flew in to Love Field from Austin and was able to take a DART bus to the rail station. From there, I took the green line to downtown and transferred to the red line up to the Parker road station.  I still had to drive home from there but a much shorter trip. If I would have left my bike at the Parker road station the day before I could have avoided the car altogether! Yes, it took a LOT LONGER but I had a book to read and some writing to do so I used the time wisely.
Give DART a try some time if you don’t already!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Remember the "be-prepared-carry-tools-on-bike" post?


Remember about a month ago I posted about being prepared with tools? Well, I do, and I did not listen to my own advice. The commuter bike I have has great big tires that can't go flat - at least I thought. On my way home from work (actually just on the way to the fitness center to change for the ride home) I jumped the curb up to the front entrance to the fitness center like I do every day. But today the rear tire landed right on a sharp edge of the concrete and pinched the tube and leaked quickly.

I was going to ride to a meeting I had up in Allen after work but the flat changed all my plans. Why? Because I have no tools on this bike.  I had planned well for the ride home from my meeting with lights and everything but all that was for nothing. My wife came and graciously bailed me out of the situation and gave me a ride home. I then drove to the meeting and became like every other commuter in a car. I want to avoid the car so next time I will have a spare tire and tools and avoid the car ride.

After all that, I did not even have a spare tube at home for this size tire. So I prepped up my old old bike for tomorrow's ride (I don't want to miss the chance to ride in another 109 degree day!).

Lesson learned: Carry tools and be safe and cool.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ride to work or Relax to work...


My ride in to work Friday started the same way as most days. Warm air hitting my face and start to feel the humidity quickly. And then, I start to think about the work To Do list. My ride is becoming a ride to work. Then I have to decide to relax and put those thoughts out of my mind for the moment - I am just Riding - my destination may be Work, but I don't have to think about that for now. I am just enjoying a ride that is relaxing and enjoyable as usual. I begin to notice people walking, running, enjoying the morning. And I am doing the same - something that is not as easy to do in my car. I like to ride to work.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Seeing more on the bike than in a car


When I rode in to work Monday I saw a dog heading down the sidewalk along McDermott. I soon realized nobody was with the dog. I changed course from the bike trail and rode up the embankment to the sidewalk and followed him for a while. He went past Twin Creeks and then toward Tatum. I called the Animal Shelter and left a message and then caught up with the dog again close to Erikson middle school. I tried to call to him and then went ahead of him and got off the bike, took the helmet off but he was still too scared. So, at the end of it all I could not help the dog, but I found that the bike mobility and the capability to ride up / down embankments and turn around on streets and sidewalks so easily made it much easier to follow the dog than if I had been in a car.
Another positive reason for commuting - go anywhere anytime!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tour de France and Allen bike commuting


Well, another Tour de France is complete. You may be wondering what that has to do with riding my bike to work. Not much, but, when possible, I try a criterium bike race on Tuesday nights (see ). That means instead of riding my bike to work, I drive and take my bike on the car and head to the races after work. It is a lot of fun and good exercise too. It is fun to ‘Bike to Work’ but I think it is even more fun to ‘Race to Win’. More to come about all that in future posts!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Never too hot!


My blogs get a little less frequent as things get busy. But, I am still riding. And although I did not get to ride to work every day this week (I rode 3 of 5 days), I got in a bike race and on one of my bike commute days I did errands after work.

It was actually rather nice. I had to run an errand and drop something off at a store further south in Plano. So I found a decent route to get there and headed out from work in the 100+ temps. It felt good because it was drier than usual. And nothing feels better to me than getting around town on bike. In fact, after leaving the store, I saw an accident and was glad I do not deal with that on my bike (and if I ever do, it will not be pretty).

On the way home I was able to catch a bike trail with shade that got me about 4 miles from the house so it was a nice ride. Often I get asked, "Isn't it too hot to be out riding?" If you ask me that while I am out on my bike, I guess the answer would be 'NO'. Bike shopping anyone?


Friday, July 15, 2011

Yes, it is getting hot


The past few nights I have been leaving work a little later than usual. That usually does not seem like a nice thing, but, with the temperatures hitting above 100, leaving as the sun gets lower in the sky has been a nice change.

As long as you take a water bottle along for the ride, you should not have a problem in this weather. But remember that you have to stay hydrated during the day so you start off with enough liquids. Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

It has actually been nice because it has been a little drier these past few evenings.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

How much do cell phones add to our life?


Cell phones sure are convenient to have. They help us stay connected to everything that is going on everywhere else. But sometimes I think we need to know what is going on around us; what is important to me right here and now?

Whether riding to work or just out on a fun W/E ride, I typically see an instance of a motorist not paying as much attention to their surroundings as they could had they not been on their cell phone while driving. Why isn't their driving and cutting me off at the turn more important than that call?

I used to think of a cell phone as a nice emergency tool - something to have with me in case I have trouble on my bike while out on a ride. But now I am concerned that a cell phone will be the reason that I will have trouble on my bike!

On a recent trip to California I thought they had the answer; a law that prohibits driving while using a cell phone unless it is hands free. But I was reminded that the law is only a law. It does not mean it is followed. So what would make cell phone usage safe?

Maybe we go back to our kindergarten training; don't do things that hurt others. There are many times that the use of a cell phone and driving are not a problem at all. But please, pause that call for a few seconds while you are passing me on my bike in busy traffic. Now that wasn't that difficult was it?

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Friday, June 24, 2011

What do car drivers think?


As I ride my bike in traffic, I tend to forget I am on a bike. I merge in with cars, turn across lanes to make a left turn, and in general move around like a car would. Sometimes I take it for granted that the car drivers see me. I also may cut in behind cars closer than cars may think is a good idea.

As I thought about this the other day I realized that the cars have no idea what I am doing unless I signal well (which I usually do - but not always - making a sharp cut across traffic to fit between cars is not always a good idea with only one hand on the bars!).

I thought about this more after a friend sent me this link. And it made me think: What does my riding look like to the cars out there? What do the car drivers think? See this link below - I can definitely see how cars can come to hate cyclists after viewing this.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Be prepared, carry tools on the bike, extra tools!


It was a nice Saturday morning ride today because any ride I am on is a good ride (isn't the worst ride still better than the best day at work?). Maybe not, but ... okay, back on topic:

At mile 27 I noticed some rubber squeaking as I rounded a corner. Already suspecting the outcome I looked down at my rear tire and sure enough it was very low. No problem though - any good commuter or cyclist carries the essentials: a spare tube, a way to pump it up, tire tools to get the tire off the rim, (tools to get the tire off the bike if not using quick release wheels), and extra water and snacks for the job (okay, I guess these are optional). A rag to clean up is also optional but that is the nice thing about black bike shorts - grease hides well.

I like to change a flat on the sidewalk if possible versus on the grass. And it paid off today as I saw a lot of ants around when I stepped into the grass (ant bites will sort of ruin a bike ride for me).

It was an easy task: pull the quick release, remove one side of the tire, pull the tube out, new tube in and I have the CO2 to do a quick pump up.... But all I head was a swooshing sound; it was the release of air from my spare that was too old!  Okay, please add either two tubes to the list OR check your spare and replace it every few months. 

Being 15+ miles from home I did not want to walk, I prefer not to call home and they were out anyway, I had already flagged on a few groups of cyclists since I thought I had what I needed, ... But, gratefully, another cyclist came by and asked if I needed anything. Yes a cold drink and .... Okay off topic again, he had a spare tube for me, I DID have a space CO2 cartridge and all was well. Thanks you sooo much to all the cyclists who offer help to other cyclists in need!

Well, on the way home I stopped where the Saturday ride starts - Richardson Bike Mart in Frisco (Frisco RBM). I bought TWO new tubes and TWO new CO2 cartridges. Thank You RBM for having all the good stuff!

Now I quess I need to get all these tools for my commuting bike. :)


Friday, June 17, 2011

Just a thought...


When I got in to work this morning it was already hot and very humid - not the best biking weather. But then as I walked in to the fitness center to shower up, I saw the room where the summer campers meet. And I thought, ... Wouldn't it be nice just to spend the day in 'camp' rather than go in to work?
Okay, back to reality - I will get a vacation break soon.

Back on topic... The ride home in 100deg was better - less humid.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The secret to Summer commuting in Texas


I discovered the secret to bike commuting in summer temperatures in Texas. When you ride home at 5:30pm, it is 100deg and the sun still too bright.  But, if you go home at 8:30pm, and only 92deg when I got home, no bright sun - Very nice!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Test blog

Testing out a blog from my phone.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

There is room for both bikes and cars

from 6/13/2011

As I rode in to work the other morning I was coming up to a stop light. An SUV was in a hurry and swerved around me to get to the light first and came right back into my lane. If they could have turned right away that would have been fine but this corner is a 'No right on red' intersection so they ended up stopping hard right in front of me.  That's okay, I just stuck my hand out and rested on their car waiting on the light (it was their choice to get in that close to me). Is that bad of me?

I don't mean to be annoying, but cars can give some room to bikes. I realize most of these drivers drive around other cars the same way so they think nothing of it. 

Normally if an intersection allows right on red I stay a ways back so cars can get around me and make the turn. If cars don;t signal I assume they don't want to turn and so I will stay out in front of them.

I know we can all get along if we respect each others space. We all need to work on that.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Can't ride every day ...


Well, I enjoy riding to work as often as possible but sometimes other things take priority. Today it was donut day and it is hard to deliver the donuts on my bike. So i had to drive instead (my favorite spot - Big 'D' Donuts is close to our house).  Sometimes I will use the donut shop close to work and just walk over there after riding in to work.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Not just commuting...


Another Tuesday and I made it out to the Tuesday Night Criterium race. Yes, I had to drive to make that work but I still got my exercise in. The guys were not pushing as hard as a couple weeks ago so I was able to stay with some of them most the way. Got about 10th place (takes a few days for the official word) which is good enough for me. I get a great workout with 22.8mph for 12 miles and some warm-up / cool down miles added in. Lots of fun! Speed is king! Okay, maybe not for commuting but....


Water bottles

from 6/6/2011

Good cyclists are supposed to get used to drinking from a water bottle while riding - even riding no hands and pull stuff out of jersey pockets while riding in traffic. And although I am comfortable doing this, I guess it is not always safe.

Yesterday on the way home I dropped my water bottle as I was putting it back in the holder. This was on McDermott in three lanes of traffic. I quickly pulled off the road to the sidewalk and watched as the cars all drove by and none hit the bottle sitting right in between two lanes of traffic. Once the cars passed I quickly darted out on my bike, grabbed the bottle and back on my way (in 98deg humid weather I will not let the water bottle leave me).


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Non commuter riding


During the week I ride to work - on weekends I like to ride for fun.

This morning I finished a 65mile ride with the Frisco Bike Mart group and I am exhausted. They are a great group and ride a good pace. My legs were cramping the last half. It is hot and humid - I need to work out the electrolyte deal - evidently I am not getting enough. When I get back to the Bike Mart store it is usually water and a Pickle Juice Sport that I enjoy to recover (and some great Honey Stinger Waffles - addicting treats - I mean energy bars).

Stopped at Family Health Market in Frisco on the way home and stuffed my cycling jersey with a bottle of Electrolyte Stamina pills and took a few before heading home in the hopes of recovering faster. The store has a lot of great stuff and the staff is so helpful. I buy the ACE Bees raw honey there (it is from a local Bee keeper). Very good stuff!

I got home and had some leftover Outback ribs and things are much better now :)

Life is Good.


Remember, bicycles need to follow the rules of the road...


I was reminded today by a family member that bikes need to follow all the rules of the road that cars do (becuase we have all the same rights that cars do). 

I was asked whether I would drive through a stop sign in my car if no one was around. I would not. "So, why would you do that on your bike?" was the question posed to me. A very good question indeed.

It is very understandable that cars get irritated at bikes that roll on through stop signs and stop lights.

We cyclists need to make a good impression out there and follow the rules of the road.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bike / Hike trails and earphones - do they mix well?


As I rode my bike in to work yesterday I realized earphones are not a great idea if you want to know when someone is coming up on you from behind. When I ride my bike I slow down, ring my bell and say 'on your left'. But that still is not enough when someone is listening to music turned up and both ears having ear buds. Sorry to those I startle as I pass but, I did try to warn you. I recommend to at least keep one ear open - the left ear on the passing side so you can hear when a cyclist or runner is approaching from behind.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sneak in a ride.


Well it was a great W/E with Family in town for my son's birthday and graduation that fell on the same day. With all the get-to-gethers I was pushing it but still snuck out Friday afternoon for the 'Bike The Bricks II' race up in McKinney. What a great race and festival environment. I just did my Cat4/5 race and left quickly to get back to the family festivities but it was still great. I actually finished a little early because I fell off the pace and 4 or 5 of us were working together to keep up before getting lapped. They pulled us before the humilitiating 'lap' by the leaders. I am still waiting for the official results but I know I did not do well. But I sure get a workout in these races and it teaches you great handling skills (75 guys racing through corners very fast and very close to each other - yet I only saw one spill in our race).

See for more information and try to plan on attending next year. It is a great local race and great fun to watch the pros race at night under the lights.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Graduation is coming...


Well, the weather is turning nice but the bike must take a break. Lots of activities coming up leading to AHS graduation so that means the car will get used to make sure I get home in time for many differnt activities. But I encourage you to get out and enjoy the weather no matter how you do it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The W/E ride:


Another weekend bike ride with BikeMart in Frisco. Only did 50 this Saturday but it felt like more. It was a good workout with two of the Windhaven hill loops. I did feel better after the ride than last week's north ride that really wore me out (and better than the Tuesday night crit where we lost contact with the front group - whoops, they always tell me to stay to the front of the group! I will listen next time).

And the rain came ...


Yesterday was not the eve of the end of the World, it was... "Bike To Work Day".

Unfortunately it was not the best of days to ride to work. It started with a very Humid ride in to work under ominous clouds which kept many from enjoying the day on their bikes. But the ride in was rain free and then the rain came after most had safely ridden their bike to work.

It cleared out as fast as it rolled in and for most it meant a dry ride home. As I said, for most. I waited a little too long and the afternoon rain caught me by surprise as I headed out at 5pm. So it ended up being a very wet ride home but not terrible. Again, any day on the bike is a good day.

I will strike a deal with cars - when it is raining out, I will ride slowly on the sidewalk rather than in the street if you do not drive right next to the curb and splash water all over me. Deal?

Really though, it is something to watch for both cyclists and pedestrians. That flood water on the side of the road gets bad.

Overall the week was good with rides to work 4 of the 5 days.

Have a great W/E.

Month Two...

ALLEN (May. 18, 2011) – Well, May 15th came very quickly for me and ended another month of cycling to work. I spoke too soon back in mid-April when I mentioned the great weather. The rain caught up with me and my ride to work average dropped from 71% two months ago to a low 33% this past month. That’s okay though since we really needed the rain more than I needed the riding. And since school is drawing to a close there are a lot of functions to attend after work as well and that affects the commute schedule.
I still try to get out on the W/E and put in a good 55 to 65 mile ride when possible. Those rides tend to get out a little further and we ride on some farm roads. It is tough with no shoulder since it makes it hard for cars to pass. Be careful when passing – we see a lot of cars passing even when they see oncoming cars.
I continue to realize that bicyclists need to pretend they are invisible but it is not always easy. When I see a car I assume they see me; that is not the case! Cars turning right do not always look for sidewalk pedestrians. I still feel better on the street where I am more visible and less likely to hit anyone.
I would love to hear from motorists that are not cyclists and better understand issues that are out there.
– What are your concerns about driving around cyclists?
- What do cyclists do that bug you?
- What suggestions do you have for cyclists?
Until next month,

My first Month

ALLEN (Apr. 15, 2011) – Today I reflect on the last month of bike commuting to see what it has been like.
From the surface it has been a good month considering what Spring time in north Texas can be like. Yes, the ride home today was tough with wind gusts up to 40 mph. Both riding in to work and coming home I saw trees that had broken in the wind. I preferred riding home in the open and not under those trees.
But overall, it has been drier than normal this past month (too dry in fact and we see that drought planning is starting already). Anyway, because of the lack of rain I was able to ride to work 19 of the possible 25 work days since Desiree first wrote the bike commuting article on March 14th. That is a 76% commute average compared to my yearly 60+%. And believe it or not, one of the days I drove because I needed to get to a bike club meeting in time after work – doesn’t make sense but that is how it goes.
The time change left the mornings darker and cooler but still very nice. The colors of the sky coming through trees and clouds are amazingly vivid even for a color blind person. The fog on the pond with geese and ducks landing leaves a very peaceful mindset which is in direct opposition to the chaotic stress that surrounds me on the streets.
The warmer weather also brings other things out – like gnats and other bugs in the air. I hate those swarms that fill my face and ears but it is part of the deal. Wear glasses and keep your mouth closed!
The past month also gave me some more learning and information to share with the cars I share the road with every day.
1) Why don’t bikes ride on the sidewalk instead of the streets?
Well, I thought I would try and see why. I usually come up the bike path from the twin creeks golf course area to the stoplight at Twin Creeks and McDermott and then get in the street lane to cross McDermott. Instead, I thought I would stay out of the cars way and I tried to cross in the crosswalk a few times. I soon found that cars turning right are not looking for me. They are looking for a gap in traffic and turn right whether I have a green walk sign or not. One morning I almost got hit as I tried to cross on a green walk sign and a car turned right in my path. I stopped to avoid getting hit and then the car behind him kept honking at me for stopping and being in his way.
I have talked to the city already about the quick ‘walk’ sign that turns red so fast. They say it is fine that way. I think otherwise.
Okay, I will stay in the street – a little safer for me. Yes, lots of people are in a hurry and turning right without watching for bikes or pedestrians. Oh, and hello to the guy in the black BMW that is in such a hurry every morning that he turns right then does a U-turn at Suncreek church to get through the intersection without having to wait at the light. No, he is not looking to slow down for bikes.
It is also a pain to ride on sidewalks and try to stop at every street crossing. You have to be very careful for cars turning in front of you. When I am in the street cars can see me easier.
And when people are walking dogs or have small kids with them, it is not safe to ride fast past them. The street is a better place for direct ‘location to location’ bike commuting.
2) Why don’t bikes stay way to the right of the lane?
The more space I give cars, the more space they take in the lane and the closer they get to me. I opt to take the whole lane if I can so the cars can go by in the lane next to me. I realize this is not always a good thing so when I see a bunch of cars coming I often hop on the sidewalk to let them go by easier and then come back to the labne. I think we can co-exist out there.
So, has it been a nice and easy month of commuting? Not always.
Has it been more enjoyable and cheaper than driving? Definitely!
For me, it has been the right thing to do and I am looking forward to another great month ahead.