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.