Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Need to learn the Rain / Biking thing!


The rain has finally made it! We had 5.5 inches total here at our house yesterday. I caught the start of it Tuesday night on the way home. Not bad when you have all the fenders and waterproof gear for it (and you learn not to breate in water running down your face). It also helps when you have the garage at home to hang all the wet stuff. 
I have not figured out yet how to do that going to work in the rain. It is too messy for me to have to dry all that out and even worse to ride home in wet clothes. I know people in other areas do it. I will work on that.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fun (and work) on the Fixie


Wow, just three weeks on the fixie bike and I am learning a lot.

At first it was just the basics; learning how to get on and into the toe straps or getting off smoothly (swinging the leg over the bike to stop and coast but the pedals keep moving – awkward to say the least).

Then I started to discover some of the other situations I never think about normally. Like coasting down the hall at work on my way out of the building push pedaling on one side of the bike; can’t do that any more. Or going down a curb and having to keep the pedals moving; or trying to get up curbs without being able to ratchet the cranks into position.

No more coasting down embankments, bunny hopping over bumps or cracks, stretching my legs, adjusting socks, tightening the toe clips, coasting as I maneuver through traffic or coasting when I am tired.

It has been a very interesting experience. The easy stop and starts at the lights are not what they used to be as I try to time the toe clip connection or pull a strap tight while cranks are turning (Yes, I know I should use clips instead).

What was more surprising to me was that my “track stands” at the light are harder on the “track bike” then on the road bike where I could ratchet the cranks. Once I learn how to push the bike backwards it may be a different deal but I am still trying to get used to that feel.

And of course with ONE fixed gear, I make some real weird fast downhill spins that must look really strange to someone watching from afar. It must look like I am completely out of control because it feels that way to me. I just want to coast sometimes but I know I can’t. Which brings me to slowing down without brakes: 

I was able to ride to and from work without brakes already but it is very strange. I forgot at one point to estimate the reverse pedaling at a stop sign and had to make a sharp right at the corner to avoid a car in the intersection. And my legs get a whole new workout reverse pedaling to slow down which helps to give my legs more of a workout.

But overall the biggest thing I have to re-learn is to think about what I am doing. I of course was at the point where I did not have to think much about what I was doing but now I have to learn all these fixie details. Riding along requires thinking about how fast I can take a corner that may catch a pedal, about bumps that may throw my legs off balance or a readying for a quick stop and watching my pedal position.

Riding the fixie has definitely worked my cadence and given me a new level of workout. It has been a nice commuter to City Hall and work. And on top of all that it makes me think.  Wow I love Bike Riding!

Ride On!


Friday, January 20, 2012

A nice start to the 2012 bike commuting year


Well this winter has been good. 70+ degrees today and my January 2012 bike commute rate is at 64% so far. It should be a good year. I did get a pinch flat today as I hit a rock / bump twice on the way home. The second time was the charm! I was close enough to just jog it home. But I did have the tools if I needed them.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bike Commuting - yes you can


The day started well. Got the fixie out and rode to get donuts at the nearby donut shop (about 1.5 miles away). Then after that it was off to the water conservation meeting (about 4 miles away). Conserving gas is conserving water too!

It is real nice to leave the car at home when I can. It was a little tough to try to do city riding and try not to use the brakes! More on all that later!

Ride on!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bike Commuting at its best


Well it was a great start to a new year of Bike Commuting in Allen Texas!

I was able to ride to work all four work days on my fixie bike. It felt good to be relying on only the bike.

I started the week with a visit to a Planning and Zoning meeting after work Tuesday. Then on Thursday I had another meeting to go to that finished after 9pm. It was actually a lot nicer coming home later at night with less of the traffice to deal with.

So I am enjoying the new setup on my bike and so far have been doing a good job of watching for people ready to turn on red without watching for bike traffic.

The new fixed gear bike gave me the chance to ride to work without using brakes and that makes me watch for traffic issues a lot more - a higher sense of awareness is good for me to have!

Be safe out there fellow bike commuters!