Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fall is here

This time of year is always interesting. 39 or 40 degrees during the morning commute and 70 degrees on the way home. Tail winds both ways one day, headwinds both days later in the week. I love fall commuting. Tomorrow will make 3 solid weeks of bike commuting. 100th being open definitely makes the commute easier due to lower levels of traffic, and reasonable pavement quality. I've also been making a point to commute in something that doesn't look like cycling clothes at first glance. Flat soled shoes on the LHT, SPD sandals on my other bikes. Jeans with an ankle strap, or shorts. A wool shirt and maybe a wind breaker. It saves me a bit of time at the office in the morning, and I hope it encourages other people to ride their bikes to work (or anywhere) more. If people don't think that they need to wear special clothes to run an errand on a bike, they might pull that old bike out of the attic and give it a try.

Over the past few weeks, one thing that I have noticed is that many people, even other cyclists, are surprised to find out that I have biked TO a bike ride. Last night I rode with a coworker and some of her friends. All but one were what I would call "dedicated recreational cyclists". They ride a lot, but they ride mainly for recreation. Each of them were surprised that I rode from the my office to the start of the ride, a distance of around 8 miles. I had made a decision a while back that driving to a bike ride that started in town really didn't make a lot of sense to me. Most of the rides that I go to regularly start within a 30-45 minute ride from my house or office. Yes it makes the ride take a bit more time, but I also get more miles in that way, I don't use as much gas, and I don't have to deal with parking. I do it so often, that it's become somewhat second nature. This must mean that the "utility" cyclist in me is getting built up a little more each day. I'm definitely not car-free yet by any stretch of the imagination, but I would say that I'm becoming less car dependent. If time allows, I don't mind riding my bike somewhere to do something, whether it's visit a friend, go to the store, or go for a ride. On the flip side, I don't mind driving if I'm time constrained, or the weather is bad, or I don't feel like riding (yes, it happens). I guess I figure that with all of the extra cycling that I do, that I help offset what some people would consider "frivolous" driving. In the end, you do what you are comfortable doing, and lead by example.

This weekend consists of trail work with CITA on Saturday, and another gravel century on Sunday. Saturday's work is the perfect opportunity to give back a little for all of the time that you've ridden the trails this year. We want to have everything looking nice and screaming fast for the Dirty Du on November 2. Hope to see a lot of you out there even if it's only for a couple of hours.

1 comment:

Jason Nunemaker: said...

Hear, hear! Big standing O!

It always bugs me to see the parking lots around our local trails packed full of cars with bike racks on them. Where do you people *live* that you have to cart your bike to the trails? Omaha?

News flash, folks: Drivers in Des Moines are, for the most part, safe and friendly, at least compared to a lot of places I've lived. You can ride to your ride. You will most likely *not* die along the way.

Rant mode off. :-)