Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bike commuting

After the past few weeks of trips and with extra expenditures all over the place, we've been trying to live a little leaner. We've got the honeymoon coming up to save for, races to register for, and we still plan to do some exploring of New England yet this summer. One easy thing I can do to help with that is to save gas by bike commuting.  Saving money for the wedding by riding my bike to work was one of the primary reasons (along with having another way to work on getting in shape) I got back on the bike after years away from riding.

As I've mentioned, I live along the Charles River, and the Massachusetts DNR maintains a bike trail that runs through the park gracing the riverbank. It actually runs all the way to my office in Watertown; a 6.6 mile ride. It's relatively flat, with some minor "hills" at road and sidewalk crossings and the occasional stop for traffic as the only things to impede a nice ride. In the early morning, there aren't as many pedestrians on the path, so it's usually a few other cyclists and half a doze runners to pass between home and work.

Being that it is the day before payday, there are no errands to run, no bills to pay, no running around of any kind; it was the ideal day for riding in. Plus, Rach has the day off so I didn't have to worry about making her walk the mile home after work. I took another day off yesterday to rest up and recover from the sinus problems that have been plaguing me for days, so it really seemed like a perfect day to ride. Too bad the temperature didn't want to cooperate.

I knew it wasn't going to be really warm with yesterday topping out and about 50, but it was a balmy 41 when I walked out the door this morning. I got an additional kick in the pants when I slipped coming down the front steps in my bike shoes. Thankfully, nothing was hurt other than my pride when the guys putting up scaffolding around our old apartment building across the street asked if I was ok. The one time I fall, and somebody has to witness it. 

The ride in was chilly, but mostly uneventful. I was smart enough to wear my tights and put my skullcap on under my helmet, but I forgot to put my thin gloves on under my bike gloves and my fingers were COLD. Notice, that's bold and in caps. There was a pretty solid headwind for much of the ride, and it seem to be directed mostly at my fingers and face.

My work has a pretty high standard for appearance that in general I almost meet on a daily basis. Fridays are casual, so I usually bike in then. We have a shower in the building that without I simply couldn't ride in. Big dude + 6.5 miles on bike = smelly. My fingers were so cold this morning that the warm water stung when it hit my hands at first. Definitely need to wear the gloves next time it's this cold.

According to Runkeeper, my ride this morning clocked in 30:49 seconds. That's an average pace of 4:43 per mile. or 12.71 MPH. While that's not fast, it's not bad considering I had 15 pounds of work clothes and lunch in my backpack. While I went at a pretty good level of effort, I wasn't going all out either. Based on how I've ridden this week and what I've done in the past, I have a pretty good idea on my goals for the Season Opener, and I'll get into those tomorrow. 

We're running tonight yet, and as it's supposed to be warmer for the next several days, it should be nicer this evening. I hope so; because I have to ride home tonight yet, and I like my fingers intact.


  1. Hope your ride home is a little less COLD. Maybe the wind will be at your back:)

    Enjoy the nice weather. Rain starts here tomorrow. Looks like a really wet 1/2 marathon on Sunday morning.

  2. Thanks. The ride was in fact a lot nicer, though how the wind shifted to be a headwind on the way home too is beyond me. The ride along the river is especially open in some sections but elevation on the road next to the park provides cover from the wind in some sections.

    The ride home was about the same time, other than I didn't manage to hit the lights as well at the bridges. I felt faster in general on the way home, probably just because I was more awake.