Thursday, April 26, 2007

Commute to work - Week 1 Reflections

I did ride my bike to work on both Wed and Thu.

Earlier this week, I wrote: "My plan is to leave 45mins before I need to be there, take 20-25mins (hopefully) to arrive, leaving 20-25 to park bike, change, etc. I think that is sufficient time with some slack since this is a new thing for me. I'm carrying laptop, cord, change of clothes, shoes, etc in a back pack."

The 20-25min estimate to arrive was perfect. I ended up wearing capri length pants and only needed to change to a fresh shirt and shoes, so it took more like 10-15min to park bike, change, etc. Next week, I'll have farther to ride, walk, etc, and another 10 min will probably be appropriate. Overall, the estimate was good.

Backpack management is an issue worthy of more consideration. I need to figure out how to minimize what I carry because the extra weight caused my balance to be off. This week I needed to carry a power cord, normally, I don't need to do that because I have one at my desk, but I wasn't at my desk this week. I also think it would help to keep a few extra shirts and a pair of shoes in the office so I don't have to carry shoes with me. The shirt isn't too heavy, but no reason not to stock up on clean shirts at the office when I drive and take home dirties at that time as well. I'm also considering a bike trunk or pannier bag to get the weight off my back with the hopes that my balance would be better. Anyone who has experiences with this, I'll all ears...

The ride to work starts off mostly flat, but the last 1.5 miles is uphill all the way. It's a nice workout, and since it is cool in the morning, it is tolerable.

I got a tip from a fellow commuter on how to avoid a particularly nasty (traffic wise) road and take a safer alternative. This results in a section where I have to get off and walk my bike across a dirt path and through an opening in a fence. It wouldn't be a lot of fun if it were raining and I had to walk in the mud...

The downhill on the ride home includes some very BuMpY sections of road so that proved to be 'interesting'. I am also questioning if my brakes are sufficient. I think I may take the bike to the LBS and see what they think might be good to do about that...

The scariest part is an intersection at the top of the hill. It is difficult to see cars coming from one direction until they are pretty close to the intersection. I was fortunate to have a colleague ride part of the way home with me this week (two heads are better than one for determining 'is it safe yet?'). It will be a bit unnerving when I have to navigate that by myself in the afternoon.

All in all, it was a good experience and a successful venture. I learned a few things about what to do differently, and I plan to ride at least twice next week as well.


  1. Good job! Definitely be careful at those intersections...

  2. yeah, I think a little bike rack in the back or panniers might help. There are also backpacks made for laptops also. That might give you more stability..

    Just be safe out there and wear bright clothing.. Have fun

  3. Yay! I'm entirely jealous!! Commuting to work sounds like so much fun, traffic issues aside :-)

  4. I would love to commute to work on bike. But, that would be 35 miles ... one way. I guess that won't happen.

  5. good for you, lisa! way to brave it and get out there!

  6. I'm glad you made this work for you and its obvious you are still thinking of ways to improve the experience. I'm also glad you stayed safe and it was enjoyable.

  7. BuMpY - I love it!

    I use a trunk bag for my commutes. It works like a charm. I'll take a picture and post my set-up. I use it for all of my "utilitarian" purposes; it's been a good investment.

  8. Great job! The experience will make it better

  9. Sounds great - you are inspiring me to try and do it for my commute. At $3/gal the gas money might even add up.

  10. Lisa, just wanted to pop in here and give you some kudos for pulling this off. It's so much planning but seems to be worth it.