Monday, May 24, 2010

Bike to Work Day 2010

Despite my previous post that I'm no longer a daily bike commuter, I decided I was still going to ride anyway. I still have to commute to my home office, so why not just make it a 37 mile loop? I departed for the first pitstop at 5 AM. Boy, it's nice riding that early, almost zero traffic!

I arrived at the CALTRANS/REI pitstop in Old Towne San Diego promptly at 6 AM. They weren't fully ready, still unpacking stuff and getting things organized. These were the only photos I took. I was the second rider to sign in. I grabbed my free t-shirt, a few Clif bars, a bottle of something and took off for the next pitstop in Mission Valley.

This is by far the tastiest pitstop! Not only is this the Art Institute, it's also a culinary school. Some very tasty treats out, which explains a nearly full sign in sheet when I arrived around 6:40 AM. After checking in here, I left for Grossmont College.

After making my way through Mission Valley, I did notice a few more cyclists on their way in to work. I rode the same route I would commute to work. If this was your first day as a bike commuter, keep going - it's a blast! Mission Valley is very flat, but once I made it to the east end, it's all uphill to Grossmont College.

I arrived at Grossmont College pitstop around 7:15. My climbing is getting better that's for sure. I was the 4th rider to sign in. It's not a popular pitstop so I really appreciate Augustine and his assistants manning the booth. Augustine and I chatted about bike commuting, he was originally from Long Island and was a bike commuter there. He told of another commuter that was struck by a car during BTWD! From what Austine knew, this rider suffered a broken femur and separated shoulder. While in the emergency room, he made his wife ride back to Grossmont to get his free t-shirt! I hope all is well with this commuter, I didn't get his name. Augustine took the photo above of me standing next to the Surly. This is the only photo I have with my ride.

Here's a photo of the pitstop. Man, I have to learn to get everyones' names! Sorry about that, next year - I promise!

My ride when I got home. Total ride, 37 miles with plenty of climbing. I thought I had enough time to make it to the El Cajon pitstop, but I spent too much time chatting with Augustine so I went home to start my day in my new office. This was a fun commute! Nice morning ride that didn't require a jacket.

Until next year!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Final Day as a Bike Commuter

Hard to believe, but this post is not a late April Fools Day joke. The company I work for is closing the San Diego office. No, I'm not out of work, I'm now a full-time work from home employee. I started bike commuting in January 2008 on a Trek Hybrid bike, but within a few months I upgraded thanks to former President Bush's stimulus check and bought the Surly Long Haul Trucker.

A few times a month I'd take a walk to the local mall and hit my two favorite places - Starbucks for an iced green tea, no water, no sweetener and Rubio's Fish Tacos Especials.

The night before, I added up all the miles I've commuted over that 27 months. I typically rode Monday through Thursday. Fridays I was a teleworker, I worked from home. The whiteboard in the cube I stored my bike, I left a little note for the movers:

This is where I stored the Surly during the work day. An empty cube was a perfect place to park the beast. It was safe, I never had to worry about it chained to something outside.

At the end of the day, I finished packing up my office. I probably had 40 pounds of office stuff: laptop with docking station, keyboard/mouse, clothes, food, shoes, project documentation, and a few books thrown in for good measure. This was probably the heaviest I've ever loaded the Surly. The Transit rack I've used all this time was up to the task, just barely. It's stamped for 50 pound max load, but I don't think I'd put that much on it. The rack was moving around a bit while I rode home. During the ride home, I did have to use the 32 up front climbing Mission Gorge hill. Got dropped by some dude riding with 2 flats, but I didn't care. I was savoring my final ride home.

Safely arrived at home, I parked the Surly like I normally would. Sat down and took the photo below. About the only changes to the bike I've done over these 27 months was to add the Topeak Road Morph G, Shimano generator hub powering a B&M LED light. This bike never left me stranded on the road. It rode flawlessly for over 10,000 miles. The only thing I've ever had to deal with was the occasional flat.

I used bike commuting as training for brevets. Nowthat my commute is measured in feet, I'll have to ride in the mornings. I'll have no problem getting 2.5 to 3 hour rides before heading to my new "office". I'm thinking morning rides on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday during the week. For the weekends, every other Sat 60-80 mile rides. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays I'll be doing light upper body. My goals for 2011 is to earn Super Randonnuer  and I know I need to work on climbing. With the time I've mentioned I have available per week, how should I train? If you'd like to put together a training program for me, please post your training ideas as a comment to this post.