Friday, October 9, 2009

Bike Commute #4 in the bag

Despite the usual hiccups and delays in my morning prep, I made it out of the house in relatively good time and headed out for my multi-modal (car/bike) commute. I decided to break down my bike instead of trying to load it road-ready into the back of my car. This mainly means taking off the panniers and front wheel. While I fit my bike in last time fully loaded, I scuffed up my headliner a bit with my handle bar grips as well as broke off an adjustment handle on my son’s car seat. Oops. Loading went much easier with the front wheel off (duh!) and I managed not to forget anything.

The official Bike21 commute bike (for now)

At the park & ride lot, I got my bike ready. I had a minor lapse in remembering how to put my panniers back on. I hung the first bag on the opposite side from which I had originally fitted it, meaning it was too far forward on my rack. I switched it over and mounted the other bag; Now both panniers were in their position as far back on the rack as possible. I turned on my head and tail lights and headed off.
It was an uneventful ride down Black Mountain and Kearny Villa. This is not a complaint. I always get a little stressed when crossing over right turn lanes and exit ramps from the bike lane to move over into the through lane. Car traffic seemed lighter today, being a Friday, so I had no issues. I only saw two cyclists on the ride in. I always see cyclists heading north bound on Kearny Villa while I rarely encounter others heading south. I am not sure if I am just later than other riders or what, because I always get people passing me on the northbound ride in the afternoon.

I haven’t timed every bike commute precisely. I don’t have a cycling computer, but I try to use the stopwatch function on my watch. From memory I usually end up in the 28-32 minute range for the 6 mile ride. The morning ride was my fastest ride to date, at about 24 minutes (average speed of 15 mph). It’s been a few weeks since my last bike commute, but in that time I’ve started running/jogging a few times a week. I didn’t expect to see any increased performance in my riding this soon. Maybe it is a fluke. We’ll see. 

The ride back was a little tougher with some wind to contend with. I clocked in at 31 minutes (11.5 mph avg). I waved at a few guys going in the other direction again, and only was passed by one cyclist on the northbound route. The guy gave me a neighborly "Hey, there!" as he passed by. Thanks, dude on the purple bike. I appreciate the friendliness. that I'm thinking back, I had a pretty good run at the signal lights in the morning. I barely had to stop at all. That probably had more to do with my time than my fitness level.


Last week I introduced what I will henceforce refer to as the Bike Commute Mileage Challenge, or BCMC. To my surprise, I got some link love about that post in the Bike San Diego blog. The challenge is on. My nemesis “Cyclo-Cross” rode in once this week, and today I’ve countered back. Based on mileage, a tick mark on the “score board” will equal six miles, or one round trip for CC. I get two tick marks, since my round trip is about 12 miles. 

The Week1 score, therefore, is 2-1, in my favor. Yes!

Until the next ride.


  1. Good job, Juan! My commute was about 14 miles and my best time was about 50 minutes. So, your times look really good since I'm riding my road bike with just a small backpack. I'd ride more, but the scenery through South Sac isn't too friendly and the building management has gone on the "war path" to ban bikes from the office. And since I can get 48 mpg on $2.85/gal diesel, the cost isn't prohibitive. Keep it up!

  2. By the way, my commute is 14 miles one way. I know people who will ride 40-50 miles one way to work! But, they get the luxury of riding about 30 of it on the bike path. Still a lot of miles, but a much nicer route.