Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mr. Bus Driver, move that bus!

Darn buses kept getting in my way on the bike commute home. At one point I managed to catch the confluence of, I think, 3 buses on part of my route. They insisted on taking turns getting in front of me and letting passengers off.

Of course when a bus pulls over it completely blocks the bike lane. The evening rush hour traffic was heavy enough that it precluded me from even thinking about taking the lane to pass the bus on the left. It didn't seem worth the risk.

So I slowed down and waited. I guess there are worse things that could happen.

Car-free for a Day Challenge

Kathleen, who blogs as TechnoEarthMama, put out a call last week for people to sign up for her Car-Free for a Day Challenge. For anyone who committed to one car-free day this week she would match by going car-free herself. She's well underway. Check her site for her progress.

Since I just started doing my once weekly bike commute car-free, she said to go ahead and sign up. So sign up I did.

Well, today is my bike commute day, the day I was committing to be car-free. Did all go as planned? Not exactly.

Update in the next an upcoming post.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Just when I thought

Just when I thought I was getting stronger on hills, a guy passes me on the last climb on my way home like I was standing still. I know it's all relative. He was on a nice titanium Moots bike and here's me on my 25 lb steel cross-muter with a backpack to boot. Oh well. I was happy to ride past a long backup of cars that had spilled over to the side streets because of heavy traffic on the freeway this morning. That's what I get for gloating.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Record time

OK, yesterday (Wednesday July 14) was only the third day doing my round-trip bike commute from home. As I mentioned before I was excited to find I could do the one-way ride in just over an hour. Since this is barely more time than the drive & bike routine was taking, it was more than enough justification to just ride all the way.

The weather was warm and I was feeling good. I made it in just under an hour. According to my CatEye bike computer, at least.

The CatEye pauses the time when the bike is not moving (like at traffic lights) so it's still a valid time in most respects. Total elapsed time from my iPhone RunMeter app is below. Cutting 3 minutes seems tough, but we'll see if I can break 60 minutes elapsed door to door. That will be my next milestone.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New (green) bike lane symbol

Looks like the City just painted these on the new bike lane pavement.

They had previously marked the lanes "bike symbol green" so I was wondering exactly what it would be. Curiously in places that were previously marked "bike legend" they put down the same markings in white paint on the bare pavement. I was expecting to see the words "BIKE LANE."

I wonder if the green is going to be a new standard?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Car-Free Commute

I had a great opportunity for an extra bike commute since my wife had days off on both ends of the July 4 weekend. Since I didn't have to deal with getting kids ready, I decided to get out early and take another shot at riding to work the full distance from home. Totally car-free.

Up to this point, I had cycled from home on two previous occasions. The first was one of my first bike commutes ever about a year ago. I took a roundabout route to try to avoid some hills and it took me two hours to get to work. I proceeded to get a ride home from one of my coworkers. The second time was this year's Bike to Work Day. I rode all the way from home, but, again, didn't do the round trip because I got a ride home in order to get to my daughter's dance recital that evening.

Well, this time I had no excuses not to complete the round trip. During BTWD I did the trip in about an hour and a half or so, including three pit stops. I figured I should make decent time. How good I wasn't quite sure. It currently takes me about 25 minutes to bike my normal ~6 mile route, but including the drive portion, it typically takes me probably about 50 minutes to an hour door to door, depending on traffic, etc. My route this day ended up being 15.4 miles and I got to work in about 65 minutes. I was a little bit surprised the time differential was that small. Vehicular traffic congestion is no longer a worry. Certainly a plus.

I repeated the home to work round trip again this past Wednesday (during a drizzly, wet July San Diego morning, no less).  I think my multi-modal drive & bike commute days are over. When I started thinking about bike commuting, I thought a completely car-free bike commute was probably out of my reach. I guess I proved myself wrong. Looking forward to doing it again this week!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

World Cup Fever

I played soccer beginning in the 2nd grade and played 4 years of varsity high school "futbol." I never did, however, become much of a fan of pro or World Cup futbol. Nevertheless I was sporting my yellow #9 Ronaldo Brasil jersey for my Wednesday weekly bike commute. My parents got it for me when they vacationed in Brasil a few years ago.

It actually is pretty good as a cycling jersey since it is close, if not identical, in hue to the hi-viz yellow many cyclists wear, anyway. This was not the first time I've ever worn the Brasil jersey for my bike commute. Even though I certainly chose to wear it consciously knowing the World Cup was underway, I didn't think much about it once I had it on.

So there I was not even a couple minutes into my commute and I encountered a Latino guy riding toward me on the sidewalk. I looked in his direction 1) because I had just seen another cyclist pulled over on the sidewalk changing his tire, and 2) because he was a "sidewalk salmon," a common variety of the bike salmon. The guy shot me a blank look and then yelled something unintelligible at me with, oddly, still no change in his expression. I was perplexed until my brain reprocessed what it had heard. I still don't know exactly what he said, but it definitely had "Brasil" in the middle. I then took a look down at my chest. Duh.

Brasil was still in the tournament when this happened. As you may know, in the time it took me to write this post, Brasil has since lost to the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.