Tuesday Commute

Saw a cute little skunk right by the road on the way to work. Sometimes I will swerve out a skunk’s way just to make sure they don’t feel threatened, but this little guy seemed quite calm so I just biked right by him. I am actually an expert on passing skunks, this summer I would frequently see two or three right beside the road on a single commute into work.

To work (10 miles)
3:50 am to 4:45 am

Weather
31F, 7 mph Southeast wind

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, ear muffs
Torso: thin thermal undershirt, rain jacket
Hands: knit gloves
Legs: yoga pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots

Comments: My hands felt a little cold at first but they warmed up.

From work plus errands (15ish miles)
11:15 am to 1:45 pm

Weather
37F, 13 mph Southeast wind

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, ear muffs
Torso: thin thermal undershirt, rain jacket
Hands: knit gloves
Legs: yoga pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots

Comments: For the past few rides the wind has been very calm, this time the wind kinda laughed at me, “Hey, look I still exist!”

Upper Body Update (week 2)

I had a busy day. I worked in the morning, (I will post the details tomorrow) then ran some errands around town. When I got back to my apartment my mom called me and I found out my brothers had a basketball game tonight. So an hour later I went to the game with my family and I just got home a little while ago. My brothers team won by the way, 82 to 17! I am so proud of them, they did an awesome job on the court. Now I am headed off to bed to get some much needed sleep.

Thursday
Pushups: 4 sets of 3 , Plank: 10 seconds
Sunday
Pushups: 4 sets of 3, Plank: 15 seconds
Tuesday
Pushups: 3 set of 3, Plank: 2 sets of 15 seconds
Total
Pushups: 33, Plank: 55 seconds

Monday Commute

Before I climbed into bed last night I checked the weather for my morning ride and found that the forecast said there was a 2% chance of snow.

2% =100%

So I rode in falling snow. The wonderful thing about snow is it seems to calm to the world down, maybe even slow time. It was a calming, peaceful ride.

Yesterday at church three people came up to me and asked if I had been biking at certain place, at a certain time (I had been). All of these people knew that I was planning to attempt biking through the winter but now that they see me out and about in the snow I think it is starting to sink in. They may think I am a little crazy but all I know is that I am having the time of my life.

(Question: tomorrow the forecast says there is a 4% of snow at 4 am. If 2% = 100% does 4% = 200%….?)

To work (10 miles)
4:00 am to 4:50 am

Weather
32F, no wind, light snow

I wore
Head: ear muffs, rain jacket hood, ski goggles
Torso: thin thermal undershirt, rain jacket
Hands: knit gloves
Legs: yoga pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: My face got really warm with the ski goggles on.

From work (10 miles)
3:40 pm to 4:35 pm

Weather
33F, 6 mph Southeast wind

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, ear muffs
Torso: thin thermal undershirt, rain jacket
Hands: knit gloves
Legs: yoga pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: A little warm.

Saturday Commute

On the ride home today I had a new experience. I got to bike in freezing rain, the dream of every true cyclist. It actually was not that bad and thankfully the wind was very gentle on me. When I arrived home a thin layer of ice covered my jacket, helmet and the rims of my goggles.

To work (10 miles)
3:45 am to 4:40 am
Weather
23F, zero mph wind, this time I believe them

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, ear muffs
Torso: thin thermal shirt, rain jacket
Hands: winter gloves
Legs: thin thermal pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: Nice.

From work (10 miles)
3:20 pm to 4:10 pm
Weather
28F, 2 mph Southeast wind, freezing rain

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, ear muffs
Torso: thin thermal shirt, rain jacket
Hands: winter gloves
Legs: thin thermal pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: I started overheating spectacularly, so I unzipped my jacket halfway. I got a little wet but at least I didn’t sweat like crazy.

Friday Commute

I thought the roads were gonna to be nasty this morning since the forecast predicted overnight snowfall, so I set my alarm to wake up early. I got up at 2:40 only to discover that the road were perfectly clear. (I am not complaining though!) So I did some stuff around the house, took the little girls for a longer walk than normal and set off. There was lots of ice on the roads but my studded tires took it on like pros.

On the way back I had my first snowplow experience. (Snowplows have passed me before, but this one was actually plowing on my side of the road.) I used the method employed my this smart dude and carefully crossed to the other side of the road to allow the snow plow to pass. Yay for the start of conquering one of my winter fears!

I love biking with my ski goggles when it is snowing out because it keeps the snow out of my eyes.
like fireflies
The downside is it is much more difficult to look behind me to check the road with them on. So today I spent a fair chunk of my ride doing this exercise: bike on the white line, turn to look to the side and behind me, turn forward again, evaluate the position of my bike with regard to the white line, repeat. Now my neck is sore.

To work (10 miles)
3:50 am to 4:40 am
Weather
22F, zero mph wind??? Whatever, there was some wind I swear

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, ear muffs
Torso: thin thermal shirt, rain jacket
Hands: winter gloves
Legs: thin thermal pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: Perfect.

From work (10 miles)
3:15 pm to 4:05 pm
Weather
23F, 5 mph West wind, snow

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, ear muffs
Torso: thin thermal shirt, rain jacket
Hands: winter gloves
Legs: thin thermal pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: Overheated by the end of the ride.

Shocked

Today I was roaming the depths of the World Wide Web when I discovered an article that shocked me. The article (from last winter) quoted a mayor who said that people who bike in the winter should be arrested. Excuse me?

But that is not the only thing that shocked me. What rocked me to my core is that this guy is the mayor of a city 25 miles away from me! Now obviously I am not actually afraid of being arrested for bicycling in winter, but I am worried about his attitude toward cyclists. Then I read the comment section. I have wondered what people are thinking when they pass me in a car, and now I can better understand some people’s mentality.

Why are some people so afraid of alterative forms of transportation? Goodness. I am fine with you not understanding why I choose to live car free. If you think I am crazy, I can deal with that. But I am not more of a hazard on the road than a car.

Best idea from comment section

No car? Hitchhike. It is winter no one is gonna leave you to standing there.

Upstate NY Mayor: People Who Bike in the Winter “Should Be Arrested”

and a follow up article

Watertown Mayor Jeffrey Graham defends cyclist comments following Sunday crash

My heart goes out to the guy who got hit by a vehicle and then caught flack for it. He can’t drive a car because he suffers from seizures. To me he is quite an amazing guy to decide that he won’t let not being able to drive a car stop him.

Sorry to bring up something that happened nearly a year ago, but I am kinda stunned because this is where I live.

Upper Body Update

So last Tuesday I promised that I would give an update the following Tuesday on how my upper body “workouts” were going. So here it is.

Thursday
Pushups: 3 sets of 3 , Plank: 10 seconds

Sunday
Pushups: 3 sets of 3, Plank: 10 seconds

Tuesday
Pushups: 2 set of 3, Plank: 2 sets of 10 seconds

Total
Pushups: 24, Plank: 40 seconds

It is not much, but it is a start.

Historic Monday Commute

So today I set two personal records.

It was my coldest bike ride ever, at 9F. We are in single digits, baby!

Also, today marks the first time I arrived late to work while biking. If you have read this post you already know that I will conquer even great difficulties to get to work before 5AM. So the very fact that I got to work late means that I must have had a super crazy morning.

Or not.

The reason I got to work late today was because….iwasthinkingaboutvegetables. In the middle of my commute I just kinda zoned out and pedaled along in my own little world, at my own pace, a pace slow enough to make myself five minutes late to work. Because of vegetables. Apparently thinking about the many awesome ways to cook and eat vegetables is my weak spot. Roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions and sautéed carrots do not a fast cyclist make. Forget what you learned in health class, veggies DO NOT insure stronger, faster muscles. And that is what I discovered at 5:05 this morning.

To work (10 miles)
4:00 am to 5:05 am

Weather
9F, 7 mph Southeast wind

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, balaclava, ski goggles,
Torso: thin thermal undershirt, hoodie, rain jacket
Hands: knit gloves, winter gloves
Legs: 2 pairs of yoga pants, thermal pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: I kinda went a little overboard on the layer department, but I went so slow I didn’t overheat. Actually, come to think of it, I can’t really be sure, can I? I mean if hallucinations of vegetables are powerful enough to make me late to work, surely they can keep someone from realizing how cold or hot they are.

From work (10 miles)
3:35 pm to 4:35 pm

Weather
27F, 15 mph Southeast winds, 24 mph gusts

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, balaclava
Torso: t-shirt, rain jacket
Hands: winter gloves
Legs: yoga pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots

Comments: I stayed nice and warm. The only exception was one side of my forehead. When a gust of wind blew against it just right, I felt like I was getting a brain freeze. But it wasn’t bad enough for me to actually stop and put on my ski goggles.

Not a Choice

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Someone approached me today with the question, “Isn’t it tough some days to get up in the morning knowing that you have 20 miles of biking ahead of you?”

I informed them that no, I always enjoy my bike ride. I tried to compare it to how they probably don’t think about driving to work in the morning, they just do it because it is a habit.

It made me remember again how wonderful it is to live car-free. Some biking commuters may fall into the trap of “Should I bike today…no, I guess not today, next time I will”. Or even if they don’t fall into that pitfall they might still have to wrestle with the possibility of leaving their bike at home.

That pitfall, that dilemma “to bike or not to bike” doesn’t exist for me. Because I live car-free, I have no choice. My brain never brings up the thought, “Should I bike today?” It is either bike or lose my job. Commuting on my bike is automatic, no thought process is necessary.

My brain never tells me, “Hey, you don’t have enough time to bike today, you are too busy.” Biking is a set part of the days I work, the time it takes to bike back and forth to work is already factored in.

Some times at the end of the work, I am exhausted. My eyes just want to shut and stay that way. How do I muster the mental strength to jump on my bike and pedal away? I don’t. Biking is so routine, I just get on and go. Not a choice.

Now this makes my commute sound like a mindless miles of pedaling. I assure you that is not the case. I enjoy every commute, there are amazing and weird things to see every time I am on my bike. And even when I am tired from work, biking home energizes me, gives me that “second wind”. Habits don’t mandate drudgery.

The brutal fact is if I did have a car, I would not bike to work 100% of the time. I would still want to, but I know myself only too well. I would convince myself to drive, “just this once”. I would hear my alarm in the morning and my brain would tell me that if I drove to work I would be rewarded with half an hour extra sleep.

Instead of looking at the forecast and thinking of how to deal with the weather, I would see the forecast and think, “Do I want to deal with this weather?” After work if I was tired, I would think, “Man I should have brought the car today”. I would bike home thinking, “I could already have been home and be doing that super important task.” Every time I worked I would have to struggle with the question of “to bike or not to bike”.

But I don’t have a car, there is no choice.

Sometimes empowering myself means limiting myself.

Sometimes limiting myself means freedom.

Saturday Commute

Update: The giant white dog chased me when I was on the way home again. But he was all muddy and brown this time. I guess we aren’t going to have a bad winter after all!

I saw six deer on the way back from work. They were just lazing around in the field, uninterestedly watching the cars go by, when they saw me. I am much more terrifying than a car, apparently, because one look at me and they were off. I love watching white-tailed deer run. They are so graceful yet something about that bouncing tail gives their run a comic air.

Once home I my post-work stretching routine, something I have been neglecting lately. My muscles were quite tight and I noticed my flexibility was rather lacking. Oops. Now I am going to my first Christmas-y event of the season, a nativity play, with my family. Should be fun.

To work (10 miles)
3:50 am to 4:40 am
Weather
34F, 6mph Southeast wind, light rain/snow

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, headband
Torso: t-shirt, rain jacket
Hands: winter gloves
Legs: yoga pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: It’s so warm out! Winter is such a slacker.

From work (10 miles)
3:05 pm to 4:00 pm
Weather
30F, 7 mph North wind

I wore
Head: rain jacket hood, ear muffs
Torso: t-shirt, rain jacket
Hands: winter gloves
Legs: yoga pants, rain pants
Feet: socks, boots
Comments: Nice and warm.