Friday, March 10, 2006

Commuted

Date: March 9
Mileage: 23.4
March mileage: 79.2
Temperature upon departure: 17
On the iPod: "Mormon Rap" by early-90s BYU students

One of my resolutions for spring is to bicycle commute more often. Some people have asked me why I didn't commute more during the winter - after all, I wasted a lot of energy driving to and from work and then riding 10 to 40 miles afterward. Three words - I was scared.

Many people live in cities and have the luxury of choosing from a number of side roads to spin down on their way to town. I have but two choices, and they both involve:

* Dropping from my house, at 1,200 feet elevation, to near-sea level in 2.5 miles on
* a narrow, winding road with blind corners and steep drop-offs, riding alongside
* heavy rush-hour traffic, because everyone who lives on the Ridge has to take the same road out which
* just happens to relatively poorly maintained in the winter, meaning months on end of either glare ice/packed snow; soft, punchy sand/snow mix; or outright slush - all of which make general handling, control and braking distance less than ideal, especially on grades ranging from 7 to 11 percent.

Of course, I head down these roads all the time to go on joy rides. But winter commuting on East or West Hill means that I'd have to make both the cheek-rattling drop and the labored climb in the dark, on roads where street lights don't exist, with rush hour traffic whipping around every corner. Honestly, I'm all for going car-free. But that just seems suicidal, really.

Of course, now that it's light between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., and now that there's a glimmer of hope that the roads will one day be dry again, I really don't have any more excuses. So my plan is to up my bicycle-to-car commuting ratio as the spring goes on, hopefully increasing to nearly every day by summertime.

But, as far as going entirely car free, you tell me ... how much would a gallon of milk be worth to you if getting it meant 10 round-trip miles with a 1,200-foot climb every time you ran out of something? On second thought, I bet I'd lose a lot of weight that way. Not because of the extra riding, but because I'd probably give up milk.

Go pedal power.

11 comments:

  1. I have the same problem with commuting to work on a bike. Since I work 3rd shift-it's dark both ways and it's all narrow 2 lane roads with little or no shoulder.

    If I got killed, my wife would be pissed:-)

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  2. Excellent picture of the MOOSE how close were you ? ..

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  3. "On second thought, I bet I'd lose a lot of weight that way. Not because of the extra riding, but because I'd probably give up milk."
    LOL that's totally what'd happen to me!!

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  4. Get out of here! Did you take that picture??!! That is one of my life goals... to see a Moose in the wild!

    You continue to make me sooo jealous!

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  5. Daniel, my wife had the same goal until we really saw a moose in the wild in the middle of the night. She screamed and then hid behind me for whatever reason.
    It's amazing how close those moose in Alaska will get to you, though. I got within 5 or 10 feet of one in my front yard when I was staying up there.
    You could always strap a pannier set on the back of the bike, eh Jill?

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  6. See ya in a week, Jill, headed out on my ride in the AM! Great Bullwinkle shot, BTW!

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  7. You know last night I had a broken car and a borrowed bike with no lights. So I ordered a pizza. No sense in giving up milk when you can have Pizza.

    I wonder if I should get out the Ipod for my commute. I know you guys will think this is crazy but it was actually 46 degrees when I started out this morning.

    Eric Clapton taking me "Down to the crossroads"

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  8. That's a suburban moose. She's pretty tame, as far as moose go. She lives in my neighborhood, and I actually see her fairly often (I actual almost hit her once.) So I guess that's not to exciting. In that photo, I zoomed in. I was down on the road, probably about 50 feet away.

    Tom - Have a great trip!

    Shawn - 46 in Arizona? You must have been freezing! :-)

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  9. Yes -- I had to wear pants. We have been spared I think. After 143 days, it appears to be raining. I say appears because, although it is really coming down here in Mesa, the rain gage in Phoenix is mythical in avoiding rain.

    I heard from my mother yesterday that there was snow in San Jose CA, and currently in Mesa it is 42 degrees and has probably rained an inch since breakfast. March is the rainiest day of the year here. It's chilly. I think I am going to go up on the rim and play in the snow. Flagstaff has predictions of about 2 feet of snow, and it would be thier first for this year.

    Winter is cool here -- the other days are pretty warm though.

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  10. You know, I think I am going to go out and stomp around in the puddles instead.

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  11. Great photo!! 1200 feet in 2.5 miles?!? My legs hurt merely trying to think about it.

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