Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Work Commute

Regular readers know I sometimes write posts about my bike commuting, with updates about how I'm doing, how many days I've ridden, or my latest bike-to-work average. Heading into Spring, I had been on track to have one of my best years. Maybe not my "all-time" best (I had tallied 132 days and maintained an average of 76% a couple of years ago) but it could certainly have been in the top two or three. By mid-March, I had ridden 82 days and had an average of 61%, and I was certain I'd be able to increase that once the weather started improving in April and May.

Well, then, as everyone knows, all hell broke loose and it began to look like the end-times.

But we've had warmer weather the last couple of days and so I decided to ride to work today. It had rained a bit in the early morning hours, and there was a chance for more rain to come, so I took a bike with fenders because showing up to work soaking wet really sucks.

I packed what I needed for the day and headed out from home under cloudy skies, but it was pleasantly warm.
I decided to take a different route to work than what I've usually done, going by way of the metro parks and the national park. That means a nice fast descent to the valley and a pretty wicked "S" curve in the steepest part of it. It's one of those rare places where you can actually go faster on a bike than you can in a car.

My policy on tackling the "S" curve is that if cars don't pass me by the time I get to it, I make sure they can't. About 100 yards from the first bend, I take the lane, and I don't feel bad about it. The speed limit is only 30 mph. With some effort, I can hit 40 heading into the first turn. By the time it straightens back out, a good rider can hit 50. With or without a legal speed limit, a car simply can't match it.
Taking the lane is pretty important here. I mean - that first curve bends away and downhill so it's impossible to see what might might coming up in the oncoming lane. Of course, there's always some A-hole driver who decides they must pass the cyclist anyhow - because, you know, they're in a car, and you're only on a bikeSo there. Then they suddenly discover in horror that they're about to get hit head-on - or they realize they're going in to the turn way too hot (for a car, anyhow) and they end up slamming on their brakes to keep from going off into the woods. 

None of those things happened today, though. I did have a guy on a motorcycle come up close behind me just before that first turn, but I put on a bit more speed, kept him behind me, then opened up a wide gap by the time I came out the other end. He caught up with me at the traffic light at the bottom of the hill and gave me a thumbs up.

I got caught by a few sprinkles along my route, but on the whole it was a good commuting ride. Near the end, I had a long climb to match the descent at the start.

Fifteen miles - and about an hour - I pulled up at work. A quick shower, a cup of coffee, and I was ready to face another day of online teaching.
Thanks for indulging me.


  1. Hey Brooks - bicycling fun in 1949 with Pussy Galore, err Honor Blackman, "A Boy, a Girl and a Bike": https://youtu.be/W6zEhkplAKM


    A rider in Oregon...

  2. You had me going there for a while...