My New Commute

What began as an alternate route last week, is now my primary route.  This route is lower-traffic, lower-speed, and avoids the IN62-I265 interchange that I loathe.  I avoided this route before due to lack of shoulders, but I’m more comfortable taking the lane when necessary now.

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I’m Hard on Bikes

I didn’t ride at all yesterday due to oversleeping, and not feeling well.  I did go to work, but I drove the truck.  I hate paying for parking.

To make up for it, I rode the full commute today, even with the sketchy weather forecast.  I’ll get back to the weather….

The Crash

I rode my alternate route again, which I really like.  There was a bit of a headwind most of the way in to work this morning, but I was enjoying the nicer weather and the nicer route.

Near this intersection, traffic was heavy, there was an upcoming right-turn lane, and some very rough pavement.  I was so busy checking traffic to move left and get out of what would become the right-turn lane, that I didn’t notice the rough pavement.

One moment I was looking behind me for traffic.  The next moment I was sliding on my back across the road, watching the car behind me come to a stop.  The driver of the car got out, and asked if I was alright as I pulled myself up.  Noting no real injury, just a couple of scrapes and a sore wrist, I said, “Thanks, I’m fine”.  I picked up my bike and attempted to walk it off the road.

It was then I noticed the handlebars were completely askew.  A closer look revealed my right bar-end was broken, and the bars had also rotated forward.  My handlebar mirror had also cracked, but my helmet mirror was fine.

Luckily the bike had fallen to the right, as the left pannier had my laptop in it.  The laptop was undamaged.

I was able to straighten the bars and continue on to work.

During a break at work I rode down to Bike Couriers to have them look at the bike and install new bar-ends.  The mechanic re-adjusted the bars properly, and installed the bar-ends, and I returned to work.

More Damage

I left work in the afternoon and was headed home.  I didn’t make it far when my left pannier (with the laptop!)  caught in the wheel and destroyed the rear fender.  Although the pannier fell in the road the laptop came away unscathed.

The rear fender had folded back on itself, and I thought it would be salvageable.  I got out my tools and removed the rack.  The mounting hardware was ripped completely off of the fender, so I no longer have a rear fender.

I took a closer look at the pannier that fell off, and the clips that hold it to the rack are bent up badly (probably from the crash in the morning).  I was able to get it to stay securely by moving it to the right side of the bike (the wrong side).

The Weather

I was expecting a cool morning commute with a headwind, and mother nature did not disappoint.  I was dressed properly, and slogged through the headwind.

I expected slightly warmer temperatures and rain for the afternoon commute and a tailwind.  I got the tailwind, but the forecast was wrong on every other count.  It actually exceeded 80 degrees this afternoon.  When I left work it was only overcast.  I was wearing cycling tights and a long-sleeve thermal compression shirt.  It was a bit warm for that.

I would have made it home in record time had it no been for the fender incident.  My bike computer showed 61 minutes of riding time, but clock time was over 90 minutes.  On the 2nd Street Bridge, I was approaching the 35 MPH speed limit on the second half of the bridge.  Cars were still passing me.  During much of my commute home my speed was above 20 MPH.  Having a strong tailwind is like having an electric motor helping you along.

Previous Incidents

This is the third set of fenders I’ve been through on that bike.  I’ve destroyed several wheels.  I replaced the chain and cassette on my recumbent (just wore the darn thing out!).  The gravel ride I did in July went through three tubes, and caused me to replace tires.  I’m doing another gravel ride on Sunday.

I’ve crashed twice before todays incident, not counting the many times when I was a kid.  I crashed on my recumbent earlier this year, which led to me sliding across the road on my butt.  No real injury then either, just a little sore.  There were some minor scuffs on the bike.  I had fallen on gravel during a low-speed turn once on Nermal before, but there was no injury, and no damage.

Today’s incident was the first time I crashed in traffic.  It was surreal to have a view of moving cars from ground level, especially while I was still sliding along the road.  I’m glad I wasn’t hurt, and I’ll be paying closer attention to rough pavement.

Another Bicycle Commuter With a Blog

Shortly after leaving work on my bike today, I ran into Kirk Kandle.  He’s another bike-commuter, but he took it a step further and went car-free last month.

Recently, he’s been interviewing other “Invisible Bicyclists”.  He’s trying to call attention to distracted motorists who don’t notice us.  He’s also trying to show that bicycles aren’t just toys, but a valid method of transportation.  He does this while keeping a positive outlook.  I applaud him for that.

I recognized him, and went out of my way to talk to him.  He asked a few questions, and took a few pictures.  Expect to see me on his blog soon.

A Week of Riding?

I rode another alternate commute route on Monday that I found on Sunday.  I haven’t decided if I like it more than my normal route.  It is definitely lower-speed traffic, but it’s narrow two-lane roads with blind hills and no shoulder.

Today (Tuesday), I only rode a partial commute, as I had tired legs.  I only ran into some light rain.  I will ride at least part of the way everyday this week, as I don’t want to pay for parking.  I’m planning on a partial-commute again tomorrow.

On Sunday, I’m meeting up for an RCCS ride.  Check out that link, and see if you’d be interested in coming to a hilly, gravel ride.

If I can squeeze in a ride on Saturday, then I’ll have ridden for seven days straight.

Sunday Ride and ‘Cross Race

I wanted a to spend some time on the bike today.  Tim agreed to meet me for a ride after watching the USGP Derby City Cup on River Rd.

I rode from home in Charlestown toward Louisville, but I didn’t want to take my normal commute route, so I just headed out without a plan, but with my GPS.  It was a longer, hillier, and more scenic route.

When I got to the Second St. Bridge to cross into Kentucky, the bridge was closed for a charity walk.  There were thousands of people walking on the bridge.  There were no alternate routes, so I walked my bike with them across the bridge.

When I arrived at the race, the women were racing.  After a while the “Elite Men” class began the race.  A ‘cross race is all about mud.  (There used to be pictures in here, but they’re gone)

After watching the last race, Tim and headed out for a ride, then parted ways downtown.  I enjoyed the urban portion of my ride also.

I headed back into Indiana where I had a quick (and greasy) meal, and meandered back north toward home.

I took a different route home, but still stayed on roads that were considered rural not long ago, but have since had many subdivisions spring up, which adds to the traffic.  It was dark as I neared Charlestown, but my lights work well.

I got home with another 53 miles under my belt.  I also think I have a new route for my commute.  It adds a few miles and some hills, but should be much more pleasant.  We’ll see what traffic is like on on Monday morning as compared to a Sunday evening.

The Perfect Sh*t Storm

I’ve mentioned that my life has been a little crazy recently.  My work life got a lot crazier on Monday the 5th.  I still rode to work 4 days that week, and rode home 3.  I wimped out one day and got a ride.  I drove one day because I needed my truck.

The week starting on the 12th was a little crazier.  I still managed to ride to work and back 3 days.

Why could this affect my riding?

  • I spend an extra 1.5 hours per day commuting when I ride
  • I have less physical energy
  • I have less mental energy after an extended amount of bicycle commuting
  • I need more sleep when I ride a lot
  • My weekends have been busy with personal errands and tasks (such as moving Kristy’s stuff into the house)

This past week, I had enough, and I was exhausted.  I still rode on Tuesday, but that was it.  I paid $8.75 per day to park for 4 days, and drove my truck.

I’ve been so busy, I’ve been running and doing something from the moment I wake up, until I get to sleep at night.  Some of it is work, some of it is moving Kristy’s stuff, some of it is normal domestic crap.  Oh, yeah, Kristy is out of town, so she’s not here to help.  I’m not blaming her, she wishes she could be here.  I also have my younger teenage daughter living here and increasing the stress level.

On Monday I applied a software update that has led to a work-week-long pain in the @ss.  This coincided with two other screw-ups (one of which is partially my fault).

On top of this, I had to come up with a fat chunk of money for a lawyer.  I’ve got some legal issues to deal with.  It’s just a “family law” matter, nobody is in trouble or anything.  🙂

So, it’s late on a Friday night.  I can’t mentally let go of the issues at work, so I can’t sleep.  I can’t fix the issues at work until at least Monday.  I have to get up early tomorrow to finish up at Kristy’s old apartment.

On the bright side, I will be done at the apartment tomorrow.  I’m going to try for a bike ride on Sunday.  I think I’m going to get back on the bike for full-time commuting again on Monday.

I don’t know who said it, but the phrase “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” applies perfectly.

Wish me luck!

I Haven’t Fallen Off The Earth

I’ve had a very busy two weeks.  Work has been busy.  I’ve been moving Kristy’s stuff from her apartment.  I will continue to be busy for a while now.

I rode to work 4 days last week (3.5 commutes due to getting a ride home one day).  I did three full commutes this week, but won’t be riding tomorrow as I need my truck for some errands.  I did ride with Tim on Saturday for the Fuck Gas 40oz Fun Run.  Tim wrote about it here.

I’m not gaining weight anymore, but I’m not really losing either.  I’m still eating too much on average.

Biking and moving things are my only exercises recently.  I still need more upper-body exercise, but at least my shoulder isn’t bothering me much now.

3.5 Commutes?

I rode to work four days this week.  I got a ride home today, so I only rode home three days.  I guess that’s 3.5 commutes.  I didn’t commute by bike at all on Wednesday (the day with the best weather), but I did take a trip to the grocery store.  So I was on the bike all five workdays.

I have an extremely busy weekend planned, but I still want to get a few miles in.  I’m hoping to squeeze in an evening ride with Tim on Saturday.  It may even be this crazy bunch.  On Sunday I’m planning on attending the Harvest Homecoming ride.  My daughter may, or may not, come with for this ride.

I feel pretty good about the last five days.  I’ve been riding more, sleeping well, and (mostly) eating better.  My weight is slowly heading in the right direction.  I’ve been more productive in spite of the chaos surrounding my life right now.

Going to Stop the Weight Gain

I’ve gained weight pretty steadily from early July to early October.  That has stopped.  I have forced myself to get my eating under control again.  I’m riding to work more often (Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week so far).  I’m tracking my calories again.

I had really intended to be at my goal weight by now, but I’m almost 34 lbs away from it.

My foot pain is gone.  My shoulder is mostly just a minor nuisance.  I can and will keep riding, and lose the weight.

I haven’t been posting weekly and monthly updates, because they were bad news.  I haven’t been posting as much in general for a variety of reasons.

I have felt better this week than I have in a while.  I’ve been terribly busy, but I’m squeezing in time to ride my bike to work and back.  It’s a huge stress-reliever, and the key to my weight loss.

I need to go back and re-think my goals soon.  My target weight isn’t changing, but many other things will.

Foot Update, and Riding My Bike

There was nothing broken in my foot.  The doctor seems to think it’s strain from my 150-mile ride combined with moving stuff from Kristy’s old apartment.

It was feeling better on Saturday, so my daughter and I went on an 11-mile, slow-paced ride.  I was very careful on how I used that foot, and all was well.

I did a lot of yard work on Sunday, again being careful on my foot.

I woke up this morning with no foot pain.  I rode Nermal into work at a brisk pace, and probably overdid it a little.  I’m having some minor discomfort.  I’ll be sure to be more careful on the way home.

Foot Issues

I didn’t ride on Monday and Tuesday because I was still recovering from last weekend’s 150-mile ride.  I didn’t ride on Wednesday because I was running Kristy to the airport.  She left for work again and should be back by the end of November.

I was going to ride to work this morning, but I woke up to some horrible pain in my right foot.  The foot is swollen and won’t support my weight.  I have an appointment with the doctor later today.

I don’t know if it’s an injury, but I wasn’t having any problems with it on the the ride last weekend.  Kristy suggested a spider bite, but I don’t see anything on the skin anywhere.  I’m almost thinking it’s a broken bone, but I have no idea how that could have happened.

I don’t know if I’ll be on the bike this week, next week, or even further out.  I should know more this afternoon.