Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tour De McAllen / Edinburg


I’d decided to ride my bike to work at least once a week…ok, maybe every couple of weeks. I moved a couple of months ago closer to work, only 14 miles each way – totally doable. I should mention I am a rookie. I have a 7 year old mountain bike that cost me approximately $150 at Sports Authority – it’s not the best bike, but it it's not the worst 1 either. 

Today was THE day. My bike was ready, and, more importantly, I was ready.

Last night, I looked over my checklist: headlamp (plan was to wear it around my chest with the light facing behind me), gloves, helmet, clothes in my backpack, water, phone, wipies, deodorant  – check. I was pretty confident I was prepared for every and any emergency.

I decided to leave 2 hours earlier (6am) than I had to be there. This would give me enough time to deal with traffic (there was none) and hygienically “compose” myself at work.

The ride itself was very serene: very little traffic, no dogs and no mishaps. The perfect dark & cloudy morning. Perfect opportunity to...just think as I rode. 

I wanted the commute to be a workout since I wasn’t planning on running today. I didn’t want an easy slow ride, but at the same time, I didn’t want a sprint to work either. Besides, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect physically - would I be sore all day? Would I stink all day? Would I be sweaty all day? Yes, no and no.  

I averaged 5 minute miles the entire way while working up a pretty good sweat. Early on, I could see the sweat glistening on my arms - I knew it was quickly becoming a good workout. 

I made it to work in 1 piece. And just in time: it started raining as soon as I walked inside the building. Just a quick unexpected shower (note to self: check the weather forecast next time).

Finding out that the coach’s restroom shower head is actually functional - priceless. A quick shower and presto!!!

There are several things I learned for the next time because there WILL be a next time:

     1.  Work clothes should be in a plastic bag inside my backpack. The sweat went through my  pack and got them damp (fortunately, I threw them in the dryer at work).
     2.  While my headlamp as a back light worked, I really need to get some of those flashing lights for the back and a light for the front of my bike.
     3.  It’s a good idea to have wipies, soap, towel and deodorant at work. This, being my 1st time, I carried all these items in my backpack.

There are also several things I need to learn for the next time:

     1.  When stopped at a traffic light and there are no cars (since it was early in the a.m.), do I stop? Do I go? I assume the same laws that apply to motor vehicles apply to bicyclists.
     2.  Is it possible to add a cup holder to my bike? I missed my cappuccino this morning for fear   of being late to work late.
     3.  I wonder if I can fill my camelback with coffee???

13 comments:

  1. I have found that if you roll your clothes up and put them in a backpack they wrinkle a lot less.

    Something else I have learned, don't get a garment bag for a rear rack, acts like a big sail.

    Target has a nice handlebar mount drink holder and amazon has a lot of them as well, use handlebar mount cup holder and then select "Sports and Outdoors" as the department.

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    1. Thanks, Stevan. I will. I was really caught off guard w/ the sweat going through my backpack - in turn getting my work clothes damp. I think I'm going to use your roll up method while putting them in a giant ziplock bag.

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  2. If you're gonna ride in the dark by all means get a flashing light for the rear and wear retro/reflective material. Too many knuckleheads out there in cars. And please tell me you wore a helmet?
    When I ride I slow for intersections but if it's clear I go and have never had any issues with the law.

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    1. Yes, farmer, I had a helmet. It was dark out there,though. Lighting is my next purchase. That's what I did through intersections. Thanks for the tips.

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  3. All good ideas and what a wonderful way to get to work. How was the ride home?

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    1. It started to rain, so I carpooled w/ a co worker back home (also a good idea). Thanks. Plus, it was really muggy. This was a test run - I also would've needed my camelback because it was super humid/hot. Learned alot for next time.

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  4. I work from home, so I ride a stationary bike to work.

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    1. Hahahaha!!! and only 3 dogs chase you???

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    1. This list of things I need is getting bigger and bigger. LOL

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  6. A new commuter bike would do wonders...free test drive at real bike shops...wrong size bikes will mess up your body.

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    1. Ascary, I'm quickly starting to think that an upgrade is in order. Perhaps, a hybrid or road bike. Thanks.

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