Thursday, December 30, 2010

The capstone commute of 2010

The headwind this morning was insane, but the late spring temperature, oh the temperature! I don't know that I've ever had a December morning commute in the high 50s. Of course, that headwind stayed around all day long, so I had an evening commute with temperatures in the 60s and a wicked push all the way home. I got out early enough to watch the sun set behind me in the mirror, drop off some mail on the way home and run across a few other cyclists enjoying the weather.

I have tomorrow off, and it'll be a busy weekend. That makes today my last commute of the year and probably the last ride as well. It was a capstone commute in every sense. I couldn't think of a better way to wrap up 2010.

I have only a vague idea how many miles I rode this year (probably somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000) and it's been a whopper of a year, packed with changes that were almost exclusively for the better.

Everyone have a safe New Year's Eve, and here's to an awesome year to come!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Don't text and drive.

[via Engadget]

Edited to include:
Kansas ban on texting/emailing/messaging/whatever and driving starts Saturday.
[via The Grouch formerly known as Mark Rainey]

Frosty Morning

Cold temperatures and high humidity made for a very Norman Rockwell-esque post-Christmas morning commute.

Monday, December 13, 2010

First snowy ride of the season

It snowed Friday night into Saturday morning, and we got about an inch near my home. The wind scattered it around and cleared the snow from some spots while forming deeper drifts in others. No photos, sadly. This morning greeted us with 6°F and wind from the Northwest -- a crosswind for most of my trip.

I'm still trying to think of a name for my Schwinn. It took the patches of snow and ice in stride, but it's really slow.  I think I need to start leaving earlier. My clothing log let me down today, too. By the time I was a mile into my ride, I was way too hot. I was adequately layered up, so it was easy to fix.  For those who wonder what I ended up rocking today:

Head: Seirus Thermax Headliner balaclava. This one is really thin, and it spent about half of its time covering my mouth and nose, on and off. It's pretty much my favorite balaclava ever.

Torso: Cheap "Champion" brand base layer shirt plus the thin windproof outer shell of my skiing coat.

Legs: Chamois, base layer pants, flannel and cargo pants. I could have ditched the flannels, but it wasn't too hot.

Hands: Cheap "Thinsulate" mittens

Feet: 2 layers of smartwool socks, work boots

Except for my eyes, I stayed warm. I didn't want to mess with the ski goggles. Again, though... everyone is different. Your body type, fitness level, metabolism, effort and dozens of other variables make it hard to tell people what to wear when it gets cold outside.

Friday, December 10, 2010

New (used) winter bike

I am hoping to have a set of fenders and double-sided SPD/platforms on it sometime soon. One more winter cycling tip I accidentally came across this morning: don't use a strong minty mouthwash right before heading out into sub-freezing weather without a scarf.

Monday, December 06, 2010

(It feels like) winter is on!

I think this morning was the first ride of the season where the temperature was in the teens. Most of you know how I handle the cold-weather season by now. I know what works, clothing-wise because I've kept track of it since my first winter. I'm seeing the usual cadre of local cold-weather bike commuters as they ramp up for the chilly season, but I'm also seeing a bunch of my other cycling friends take a stab at it this winter. That's cool, literally!

As usual, I'm interested in all the different ways my fellow cyclists solve their problems. It sounds like some of them are opting to give pogies (or bar mitts) a try. I don't think they'd work well for me, since I have to leave my bike out in the cold.

Since this is my first winter at the new job, people are already in full-on quiz mode. The truth is that I might revert to the car a few times this coming winter. At my last job, I had the option to take any of four different bus routes when the going got tough. These buses would drop me off anywhere from 300 yards to 3 miles from my place. Now, there's no way to get home by bus, and the roads I have to take to get to and from work are likely going to be treacherous at least a few times over the winter. I'm definitely not shooting for the "more hardcore than you" badge.  I'll leave that to folks like Doug, who was and continues to be an inspiration for my winter cycling habits.

Of course, I plan on riding when ever possible. I'll probably be picking up The Mesa next week, and I'll start outfitting it for winter commuting.  I'll need a few things to round it out (see the Wish List, which contains other stuff I've been saving up for, too) but as far as I'm concerned, winter is on! Who's with me?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The JO needs your help!

From Johnson County Transit:

JCT is seeking letters of support from our loyal riders.  The L/N is partially grant funded due to the fact that we travel to/from Gardner, Kansas (considered a rural area).  Any Gardner residents that would like to submit a letter of support would be much appreciated.  Attached is a form letter - if you could sign and send to me we can include this with our grant application.  Thank you for all your support!  Email letters of support to or fax to 913-715-2475.

Link to the form letter

I'm not from Gardner, but I know a few of you out there who are. If you support alternative transportation, I urge you to contact JCT.

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