Wednesday, October 29, 2008

R.I.P. - Bradford S. Perkins

I worked with Brad almost a decade ago. He was a regular bicycle commuter in Seattle and active in sports, especially hockey.

Brad was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer two years ago and I was just informed he died yesterday after several surgeries and treatments over the years that took his health and vitality but never his spirit and sense of humor.

He will be missed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

first ride of the week

It's a lot colder today in the morning (might rain tomorrow) and I read where I should have my knees better covered for warmth (better blood flow to the joints).

I tried out a few different gear combos - shifted to easier gears than I'd been using and increased the RPMs per a book I'd read last week on cycling and specifically related to hill climbing. The book said it would be better on your knees to do this rather than do fewer RPMs (possibly faster travel speed) with a tougher gear. I'm still not sure which would work better, but I'm more accustomed to the latter.

Also, I might continue doing this for a couple more weeks into mid-November and then take a break or throttle back on the frequency due to pending daylight savings time (it'll really be dark in the morning and afternoon).

Today, I got home in 21 minutes flat.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

today's time riding home

I keep dropping the time it takes me to get home.

Today it was 20 minutes and 45 seconds. Nice feeling.

Monday, October 20, 2008

ride time

My ride time home today (~2.1 miles) was 21 minutes and 22 seconds.

My max speed on a flat stretch (at the end of my ride, I might add!) was ~19 mph.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


In the past month since getting the "Green Bike" I've commuted by bicycle roughly 70% of the time to work. I rode the bus one time and carpooled home once and drove alone the remainder. A big change from as recent as early September when I used to drive to work practically 100% of the time except for the month of May where I rode a handful of times (but never really committed to do it beyond the contest period during the Bike to Work Challenge held each May).

Yesterday I bought a cycling computer at REI. It is a Sigma 906 and it was $25 plus tax. I wanted to know how far I've been riding and how long it takes me. Miles per hour and other stats are a bonus. This seemed to be the least expensive model which did what I wanted it to do, though in retrospect, it would be nice to have a cadence feature.

According to the computer, which was fairly easy to install and set-up, it recorded these stats from my round-trip commute to work:
total distance: 4.38 miles
total time: 32.59 minutes
average speed: 7.96 mph
maximum speed: 26.43 mph

Using my car's odometer, I get around 4 miles round-trip, however, I have a tenths digit but that's it. Also, since I ride through an area where cars cannot go through, I guesstimated the length of this stretch. So I think 4.38 miles is probably pretty accurate.

Since I ride all downhill to work and all uphill home, that's why I have a high maximum speed but the average speed is fairly low. Glancing at the speedometer as I was riding home I think a lot of the ride I plugged along at 5-7 miles per hour. Probably decent progress given the bike isn't a featherweight nor am I. I keep telling myself as I gain muscle and perhaps eventually get more of a road bike like the Trek Portland or a Jamis Coda Elite. The Jamis has flat bars with road bike type equipment but more of a mountain bike frame geometry for more relaxed (less hunched over) riding. I like the looks of the Trek better and I think the option of having disc brakes is appealing since the ride downhill to work I'm clenching the brake levers a lot and sure stopping power would be an improvement.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

bike commuting in the rain

I've biked to work for about 15 and a half of the past 20 work days, so that's about a month's worth of cycling. I rode the bus to work one day and carpooled home another... and drove alone for only three days since starting the Green Bike Project. I guess that's about 75% bicycle commuting - the program expects participants to ride 60% of their commutes.

The bike has held up well. The rear rack is very handy and sturdy. The lights perform well though with fall and winter close at hand, darkness swallows up the lights pretty easily. I suspect some spendy hi-po head lights are in order shortly, as are better rain gear (that breathes!) and long tights. Only mechanical issue so far has been a flat front tire due to a pin hole sized puncture... possibly from one of the many dried-out blackberry vines strewn across the shoulder I typically ride on.

I have found two reasons riding in the rain is not so bad: 1) you can certainly hear the cars approaching from behind a lot easier and 2) I seem to overheat on the ride home pretty quickly (all uphill ride home) and the cooler weather and rain seems to feel better than it being 70+ and sunny. I still dislike gusts of wind, especially in your face!

Gear I've purchased (sorry if this is a repeat) includes a LED lit reflective lightweight vest (I'm irritated that the $40 vest already had an attachment clip get broken - I may repair it with some sort of buttons or snaps), a pair of Columbia brand rain-proof pants (they make me sweat awfully since they don't breathe at all), and a special "beanie" by Underarmor that fits snuggly under the helmet and helps keep ears warmer and also blocks some of the wind rushing through the helmet.

At this point, I'm going to try to keep going through the year as long as feasible.