Commuting we will go…

It’s dark.

It’s cold.

It’s been wet sometimes too.

Commuting has been fun the last few weeks.

Winter eh!

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We’ve had a few storms. So it’s pretty sometimes too.

But cycling to work suddenly became a challenge when it dropped to 2C. I bought a pile of warm clothes to ride in. After not riding the next week waiting for it, I headed out last Monday.

So of course it was 13C. Too warm to really test it.

Tomorrow it’s 1C again. So see how I go.

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First Commute

Wednesday I decided would be the best day to try commuting on the bicycle for the first time. I got everything set the night before and bright and early – 0550, I rolled out of the driveway headed for the station, about 12km away.

First impressions – the days are getting shorter and at this time I’m going to need lights to see as well as lights to attract attention (which I did have). It was cool (perhaps about 17C) and I wonder how it would be in winter…

But lots of cycle paths to follow almost the whole way to the station so actually really safe.

I arrived at the station, probably a few minutes after an earlier train departed (I was well ahead of schedule) and about 30mins before the train I planned was due out. Feeling good so far, I decided to ride on and see how it went.

I arrived at the other end of my train journey about 5mins after the train would have arrived. So I covered in about an hour what the train would have taken 30mins. Not too bad.

The last couple of kms to work was pretty tough though as I didn’t have much energy left (must eat breakfast next time!) and 2hours and 40km later I arrived at the office, tired but impressed.

So there’s the next tip – eat first. Also there were a few less cycle paths on this leg.

The day was a hot one, bitting 38C before it was home time. I decided to ride as intended all the way home.

It was really hot, there was more traffic and more wind. It was tough and when I was several kms away from any station, it was too late to realise I should have trained it.

Mrs called about every 30mins or so to check on me – she was understandably concerned but I was actually going ok. Slower than the morning, but ok.

And I was certainly slower. Stopped several times for a rest, and just a slower pace (avg 15kmh, not 20kmh I had done in the morning) meant that it took over 2.5hours.

More tips – hot days, train halfway home, ride the last 12km until I’m more used to it. If its cooler, maybe you can ride the whole way.

Oh, and I must find a new inner sole to replace the one I lost a while back in one of my shoes.

Overall, nearly 75km in one day. Almost 5hours of riding. And a good recovery.

Things to fix/improve

  • lights for the morning (sorted)
  • new inner sole (sorted)
  • eat breakfast first (and maybe freeze a water??)
  • don’t be stubborn and use the train if its really hot
  • armband or something to hold my Opal card and ID card (to get into work)

Oh, and my Opal card has arrived.

 

N+1-1 (+1)

Okay, that complicated looking formula is about bicycles. I’ve decided to do some commuting on a pushbike. Not every day, at least not at first – it is 40km each way – so not really something I can just hit up without any practice. My initial plan is to ride to a nearby train station, take the take to work, then ride from the station to work. On the way home, when I don’t need to rush as much, I ride all the way.

Then as I get better and have a better idea of what it’s like, the route and timings I can ride both ways. I’ve also signed up for an Opal card, the electronic card recently introduced for buses/trains etc here in Sydney, as that lets me take the bike for free on the train. (In peak periods, you normally have to pay for the bike). The train shouldn’t be too busy as once again, I am headed the opposite way to most traffic.

But the heavy Boulder I have (along with the Trance) is not really suited to this task. I needed a road bike.

I’ve just picked up this

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It’s a Giant Cross City 1 Disc. Basically a roadĀ bike, with flat bars and disc brakes. Also has carbon forks and I think the seat post too.

So that’s N+1. But to fit it into the garage, I needed to get rid of on other bike…. sorry Boulder, the decision between a hard tail $500 bike or a dual suspension $2000 bike was pretty easy. Sold it in less than a day, so N-1. (where N is the number of bicycles you have, apparently N+1 is the optimum number of bicycles – sounds like a great rule for motorcycles too)

The (+1) is that I also bought a larger 24″ bike, without coaster brakes for my eldest, so that the little one can move up to the other 20″ bike from her little toddler bike. Miss 8 gets 7 speed and no coaster brakes, and Miss 6 now has 3 speeds. It’s amazing how far the two girls have come – they only learned to ride about 10 days ago.