Commuting report, no ride today

I’ve been working too much.

I know this because I can easily track my work days along with my mileage and other cycling stats.

Anyway, I’ve worked 35 of 45 days in the year to date. Four of the six-and-a-half-weeks have been six-days, including the last two.

Don’t get me wrong, in the current economy I’m grateful to have work at all, even an overabundance of it. I just don’t like to work so much, even if I’m up to only three-quarters time. Half-time seems about right for me.

But the hours are available, I have things I can do with the money, and having a bit of leftover money is never a bad thing. Besides, it’s winter outside. So I sign up for extra shifts.

The other place where the effects of six-day weeks are showing up are the standings in the Commuter Cycling Century Challenge at BikeJournal.com. I’m currently ranked number one, leading three others by two full days. Only 14 of the 55 have logged 25 commuting days so far this year. Many of them are also at 100% of commute days ridden, so it’s only the six-day weeks pulling me out ahead.

Standings as of February 15, 2009

Earlier in the week, the ride chair from the Rochester Bicycling Club wrote to ask about forming a commuter club within the larger club. There would be prizes at the end of the year and so on. Sound like fun.

The bike club is oriented towards miles though and I’m not so sure commuting miles is the best measure. Certainly on club rides, over the traditional mapped club routes, miles in the season is a reasonable indicator of commitment and participation. But when everyone’s commute is different, I’m not so sure that miles are the best measure.

I offered that opinion and we’ll see what turns up at the club’s first meeting and ride of the season, a month from today. By that time, I’ll have 21 to 23 more commutes behind me.

No ride today

The weather today was marvelous, for mid-February in Upstate. Cloudless skies, temps hovering just below freezing, winds from the west at 10–15 mph, which about as light as you’re likely to get around here in winter. The roads are clear, dry and relatively salt-free

At one point, I even had Yellow Bike down off its hook, all prepped and ready to go, just waiting in the kitchen.

And I couldn’t make myself go out.

It felt too much like a commute. I’d even wear the same gear. Despite playing the ride—actually two rides—out in my head, I couldn’t get sufficiently amped-up to put down my book and get off the couch. So I took a nap.

I still felt the same. So I put Yellow Bike back up on its hook and started a vat of chili. I have a rare day off tomorrow and the weather is forecast to be similar to today. Maybe we’ll go for a ride then.

New bike, but not for me

Last week I helped a friend buy a new bike. My intent was only to start the process, but she liked the first recommendation so much, she put down a deposit on the spot.

What prompted this was when I mentioned to her a while back that I planned to ride Montana in the summer of 2010. She’s originally from Montana and insisted she was coming along. Even after explaining the rigors of distance cycling, she was undeterred. When I explained she’d need a different bike, she said, “Let’s go shopping”.

She has a 2009 Bianchi Volpe on order at Full Moon Vista Bike & Sport. It’s ostensibly a cyclocross bike, but it’s easily adapted for touring. Being very petite, the main thing is finding a bike small enough to fit her, and the Volpe comes in a 44cm.

It’s a steel bike, which are renowned for their comfort, yet it’s lightweight, as befits its intended purpose as a cyclocross racing bike. It also has rack and fender mounts and stump-pulling gears—28-tooth small chainring and 32-tooth big cog—to make fully-loaded long mountain climbs doable.

New jacket for me

Endura Gridlock jacketNot to be outdone, I availed myself of their end-of-winter sale to snag an Endura Gridlock jacket.

The Gridlock jacket is made for foul-weather commuting and hits its marks as easily and stylishly as the Endura bib tights I got in the fall.

Waterproof and breathable, it also has a full-width shoulder vent, pit zips and Velcro sleeve cuff adjusters. Along with the front zipper, I can adjust airflow within the jacket to wisk away sweat while still staying warm and rain-free.

The extra-high collar is fleece-lined. It has knuckle-dragger sleeves that are still plenty long enough when I’m stretched-out riding Yellow Bike’s hoods, and the extra-long tail keeps my butt covered. Finally, it has a front zip pocket for wallet and keys, and a traditional cyclist’s rear pocket with zipper and flap.

It works well. I’ve been comfortable riding hard in that jacket down the lower teens and as high as the mid-50s. It shrugs off rain and snow with equal aplomb. Amazing stuff.

I’ve liked every Eudura product I’ve purchased, and recommend them unreservedly.

2 Responses to “Commuting report, no ride today”

  1. Julie Says:

    Keep us posted over at Rocbike, about the commuting group!

  2. Scott in Columbus Says:

    That’s a nice looking jacket. I’ve got a Showers Pass. But I like the looks and the price of that. I’ll have to recommend it to friends.