Suburban Assault

Posts Tagged ‘Commuting To Work

My 2012 Bike Commuting Goal Was Reached

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I’ve been riding my bicycle quite a bit for the past few years – mostly for fun, but sometimes to get places. Last year I decided to try commuting to work. I gave myself a goal of replacing the distance equivalent to what I would drive with 1 tank of gasoline. That’s approximately 360 miles.

Well, after easily reaching that goal, I decided to double it for this year. Starting in late April, my new goal was to replace the distance of 2 tanks of gasoline (720 miles) with bicycling. Breaking it down, this required me to ride my 13.5 mile (each way) commute to work, once or twice a week – pretty manageable. I also decided to include any other bicycle trips that I would normally have driven – not recreational rides.

This distance goal was reached by the end of July, but then I started to question some of those extra trips. How many of my weekend rides were made longer, simply because it was more fun on a bike? Were they a true apples to apples replacement for driving? I decided to alter my goal at that point, where I would just track the miles that I used to get to and from work.

I was at a good pace to reach that new goal until things got a bit busy. I was having to keep longer hours at the office, school was ramping back up for the kids and I had a few, further away, appointments throughout the week that required using the car. Eventually, that all tapered off and I was able to reach my new distance goal this week.

Overall, since April, I’ve replaced 1,082 miles of car trips with my bike (3 tanks of gas). Of those trips, 730 miles were commutes to and from work (2 tanks). And, I’m not finished yet. Even with the days getting shorter, I feel that I have a few more commutes left.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned this year while commuting (I’ll add more, later, as I remember them):

• Headwinds suck
• Set realistic goals – As much fun as riding is, this always helps with motivation.
• Education is fundamental for a confident ride – I can’t tell you how much TS101 and Cycling Savvy have reduced my stress level and increased my ride enjoyment.
• Headwinds suck
• Lighten your load – when I first started commuting, I tried to carry everything from spare clothes to my laptop, on my back. It felt like I was carrying another person. Now, I keep spare clothes at the office and I try to reduce my homework on days that I commute.
• Hydrate, a bunch – I’ve learned that I can’t neglect my body when it comes to the Texas heat.
• Look behind you – The best thing about a mirror is how it reduces my stress, not by letting me know when cars are behind me, but how few.
• Headwinds suck
• It’s not a race – It used to bother me when folks speed past me on the road. Now I just stick to my pace and enjoy the ride. Please, just announce your passing.
• Don’t fear the dark – One of my worries was the limited amount of daylight, because I was concerned about riding in the dark. I’ve since discovered that I like night riding (especially early in the morning), because there are fewer cars and it’s quite peaceful. Having a good set of lights is key.
• It really is uphill and against the wind both ways – You never really notice when you are riding on subtle downhills, but the subtle uphills are a nice reminder. Also, is it me or does the wind shift directions in the afternoon?
• Enjoy the ride – as soon as commuting becomes a chore, it’s no longer fun. Every once in a while, slow down, look around and say hello to people.
• Hand signals work – Sure, you might feel a bit nerdy using them. However, you’d be surprised at how many people you really communicate with.
• Headwinds suck

Written by dickdavid

September 14, 2012 at 5:46 am

Half Way To My Summer Commuting Goal

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Gasoline Transport

Last year, my goal was to replace some car trips with my bicycle to save a tank of gas. The only miles that counted towards that goal were those used for transport and not recreation. That simple challenge of 360 miles was achieved with many extra to spare.

I don’t bike commute every day, but every little bit helps.

My new goal for this summer* is to double it. I have been working towards replacing 720 miles of car driving with bicycle commuting – and as of last week, I’ve passed the halfway mark. Of course, summer is only going to get hotter for the remainder of my goal.

*I’m using the term of ‘summer’ loosely – since I was reminded that it had just started a few days ago.  My true riding season started at the end of April.

Written by dickdavid

June 25, 2012 at 5:59 am

Sunrise. Sunset.

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Sunrise Commute

Sunrise Commute

As the summer comes to a close and the temperatures drop to tolerable levels (below 100), the days are starting to get shorter. Catching the sunrise and sunset on my work commute makes this my favorite time of year. The lighting of the day seems to be more colorful and the air is a bit thicker (which took me by surprise trying to cut through it on my ride yesterday). I actually wished my commute was a bit longer.

If it weren’t for the remnants of smoke – carried over from the Austin wildfires – I would have appreciated those long, deep breaths after a fun ride home. Still, I feel fortunate that we are safe and far from any fire threat to our homes. I hope the folks in Austin get some heavy rain soon.

Sunset Commute

Sunset Commute

Written by dickdavid

September 8, 2011 at 5:39 am

Mission Accomplished – One Tank Of Gas Saved

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One tank of gas

As I’ve become more confident on my bike, I decided to ride it more to work this summer. Starting the season with Bike To Work Week in May, I decided to ride the equivalent in miles of, at least, one full tank of gas. I drive an older MINI Cooper, which usually gets about 360 (city) miles on my normal commute. My only rule was the ride had to replace a typical trip that I would have normally taken in my car. This meant that some of my fun Suburban Assaults on the weekend, could not be counted.

This last commute on Friday brought me over the 360 mile mark.

Although my accomplishment this season is nothing compared to what some of the seasoned bike commuters are doing, I am pretty proud of myself for sticking with it during one of the hottest summers in north Texas. Getting close to a record streak, we’ve had over 35, consecutive 100+ degree days – so most of my commuting was done in unbearable heat.

PGB - Ohio Drive Underpass

I’m not finished. I’ll probably keep doing the bike commutes to work until I run out of daylight. As autumn rolls in, the sun will rise later and set earlier. Given the odd hours and long days that I work, this would push my commute into the dark hours. That is yet, another hurdle to get over.

Ride Home

Written by dickdavid

August 6, 2011 at 10:00 am