Friday, September 16, 2011

The cool weather has arrived. It looks like it will be for a short amount of time, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. I wore a jacket on my bicycle commute to work in the mornings this week. It's no cycle-specific article of clothing, or anything. It's just a Docker's product. The cool weather invigorates me somehow and I seem to make slightly better time.

Last night I had to examine the battery situation in my front led flasher and headlight. The three AAA size batteries had begun to corrode slightly and affect its performance. I cleaned it up a little and installed two new batteries, different brands, and left the best looking one in there. It still helped. The light is brighter now and that was my goal.

A colleague of mine asked if I was still riding my bike. Indeed I am. For now. I have made no goal to ride it every day no matter what, this year. I decided my commuter was not well suited for ice and snow over 1/2", and if those conditions exist, I'll opt to drive our car. Forgive me. I made my goal last year and I choose to ride almost everyday.

This colleague of mine said he was getting ready to buy a brand new bike. At this point I am bursting to tell him my opinion and advice on what he should look for and consider. However, in my experience, when I get started, the listener kind of checks out and an imaginary wall is put up between us and the information I'd like for them to consider is dismissed almost immediately. So, I did tell him I rode a 80's model three speed, which seemed to surprise him. He, like a lot of people are under the impression they must spend upwards of $500-$800 for a brand new bike in order to go for a bike ride.

Commuting by bicycle to work each work day has educated me and left me with a unique perspective. As far as commuting by bicycle to work in the mid-west, on relatively flat paths, where the distance is under five miles, and the priorities are utility, reliability, and durability, I've found the three speed internally geared to be ideal for this situation. A chain-guard keeps the grease and grime from off my dress pants, because I ride in the clothes I work. Fenders keep the wet stuff off my back and legs, mostly. Metal wire baskets carry my stuff. The internal hub allows me to shift gears when I'm stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. Good quality tires give me confidence and many, many miles of flat free commuting. A steel butted frame gives a good ride is strong for a lifetime.

I wanted to tell him all this, but he checked out. Like many others, he won't be satisfied that he has a quality experience unless he spends much more than is necessary. I hope his new bike doesn't become garage decoration and that he has a good experience riding. I wish him well.

I wish all of you well, too. Keep on commuting by bike!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another school year, another goal

Hello again everyone. It's been since April since I've updated this blog, and just in case you are unaware of it, today is the first day of September. So, that means it's been like . . . uh . . . since late April since I've updated this blog. Forgive me, but  I'm an English teacher and that pretty much gives me license to avoid mathematical quandaries such as calculating how many days it's been since I last updated this blog.

To let readers know, I did accomplish my goal last school year of commuting by bicycle each day I taught. I didn't teach every day, however. I was absent due to illness a few days, and we had an abundance of snow days which was an easy out for me. These, and the week of spring break, and the two weeks of Christmas break, and the three days off for Thanksgiving break, and  . . . let's see, I'm sure there are many more days we didn't attend school which any devoted business person could easily name off with considerable disgust which now escape me. That being said, each day I taught school I rode my bike.

Actually, I've got to confess the above statement is not true. I walked to school one day because a student at our high school slashed my bicycle tires and I didn't have a back-up bike and/ or tire to ride. I walked that day. But, heck! I thought that was a valid reason for not commuting by bike. I rode through rain (not that big of a deal now), through the cold Kansas winter (again, not as big a deal as I feared), and through the snow and ice (which was the most difficult, due to inappropriate bicycle for that situation).

I don't know yet if I'll make it my goal again, but so far, approaching two full weeks of classes, I've commuted by bicycle to school again. I am confident no student will mess with my bike again. If not, I'll try something different.

That's all for today. Leave a comment below and let me know your commuting stories. And, until your tires get slashed,

Keep on commuting by bike!