Monday, June 02, 2008

Bike Experiment Day 1

I have undertaken Day 1 with Full Exuberance. I doubt I'll be able to maintain this energy for all 7 days but at least I'm off to a good start. I'm certainly learning a lot.

Night Before:
Packed my backpack (as lightly as possible) with my swim stuff, work clothes, and work gear. Cleaned off Bluebell, gave her some lube, pumped her tires and made sure my bike bag was packed with an up-to-date flat kit. Also checked the batteries on the lights in case I have to ride home after dark.
5:00 am
Alarm goes off. I hit snooze.
5:15 am
I finally roll out of bed. My bike clothes are laid out, making the activation energy for getting ready to roll out the door really low. I quickly feed the bunnies, eat breakfast, and hop on Bluebell.
5:50 am
After making several adjustments to the bike seat (I had recently put a new one on her), I'm off and rolling. On the downside, masters technically starts at 6 but the official workout starts at 6:20, which in my mind, gives me 30 minutes to get there. On the upside, it's light out and I don't have to worry about riding in the dark. There is no traffic.
6:20 am
I arrive at UCSD and lock Bluebell with my cable lock. Not ideal but will do the trick for my swim and is somewhat of a deterrent. Plus, it's waay lighter than a U-lock. The 7-mile ride is pleasant and uneventful, albeit a bit harried. I forgot how hard it is to ride with a 20 lb (okay, 13.2--I weighed it later) backpack. At least I can descend like a demon!
6:30 am
I hop into the pool, halfway through the warm-up. Not too bad, not bad at all. The swim felt invigorating and restorative after my crazy-ass weekend (62-mile ride and 19-mile run). Felt way better than I should after swimming 2800 yards. Also felt ridiculously ravenous.
Here's the workout:
8:00 am
Pedal over to Einsteins and gobbled down a bagel omelet, OJ, and coffee. Still hungry so grabbed another bagel with lox and cream cheese.
9:00 am
Arrive at lab and changed into my work clothes...still clean after my post-swim shower.
12:00 pm
Walked to a nearby eatery for lunch. It's so nice to be outdoors moving around, especially on a beautiful, sunny day like today. I admired the hummingbirds buzzing around. Only thing is--why am I eating so much? Food has become my new gasoline. At least it's better for the environment!
4:45 pm
Change back into my bike clothes and pedal 7 miles along the coast to my massage in Solana Beach. Has my backpack gotten heavier? I make it there in 30 minutes--exactly. Just in time. Along the way, a roadie passes me and asks me if I want a pull. I hate that! I shake my head no, and point to my backpack--my weak excuse. He asks me if I bike a lot. My reply: "A little."
6:30 pm
I slowly pedal home. I have gotten slower and slower as the day has progressed. I am tired, and I swear my backpack has gotten heavier. My calves are a little crampy, and my lower back is sore. I make a mental note to use Strider Tuesday since he's set up for panniers. Plus, my throat is getting sore. I think my weekend's wild escapades are catching up to me. And a cold. Apparently, I'm not super-human.
7:15 pm
I arrive home to discover a delicious dinner ready and waiting for me. Brent has cooked dinner while I got my massage. Now that makes a gal feel special! I ravenously gulp it down. Exhausted and now fighting a building cold, I fall into bed at 9:30 pm. Hopefully, some much needed rest will do the trick.

Total Miles Biked:
Total Gas Saved:
$5.53 (enough for 2 grande lattes at Starbucks)
(in my Nissan Frontier ~20 mpg; gas is currently $4.25/gallon)
Total Calories Burned:
~1,000 cals!
No wonder I'm hungry!

Bring on Day 2!

Tips for Bike Commuting:

1. Plan ahead.
When using your car, consolidate and cluster errands to be more efficient and traverse as few miles as possible. Get everything done at once. Then, have the rest of the day to take a nap or go for a run! Also, on "car days", you can bring a change of clothes to work so they don't get wrinkled in your bag (this also significantly lightens the load on your back).
2. Pack the night before.
This saves oodles of time in the morning. Pack lightly too. You have to carry it!
3. Carry a repair kit, id, cell phone, and lights for riding at night.
4. Plan your route carefully.
The best route may not be the quickest one. Think about traffic volume, bike lanes, safety.
5. Make sure your commuter bike is in good repair.
6. Lock your bike when you arrive at your destination.
A cable lock works for short trips. For long trips, use a more secure lock, like a sturdy, U-lock. Because it's very heavy, I leave my U-lock at work so I don't have to schlep it back and forth.


Renee said...

Yay for you! All of your tips are great! I find if I am well prepared the night before, it makes a huge difference on how the morning going!

Wes said...

The roadie probably thought chicas with back packs are HAWT :-) Damn I wanna bike commute!!

Sherry said...

Awesome post! I'm seeing more and more people biking around here lately. I would love to ride everywhere local if I could... but we don't have very many of those 'alternative' routes that you mention here. I would have to brave it out and ride a length of road that I'm not all that keen about riding on.

However, you've inspired me. I may give it a shot one day soon.

Leah said...

I'm SO envious! I would love to bike to work regularly. I've done it, but it's 18 miles each way. In and of itself, the distance is not a problem, but frequent, unexpected late nights along with having to cart my daughter to swim practice, dance class, etc. makes it impossible to do more than once in a while. Still, I keep saying I'm going to try it one day a week. You're inspiring me... :)

triguyjt said...

great post rachel.. you are really making me think about getting with it on the commute
looks like you will save oodles at the pump!!!
of course, you'll spend it all at starbucks..LOL

Hey, Brent is too good!!! haha

Marcy said...

How cool is that! Man, I wonder how fit and rich I'd be if I did this LOL Awesome chica, totally freakin awesome!

Benson said...

So glad I read this post. I'm planning to bike commute a couple times a week (30 miles round trip). I will follow your tips to the letter.
You rock Rachel.

Sara said...

That is amazing that you are doing this and especially after such a hard core weekend!!

P.S. how do you handle the ass pain of sitting on the bike seat for so long? Stupid question I know but I'm really curious!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. This is a great post and I'll be watching your experiment closely. I bike commute 2x per week and it 13miles round trip (including a monster hill) unless I have errands. I have to lug my laptop both such, I'm growing to hate my

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

I wanted to add one more thing...I totally agree that the best route may not be the quickest. I've added 4 miles round trip to ensure the safeest route for me. Well worth it. :)