Friday, November 12, 2010

Thoughts on a rainy commute

I am really glad to be back on my bike. After injury, injury and illness, I had two months with one trainer session and one treadmill torture. Exercising an average of once per month just isn't a good idea for a lot of reasons.

I have had reasonably good reasons for not riding, but it is better to be riding. I have had weeks at a time that I could not ride my bike to work, because of hauling around kids, appointments in nearby cities, etc., etc., etc. My older son had to be at school by 6.45 am for the first seven weeks of school, which responsibility fell to me mostly (and I was glad to do it, honey!), but it was hard to watch seven weeks of unseasonably mild weather go by without an opportunity to commute on my bike.

On the other hand, after a long hiatus, getting back to biking by commuting is a great way to get going again. There isn't anyone pushing the pace, the distance is reasonable, and even when the hills make it obvious how much fitness one has lost, the duration of misery is short and the smugness of leaving the car behind is always a boost.

In order to extend my ride season, I needed to add some lights to those I had; some more blinky lights on the rear and a helmet mounted light on the front. It was nice to go into Two Wheel Transit to buy the lights because a) they have the lights together in a nice display, b) everyone in the shop commutes in the dark so they all have ideas, suggestions and practical information and c) you get to tap directly into Mechbgon's extensive lighting knowledge (

As I rode home last night, I was pondering my lights. The addition of the helmet light was GREAT and I was amazed at how lit up I was from behind with a seatpost light, a blinky light on each pannier and a blinky light on my reflective striped messenger bag. As I was standing in the shop yesterday considering the prices, I did decide that I would really be unhappy to be lying in a hospital bed because I didn't put a crowbar in the wallet and get enough lights, so I think I erred on the right side.

It did occur to me, however, that I have to ride my bike a lot this winter to pay for the lights simply through gas savings from not driving my car. I have a 10.5 - 11 mile roundtrip commute, but I also have a fuel efficient diesel. The lights will last for years, but it still made me wish that the lights cost less, the trip was longer, my mileage worse or that gas cost more. Any of those would assuage the guilt a bit faster. Until then, look for me riding a lot at night to justify my purchases. In the meantime, I'm just really happy to be riding again.
Rider Three


  1. Hey Rider 3, I belatedly remembered that I have a used DiNotte 140 taillight in my closet (I got their new 300R self-contained dualie). If you'd put it to use, I'd pass it on to you. They're great, especially if you sometimes mix with higher-speed traffic... southbound on Highway 195, for example, where traffic exiting to the right needs some lead time to accomodate you.

  2. Glad to have you back on the road!