Saturday, May 19, 2007

Bike to Work Day

Friday was Bike to Work Day in Nevada. Having the day at the end of the week was a bit mentally and phsically hard, since I had already done so much riding this week. I was exhausted Thursday night, and wasn't sure how I'd pull it off. Much to my surprise though, I woke up Friday feeling quite refreshed! I also planned to take the direct route down HWY 395. It's not as scenic, but it gets me to work a lot faster without as much climbing. I took this route last year, and the traffic scared the living hell out of me! It wasn't as bad this time though. I'm getting used to it I guess. There are moments of tension and release throughout the route, but I don't think there's anyway around that when dealing with traffic.

Another reason I was interested in taking the direct route is that Comma Coffee was giving out free coffee to bicycle commuters. I arrived at Comma Coffee just a bit after 8:00, so I really didn't see any other cyclists. I was a little worried that I would have to explain that I commuted by bike and that I was looking for the free coffee, but they cheerfully looked at me and said, "Free Coffee?". They even recommended a blend to me. I also entered a raffle for $500 towards a new bike. Outside, I finally got to try one of the Muscle Powered bicycle racks.

At lunch, I met up with Marcus and Sandie and did a nice road bike tour of the west side of Carson City. We did Kings Canyon, the bike path, and then back to work. Marcus had some extra time, and did some additional miles.

One of the best things about bicycle commuting is all that you experience. A car is like a cell in which you don't get released until you arrive at work. Not so on the bike. It was nice to see pedestrians and animals along the way and say hello. You also have a bit more time to look at things, since you're not driving as fast. It's amazing all the subtleties you notice when slowing things down a bit.

Outside the coffee shop I heard two homeless guys talking about what they were going to do today. They wanted to get a room somewhere and wash the stinky clothes they had been wearing for four days in a row now they said.

For the last couple of years, I have seen this guy riding his bike up and down HWY 395 through Carson Valley. Winter and Summer. Every time I see him from my car, it makes me wish I would've ridden too. Today as I neared Indian Hills, I saw him in front of me. I was excited I would finally get to meet him. I snapped a picture from a ways back so he didn't think I was a freak. We talked for a bit as we rode, and I learned that Mr. Smith is 69 years old, and rides across the valley to take care of his 90 year old mother. On the way home we crossed paths again in Minden. We had a better talk this time, since we weren't on the HWY. We rode the side streets and talked about bikes. He wanted to know some tips for climbing the Indian Hills climb, and said that a lot of cyclists seem to pass him there. I noticed his seat was pretty low, and he's going to try and raise it for the next ride. I told him it might help with knee pain too, but he said he wasn't sure he'd be able to tell. He said everything hurts at his age anyway. We rode together to his house, and then I continued on to my House in Gardnerville. Hopefully I'll see him next week!

Today's total bicycle miles: 40 - Total car miles: 0

11 comments:

lauren said...

nice! the free coffee sounds great on a morning ride.

One of the best things about bicycle commuting is all that you experience. A car is like a cell in which you don't get released until you arrive at work.

that's what i love about it too. you feel like you experience more in life when you ride into work.

i go through an old yaught club that sits besides a transitional living building for recovered addicts and see some pretty salty characters - they're always so happy to see me and wave and smile.

Chris said...

I hope I am still riding at 69 years old. That is solid.

Jeff P said...

Jeff,when you get to the Indian Hills climb do you stay on Hwy 395 or turn right at the golf course entrance

Jeff said...

Lauren - I'm looking forward to a commute next week too. The anticipation of another adventure and new experiences is high.

Chris - You and me both!

J Po - I think you're referring to northbound, right? The shoulder is nice and wide from Stephanie Way north. Turning off at this point wouldn't buy me much. Southbound down Indian Hills though...I might try a back road. The strong crosswinds, stupid drivers, and road debris make it feel like the asteroid scene from The Empire Strikes Back, but without the advantage of a Wookie Co-Pilot for guidance.

Marcus said...

What was your milage total for the week Jeff?

Jeff said...

Counting the around 20 mile ride last Saturday, around 143 miles. Today was a rest day!

Fritz said...

Thanks for the BTWD comment @ Cyclelicious, Jeff. It seems a light switch was flipped on BTWD last week -- I saw at least double the cyclists this morning that I usually see on my daily commute, for example.

Brent said...

The traffic on a busy highway does take some getting used to. I think I might just be too stupid to be scared sometimes because it just never bothered me the way it bothers some. I still get startled by the occasional barking dog or RV driver that comes too close for comfort but the pro drivers of big rigs give plenty of room and MOST drivers are pretty careful when passing me. I have had some run ins over the years. I even got a school bus driver suspended a few years ago for cutting me off and almost taking me out with a bus load of kids!

Sounds like you had a great commute! I'm jealous...

Jeff said...

I think the vehicles that scared me the most were the loudest, not necessarily the biggest. A jeep with oversized offroad tires, and a couple motorcycles. It does seem like people were courteous though...at least not angry. Sometimes people like to mess with you when you ride alone.

Last year some guy on a sport bike passed me at over 100 miles per hour from the rear. Should've brought some clean shorts for that ride.

Brent said...

Exactly! The noise is the worst part of it.

shawnkielty said...

I am supposed to get some swag from the bike to work day -- compliments of corporate in Seattle ... I missed out on the good crap over at the caltrain though --