Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bike to Work Day

Bike to Work Day was not as fun as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong. There were fun parts. But there were scary parts too.

The ride out of Fremont was not particularly pleasant. Lots of the streets don't have bike lanes, plus it was windy and the sky was leaden like it was going to rain any second. That made it cold. There weren't any other bicyclists either so it was lonely.

But I made it to the Dumbarton without getting lost and the sun started to shine and I started to see more bicyclists.

I have wanted to ride over the Dumbarton forever. I had this vision of sparkly water and being high in the air (which I like). The reality wasn't quite like that. For one thing, the path is pretty narrow and it was windy as heck and every time a truck drove by, I was blown two feet into the lane for the other direction. Scary! If the water was sparkling (and I don't think it was), I was too grimly focused on getting across the bridge without dying to notice.

But the trip got better on the other side. I stopped at an "energizer" station and got some free swag and some nutrition and the energy boost got me to work. The ride on the Peninsula was much nicer too. If I lived over there, I'd bike to work every day!

When I got to work, I got my free breakfast and took a shower and felt pretty good that I'd made it the whole way -- 18 miles! Everyone at work thought I was nuts, of course. That was kind of fun too.

On the way home, I had another mixed experience. The first part of the ride was into a stiff head wind. But going over the Dumbarton was better. I think not having to see the traffic helps. It wasn't quite as windy either. But Fremont is still pretty windy and I also got lost a bit. Then the clouds came back, so I did the last 20 minutes in that twilight light that I hate to bike in because I'm convinced the cars can't see me.

Because of my detour, the ride home was 20.5 miles but it took the same amount of time so I guess I was biking faster. Knowing where you are going (or thinking you do) helps with that.

I had been thinking of biking to work once a week as a way to increase my bike mileage, but I can see that is not a good idea now. I really need to train hills, not a flat, windy course. Plus the logistics are just too complicated and it cuts my work day too short. I guess I'll stick to once a  year until I live closer to where I work.
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