Category Archives: commute

7 Days in to #30daysofbiking

It is April, and that’s the 30 days of biking month.  Every year, all cyclists, who sign up, pledge to ride every day in the month of April (http://www.30daysofbiking.com).

So far, doing pretty good … although I did miss one day (weather forecast was for rain but it was dry, up until the evening commute.  I guess it was a good decision, but man, for the rest of the day, it looked like a missed opportunity).

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We’ve been lucky, in that when it does rain, it’s typically before or after work, but I do at least prepare with fenders, rainwear, etc.  How’s everyone else doing this month?  I made the pledge (although I already missed one day) .. How about you?

Traffic Nearby

Another neat feature that Google has on Android is the “traffic nearby” notification.  It seems to be enabled when your phone’s GPS is turned on.  So I checked it at 4:11 pm, and looking at this mess I’m glad I biked in.

Yikes, that looks bad.  But then I look at it an hour later, and wow it got worse.  I’d hate to be driving in that mess.  Thank God for bikes.

Curses Black Friday

I live Timbuktu products, and when Black Friday hit, I kept getting those promo emails, and I caved in.  I mean, they had a laptop backpack for $39.  I got the Rogue … Oh hey, Rogue One is coming out.  Coincidence?

Laptop fits nicely.

It’s actually pretty comfortable on the commute.  It doesn’t feel too heavy.  Plus, it’s got lots of pockets.  Marketing video states you can put your U-lock on loops on the outside if the backpack.  Haven’t tried that yet.

Bike to Work Day in the Bay Area

May is national bike month, and today, May 12th, is Bike to Work Day (in the Bay Area at least).  It’s always exciting to participate in Bike to Work Day.  The volunteers at the Energizer Stations are so energetic, and excited (I don’t know how they get all that energy at 6 am).

So if you are wondering why there are so many bikes on the road today … well this is why.  I kinda wish we had a bike day of the month … that way, this excitement will come not just once a year, but 12 times a year.

I was able to stop by 4 Energizer Stations.

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Kaiser Energizer Station at Homestead/Lawrence

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Energizer Station off of San Tomas Aquino MUT at Agnew

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Energizer Station at the end of bike trail by Baylands Park

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Energizer Station at Yahoo

What type of schwag did we get?

Bright florescent green vest
Rear blinkie
Usual advertisements
Clif bar

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BTWD Goodies Bag

For the ride, I got 1.5 bananas, half a zucchini bread slice, granola rice Krispies, mini cup of trail mix … That’s a healthy breakfast.

Made it Through The Floods

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It was pretty dry in February, but March reminded us again that this is an El Niño year.  There were flash flood warning everywhere, for a good 48 hours (or something like that).  Most of the rain was up in the North bay (Wine Country, Sonoma County area).  There wasn’t quite as much down here in Silicon Valley, but still was about an inch or two.

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While it did rain in the morning and afternoon, during my commute, I didn’t get hit too hard.  It typically rained during the start of my commute, then let up near the end of my commute.  Weird how that works out … even on the days where they said it was a dry period, it would suddenly throw in rain at the start, but not at the end.  It’s like Mother Nature was looking for me when I start the ride … then said, ok, he’s had enough … he’s wet … then, stopped raining.

At least by the time I got to the office, or got home, I wasn’t so drenched that I was dripping all over the place.  It’s amazing how some of the clothing material we wear can wick off moisture so well, that it can simply air dry itself within a couple of hours.

Oh, one thing that does help .. newspaper.  Stuff your wet shoes with newspaper … oh, that works wonders.  By the time I am ready for the commute home, it’s about as dry as you’d like.  I forgot all about the plastic bag in the feet trick … I still have my doubts on if that will prevent your feet from being extra squishy … but luckily I won’t have to worry about that.  The heavy rain is supposed to be tonight and tomorrow, and I won’t have to ride … instead, I’m on call 🙂

Stay dry folks .. keep your speed down, and watch out for the downed power lines.

Splish Splash on the Bike

I was going to take an early morning ride into work, but then I heard a shower outside my door.  Oooh, rain … I guess I should take my commuter bike with fenders.  The rain wasn’t too hard, so off I go on the bike.

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There is just something about splishing and splashing through the road. Yes, the raindrops on my glasses can get a little annoying, but as long as it’s not a downpour, it’s fine.

I wonder what all the drivers on the road are thinking of this crazy cyclist riding in the rain.  Well, at least I’m not polluting the air.  It helps my psyche, and when I get into the office, I feel refreshed, and coming in with a good attitude.  Plus, I get a kick out of when people ask if I rode in or not … Why not … it’s not … oh … well at least it’s not thunder and lightning.  No tornadoes to worry about.  So I get a little wet .. so what!

Bike Commuting Night Gear

Some of you may be worried about being able to be seen at night on my commutes home.  Well, I’ll document it here.

So on the front, I’ve got a nice 500 lumen Exposure Sirius light.  It’s very compact, lightweight, and the mount is not a hard plastic mount that will scratch up the handle bar.  In fact, it’s got a sturdy rubber stretchable mount, that is easy to take on or off, and will conform to even most irregular shaped handlebars (which seems to be the in thing nowadays).

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Exposure Sirius Handlebar Mounted

I also have my Niterider Lumina 250, which is sufficient to direct the beam towards any dark patches of the road. I typically point the beam downward, such that it doesn’t blind other cyclists or drivers coming towards me. That is only courteous anyways.

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I then bought some reflective tape, strategically designed to be placed on your spokes, so that if anyone shines a light at you, they’d have to be blind not to see it … especially when the wheel spins. I got these at REI (http://www.rei.com/product/808967/lightweights-for-wheels-power-reflectors)

Under my seat post, I have Serfas Thunderbolt … very powerful rear facing light, about 30 lumens.  It’s also a USB rechargable light.  This can be seen for miles.  Being the lazy ass that I am, I choose the lowest blinking mode, always forgetting to charge them up.

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Serfas Thunderbolt

I also have some Blackburn Flea rear facing blinkers.  They’re very compact, and has a tight clip, where you could put just about anywhere.  I usually clip these on the back of my jacket.  Could I use more???  Yes, definitely it’s better to be seen.  But with what I have, I feel pretty safe on the night commutes … Now if only others would be more caring about being seen, that would be great … but I’m not holding my breath for it.

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Blackburn Flea

It still amazes me how many walkers, joggers, go out on the multi-use trail, with no reflectors, no lights, and it’s pitch black out there. Not every is like me, with a super bright light. That’s bound to create accidents.

Days Starting to Get Longer

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Are The Days Getting Longer?

Is it me, or are the days getting longer? I know, it just turned New Years, but when I get out a little after 5 pm, it does seem a little lighter than before. That’s something to get this bike commuter excited about. As if getting off work isn’t excitement enough, but commuting by bike, and having it not quick so pitch black … it’s something to smile about.

Today was the first day it was fairly dry since the weekend.  We’ve had 3 days of pretty heavy constant rain, and waking up in the morning, to see it not rain was exciting.

I went on the Stevens Creek MUT today, and it was pretty eerie, because it was just me, and a few other joggers on the path.  There were no other bikes on the MUT at all.  Usually I’d see 5 or 6 others, but tonight, it was just me.  I mean, it wasn’t raining, so that couldn’t have scared everyone away, would it?  I was just happy to be back on the road commuting again.

It might not rain until Friday evening, so looks like I’ll be commuting again tomorrow.  I gotta do something to trim down for the coming season.

Freezing Temperatures in California?

Yes, it can get quite cold in California every once in a while.  Aided by a cold front from Alaska, we have been in a bit of a cold snap.  To all you easterners, go ahead, have your laughter. 

Now what do I mean by cold?  Well, freezing temperature.  32° F, or 0° C for all of my metric friends.  So will that mean I’ll stop riding during this cold snap?  Hell no!  I gotta prove that even though I’m from California, I can be bad ass too.

So what do I wear?  Well, I’ve got a 3/4 leg warmer (goes down to my calves), wool socks (which in combination with my 3/4 leg warmers covers all of my leg), fleece long sleeve jersey (which I absolutely love), skull cap (which I can pull down to my ears), toe warmers, light jacket, and wind resistant long fingered gloves.  It’s not cold enough to require a balaclava, but I do see others with it, and I chuckle seeing that.  If it was in the 20s, I could see wearing that, but it’s not that cold yet.

On my commutes into work, it has dipped to 32° F every day for the past 3 days for the while ride, so it’s not like I get into a small ravine … It is constant. 

Too bad there is no precipitation in the air.  Would have been cool to ride with some snow flakes falling.