Category Archives: commute

Still Trying to Keep the Rubber Side Down

I haven’t been blogging much about my riding lately, and there is a good reason (although I’ve been reluctantly avoiding bringing it up).  This year has been a bit rough … First, my crash in March (right in the middle of my preparation for the double century season).  Then, another little spill, in the parking lot of my apartment complex.  About 4 weeks ago, another spill while making a hairpin turn on the bike trail.  The last two were while the ground was wet, and slick.

I’m almost back to normal riding shape.  The toughest part of being in these mishaps is loss of flexibility.  I  didn’t think it would be as big an issue, but it is.  I’ve been riding easily, taking mostly flat terrain of late (commutes help, as it is completely flat).  I would be riding in the most upright position as possible, and even though I’m not expending much power, or calories, at least it’s something.

It’s funny, that while trying to get back into it, you start learning to ride with aches in your body.  Then, all of a sudden, one day, you seem to get more flexible, and the enthusiasm of the ride in really shoots up.  I guess it is true … just give it time … time is such a great healer.

I guess this has made me a little more cautious of rain and wet weather, but as long as I’m upright, I’ll still be out there riding.  So last night, I kept debating on whether or not to ride in, since there was a big storm, dumping rain overnight, but knew it would be clear in the morning.  After much debate, I decided to go for the ride.  Then as I was about to get ready, I felt my rear tire, and it was soft, and had a slow leak over night.  Oh well, I guess that made the decision for me.  Guess I’m riding in.  Damn!

Fear the Thunderstorm

IMG_20151109_064445

Here in California, the weather doesn’t get all that extreme.  This allows us to commute wherever we need to by bike, just about every day of the year.  We have no snow, tornadoes, or hurricanes to contend with (most of the time).  However, there is one thing to fear … thunderstorms and lightning.

With me being on call this past weekend, and basically no riding available those days, I was really antsy to get out there.  Luckily, I did get into the office before the T-Storms hit.

I didn’t see any other bikes out there on the commute today … was it because everyone drove in because of the T-Storm?

Peaceful Easy Feeling …. At 5 am

Once again, our east coast guy is on PTO … so that means another 5 am commute for me.  Woohoo!!!  Yeah, I’m nuts.  Who would do such a thing?  Well, double century riders, of course.  I mean, it’s not like I’m getting up at 3:30 am …. Oh, wait a minute, my body did wake up at 3:45 am … scratch that previous thought.

But once your body is all prepared to leave the door at 5 am, it’s really not that bad.  As long as you have good lights (500 lumen on my handlebar, 250 lumen on my helmet) … that’s enough to light up even the darkest road.  Since hardly anyone is out there, I don’t have to worry about fighting with traffic.  It was very peaceful commute this morning … and no, I didn’t have “Peaceful Easy Feeling” playing on my headset .. it’s just that as I was riding, that is just the thought I had in my head.

And since my start is at 6 am, I get to get out of the office by 3 pm … or at least that is the plan.  This will ensure my ride home will be in daylight.  Score!

The Challenge of Getting Quality Miles In

One of the challenges of being able to stay fit, and do endurance rides is being able to get out there.  I didn’t have this challenge before, because I typically was able to have my weekends free to ride.  However, lately, that has changed.  My weekends have been occupied by either a weekend on call, a weekend visiting dad, or a weekend free to myself, biking.  This rotation is a 3 week period, so as you can see, my weekend to bike is once every 3 weeks.  That is tough to keep fit, especially if I do all these double centuries.

This means having to squeeze in whatever I can during the week.  I would have to really prepare myself on how I commute into work.  You may ask, in what way?  Well, consider this schedule:

Monday:  Commute in with my normal commuting bike (with panniers, maybe carrying my laptop with me)

Tuesday: This is the day I usually have my mid-week ride, with the Meetup group.  I usually bring my Volagi, and stash my change of clothes in my backpack.  When I take off for my Meetup ride, I leave my change of clothes in the office

Wednesday: Ride my Volagi into work, wearing a T-shirt as a base layer (this is Silicon Valley, and as a tech, a T-shirt is my normal work attire).  On my ride home, I take my change of clothes with me, in my backpack.

Thursday and Friday: Take my commuting bike into work.  Friday, I put the laptop in my panniers.

This sure is a lot of prep work to get in extra miles during the week, but it is necessary.  Even then, the amount of miles I’m able to get in is not that spectacular.  Yesterday, I was able to accumulate 40 miles (10 in the morning, 30 on my evening ride).

Now that it is getting darker earlier (by 6:40 pm), I also have to be well equipped with blinding light display.  It is pretty cool, to get out there, enjoying the night scenery, while everyone else is stressing on getting through rush hour traffic to get home … Me?  My struggles are to lug myself up that big hill, so that I can get these great views.

image

image

Bay Area Bike To Work Day 2015

VIRB Picture

It was Bike to Work Day, Thursday, May 14, 2015.  It’s the time of the year to ditch your car, take your bike, and ride into work.  Actually, it’s more of a routine for me, since I bike to work nearly every day.

This year, there was forecast of rain, and a possibility that it would dampen the morning commute.  However, that did not materialize, and it was still a pleasant ride into work (although a bit cloudy).  That did deter a bunch of people from riding in, as some of the volunteers did mention that the turnout was lower than in previous years, due to the threat of rain.

I decided I wanted to get as many free swag as I can possibly get.  I planned it the night before, and my goal was 8 Energizer Stations.  I made it to 6 of them.  I followed the Energizer Station Map to determine my route, but two of them were not out there, nVidia and Marvell.  Either they couldn’t make it, or I was looking on the wrong side of their building.  I should have stopped by Oracle, as they had a big gourmet spread, but I had to be in the office by 8 am.

My first stop was Kaiser on Homestead, and I arrived there around 6:10 am, and much to my surprise, they were there, ready to serve me and greet me.  Kudos for them to be out there that early, and they had a pretty nice spread too.

VIRB Picture

No Smoothies this Year 😦

One of the stops was along the San Tomas Aquino Multi-Use Trail, which in previous years served smoothies.  It was pretty funny, because they had a bike, on a trainer, and the drivetrain would also drive the blender.  This year, the guy couldn’t find his pitcher, so no smoothies this year.

We actually had two stations that were very close to work.  One was by Bloom Energy, who had a spot right outside of the Sheraton Hotel.  The other was Yahoo, and the guy there recognized me from previous years.  That was cool.

Hope you all had a great Bike to Work day.  It didn’t rain on the ride home either (although I was in the office late enough, where I couldn’t attend the Ride Away From Work bash in San Jose).

Not Another Fall

… yes, unfortunately, I took another fall earlier this week.  This was just on my commute into work, and it’s funny how everything seemed to be all going smoothly, and then suddenly, wham!  There was no car involved, but some pipe or cylindrical object was in the bike path, and I don’t think I saw it in time.

End result … face hit the ground, lacerations on my face.  After about a day, the blood dried up, but it also meant my jaw couldn’t really open too wide.  Was checked into El Camino Hospital, and nothing broken on the face, or knees … all checked out fine.  I do have cracked ribs, so here we go again … 6 weeks of being off the bike.

I was prescribed motrin and narco, but  I’m trying to not tap into those drugs quite yet.  I’m able to handle the pain so far, and I’ll just use them as a safety blanket.

This means my double century season is over.  I’m not sure if I am throwing in the towel for double centuries, but this body is getting old, and having two incidents of cracked ribs in 1 year … odds are not in my favor.

How’s the bike?  I don’t know … co-worker will be taking them with him (I left the bike in my cubicle) … most likely a cracked or broken fork, but not sure how the rest of the frame is.  Yes, this was my Volagi.  I may want to shift my focus on my riding from here on out.

Glasses were all shredded, so I had to go an order a new pair … luckily, I have a spare set of contact lenses, that should last me a couple of weeks.  It’s a shame .. these only lasted 5 months.

Update: Fork sheered at the headtube, and a broken spoke on my front wheel. Damn, too bad I didn’t have my Garmin VIRB recording at the time.

image

Spring is Approaching

Spring is getting closer and closer … and not because of all the flowers blooming, and not because allergies are kicking in (although it is inevitable) … but because the days are getting a little longer, and if I get out of the office on time (5 pm), I can actually still enjoy daylight.  It’s kinda cool to be out riding at sunset, and be out there on the transition as it goes to black darkness.

Shoreline0017-00-00-16-843 Shoreline0017-00-00-29-810 Shoreline0017-00-00-33-830 Shoreline0018-00-01-09-599

Oh, and the sunset picture ain’t bad either.

There Goes the Biking Every Day Goal

I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain this, but I thought I would try to bike every day of 2015.  Well, that didn’t last very long.  I did 5 days, and on the 5th day, I even started early, so that I can make it into the office by 6 am (because east coast guys were gone, and I had to cover for them).  On the 6th day, I woke up late … damn it!  Not going to be able to make it into the office in time riding … crap … driving in.

So much for the streak.  Now what other year long goals can I try???

Riding Through a MUT in a Rainstorm

It has been well documented how severe the drought has been in California, so when we hear weather reports of significant rain, everyone is welcoming it with open arms (yours truly included).  Being the commuter I am, I didn’t want rain to stop me from doing that.  I outfitted my panniers with weatherproof covering, put a rain jacket on, put rain pants on and I’m ready to go.

I decided to go on San Tomas Aquino Multi-Use (MUT) trail, to avoid car traffic.  However, the MUT is right alongside a creek, and when rain levels get high enough, it can get onto the MUT, and even get flooded.  And that’s what happened on this day.

image

Here I was chancing and hoping it wouldn’t be too flooded but looking at thus was ominous.

image

Rats!  Well, I guess I need to plow through this.

This was just the beginning.  The further I got along the MUT, the deeper the standing water would get.  I it to the point where I would go onto surface street just to get across the underpasses, but eventually I had to go on theunderpass to cross Hwy 237, so I had to plow through the last one, which has to be close to 2 feet.  The water went almost to my waist.  I plowed through, but there was so much water, I had to shift to my granny gear just to get across.  Now that was tough … Tougher than a hill climb.

On the ride home, I didn’t want to go through this again, so I decided to ride over to Stevens Creek MUT, which didn’t have a creek alongside it (ironic, isn’t it?), so my chances of getting flooded would be nil. However, this MUT has a lot of trees, and it was dark too. The trail was full of leaves, branches, some mud, so I has to be really careful, and really lower my speed. So it’s either floods of going through underpasses or dodging leaves and branches on the ground. I think I’ll choose the latter.

So the question I have … Is this typical for PNW? Do I get some badass points for this? One cycling friend says I’m crazy. Others just are sympathetic for my hubs. I think I’ll take it in for a cleaning and tune up at the shop.

Damn How Did I Get Here?

image

I went out on my morning commute, hoping to get in a Mora hill climb today.  However, I noticed my phone wasn’t with me.  Damn, I gotta turn back.  On my way back, I must have turn one intersection too soon.  I had no idea where I was, and usually when that happens, I pull out my phone and check Google Maps.  But oh yes, the whole reason for this part of the ride is to go and retrieve my phone.  D’oh!

I must have been on auto pilot, and made turns without seeing where I was.  My excuse … It’s dark in the morning.  That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking with it.