Tag Archives: commute

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.

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San Tomas Aquino MUT Closed During Bike to Work Week?

Update:  Enough people emailed the water district and prompted them to postpone the maintenance work … so Bike to Work will go on, and still be able to use the San Tomas Aquino MUT.

Simply incredible .. Bike to Work week is next week, and they decide to close San Tomas Aquino MUT (which is the bike trail I usually commute on, to get to work).  Huh?

Here’s what the City of Santa Clara web site says:

“The Santa Clara Valley Water District will be conducting maintenance work along the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail between May 12 and May 15. Sections will be temporarily closed between Highway 237 and Walsh Ave. ”

Of all the times to close the bike trail, they chose bike to work week?  WTF???

http://santaclaraca.gov/index.aspx?recordid=3902&page=50

Maybe I Shouldn’t Have Left My Phone Out in the Rain

When I ride my commuter bike, I have a mount for my phone.  When I ride, I typically start up my Strava app, and track my ride with that.  The past couple of days, we had a really heavy storm … 3.23 inches of rain in San Jose in one day!  Wow, that’s a lot for San Jose … usually we’d be lucky to get 0.25 inches.  It didn’t dawn on me that I should take my phone off of the mount, and keep it dry.  It’s not like I need to look at it, as the screen dims after a period of time out, so it doesn’t really make sense to leave it on the mount.

Well, this made for a bad combination.  When I woke up, to my surprise, I found my phone was down to 10% battery.  The odd thing was, I had my phone charger plugged in.  I tried different chargers, and same thing happened.  I even tried the same charger on my Niterider light, and it charged up.  Damn, I think I fried my usb charging port on my phone.

When I got into the office, I tried my wireless charger, and luckily, that still worked, and I’m able to charge my phone.  Wow, I guess I learned my lesson … don’t leave your phone out in the rain.  I love my wireless charger even more now.

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.

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

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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.

Multi-Use Trails (MUT) Are Not Meant to be a Speedway

Multi-use Trails are very popular for bike commuters, to get from point A to point B, safely, without having to worry about being run over by cars.  But one thing I have noticed is some commuters, are using MUT’s as their own speedway.  I mean this is a Multi-use trail, with walkers, joggers, along with cyclists.

Tonight, I was commuting on the bridge overcrossing, above Central Expressway.  Then, this idiot passes me, at pretty high pace.  Slow down dude … what’s your hurry?  Make sure you avoid that jogger or baby stroller ahead of you!  Notice that even I was going 13 mph, and the suggested speed is 15 mph.

Bike Commute Disrupted Again due to 49ers Game

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The 49ers had their home opener last night … first NFL game, that counted, being played in Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers.  The game ended sometime after 8 pm Sunday night, and it was anticipated that the gates would be open for the bike path.  When the 49ers do play, the bike path is closed, but as soon as the event is over, they should re-open the bike path, right?

Well, it wasn’t.  The gate was locked, on the northbound side of Tasman.  That meant I had to backtrack to the other side, and then re-enter through Tasman on street.  The same thing happened during the first exhibition game that the 49ers had.  It’s bad enough that they close the bike path for the entire day (game didn’t start until 5:15 pm), but to keep it closed the day after?

Oh, and by the way, they also closed Great America Amusement Park, golf course, and probably the soccer field on game day as well.  Not everyone is a football fan, especially with the backlash against the NFL with the domestic violence issue.

New Commuting Workout Weighted Panniers

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So after all this time, I finally commute with panniers.  Sure, I’ve been commuting for some time now, but it’s always been with lugging a back pack around … emphasis on weight on my back.  Now, finally I’ve made use of the luggage rack eyelet that I have on my Seven.

When I originally got my custom Seven, one of the questions my LBS asked ess if I wanted to include an eyelet … I responded sure why not.  Now, I’m finally taking advantage of it, and glad I did.

Riding without a back pack, I feel such a sense of freedom.  It feels nice, and now I really feel like a commuter.

Two Idiot Cyclists Had to Ruin My Morning Ride

It started out as a nice commute this morning, as I was in a pretty good rhythm on my fixie.  I don’t know what my cadence was, but all I knew was it was feeling pretty good. 

I then got onto the frontage road at Moffett Park, and the nicely re-paved stretch of road, which is completely flat.  Two riders ride in front of me, and about 0.3 miles into the stretch, I saw a clearing, and moved up ahead and pulled.  I’m not sure if they were drafting me (I assume they were). 

I then get to a red light, so I stop for it.  Then the other idiots pass me (one passes me to the left, the other passes me to the right), and crosses the intersection, completely in red.  In fact, it turned red about 100 ft from the intersection.  Lucky there weren’t many cars making a left turn from the other side.  I wish I had my Contour video camera to film it all.  Talk about “people behaving badly”.

Really, we aren’t all like that, are we?  To those two cyclists who ran the red, you are not above the law … they apply to you too!