Adventures in Bike Commuting: Week 3 and beyond

Week 3 of bike commuting went well. Instead of making up details I can’t remember, I’ll just say that spring had sprung, more people were out on the greenway, and I had a few close calls. One handy piece of gear is my bike bell—I ring it well behind pedestrians, in the hopes of a) alerting them that I’m passing without scaring them, and b) not being overly obnoxious. It seems to work well.

I did have a toddler dart out right in front of me, but in screeching to a halt to miss him, and pausing for some well-timed Lamaze breathing exercises, I spotted a few bloodroot flowers in an unlikely place. I’ll chalk that up to a win–and I didn’t hit the kid, either. Now for some pictures of my commute in full spring mode, so you can see that this bike commuting thing has some great benefits.

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First, a shout-out to my vintage 1993 bike panniers that took me 1400 miles in Europe. 

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Novara by REI. LOVE using them again!

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Gear. I need a checklist because I always forget something.

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Memorial park to a WWII vet on the House Creek Greenway behind Crabtree Valley Mall.

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Still chilly back in March, but the running windbreaker with a vest and a buff worked well.

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Bloodroots (Sanguinaria canadensis) I would have missed had I not been stopping abruptly to avoid a collision with a cute toddler who ran out in front of me. Notice the single, Matisse-esque leaf. It’s the only species in its genus and only blooms for a week or so in early spring.

I made it 3 weeks before abruptly stopping my experiment after a week of rain, followed by a week of work travel, followed by the end of semester insanity, followed by more work travel.

I know. I’m disappointed too. It came down to time and I didn’t seem to have any to spare. I do at least think, constantly, about riding my bike into work every single time I drive in. Instead of zoning out on the Beltline, I look for the places where you can see the greenway to see if others were out riding. On nice days, I feel a pang of jealousy when I spot fellow bike commuters.

I work from home much of the summer, since all my students are working doing internships and taking my class remotely, but I do hope to get back in the swing now that I have less time pressure.

In the meantime, it was a good way to break back into riding bikes as I readied myself for the next challenge, the 160 mile Tour de Cure.

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Ready to head to work. This has been a sturdy bike for commuting.

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One more shot of bloodroot–it is, after all, so tiny and delicate, and long gone now. The commute by bike teaches me to see and savor these kinds of small delights, something we all need. I hope to be back at it soon.

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6 thoughts on “Adventures in Bike Commuting: Week 3 and beyond

  1. I have found bike commuting quite addictive. It is so awesome that you having been getting into it! Best wishes to you as you prepare for your 160 mile ride 🙂

  2. Up until recently, I had a 0.4 mile commute most days. In the winter, I walked and in the spring/summer/fall, I biked. (I often needed to get to the other campus, 1.5 mi away, so biking made sense).

    The very best day of spring is the first day you get on your bike, and experience that rush of limitless possibilities, speed, and freedom.

    I hope you get to enjoy it again soon!

    • Yes, you really feel like you’re getting away with something! I think it also mimics that feeling you had when you got your first real bike–the freedom and possibilities. NC has perfect weather for year-round bike commuting, even for fair-weather cyclists like me. Next week I am back to it!

  3. Nice, Steph! I made it one day this spring… I got a late start and it’s just too hot for the ride back home. Next season, though…

    I used to have a Crossroads like yours until it ride away on its own one night. We have a garage door, now.

    Darrel

    • Thanks Darrel. I don’t easily overheat, and there is a shower in my building, so I’m planning to get back to it next week and I’ll see how it goes. i’m in the mindset that any bike commuting is better than none, so every day I get is 26 miles less on my Civic. I don’t actually love this Crossroads bike like the one I rode around Europe, but it works fine for the commute and I don’t worry about it.

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