There is a rule I try to stick to this time of year: If the weather cooperates, get your butt outside on the bike. There will soon be days on end where it will be entirely too miserable to ride and I will be stuck in the shed on the rollers. Well yesterday, the weather gods predicted no rain in the afternoon, so I decided to start my 8th month of cycle commuting!
I am not sure if it was the fact I was out of practice or that it was the first real day standard time, but yesterday’s ride was just plain different!
First off, I don’t get off officially until 4. However, computer problems and issues with a file that went “Poof!” and is still trying to be recovered drove me to leaving earlier. I was downstairs and changing at 330. It had been nice during the day, but with the sun sinking, it had cooled off to the mid-40s, but I had warm layer, windbreaker, helmet cover and shoe covers, PLUS the warmer gloves, so no issues with temp!
However, I couldn’t find the clear glasses. I dug through both panniers and came up empty-handed. I was forced to use the “not so dark” reserve sunglasses! It was fine at the start, but by the end, the “not so darks” were pretty darn dark! Turns out, they were in the “easy access” pocket I forgot to check. But they are ready for today!
So off I went, and I was making pretty good time, at least I thought I was. Next thing I know, I was being passed by either a construction guy (or a homeless guy, I couldn’t tell he passed so quickly) on a rattletrap mountain bike who left me in the dust! Not great for the ego.
Then I watched a lady playing chicken with a metro bus! It pulled over and stopped, as if to drop off someone, but then the driver changed his mind and pulled back out JUST as she was trying to pass. I was lucky, I wasn’t close enough yet. There was horn honking and flipping off going on for a bit, and these two had issues for another couple of miles. (Personally I try NOT to argue with something that much bigger than my bike!)
Once I got to the trail, there was a new challenge. In the three weeks I was gone, the smooth dry trail now had long stretches covered in wet fallen leaves! This is why I have chosen to have the slightly wider tires though. The wet leaves gave me no problems, but I had to suddenly switch into fall and winter mode and make sure I did gradual instead of sharp turns.
About 5 miles into the ride, I passed a College kid on a mountain bike. She didn’t have a helmet, was wearing a sweater, no gloves, and jeans. I didn’t think anything of it, until I glanced in the mirror to see her right on my butt. Next thing I knew we were leap frogging in front of each other. (Did I mention it was in the 40s?) At one point I asked her “Aren’t you a little cold?” She just shrugged and said “No not at all, it’s just a bit brisk.” (By her accent I think she was from Ireland.”
As she got ready to turn off, the said “Thanks! Seeing you inspired me to go faster!” I really hope she wasn’t saying “There’s no way I was letting an old fart get ahead of me!”
By the time I got home, it was full on dark. However, the roads around my house are wide, the speed limits slow, and it’s well-lit. I came home to a great pasta dinner! Not sure how long I will be able to keep up the bike commute this year, but I have at least a few more. Next time, I am going to leave the Irish girl in the dust!