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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Bike Commute Diaries: Weekly Grocery Run

When I first grocery shopped by bike I’d grab a hand basket so I wouldn’t buy more than I could comfortably carry. Now that I have a Dutch bike with oversized bags and a front rack, I grab a full-sized grocery cart and buy whatever I want. It always works out, even for bigger trips like this four bag, 40 pound load.

About the Bike Commute Diaries: In honor of National Bike Month, I’m sharing 31 short, sweet and surprising things I’ve discovered about bike commuting, one for each day in May. Happy National Bike Month!

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Keep Helmet, Toss Hair

Wearing a helmet doesn’t mean you’ll have a bad hair day. The secret is to keep your cool as you cruise down the boulevard and toss your hair on arrival.

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About the Bike Commute Diaries: In honor of National Bike Month, I’m sharing 31 short, sweet and surprising things I’ve discovered about bike commuting, one for each day in May. Happy National Bike Month!

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Commute Diaries: A Very Handy Basket

A tisket, a tasket, a very handy basket. With a front basket I can grab everything I need while I’m riding or walking my bike. My phone, my train pass and my sunglasses are all at my fingertips, and I can strip a layer off and stow it without pulling over. So on the way I don’t drop it, drop it.

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About the Bike Commute Diaries: In honor of National Bike Month, I’m sharing 31 short, sweet and surprising things I’ve discovered about bike commuting, one for each day in May. Happy National Bike Month!

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Commute Diaries: City Bikes are No Sweat

With a fully equipped city bike–flat pedals, chain guard, fenders, lights, baskets and rack-mounted bags–riding to work is as simple as throwing a leg over and pedaling off in your work clothes. As you warm up, you can peel off a layer, stow it, and keep on rolling on. Happy Bike to Work Day, San Francisco Bay Area!

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About the Bike Commute Diaries: In honor of National Bike Month, I’m sharing 31 short, sweet and surprising things I’ve discovered about bike commuting, one for each day in May. Happy National Bike Month!

 
 

Leaving on a Jet Plane (with Help from My Bike)

Today is Bike to Work Day for the San Francisco Bay Area. For new bike commuters, it may be a challenge: planning a good route, deciding what to wear and what to carry, finding secure parking for their bike and a place to clean up. As a daily bike commuter, I have the basics down, so I push myself with new challenges: commuting in a dress suit, grocery shopping at Costco, and riding in the big city, in the rain and really late at night. It keeps things interesting for me.

Last week I faced with a new challenge: riding to the airport for an overnight business trip. The flight wasn’t terribly early, the airport is right across the freeway from my office, and I knew there was a bike rack in the garage and a low-traffic way of getting there. Yet I was nervous. Could I carry my luggage on my bike? Would my bike be safe overnight? Would I be safe riding down the bike trail and catching the train the next night?

For the luggage, I realized that I could pack everything I needed in a small messenger bag. For the theft issue, I decided that the rack was in a visible spot near the entrance and I would ride my least valuable bike and take the risk. So I took the train like I do every day, rode my bike to San Jose Airport and caught a flight to Seattle.

The next evening I flew back to San Jose, where I found my bike exactly where I left it. But instead of riding down the trail that night, Dick picked me up at the airport. Some challenges are not worth the risk.

What challenges do you face in riding for transportation? Which ones have you overcome?

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Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Issues & Infrastructure

 

Bike Commute Diaries: People in the Neighborhood

[Sing along with me] Who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhood? In your neighborhood? When I ride my bike it’s easy to say “hello” or stop and chat for a bit. And the dogs love a stroke on the head.

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About the Bike Commute Diaries: In honor of National Bike Month, I’m sharing 31 short, sweet and surprising things I’ve discovered about bike commuting, one for each day in May. Happy National Bike Month!

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Commute Diaries: Stopping to Smell the Roses

When your commute goes from being a daily grind to a daily pleasure, you find new places to go and new things to see as you wind your way home. Life is too short to hurry.

About the Bike Commute Diaries: In honor of National Bike Month, I’m sharing 31 short, sweet and surprising things I’ve discovered about bike commuting, one for each day in May. Happy National Bike Month!

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Commute Diaries

 

Bike Commute Diaries: City Tires are Trail Tough

Don’t be fooled by the demure appearance. The lovely cream tires on my city bikes are steel magnolias: strong, resilient, and ready to face the rocky road ahead. In 18 months of daily commuting, I’ve only had one flat.

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About the Bike Commute Diaries: In honor of National Bike Month, I’m sharing 31 short, sweet and surprising things I’ve discovered about bike commuting, one for each day in May. Happy National Bike Month!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Commute Diaries

 

Peak of the Month Club: The Devil in Mt Diablo

During his 1923 fund-raising tour, George Leigh Mallory was frequently asked what drove him to climb Mt Everest. His standard answer: “Because it’s there.”

The allure of climbing to new heights is not restricted to mountaineers, as I learned during one of our post-ride feasts. “I’ve never climbed Mt Diablo.” “I’ve never climbed Mt Tam.” “I’ve never climbed Mt Hamilton.” “I’ve never climbed any of them.” So marked the birth of the “Peak of the Month Club.” The goal: ascend all the major peaks in the Bay Area and a bit beyond. First on the list for April: Mt Diablo.

Rising over 3800 feet from its base smack dab in the middle of Contra Costa County, Mt Diablo is visible from almost everywhere in the Bay Area. That’s why in 1852 the US Coast and Geodetic Survey chose Mt Diablo as the base point for the north/south and east/west meridians used to establish land boundaries in most of Northern California and all of Nevada. Mt Diablo may not be the center of California, but it is of our maps.

Today it’s Diablo’s never-ending vistas that draws most people to drive up the narrow winding road to its peak. But for cyclists, it’s the hard work of climbing up 3200 feet in 11 miles with a brutal 16% grade for the last 150-yards that draws intrepid riders. For me, the view at the top is just a mid-ride treat. The long winding descent with expansive views the whole way down is my sweetest reward.

Why do we climb challenging peaks? Is it simply because they’re there? I think Mallory gave a better answer later: “What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money. We eat and make money to be able to live. That is what life means and what life is for.”

What adventures bring you sheer joy? What do you live for?

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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Backroads, Local History

 

Bike Commute Diaries: VIP Parking on Date Night

Headed to University Avenue, Castro Street or Town & Country Village for dinner? As Yogi Bera said, “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.” And it’s hard to find parking, unless you and your date arrive on bikes.

About the Bike Commute Diaries: In honor of National Bike Month, I’m sharing 31 short, sweet and surprising things I’ve discovered about bike commuting, one for each day in May. Happy National Bike Month!

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Commute Diaries

 
 
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