Yesterday in Denver was the annual Bike to Work day. Local news outlets put participation somewhere between 25 and 30 thousand people. I was one of them.
We got Rhiannon a new bike this spring to go with the bike I got last year, and we have been riding more as the weather turns nicer. With gas prices and more biking, I’ve been looking if it would be feasible for me to ride at least to the light rail station on a semi-regular basis. So, a few weeks ago, when the e-mail came out at work about the event, I signed up.
It seemed like a great idea at the time.
Yesterday morning, the alarm went off and I was tempted to hit snooze (ok, really, I was tempted to turn the alarm off and sleep through the morning), but I remembered that I was biking to work. The great idea at the time seemed like a pretty stupid idea at that moment. Who rides a bike when there is a perfectly good car sitting in the garage?
But ride I did. I grabbed my work clothes and food and realized that Rhiannon has our backpack with her in North Dakota, so I would be using my regular messenger bag. Not my top choice, but it beats riding with grocery bags hung over the handle bars, so I rolled with it.
I have a mountain bike. Mountain bike tires. This is not the most efficient way to ride on roads. I do have to say the bike is a lot easier to ride now that I inflated the tires to the correct air pressure. Again, I’ll deal with it.
I had two choices; I could either ride around 6 miles to the light rail station and take the train or ride a little under 10 miles to work along a different route. It wasn’t called Bike to Work Day via Public Transportation, so the long way I went. About 6 miles from the house with almost 4 to go, I realized that sometimes, I’m really not all that intelligent.
I made it to work in a little under 45 minutes around 13.5 mph. For me, considering most our rides come in around 10 mph and are 4 miles or less, that seemed pretty decent. Now, stop and consider that work is roughly 500 feet lower in elevation that our house and there were times when I coasted at around 30 mph for over half a mile…
I rode in to work, got my T-shirt, granola bar, and headed upstairs. It was in the low 60s with no wind and I didn’t push all that hard on the trip, so I wasn’t too sweaty or worked up. My legs were a little tired, but I kind of expected that.
The biggest problem with “Bike TO Work” day? Nobody says anything about getting home. In the morning, local shops have free food and water. It’s cool outside and it almost seems relaxing to be out riding before the day really starts. At the time I went, traffic was light and people would move over a full lane to pass.
In the afternoon, it’s hot, windy, and the roads are busy. I took the light rail down to the station 6 miles from my house. I gained a lot of the elevation back and cut some distance down, but it was also 90 degrees outside and there was heavy traffic on the roads. There is a bus that drives within a mile of our house, but I decided to stick it out and ride.
I’m glad I did it. I might think about trying to make the ride once a week or so in the future. I would also consider taking some clothes or at least my shoes the day before so I don’t have to carry them. I could probably make better time without the awkward weight.
The best part of biking home at the end of the day in 95 degree heat? Walking into the 80 degree house and having it feel cool. Not only does it save gas, it saves electricity to run the A/C as well.
I did not bike to work today. My car said it felt neglected after being left at the airport for over a week, and one really shouldn’t mess with a car’s feeling.