Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I commuted!

...by bicycle to work today and back home again. I am very happy I finally just did it. I had been wanting to start in January, so I guess January 31 counts.

My car gave me an extra push, too. I didn't drive it on Sunday, and Monday morning it wouldn't start. So I had to call AAA to get it jump started. And so it had to go to the mechanic's today.

Last night I bought a local map of the San Gabriel Valley and plotted out the route I would take to work. I figured out what clothes I would need for riding and work, packed my bag, and went to bed after 1:00 a.m.

Up at 5:30 to get dressed and load the bike onto the car. I left the car at the mechanic's and headed off to work around 6:20 a.m. I rode into the parking lot at work at 7:15, unloaded the bike, showered, and was at my desk by 7:45.

I wasn't sure what route I'd take home with the increased traffic in the afternoon, and I wasn't sure if I would be too tired. But by late afternoon I felt OK, so I asked one of my colleagues who lives in the area for some recommendations. One of the barriers is getting across the 10 freeway. The few streets that cross under it are very busy. So the first half of the route home was different from the morning's ride.

There are a few stretches with moderately busy traffic, but much of the route is wide, residential streets. I was rewarded with a beautiful, pink-orangish sky at sunset.

I definitely need to build up speed. Tonight my knees are a little sore but otherwise I'm tired from not enough sleep. Now that I've made one trip, I have ideas for organizing myself better. I need to work on clothes. My headlight functioned well, and I have a flashing rear light. I need some more reflectors on the side of my bag. I wore a reflective vest and armband but would eventually like to replace my black windbreaker jacket with a lighter color.

I learned today not to drink while riding because it is awkward replacing the water bottle. I dropped my water bottle while trying to put it back in the holder, and a bus ran over it. So I had to stop by a grocery store for bottled water because I was at the beginning of the trip. I started pulling over when I needed a drink, and I also recorded my times at various intersections.

Tomorrow I plan to drive the route so I can check the distance.

I hope to write a more organized summary of the steps and inspiration that got me on my bike today.

Now, to bed.

[Update 2/1/06: I drove yesterday's morning bike route this morning to check the distance; it is 11.5 miles.]

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