Posts tagged ‘30 Days of Biking’

April 11, 2012

30 Days of Biking: Hills and Miles and Darkness, Oh My!

Today’s easy-squeezy 8.4 miles, broken up into nice manageable chunks of 10 minutes or less, nonetheless provided plenty of reminders of yesterday’s butt-burner: over 27 miles total, with a huge chunk of that spent slogging slowly up a hill climb that I thought would never end.

But it was fun, honest!

The set-up: I did my usual quick little ride to work, sprinting because I was going to be late to a meeting and beating my “race time” by at least 30 seconds.

After work I dressed in one of my cute little Nuu-Muus, a pair of actual (gasp!) bike shorts (couldn’t find the adorable lace-trimmed Sheila Moon lingerie knickers, alas, and decided I’d ride with more padding than Pedal Panties provide), and a white Sheila Moon bolero, along with (another gasp, please) bike shoes that let me clip in.

Just the thing for a nice long ride out to Spokane County Raceway Park, where Sweet Hubs and his compatriots were pitted against each other in the first of the season’s Twilight Series Road Race put on by his club, Baddlands.

Google Maps results list for routes from Riverpoint Campus to Spokane County Raceway ParkRoute selection required some comparisons of Google Maps choices. They offered three, with the kind suggestion, “Or take Public Transit” linked below, in case the idea of a ride of 9-10 miles with hill climbs (no matter what) didn’t appeal.

Their first proposed bike route, West Trails road accessed through the West Central neighborhood and Riverside State Park, involved dropping clear down to the Spokane River Gorge and climbing back up out of it. Beautiful, sure, but can’t we stay on top of the grade?

Route 1: West Trails via West Central neighborhood and a lot of extra climbing.

Route 2, while a mile shorter, carries with it a more hostile traffic setting, taking Sunset Boulevard (not bad) to US-2 (not good, although I’ve ridden it before—the highway is the main route to a correctional facility, a casino, and Fairchild Air Force Base, making it busy and full of people who may or may not want to be making that particular trip). The one thing this route does get almost right is the section from downtown west to the decision point where you have to head toward West Trails or stay on Sunset Boulevard.

Route 3, Government Way and West Trails, again has part of it right. But someone needs to ask Google Maps programmers, “Pretty please could you take terrain into account, by which we mean grade?” This route, too, drops you down into the river gorge, this time via Peaceful Valley, then brings you back up out.

Getting closer, but still some unnecessary concessions to gravity.

The key to my route selection, since I’m not training for the Tour de France, sounds a lot like advice in drawing up battle lines: Hold the high ground for as long as possible.

As soon as you start enjoying one of those exhilarating “Wheeee!” moments down a long hill the back of your brain should remind you that riding a bike is like riding a roller coaster: A down is generally followed by an up that will be a lot slower and not nearly as fun.

So the route I chose is the Barb route, based on feeling comfortable enough to skip the Centennial Trail and stick to streets that are straighter, knowing neighborhoods to cut through to skip some of the streets with more traffic, and eliminating as much climbing as possible for as long as possible.

  • Spokane Falls Boulevard around to where it connects to the short stretch of bike lane on Riverside Avenue, then into Browne’s Addition onto Pacific.
  • Through the roundabout at Cannon by The Elk (a bike-friendly restaurant!) and down to Sunset Boulevard.
  • To Government Way and out past the turn to Spokane Falls Community College. Not long after that stoplight, Government Way becomes West Trails and you start to cliiiiiiiiiiimb.
  • West Trails becomes Hayford Road, you take a quick right on Sprague, and you’re practically there. Or if you’re me, you go past “there” and end up visiting the vicinity of the correctional facility before backtracking and wending in through the construction to the raceway exactly an hour after I set off.

Where—ta-da!—I arrived in time to give Sweet Hubs a good-luck kiss before sending him off with the rest of the B-pack for their criterium (several fast laps around a relatively short, flat track). He won with a nice sprint at the end, which is a great payoff for all those winter nights he spent on the trainer in front of a movie.

We then rode home together through the gathering darkness, shivering a bit (wish I’d had those knickers to cover my knees!) until the ride warmed us.

The downhill “Wheee!” was incredibly fast considering how long it took me to climb going the other way. I couldn’t believe it when we’d already reached the traffic light by SFCC and I knew we had just a few more miles and a bit more climbing, thankfully separated by some straight stretches and downhill rests, and we’d be home.

We heard frogs singing their hearts out, felt the difference in temperature as we entered the urban core and felt the day’s warmth radiating out, and made it home safe and sound with 27-1/2 miles on my cyclometer and 1,392 calories burned according to my heart monitor dealio.

And today, I felt every single mile in my legs when I climbed, whether it was climbing a hill on my bike or a set of stairs at work to help rack up the mileage on my pedometer. It will be a couple of days before I try anything like that long a ride again, but it felt great to be able to do it.

I want to build back up to the mileage I used to accumulate that made it easy to plan a 30-40-mile ride with Sweet Hubs and I have to start somewhere.

Just, maybe . . . somewhere flatter?

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • Climbed any really long hills/mountains? (Lately or ever?)
  • What’s the hardest part of it for you and how do you deal with that?
April 8, 2012

30 Days of Biking: Why Week 1 Doesn’t Have 7 Days of Riding in It, and why that’s OK

The ride reports for 30 Days of Biking hold me accountable, but they can’t change what life throws at you, so I’m not going to ride 30 days in April. And you know what? I’m okay with that.

When I set a goal—for the first time ever—of riding a certain number of miles and a certain number of days this year, probably the wisest reaction I got was from Kent Peterson, who writes Kent’s Bike Blog. After providing a link to a mileage tracker that gives you medals, he said, “…in the past few years I’ve gone the complete opposite in terms of mileage and instrumentation. I haven’t had a mileage computer on my bike for a couple of years. I often take pictures and write down stories, however.”

Yes he does, and I enjoy reading those stories. He has chosen mindfulness (one of my three watchwords for 2012 riding) over record-keeping.

I have reflected on that wisdom several times as I’ve had various reasons for not riding. Being really sick was an obvious one, and it took a while to come back from that. While I’m pretty hardcore as far as the weather I’m willing to ride in, preferring fresh air and people-powered movement over other options, the winter that waited until early spring to show up has presented a few days when riding really would have represented misery, not joy. That’s not why I ride.

And then there was this week. After getting off to a start with two very different days I had a “normal” day—riding to work and back.

That was followed by a trainer day on which I chose to throw my bike on the trainer in the evening and pedal far longer than I would have on the road. I’d had to drive to Pullman and back that day in pretty blizzardy conditions—a freakish snowstorm pounded the Palouse so I had three hours of nerve-straining car mileage. All I would have managed on the street would have been another token loop around the block. Since I do ride for health benefits as well as joy and transportation, I decided to burn more calories and work on building endurance for longer rides with Sweet Hubs.

Friday and Saturday I didn’t ride.

I didn’t ride because one of my favorite uncles passed away very unexpectedly and I went to the funeral.

For a brief moment I flirted with the idea of breaking my bike down and packing it into the back of my sister’s car so I could do token rides around the block in Lewiston, Idaho, where we were born and where the service was held.

Really? I really would have put keeping on track with a self-imposed series of checkmarks on a list over and ahead of these things?

  • paying attention to my family
  • celebrating my uncle’s incredible life
  • laughing at funny stories compiled by my aunt about his shenanigans–he was always one for a good laugh and a practical joke
  • mourning his passing, which came just six days after they discovered he had the same kind of silent, insidious cancer that killed Steve Jobs
  • sitting and talking with my siblings and drinking wine
  • catching up with my cousins, including my cousin who looks so much like his now-gone dad that I cried every time I hugged him
  • visiting my parents and holding my mother’s hand while she told me long stories full of gibberish because she has vascular dementia but at least she still laughs and smiles
  • staying up late into the night talking with my younger sister in our shared hotel room and sharing a piece of chocolate cream pie for breakfast (hey, we were hungry and it has dairy, right?)

In another post I mentioned getting a lift home in my husband’s truck and why I don’t think of that as something for which I need to apologize, which I imagine comes as a surprise to people who think I’m “too hardcore” for that.

I’m not. And being with my family and realizing all over again how fragile and short life is, how important it is to make every moment count, for me reflects the reason I ride my bike—the reason I pay attention—at a far deeper level than a calendar ever could.

April 2, 2012

30 Days of Biking: Starting off with Very Different Days

30 Days of Biking has only one rule: Ride your bike every day.Signing up for 30 Days of Biking “forces” riding on you. That isn’t an issue when you love to ride–or it shouldn’t be. But sometimes the day sort of sneaks away from you….

As did Day #1! I spent the day working away at my computer, watching a typical early spring day for Spokane: Snow, rain, wind, sun, rain, snow, wind. May have been sleet, too.

I kept waiting for the break that would entice me out the door but the sunshine always peeked through the clouds right when I had “just one more thing to do and then I’ll ride.” Then the ominous greyness would close in again.

Over the course of the day I tweeted a couple of times about #30daysofbiking. I posted on Facebook. I highlighted the post I wrote on Saturday, which I considered “30 Days of Biking Eve.”

But it wasn’t until 10:30 at night that I said, “I’m doing this!”, pushed back from the dining room table where I had been jacked into my laptop all day, and headed out the door.

Like one of the rides I took last September, this was a “nothing” ride taken only to keep up with the schedule. All of .45 miles long and roughly 3 minutes, the route took me out to the street near our house that has a bike lane, then around a little quiet neighborhood loop and back to the house.

For a nothing ride, though, it had peace and quiet, stars and wind, and the always-joyous feeling of moving myself under my own power. I was reminded all over again that every day with a bike ride is a good day.

Now today was just the opposite: a long, planned ride. I took the day off work for the start of spring break even though the kids weren’t around (grown-ups deserve spring break too!).

Sweet Hubs and I checked the forecast, which predicted the warmest weather (51 degrees F) around 2 p.m. and only a slight chance of rain. We watched the skies and broke out the gear at around noon.

We had discussed a couple of options and settled on an old standby: Ride down to the Riverpoint Campus where I work and from there take the Centennial Trail along Upriver Drive to the Rocket Bakery on Argonne, around 9 miles one way.

Spokane experienced record-setting rain in March and the Spokane River rushed past us, swollen with rain and snowmelt, for most of the route. Parts of the trail where it runs closer to the river were actually underwater but the on-street bike lane on the shoulder was fine.

After a coffee and bagel at the Rocket we walked up to Argonne Cyclery to check out the stock, then took a different route home we’d planned with the help of my smartphone while we sipped.

One of the things I love about riding my bike is the freedom it gives me to take different routes. Something about being in a car puts us all on autopilot (tell me you haven’t found yourself taking the wrong freeway exit because it’s one you always take but this time you were supposed to be going somewhere else). I can’t be on autopilot on my bike because mindfulness matters, and that applies to route selection as well as riding tactics.

This was an awesome route and one we’ll take again. I’d highly recommend it as a way to get from Millwood back to the South Hill on some different streets.

From Argonne we took Empire/Euclid (conveniently located a block south of the Rocket Bakery) west; it’s a quiet residential street alongside the railroad tracks. Heading south on Park we were delighted to find a bike lane that took us almost all the way to Sprague, with just one pinch point under an overpass just north of Sprague.

We headed west again on Eighth, which at some point becomes Hartson. We passed a historical marker indicating we were on the original Captain John Mullan Trail and a creative scarecrow on a bike perched in a field, among other sights.

At Freya you have to take a righthand turn onto the one-way–a bit of traffic at this spot. We headed westbound again on Fifth to Liberty Park, and along the way we passed some little neighborhood businesses and the East Central Community Center

Here we had a choice. We could turn north and get through the weird stretch of Second Avenue at the Hamilton exit to take Arthur southbound. It’s doable but I wouldn’t send a newbie through there–lots of traffic, including encounters with people who have just exited the freeway and haven’t ditched all the speed yet despite the signage (including the fatality statistics sign).

Instead, we climbed a steep set of switchbacks on the paved Ben Burr Trail up out of Liberty Park (look for it at the east end of the park). This brought us out onto a steep gravel street–our old friend Hartson–and from there we hit Perry and rode south to home.

Tomorrow will have me back in the usual commuter routine–no problem getting a day of riding in there. We’ll see how the full 30 days go, but at least I’m off to a rolling start! (Including my second road test of my new Sheila Moon Lingerie Knickers with the lace trim–watch for a review post soon.)

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • How did Day 1 go?
  • Day 2?
  • You can start the 30 days April 3 and go through May 3, if you like–planning to jump in now?
March 31, 2012

Another 30 Days of Biking–Can We Do It? Heck Yeah!

Rosie the Riveter. You Can Do It!Last September I recorded my daily path through 30 Days of Biking, making it through the month riding (and blogging) every single day.

April is another 30-Day-er and I’m in again. Are you with me?

April can be the cruelest month, involving as it does a week’s worth of travel to Washington, DC, for me that will make bike time a little more challenging (that and other issues shot down my attempt in April 2011). Good thing DC has a bike share program! (Although it would be even cooler if I could find someone to borrow a bike from.)

I’m not promising 30 blog posts this time; that was tougher than the riding! I’ll do the weekly “accountability” posts because keeping track does make a difference.

Want to sign up? Register at 30 Days of Biking, check them out on Facebook, and if you’re on Twitter be sure to use #30daysofbiking to talk about your rides.

30 Days of Biking has only one rule: Ride your bike every day.And here’s an offer for you: If having a bike buddy to encourage you will help you complete the challenge and email encouragement will fill the bill, send me an email at bikestylespokane-at-gmail-dot-com (fooled you, spammers!).

I’ll send you all a daily email, and if fame is a further incentive and you have stories to share about your adventures I’ll feature them in blog posts here (with whatever identification you want me to use).

Related Reading

Your Turn

  • Are you up for it?
  • What will represent the biggest barrier or issue for you (that you can foresee at this point)?
  • How do you plan to get past that?
October 1, 2011

30 Days of Biking, September 2011: The Biking Blogging Series

In April 2011 I didn’t manage to complete the 30 Days of Biking challenge for various reasons. So I was delighted to see the challenge come around again in September, which generally offers beautiful riding conditions in my hometown of Spokane.

To make the 30 days more interesting, I took on the additional personal challenge of writing a blog post every day in September. My usual pace is more like a post every 2-3 days so this represented a huge increase in output. (Or, looking at it another way, I blew content that could have carried me through a good three months in one month.)

I included posts in my usual categories such as Blogspeditions and On a Roll With, wrote quite a few how-to posts to help people who might be thinking about bike commuting get ready, and kept up my routine of telling you about my biking in skirts and high heels–completely normal and unremarkable in many countries around the world, but recognizable enough on the streets of Spokane that total strangers call out, “Hi, Barb!” when I pedal past.

Here’s the final tally of posts in my 30 Days of Biking Blogging Inspiration & How-to Series for Sept. 2011 30 Days of Biking:

  1. 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It! (6.9 miles)
  2. Why We Ride/Resolve to Ride–A Blogspedition (6.59)
  3. Preparing to Commute by Bike: Get the Worry out of the Way (4.87)
  4. Buying a Bike for Commuting: Some Questions and a Blogspedition (1.74)
  5. How to Bike Commute: Getting the Gear Together (5.56)
  6. Bike Commuting 101: Carrying Stuff (5.22)
  7. On a Roll with Wilma Flanagan (5.24)
  8. 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report (10.57)
  9. Ride with your Community: SpokeFest Rocks! (7.41)
  10. There and Back Again: How to Pick your Bike Commute Route (8.28)
  11. Intro to Bike Commuting: Route Selection Part 2 (7.74)
  12. More Bike Commuting Route Selection Tips: Part 3 (7.67)
  13. Thinking Like a Driver vs. Thinking Like a Bicyclist (8.22)
  14. Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity (8.00)
  15. 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report (12.85)
  16. On a Roll with Katherine Widing (3.61)
  17. I Shouldn’t Assume (3.85)
  18. Falling Down on Your Bike. It Happens. To Grown-Ups. (0.55)
  19. Pretty Handy, Gloves. The Blogspedition Assumes You’ll Get ‘Em. (9.51)
  20. What to Wear for Your Bike Commute? Clothes. (5.69)
  21. How to Get a Dropped Bike Chain Back On, Grease-Free (6.17)
  22. 30 Days of Biking: Week Three! (9.6)
  23. Things I Now Do on My Bike Without Having to Think About It (13.8)
  24. It’s All in the Attitude (3.84)
  25. Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Risk and Trust (11.98)
  26. More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Friendliness and Openness (5.71)
  27. Even More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Tolerance, Humor, and Persistence (6.93)
  28. Bicycling Rites of Passage, Spokane Style (6.15)
  29. Dear Reader, I Chicked Him (9.06)
  30. 30 Days of Biking: Final Report (1.87)

Results: Biked every day and racked up 205.18 miles for the month.

And now, on to October!

September 30, 2011

30 Days of Biking: Final Report

After great riding in Week One, Week Two, and Week Three, here’s how it went in the final week-plus of 30 Days of Biking, along with a mileage tally for the full 30 days.

Barb Chamberlain in green jersey dress with Po Campo bags, 9-22-11

Jersey is a great fabric for dresses to bike in. It's soft, forgiving, and washable.

Thursday, Sept. 22: A beautiful sunny fall day. Crisp enough that I wore a cardigan over my dress for the morning ride, balmy enough that I didn’t need that same cardigan riding home at 10:30pm.

10:30pm?! Yep. I packed this day full: physical therapy, work, a downtown meeting, back to work, a stop by Rite-Aid in downtown to pick up a necessity or two for Second Daughter, then to Spokane Civic Theatre for the “family and friends” dress rehearsal of Thoroughly Modern Millie, in which she has a role in the chorus. I rode home through the gentle darkness humming songs from the play and thinking about the brief night-time ride I had recently with my sweetheart; I was glad to get to enjoy another peaceful night ride. Miles: 9.6

Friday, Sept. 23: A Nuu-Muu day–I took some time off to run more errands for Eldest Daughter’s upcoming nuptials and racked up the mileage.

Stops along the way: Early-morning meeting at LaunchPad, the Spokesman-Review building to finalize the layout for the wedding, Saranac Building for a meeting on transportation policy with T4Washington, Chairs Coffee just north of downtown for lunch with Sweet Hubs and some awesome Roast House Coffee, rental store to arrange for wedding linens, Spokane Public Market for some goodies, Sun People Dry Goods, up the hill to Spokane Yoga Shala for some quality stretching and some even higher-quality time in corpse pose when my sore shoulders gave out, farther up the hill for the wedding banquet permit from the liquor store (whoops! How did that Irish cream end up in my Donkey Boxx?!), and home at last. Miles: 13.8 and sunshine all the way

Saturday, Sept. 24: A beautiful day to wear a Ruu-Muu and ride up the hill with Sweet Hubs to pick up some things at Rosauers. Coasting back downhill is so fun! Miles: 3.84

Sunday, Sept. 25: The skies looked a bit overcast but that didn’t dampen our spirits–Sweet Hubs and I rode to Chaps for one of their outstanding breakfasts, with rain gear packed in case we needed it.

It’s a nice six-mile ride there: we wound through tree-lined Rockwood Boulevard, sailed downhill on Washington, enjoyed the nice new asphalt on 2nd Avenue, then dropped down Inland Empire Way through Vinegar Flats. Very few cars in sight anywhere along the route at 8:30 on a Sunday morning–we had 2nd pretty much all to ourselves.

Coming back, of course, some of that “sailing down”and “dropping through” represents “climbing up,” but we were fueled by potatoes and eggs. We used 4th Avenue for much of the return route through downtown–quieter than 3rd and has a bike lane for a bit. Home to some French press Roast House Coffee roasted by our friends Deb and Dave and a quiet Sunday of chores and messing about with projects.

Outfit: A Ruu-Muu, Pedal Panties, and one of my hats by Old Man’s Pants picked up from Sun People Dry Goods to cover my messy hair. Miles: 11.98 (exactly 6 miles there but a hair under coming back).

Monday, Sept. 26: Forecast: mid 60s, 30-40% chance of showers. Not much riding in the day, really: physical therapy appointment, work, a meeting at the Spokane Regional Transportation Council in the afternoon, then home. Managed to dodge the raindrops completely; a light sprinkle fell while I was inside at the SRTC meeting.

Franco Sarto black shoes

I wear these Franco Sartos more than just about any shoe in my closet. They work with jeans, skirts and tights, or trousers, and have a nice grippy sole for pedal contact.

Outfit: Black knee-length skirt, black tights, black and white striped tank, bright apricot jacket, black shoes by Franco Sarto that have been my go-to shoes for several years now. I keep resoling them because their sensible heel and relatively timeless design match up equally well with pants or with skirts and tights, I can walk for miles in them if need be, and they’re great for the bike. Miles: 5.71

Tuesday, Sept. 27: It rained in the night and the forecast was for additional chance of showers. That’s why I have rain pants and covers for my shoes, although I didn’t end up using either today.

Quite seriously, I would rather ride than drive even when it rains. By the time I was ready to leave for the downtown meeting that started my morning it was only sprinkling lightly and the air smelled damp and fresh.

I wore black tights and those great shoes from yesterday, a gray herringbone knee-length skirt, black tank, and long dark green jacket. It’s a worsted wool so it’s awesome for biking–handles the rain fine and would keep me warm even if I got really wet underneath, which I didn’t. I also wore a skullcap under my helmet, which protected my hair from the damp.

The gray skies darkened during my meeting and my midday dash to campus was a little wetter but I was dry within a few minutes of getting inside. By the time I headed back downtown around 1:45pm the streets were dry, and I rode home at the end of the day in brilliant sunshine. That’s Spokane fall weather for you! Miles: 6.93

I feel veddy veddy British in my velvet topper! (My maternal grandmother came from England to the colonies on a ship at the tender age of four years old.) The cover is vented in the back so your head doesn't have to cook, but provides a nice wind block on these cooler days.

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Crisp morning ride, beautiful sunshiney day! The white jeans I wore were a bad call, as my dark saddle (which is pretty well broken in) is apparently not quite done giving up its color to whatever makes contact with it…. Good thing I could spend a fair amount of the day in my chair!

And a mental note to self that if I want to ride in these pants I have to cover the saddle. They’re a bit too wide-legged, actually, but darn cute with a black and white spotted top, little black cardigan, and those black go-to shoes I keep wearing.

I reined in the right pant leg with a cute snap-on dealio made by a friend (like a fabric cuff–prettier than the velcro things and still with reflective trim). When I started riding, though, I realized the flare was a bit flappy even on the left leg, so I stuffed that into my sock.

I wore a black velvet scarf to keep my throat warm buzzing downhill in the morning, and topped off the whole thing with my brand-new helmet cover made by Hub and Bespoke in Seattle, now available through Bike Style! Love it–the Yakkay look without the Yakkay price and it will fit either a standard “racing” helmet (pointy with vents) or the round style. Miles: 6.15

Thursday, Sept. 29: Another gorgeous day! Nippy enough in the morning that on the way to a 7 a.m. meeting I wished I had knee covers under my flippy red skirt, but tank top weather midday and not at all cold riding home around 7 p.m. Full-fingered gloves for the morning ride, cute Ana Nichoolas with the bows the rest of the day back and forth through downtown. At noon I got to ride along the Spokane River on the way back to campus. We’re so lucky to have a river running through the heart of downtown!

(In a Stage Mom aside, this day also brought the news that Second Daughter will play the lead role, Elle, in the Lewis & Clark High School production of “Legally Blonde.” Since the rights just got released, this may well be one of the first high school productions of the show in the country–or the world?)

Outfit: Aforesaid flippy red skirt, white tank, denim jacket, beloved Bandolinos. Miles: 9.06

Friday, Sept. 30! Thanks to the upcoming wedding of Eldest Daughter (this Sunday!) today included lots of driving for errands. I managed to squeeze in a short ride–all uphill at the beginning, all downhill at the end–to go visit Betsy at Spokane Yoga Shala. (I didn’t actually stay and do yoga–more family errands.)

Because it was such a short ride I stayed in the jeans and tank top I wore for the day, although jeans aren’t something I would recommend for riding because of their typically heavy seams and chafing tendencies.

What an utterly glorious day! Pleasant temperature, sunny skies. I felt as if I could have ridden forever. Miles: 1.87

Mileage for 30 Days of Biking:

Week One: 36.12

Week Two: 57.89

Week Three: 42.23

Week Four-Plus: 68.94

30-day total: 205.18 (Yes–over 200! I initially published this with mileage of 199.49, but then discovered I had missed recording mileage on one of the days. Whew. Not that I’m obsessive about round numbers or anything, but 199.49 is soooo close to 200.)

Things I notice about my 30 Days of Riding:

  • Weather doesn’t intimidate me. On a day like Sunday, when the weather wasn’t 100% beautiful, it didn’t occur to me to say, “Oh, let’s drive instead, Honey.” I’ve noticed Spokane’s weather pattern often tries to intimidate you in the morning. It either clears off or drops its rain in the middle of the day, leaving me with a fresh-smelling ride home.
  • I have certain go-to outfits. I should mix it up more. I wouldn’t notice this pattern if it weren’t for recording what I wore every day to give you a sense of the regular clothes I wear to ride.
  • I definitely have go-to shoes. While I can ride in any of the shoes I own, some provide much better design for feeling as if they’re solidly on my foot and have a better sole for gripping on the pedal. Paying attention to those design features helps me in future shoe shopping.
  • I bike so much that it feels funny to drive. When I headed out the door this morning and got in the car (carrying my Po Campo Loop Pannier because I needed to haul my laptop and it’s not just a bike bag, it’s a pretty purse), something felt off. As I started to pull out of the driveway I realized one contributing factor: my hands felt naked without biking gloves. It was such a beautiful day and I was trapped in that hot box of steel instead of out there feeling it on my skin and living in the world. I feel sorry for people who have to drive every day.

Thank you, 30 Days of Biking organizers, for giving me the chance to reflect every day on what it takes–and what it means–to ride my bike.

Watch for tomorrow’s post: A round-up of all 30 posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging.

Your Turn

  • Did you participate in 30 Days of Biking?
  • If not, how much riding did you get in this month?
September 22, 2011

30 Days of Biking: Week Three!

How apropos that on World Carfree Day I’m still rolling with 30 Days of Biking, coasting through Week Three after a great Week One and Week Two:

Thursday, Sept. 15: The day dawned with a gray sky and the delicious fresh smell of rain in the air. It looked a bit as if that rain had already fallen in the night but I couldn’t be sure, so I threw some rain pants and jacket into my Donkey Boxx and got rolling in a gray knee-length skirt, aquamarine silk/nylon blend sweater set with elbow-length sleeves, and gray Aerosole sling-back pumps (really comfy for riding!), accessorized by an awesome multi-strand silver/pearl necklace I got at Tangerine on Bikespedition #1.

Nope, that rain didn’t fall in the night. It held off until I got to the stoplight at Sprague and Division, then opened up with nice big splatting drops. I dashed the long block to work and got inside with my bike–somewhat damp but I dry fast (and so do the fabrics I choose to wear, which is not a coincidence).

After that the weather got better and better all day, with sunshine and breezes by lunchtime. I never encountered any more rain through plenty of errands after the morning meeting: haircut downtown, back to campus to present on social media to a student brown-bag, appointment at one of the Deaconess buildings on 6th, back to campus for a Revita Rehab treatment session for my computer-induced backaches, some time in the office, Main Market Co-op for dinner from the deli since I missed lunch, then to another meeting just north of downtown on Lincoln, and home at last through gathering dusk with lights going. Miles: 12.85

Friday, Sept. 16: Not much riding and all of it easy. I zipped into downtown to stop by Eldest Daughter’s wedding venue and then the bank (possibly related activities), then headed to work.

Today’s forecast was only in the mid-70s, down 20 degrees from last weekend. I’m starting to shift to the fall wardrobe a bit. It still involves lots of skirts, but paired with tights for a little more leg warmth.

Outfit: Knee-length corduroy flared skirt, brown tights with a bit of a fishnet pattern, brown pumps I got at The Walking Store that provide really nice foot coverage and grip on the pedal, a black long-sleeved T-shirt, and a brown jacket. Plenty for the cool morning temps and not too much for the sunny midday warmth.

Our family routine includes a trip to pick up my husband’s kids on odd-numbered weekends. This means I ride to work, then he picks me up at the end of the day, takes the front wheel off the bike, and puts it in the back of our Honda Odyssey for a l-o-n-g drive. Hence the short mileage today. Miles: 3.61

The weight adds up fast! A gallon of milk, roughly 6 lbs. of cheese of various types, 2 bags of macaroni, a quart of half & half, bananas, English muffins, a box of crackers, & 2 cans of coconut milk (I make a killer good coconut/vanilla/almond ice cream) added up to an interesting packing/balancing/not-crushing grocery distribution act.

Saturday, Sept. 17: We took the kids up to Green Bluff to pick apples and peaches–not a bike trip for that one! So when we got back I hopped on the bike to head up to Rosauers for some ingredients to make dinner for our future newlyweds, who were coming over expecting some killer mac/cheese thanks to a friend bandying about a recipe on Facebook.

I had my Donkey Boxx on one side and put one of my old Black Uglies on the other side for balance and additional capacity. I wish I’d put my Po Campo Logan Tote on top too, as it turned out–it would have provided needed space and a better load balance. A second Donkey Boxx would have been better than the Black Ugly too, but I want to leave one side free for my Po Campo Loop Pannier so I won’t commit to the Boxx.

The load I ended up with was both heavy and bulky. I asked the box boy to balance the weight between the two bags but hadn’t factored in the need to have things of the right shape, as well as the right weight, in the right place to fit right, so I ended up standing at the bike rack unpacking and repacking for a while. The back of the bike felt pretty squirrelly as I got rolling so I didn’t go bombing down Southeast Boulevard the way I usually do–I actually used my brakes. Miles: 3.85

Sunday, Sept. 18: As I said last week, I have to plan to get weekend miles in if I’m not going anywhere in particular. Today’s plans fell through.

I was going to meet up with Eldest Daughter to shop for some wedding-related chatchkes but we postponed that until next weekend. Too bad, as it would have been a nice 14 miles or so round trip.

Instead the day flew by. I made doughnuts for a breakfast treat, worked on some editing projects (my moonlighting gig), then got involved in making rhubarb-plum jam from goodies I got at South Perry Farmers’ Market and our Saturday trip to Green Bluff.

Suddenly it was time to drive to Pasco and I hadn’t ridden my bike. Blue skies, sunshine–and over 5 hours of car time ahead of me.

So when we got back in pitch darkness I said to Sweet Hubs, “I know this sounds silly but I’m going to go ride my bike around the block. Want to go with me?”

“Sure!” he said. And away we went. Sweet-smelling cool darkness (it rained Saturday night), quiet streets with almost no traffic, easy pedaling, a nice neighbor who stopped and waited to let us pass through an intersection together. Downtime, in the best sense of the word; I only wish we’d ridden longer. I highly recommend an occasional nighttime ride, preferably with a sweetheart if you have one. Miles: 0.55

Oh–and this is the day that thanks to my Women’s Bike Blogs list I discovered a woman who did 330 days of biking. I can do this 30-day thing.

Monday, Sept. 19: The forecast of mid-70s and cloudy put me in a fall wardrobe frame of mind: black knee-length skirt that has a bit of a flare to it so getting on and off the bike presents no straight-skirt challenges, chartreuse top, big black belt, gray hose, black low-heeled pumps, little black cardigan. I also thought about the possibility of rain and knew I had a full set of rain pants/jacket in the drawer at work in case I needed them–the ones I hauled to work last Thursday.

Then it turned beautiful and sunny so I could have worn open-toed shoes quite happily, as it turns out. Oh well-that’s fall!

Rode to my morning physical therapy at Revita Rehab, work, a meeting in downtown, back to campus, then up the hill to finish the day with yoga and home down the hill. Miles: 9.51

Barb Chamberlain in apricot silk dress and jacket with matching leather pumps, wearing a bike helmet.

Typical business attire, typical biking attire. Same thing. I just wish you could see my earrings--they're little tiny bicycles made of recycled wire by village women in Africa. I'm wearing my cute Ana Nichoola biking gloves with the little blue bows.

Tuesday, Sept. 20: Nippy in the morning, beautiful during the day, cool on the way home.

Outfit: Apricot silk dress/jacket and serendipitously coordinating kitten-heel pumps, a souvenir of Washington, DC. (For some reason, every year when I go to our nation’s capitol on a business trip I come home with new shoes.) Since I don’t bike fast enough to sweat, this worked just fine for my day, which included a legislative committee hearing on campus and an after-hours political event. Miles: 5.69

Wednesday, Sept. 21: Simple day to physical therapy, a quick stop at the STCU ATM conveniently located on campus, work and back.

Well, simple now that I learned that trick for getting a dropped bike chain back on . . . yep, happened again! This time it caught the pedal so I got off, went to the sidewalk, and used the shifting/pedaling trick while I walked alongside. Worked the same way–no grease.

At the end of the day I made one decision I find myself making more often if I’m leaving work around 5pm (which I had to do tonight to get home and take Second Daughter to buy make-up for opening night of Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Spokane Civic Theatre this Friday, in which part of her role includes playing the “New Modern” at the end).

Where was I? Oh, yes. [[Stage Mom hat removed.]]

Map of a route from the Riverpoint Campus in Spokane to the South Hill

The direct route--fine much of the time, but a bit busy on Browne around 5pm. About 2.4 miles.

That decision: At the intersection of Spokane Falls Boulevard westbound and Browne, I can go left/south on Browne, then left again in three blocks on Sprague and be headed home. Or I can continue westbound to Howard, which has bike lanes; take that south; and take 4th/5th Avenue east. Either way I end up at Sherman using the bike lane to climb the hill.

The second choice adds a tiny bit of mileage and isn’t completely traffic-free. But I’m in heavy freeway-focused traffic on Browne and even though it’s only three blocks, it can be an intense three blocks at 5pm. If I were heading home at 4 or 6, no problem–take Browne. As I mentioned in an earlier post on choosing your bike commuting route, time of day can affect traffic behavior quite a bit.

Outfit: Dark red skirt, those Bandolino burgundy stilettos I like because the T-strap really keeps them on my foot, white tank and cardigan. Miles: 6.17

Map of a different route from the Riverpoint Campus to the South Hill.

Another way to get there--less direct but can be quite a bit quieter at rush hour. 3.1 miles, so not really that much added distance and who minds that anyway on a pretty day?

Total mileage for the week: 42.23. On to Week Four!

Things I notice about the week:

  • I’m not the Wicked Witch of the West. Proof? I don’t melt when I get wet.
  • I’m far more attuned to the weather than I was when I got to work safely insulated by lots of steel and glass. I like this increased awareness of my natural surroundings.
  • I can haul quite a bit on the bike, although I don’t always push it quite this far. I get groceries in small batches, typically (except for those Green Bluff runs for food-preserving quantities). With the way I shop my fruits/veggies are farmers’ market fresh and the eggs are straight from the hen. Big batches from the big box that require big vehicles represent big food miles and big-time delay between when they’re picked and when my family eats them.
  • Biking is genuinely faster and easier than driving for short trips with lots of stops. That therapy/ATM/work sequence on Wednesday? The buildings I went to are all pretty close together on the Riverpoint Campus, but most people wouldn’t park in one location and then walk to all of them. If you did, you’d be hoofing it quite a bit. Instead, most people would move their vehicle a few hundred yards, then do that again. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? (No need to ‘fess up about the number of times you’ve done that very thing. As I’ve said before, I bike because I’m lazy.)

—————

Posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging Inspiration & How-to Series for Sept. 2011 30 Days of Biking

  1. 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!
  2. Why We Ride/Resolve to Ride–A Blogspedition
  3. Preparing to Commute by Bike: Get the Worry out of the Way
  4. Buying a Bike for Commuting: Some Questions and a Blogspedition
  5. How to Bike Commute: Getting the Gear Together
  6. Bike Commuting 101: Carrying Stuff
  7. On a Roll with Wilma Flanagan
  8. 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report
  9. Ride with your Community: SpokeFest Rocks!
  10. There and Back Again: How to Pick your Bike Commute Route
  11. Intro to Bike Commuting: Route Selection Part 2
  12. More Bike Commuting Route Selection Tips: Part 3
  13. Thinking Like a Driver vs. Thinking Like a Bicyclist
  14. Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity
  15. 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report
  16. On a Roll with Katherine Widing
  17. I Shouldn’t Assume
  18. Falling Down on Your Bike. It Happens. To Grown-Ups.
  19. Pretty Handy, Gloves. The Blogspedition Assumes You’ll Get ‘Em.
  20. What to Wear for Your Bike Commute? Clothes.
  21. How to Get a Dropped Bike Chain Back On, Grease-Free
  22. 30 Days of Biking: Week Three!
  23. It’s All in the Attitude
  24. Things I Now Do on My Bike Without Having to Think About It
  25. Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Risk and Trust
  26. More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Friendliness and Openness
  27. Even More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Tolerance, Humor, and Persistence
  28. Bicycling Rites of Passage, Spokane Style
  29. Dear Reader, I Chicked Him
  30. 30 Days of Biking: Final Report!

Your Turn

  • How has your riding been going, even if you’re not trying to keep up with 30 Days of Biking?

September 15, 2011

30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report

Have you ridden every day in September so far, or worked on getting ready to ride?

In my quest to do a better job of 30 Days of Biking in September than I did in April (which got too complicated with travel for me to make it) I’ve assigned myself a weekly accountability post (Week One here). You’re keeping me on track, just like my advice to people considering bike commuting to enlist a friend.

Thursday, Sept. 8: What a great day! Rode first to an early-morning workshop on social media use in health care held at Deaconess Health & Education Center. From there I stopped at LaunchPad in downtown, then at Main Market Co-op for (you guessed it) an iced Roast House Coffee toddy, then got to campus.

Midday: Back on the road for a meeting of the Spokane Regional Transportation Council board, of which I’m currently a voting member. They let me take my bike right into the office to park when I attend meetings, which is awesome. Back to campus for more meetings and work, then home.

But wait–there’s more! After I got home and unloaded I changed my clothes and headed to the South Perry Farmers’ Market for peaches, two kinds of tomatoes, chard, spinach, lettuce, and rhubarb. Russ Nobbs of Rings & Things saw my rhubarb, asked if I wanted more, and I got to follow him home and score a big bunch. So big, in fact, that we couldn’t fit it into any of my numerous bags (we’re talking honking huge stalks three feet long, with a bit of the leaf left on so they’ll keep in water), so Russ bungeed them onto his bike rack and rode home with me–recumbent-delivered rhubarb. Miles: 10.57

Friday, Sept. 9: Another great day. Outfit: Gray skirt, black & white striped tank with black bead trim, a tangerine jacket, and my white high-heeled sandals.

I was on deck as a panelist at the monthly meeting for Greater Spokane Incorporated so I headed to the Doubletree by the Convention Center and parked at the rack in the parking garage. After the meeting I took the Centennial Trail along the river–simply gorgeous!–to another round of shoulder/back therapy, then back to my building for the day.

At the end of the day I changed clothes (a rare occurrence) so I could ride hard to get to a yoga class up the hill at Spokane Yoga Shala. After class I coasted home down the hill–earned acceleration all the way, baby. Miles: 7.41

Saturday, Sept. 10: Spokane has long, late, lovely fall weather and the trend continues. Rode to Chairs Coffee (which pours the delish Roast House Coffee I love) to meet up with my monthly girl gang for treats and talk (we meet on Second Saturdays because I started the group and am a sucker for alliteration), then to REI to staff the Belles and Baskets info table with Betsy (both of us rockin’ the Nuu-Muu/Ruu-Muu scene, of course). On to the Main Avenue Street Fair, home to my sweetie who spent part of the day on a 60-mile ride with the guys from his riding/racing club Spokane Rocket Velo, then to South Perry Pizza for dinner and four huge glasses of Arnold Palmer to offset the temps in the 90s. Miles: A very warm 8.28

Sunday, Sept. 11: SpokeFest! So of course I spent part of the day driving to take the Bike Style goods down to our vendor booth. (Well, actually, I served as passenger so Second Daughter could get in more time for her learner’s permit requirements. She’s a good driver.)

At the end of the day, though, Sweet Hubs and I hopped on our bikes in search of a little nosh. Frozen yogurt seemed like just the thing to end a really hot day (95 or so) so we headed uphill to Blu Berry Frozen Yogurt.

I managed to drop my chain on the outside of the big ring and jam it around the pedal in trying to do the trick where you shift and pedal it back onto the ring so we made one brief stop to fix it, but no biggie. We saw SpokeFest founder Bill Bender and his wife Berdine at the yogurt shop and had the chance to say thank you for another great event. Miles: 7.74

Monday, Sept. 12: I’m betting that for some people the workday miles are the tricky ones to get in. For me these are the easy choice for getting to work; I sometimes have to plan to get some weekend miles.

Outfit: White skirt, white tank, turquoise cotton blazer, white platform sandals. Work, downtown for coffee with Betsy and a couple of quick errands (easy on the bike: stop at the bank, pick up contacts from Cozza Optical), then back to the office and home at the end of the day. Miles: 7.67

Spokane County Commute Trip Reduction named me Commuter of the Month, Aug. 2011. Poster they produced, accompanied by my Po Campo six-cornered wristlet & Ana Nichoola gloves.

Tuesday, Sept. 13: Does it get monotonous if I keep telling you what beautiful fall days I’m riding through? The riding isn’t monotonous–it’s perfect.

Stops along the way today: More therapy for my back/shoulder aches and pains (New York Times pegged the cause exactly), a meeting at the office, the Spokane County Commute Trip Reduction monthly lunch where I was recognized as August Commuter of the Month (woot!) back to work, then home.

Outfit: Tan capris, apricot sleeveless blouse with ruffled front, tan blazer, scarf from Finders Keepers II in cream/apricot/brown, and apricot kitten-heel pumps. Miles: 8.22

Wednesday, Sept. 14: Yep, gorgeous day. Temperatures are dropping from last week’s mid-90s to much more temperate 70s-80s with a light breeze.

A light breeze blew me around a bit, but it felt wonderful.

Destinations: Therapy for that back/shoulder thing. Annual meeting of Greater Spokane Incorporated (so I needed to dress up a bit), with a great keynote address by Mark David Milliron of the Gates Foundation on the future of education. Walking tour of campus with some visitors from McKinstry. Wedding venue planning meeting (looking for a different venue for an event? Try the Spokesman-Review Tower Pavilion/Patio). Atticus for iced coffee from Roast House. Next door to Steelhead Bar & Grille to get in some more chat time with the future newlyweds before riding home.

Outfit: Dressy dress in white/turquoise/black and silk turquoise jacket, both from a splurge at Nordstrom’s. Black leather pumps (also Nordstrom’s, now that I think about it, but older). English adorableness in the form of my new white crocheted bike gloves with the blue bows from Ana Nichoola, which I just got in as the newest Bike Style product. (My English maternal grandmother would have approved.) Miles: 8.00

Things I notice about the week:

  • The adaptations I’ve made to my wardrobe over the years have really paid off. I can dress for whatever weather conditions or work requirements come along and ride in comfort. When I splurged on that dress at Nordstrom’s, I bought it knowing I could ride in that skirt.
  • Much higher mileage is easy to rack up: 57.89 this week compared with 36.12 last week. But it didn’t feel like any more work. Much of this mileage comes in bits of 1-2 miles and I don’t break a sweat.
  • Making a commitment to 30 Days of Biking mattered. Sunday, despite the irony abounding in that I didn’t ride SpokeFest because I worked the event instead, I could easily have skipped getting in some miles. Because I had made the commitment and was determined to keep it, I got out of the house with my sweetheart for a date instead of subsiding gracefully onto the sofa.

——————

Posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging Inspiration & How-to Series for Sept. 2011 30 Days of Biking

  1. 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!
  2. Why We Ride/Resolve to Ride–A Blogspedition
  3. Preparing to Commute by Bike: Get the Worry out of the Way
  4. Buying a Bike for Commuting: Some Questions and a Blogspedition
  5. How to Bike Commute: Getting the Gear Together
  6. Bike Commuting 101: Carrying Stuff
  7. On a Roll with Wilma Flanagan
  8. 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report
  9. Ride with your Community: SpokeFest Rocks!
  10. There and Back Again: How to Pick your Bike Commute Route
  11. Intro to Bike Commuting: Route Selection Part 2
  12. More Bike Commuting Route Selection Tips: Part 3
  13. Thinking Like a Driver vs. Thinking Like a Bicyclist
  14. Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity
  15. 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report
  16. On a Roll with Katherine Widing
  17. I Shouldn’t Assume
  18. Falling Down on Your Bike. It Happens. To Grown-Ups.
  19. Pretty Handy, Gloves. The Blogspedition Assumes You’ll Get ‘Em.
  20. What to Wear for Your Bike Commute? Clothes.
  21. How to Get a Dropped Bike Chain Back On, Grease-Free
  22. 30 Days of Biking: Week Three!
  23. It’s All in the Attitude
  24. Things I Now Do on My Bike Without Having to Think About It
  25. Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Risk and Trust
  26. More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Friendliness and Openness
  27. Even More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Tolerance, Humor, and Persistence
  28. Bicycling Rites of Passage, Spokane Style
  29. Dear Reader, I Chicked Him
  30. 30 Days of Biking: Final Report!

Your Turn

  • Do you try to ride every day?
  • How do you feel on days you don’t ride?
September 8, 2011

30 Days of Biking: Week One Report

If you’re already biking you may be doing the 30 Days of Biking challenge. To keep myself on track I thought I’d better set up a weekly check-in on my 30 days of biking/blogging, similar to an earlier post I did to demonstrate a typical week in outfits and mileage. You’re my friends–you’ll help me stay on track with my good intentions.

Thursday, Sept. 1: Typical commute day, forecast a little on the cool side. Tan capris, apricot sweater, tan jacket, scarf, high-heeled dark bronze lace-ups. Rode to work; midday yoga class close to my office; downtown to meet with Eldest Daughter, fiance, and caterer to plan their wedding food; then home in the dark with my headlight, taillight, and spoke light all going. Miles: 6.9

Friday, Sept. 2: Took the day off work because I had a Bike Style shopping event. Rode down in the morning for the back/shoulder treatment I’ve been getting at Revita Rehab to counter the effects of too much computer time and old shoulder injuries, then back home up the hill. (Whenever I tell someone how short my commute to work is I hasten to add, “But it’s uphill on the way home!”)

I had to drive to the event to haul all the goodies, so once I got Hubby’s truck unloaded I parked it away from downtown to save money and biked back, then reversed the process at the end of the event when it was time to pack out. Wore a Ruu-Muu and Pedal Panties for the day–comfy, cute, and practical for a day that combined physical exertion with fashion. Miles: 6.59

Saturday, Sept. 3: Met up with Eldest Daughter and her future MIL with the lovely Welsh accent to go shopping for my mother of the bride dress. Scored in the Nordstrom dress department.

Yes, the beautiful fancy dress is one I could bike in. Yes, I thought about that. No, I’m not biking to the wedding (although, come to think of it….). Yes, I plan to wear the amazing silver stilettos I found at Neat Old Stuff in Bikespedition #2 to SoDo. I carried them with me in my Po Campo Logan Tote so I could try them on with all the dresses, and I carried the dress home–hanger, protective bag and all–in my Donkey Boxx.

Wore a skirt, tank, and white platforms so I was dressed appropriately for trying on dresses. So glad to be on my bike, given the ginormous crowds in downtown for Pig Out in the Park! No way could I have found a parking spot for anything but my bike. Miles: 4.87

Sunday, Sept. 4: Beautiful fall day! Rode with Sweet Hubs, the young ‘uns, and Second Daughter to Perry Street Cafe for breakfast. Had to wear the Pedal Panties and Ruu-Muu again–honestly, those dresses are just my go-to for any sunny-day activities.

After breakfast we rode our bikes in circles on the basketball court at Grant Elementary for no particular reason other than that it was such a beautiful day and riding a bike in circles is fun, then rode home in a row like a family of ducks with Sweetie in front and me bringing up the rear. Miles: 1.74

Monday, Sept. 5: Another gorgeous day for the three-day weekend, another wedding-related errand. Rode to one of the venues we’re considering (a sudden change of plans the Friday of the long weekend led to the need to scout new places) with a stop for an iced coffee at a Rocket Bakery, then rode back with a stop at Rosauers to try to find the last essential bit of school supplies for Second Daughter (no luck). Predictably, I wore a Nuu-Muu & Pedal PantiesMiles: 5.56

Tuesday, Sept. 6: First day of Second Daughter’s senior year of high school. I don’t normally drive my kids to school; our annual exception is the first day of school, which is actually the worst possible day for vehicular traffic, confusion, and delay. It’s worth it to fix her breakfast (another thing I don’t do very often because our schedules don’t sync) and see my pretty pretty princess off.

Then I drove home, got my bike, and rode to work. Outfit: tan capris, black tank, little leopard-print cardigan over that (borrowed from my princess), brown sandals. Temps are starting to be a bit on the cool & crispy side in the morning but the forecast is in the 90s all week. Miles: 5.22

Wednesday, Sept. 7: I woke up, got ready for work, then realized I had a touch of the flu or something like it and was not strictly ready for prime time. I phoned in, booted up the remote desktop access to my office computer, sat down to work, and thought, “Dang it! There goes my 30 days and it’s only day 7!”

But as the day wore on I felt better. I made soup (always restorative), worked lying down on the couch, and recovered. By the time the appointment to look at another wedding venue rolled around mid-afternoon I was ready to ride downtown with Belles and Baskets founder and licensed wedding officiant Betsy Lawrence (she of many talents!).

Since we were on our bikes it was easy to pop into Atticus for an iced Roast House coffee, and then on to the venue. (And we have a winner! Booked and all set.)

Miles: 5.24

Things I notice about the week:

  • A little bit of mileage every day adds up. My total for the week: 36.12. Eight years ago if someone told me I’d be routinely biking 35-40 miles a week without even thinking about it I don’t know what my reaction would have been. I know it would have sounded like a far more athletic accomplishment than it is in the day-to-day reality.
  • My life–possibly like yours–includes plenty of little errands and short trips. These are perfect for the bike because they’re not long enough to make me sweat and I cut out all the parking and payment hassles associated with driving. I don’t like hassles.
  • I appear to be fueled by iced coffee. This is not an inaccurate assessment.
  • I prefer biking to driving for most transportation needs. If that weren’t the case, on the first day of school I could have simply driven on to work. But then I’d have to see if I have a parking permit, buy one if I don’t, find a parking spot, remember the parking spot….

————–

Posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging Inspiration & How-to Series for Sept. 2011 30 Days of Biking

  1. 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!
  2. Why We Ride/Resolve to Ride–A Blogspedition
  3. Preparing to Commute by Bike: Get the Worry out of the Way
  4. Buying a Bike for Commuting: Some Questions and a Blogspedition
  5. How to Bike Commute: Getting the Gear Together
  6. Bike Commuting 101: Carrying Stuff
  7. On a Roll with Wilma Flanagan
  8. 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report
  9. Ride with your Community: SpokeFest Rocks!
  10. There and Back Again: How to Pick your Bike Commute Route
  11. Intro to Bike Commuting: Route Selection Part 2
  12. More Bike Commuting Route Selection Tips: Part 3
  13. Thinking Like a Driver vs. Thinking Like a Bicyclist
  14. Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity
  15. 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report
  16. On a Roll with Katherine Widing
  17. I Shouldn’t Assume
  18. Falling Down on Your Bike. It Happens. To Grown-Ups.
  19. Pretty Handy, Gloves. The Blogspedition Assumes You’ll Get ‘Em.
  20. What to Wear for Your Bike Commute? Clothes.
  21. How to Get a Dropped Bike Chain Back On, Grease-Free
  22. 30 Days of Biking: Week Three!
  23. It’s All in the Attitude
  24. Things I Now Do on My Bike Without Having to Think About It
  25. Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Risk and Trust
  26. More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Friendliness and Openness
  27. Even More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Tolerance, Humor, and Persistence
  28. Bicycling Rites of Passage, Spokane Style
  29. Dear Reader, I Chicked Him
  30. 30 Days of Biking: Final Report!

Your Turn

  • Did you ride every day for the last 7 days? How did it go?
  • If you’re not ready to ride yet, did you make some progress in planning and getting the things you need?
September 1, 2011

30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!

When faced with the blue waters of a lake do you plunge right in and adjust to the temperature with a huge shock, or do you dip a toe and then decide to wade in a bit at a time?

Or maybe you’re a developing skier. At the top of a blue square or black diamond do you point your skis straight down, or do you cautiously schuss from side to side to eliminate as much of the painful gravity as possible so you get down safely in your own way, knowing that someday you may shoot straight down the hill at top speed?

Rosie the Riveter "You Can Do It!" Poster

Rosie looks as if she'd have no problem building her own bike, let alone riding it or fixing a flat.

This series is your cautious wade into the inviting waters of bike commuting, to mangle a metaphor. Inspired by 30 Days of Biking I’m going to see if I can post at least one item a day that will educate, encourage, support, or inspire (and all without giving you that terrible shock when the cold water hits your belly button).

For those of you who are already riding some of this will be old hat but I hope to give you new ideas for ways to increase your comfort, safety and style.

Honestly, it doesn’t actually take 30 days to get started as a bike commuter—if you have equipment already it’s more like 30 minutes—but I’m running with the concept as my own personal challenge on top of 30 days of biking (which is fun, not work).

Step 1: Decide you’re going to do it. Pretty simple, really, but you can think about it a long time and never actually make a formal decision. As more than one someone has said, a goal without a plan isn’t a goal–it’s a dream.

Stick the words “I’m going to bike commute” on your bathroom mirror. Make “Prep for bike commuting” an Outlook task with a daily reminder. Write something about it on the fridge. Put it in a place you will see daily to help you keep moving forward. (Quick tip: If you have a stainless steel fridge you can write on it with dry-erase markers.)

Step 2: Enlist a friend to come with you. As with any new endeavor, you’re more likely to stick with it if you tell someone and have some moral support (and someone to hold you to your best intentions).

It won’t seem so scary if you’re not alone. And you’re inspiring and encouraging your friend, too!

Step 3: Enjoy this! You’re embarking on the rediscovery of childhood joy and freedom. Celebrate it.

If you already ride with confidence on weekend recreational outings you can skip some of the information in upcoming posts but not necessarily all. Your weekend bike is most likely not equipped for commuting, for one thing; choosing a route through traffic isn’t the same thing as heading out to quiet country roads or separated trails; and dressing for a ride to work doesn’t have to involve Spandex and full kit unless you want it to.

Ready to gear up? Let’s roll!

Related Reading

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Posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging Inspiration & How-to Series for Sept. 2011 30 Days of Biking

  1. 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!
  2. Why We Ride/Resolve to Ride–A Blogspedition
  3. Preparing to Commute by Bike: Get the Worry out of the Way
  4. Buying a Bike for Commuting: Some Questions and a Blogspedition
  5. How to Bike Commute: Getting the Gear Together
  6. Bike Commuting 101: Carrying Stuff
  7. On a Roll with Wilma Flanagan
  8. 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report
  9. Ride with your Community: SpokeFest Rocks!
  10. There and Back Again: How to Pick your Bike Commute Route
  11. Intro to Bike Commuting: Route Selection Part 2
  12. More Bike Commuting Route Selection Tips: Part 3
  13. Thinking Like a Driver vs. Thinking Like a Bicyclist
  14. Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity
  15. 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report
  16. On a Roll with Katherine Widing
  17. I Shouldn’t Assume
  18. Falling Down on Your Bike. It Happens. To Grown-Ups.
  19. Pretty Handy, Gloves. The Blogspedition Assumes You’ll Get ‘Em.
  20. What to Wear for Your Bike Commute? Clothes.
  21. How to Get a Dropped Bike Chain Back On, Grease-Free
  22. 30 Days of Biking: Week Three!
  23. It’s All in the Attitude
  24. Things I Now Do on My Bike Without Having to Think About It
  25. Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Risk and Trust
  26. More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Friendliness and Openness
  27. Even More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Tolerance, Humor, and Persistence
  28. Bicycling Rites of Passage, Spokane Style
  29. Dear Reader, I Chicked Him
  30. 30 Days of Biking: Final Report!

Your Turn

  • If you’re already riding, what really pushed you into getting started? Share it here to help someone else.
  • If you’re not riding yet, what’s holding you back? We may be able to help!

We’re Here for You!

  • Are you going to ride every day in September, or take one step every day toward getting your bike commuting started? Tell us in the comments and we’ll send good vibes your way!
  • If you’re on Twitter, tweet your intentions with the #30daysofbiking hashtag. Include us via an @BikeStyleSpok tag & we’ll tweet encouragement your way every day.
  • If you’re on Facebook, go to the Bike Style Spokane page, find the update where this post will be linked, and tell us you’re going to go for it. We’ll give you a thumbs-up every way possible and so will everyone else on the page.
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