With the sudden transition from winter to summer that we experience here, mornings are often punctuated by low-lying fog. This morning, after riding my MTB through the bush to Mum’s house, she and I went on a road ride through said fog. It was a beautiful way to start the day.
Scene from my commute
After leaving Mum at the start of her street, I continued on to work. The new bikepacking gear worked really well on the road bike and will save me carrying a backpack when I cycle commute. Importantly for my colleagues, the bun loaf I bought for our morning tea fit in the seat post bag without getting squashed.
Total: 7.5km MTB + 51km road ride (including my commute home tonight)
I had university classes last night so didn’t get a chance to go riding. I found myself rather sad, like a love-sick teenager missing my girl. So it was with great excitement that I got out this morning to cycle commute.
It’s strange to find this rekindling of love for moving on two wheels. I used to feel this excitement and passion in my twenties, and feeling it again is fantastic.
Today’s commute will be about 30km in total (I broke the cycle computer on my MTB). Instead of riding on the road, I have been playing on the grassy verges and off-road concrete cycle paths. It’s good training for my Tasmanian Trail trip in December.
Total: 30km cycle commute
One of the best things to come out of Cycling for Hope is a renewed sense of comfort and joy in cycling. And one of the best things about Cycling for Hope being over is that I can play on the bike without worrying about having to stay out on the road for 100km.
This morning I wanted to get out to play. But I didn’t want to get up early or ride in darkness. So I added a couple of kilometers to my morning commute by riding some short sections of trail. I continued my playfulness by cycling on the wide grassy verges alongside the road instead of cruising the bitumen. Sure, I did have to ride the concrete for a little while but I still got a good half hour of play into my ride.
Tonight I’ll ride home. Maybe I’ll play some more because it will get me off the main roads during the dangers of dusk.
Total: 30km commute (including tonight’s return ride)
I was going to rest this week. But after two days of inactivity I felt totally lost and restless. So this morning I jumped my my 29er (which I didn’t ride during Cycling for Hope) and rode the scenic route to work down the gravel road and then along some footpaths.
It felt so good to be on the bike. This is the bike I’m taking to Tasmania later this year when I ride the Tasmanian Trail so I was excited to give it a burn after riding the roadie for the past 31 days.
Total: 30km commute
I seem to have fallen a day behind in my blog. That’s not all a bad thing though – it just means that I’ve been too busy having fun to write.
I had to drop Mum’s ute at her house yesterday morning so enjoyed a slightly different cruise into work. The ride was a perfect autumn morning ride along the Logan River flood plains. The grasses beside the road are long from the summer rains and the seed heads formed a soft sea on top of the sharp blades.
I am enjoying my morning commuting. The Purple Monster is proving to be well-suited to the task of carrying my loaded panniers. The great thing about the bike is that the saddle is comfortable enough not to need padded shorts – so there’s no need for me to traipse around in lycra.
I felt like I was on holidays yesterday morning during my commute. What bliss.
- 15.4km commute to work
- 13.6km commute home
Riding to work
Blue skies! Hooray! I jump out of bed, load up the Purple Monster and set off down the road to work. Well, sure, I actually didn’t just go from jumping out of bed to leaving for work. There was a period in between during which I pottered around making breakfast and watching some television. But, that just doesn’t sound as good as saying that I jumped out of bed and hit the road.
Waiting for the lights
I have recently discovered the joys of Instagram and have been going crazy trying out all the different photo formats. What I really like about the app is that it’s making me see simple things in a whole new light. For example, who would have thought that avoiding a dangerous roundabout by crossing the road on a bike path would have been interesting. But with Instagram I was able to see the process for the uniquely cycling experience that it is. And check out all those bright colours that make up our every day world – you don’t have to travel thousands of miles from home to be bedazzled.
The wheels keep spinning
I had a university class last night so was able to enjoy the late afternoon daylight hours on my bike. Usually, I don’t leave work until about 5:30pm, which means I do a lot of my commuting in the dark from March through to November. But yesterday I had an excuse to leave just around 3:30pm to enjoy a leisurely cruise up the V1 cycleway to my university campus. Sure, I had to ride about 10km of the 21km ride on roads but I prefer to focus on the cycleway experience. I just love how it feels to see and feel my wheels spinning away on paths designed specifically for us cyclists.
Riding to university
Did I mention yet that I finally bought myself a new jersey? You might have noticed that I’m always wearing the same jersey in all my photos. I actually have two that are the same. I now have a third jersey that I picked up for the bargain basement price of $15 (yes, that’s not a typo) because it was slightly soiled (it has a small blue dot on the back). And boy is it comfortable. Perhaps that’s why I had a big smile on my face in this selfie.
Lights reflecting on wet bikeway
As my university class came to an end, around 7:30pm, I looked out the window to see flashes of lightning followed by crashes of thunder. It was all being washed down by big heavy rain drops. In the past, I would have simply phoned home and grovelled to my partner for a lift home. But, as they say, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing choices. I had come prepared so pulled my rain jacket out of my pannier bags, threw a reflective vest over the top and set off to ride 35km (20 miles) in the deluge. Since starting Audax cycling, I have become quite accepting of night riding so it was with great pleasure that I spun my legs as the heavens put on an amazing display of lightning streaks and forks.
What? I was hungry
Hunger took over at 8:30pm when I still had 20km to ride. So I found a Hungry Jacks (Burger King to the rest of the world) and bought junior Whopper and small fries to get me through. I hadn’t eaten a meal since 1pm so fast food never tasted so good.
Total: 66.6km cycle commuting
The 30daysofbiking challenge is really inspiring me. This morning it was raining but I read 30daysofbiking’s Facebook post:
“There isn’t bad weather, only bad clothing. Keep on pedaling”.
So I packed my work clothes and university books into dry bags, loaded the bike, pulled on my rain jacket and set off on the short commute to work.
I’m glad I did because I had a fabulous time.
I rode the whole way in a single gear (middle chain ring, middle cog), despite having 21 to chose from. It worked really well. I was surprised at how different the riding felt. Without big gears to push downhill, I coasted and enjoyed the scenery. On the flats, I cruised at 25kph in a gear that was one easier than I would usually ride flats. And I realised what Dino from Audax meant when he said you have to hit the hills, rather than easing back. It actually wasn’t too bad (though there are certainly no mountains on my commute ;)).
I have university classes tonight. It’s 21km from work to uni then about 32km back home afterwards. On the way, I’m going to stop at 99 Bikes to pick up some clipless pedals, a handlebar bag and a tail light.
Total: 12.90km cycle with more to come today.
The dead front derailleur
I was excited to cycle to work this morning because I have a new set of wheels on my road bike. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. My front derailleur seems to have died a sudden and mysterious death. It won’t shift at all anymore. When I disconnected the derailleur cable the shifter seemed to be working so I believe the problem must be in the derailleur itself.
I suspect there is a bolt that has come off the side of the derailleur because there is a hole with threading inside it that is currently empty. I don’t know whether or not there ever was a bolt in there because I’ve never checked. But at this early stage of ‘investigations’ I’m fairly sure it’s worked loose somehow.
I am running an 8-speed rear cassette and derailleur with a Shimano HG-50 chain. I’m not keen on replacing the whole drive train yet because that would be expensive. I also currently have a triple chain ring and front shifter on my bike. I can’t find any suitable components online because the Shimano Sora series is now only available in 9-speed and 10-speed, while the only 8-speed triple derailleurs are all designed for flat-bar bike gearing systems.
I guess in this instance I am off to the bicycle shop to find out what my options are. I wouldn’t mind switching to a double chain ring on the front but am concerned the shifter might be expensive to replace. At least this gives me an excuse to replace the bottom bracket and crankset because my smallest chainring is rubbing against the frame protector and the whole crankset is sitting at an awkward (non-parallel) angle to the bike.
Given that I couldn’t cycle to work this morning, I might try another walk/run this evening.
We have a local flower farm
I cheated on Monday morning by accepting a lift to work with my partner. She was heading into ‘town’ to use the gym so we packed my bicycle in her car and I arrived at work unaffected by sweat. My excuse is that I was tired from the long day out in the weather on Sunday.
I did still ride home though and it was lovely.
Total: 12.9km cycle home
Image courtesy of Worradmu / Freedigitalphotos.net
Today we had our first taste of the Brisbane summer. Yes, it’s already been hot since the weekend when we had 35’C (95’F) temperatures. But summer doesn’t start here until we get our first summer storms, which will test the resolve of even the most hardened commuter.
This morning it was grey and drizzling outside. I could tell it was going to get worse during the day. But still I got on my deadly treadly and cycled to work. By 12:30pm it was light midnight outside and the day didn’t improve. The only good thing was that the storm and fierce winds hit out at sea, rather than on me when I left work in the early evening.
I wouldn’t be so foolish as to ride in an electrical storm but the dark day didn’t stop me riding. It’s the first time I’ve ridden in ugly conditions for a long time. I actually quite enjoyed it (though my new tyres are still a bit slippery in the wet – I can’t wait until I wear them in properly).
Total: 14.5km to work and 14.0km home