Decided to get off my arse and start cycling to work again, so after getting back from karate last night, I gave the hybrid a once over, packed the pannier with a change of clothes for work, and this morning cycled in.
Nice wee gentle 40 minute ride – I can hammer it in about 25 mins on the cyclecross, but I was up early and in no rush, as the gym at work doesn’t open till 7.00 so I didn’t want to be waiting about till it opened to get a shower.
By 7.0 I was showered, changed and in the coffee shop reading the paper.
Nice way to start the day.
Picked up an action camera. Based on reviews, and not wanting to fork out the money for a GoPro (not that I have anything against GoPro other than price) I opted for an Olfi 5.1
It’s just arrived a couple of days ago, and other than traumatising the cats by chasing them round with it, I’ve not had a chance to play with it properly, but it does seem to be a decent bit of kit, and at half the proce of a GoPro, I can’t complain.
I’ve ordered a 3rd party helmet mount, so I can use when I’m cycling, so when that comes in I’ll have a proper play with it.
Today I also picked up a new rucksack for holidays. The Karrimor I’ve used for years finally burst on me on the way back from Vietnam, earlier this year. It wasn’t catastrophic, not a case of clothes spilling all over the conveyor belt at the airport, but I wouldn’t have liked to try using it again, so definitely time for a new one.
I plumped for a Trespass Trek 66 which I managed to get at 50% off. It’s 6L larger than the Karrimor, and it’s lighter to boot, so seems like a decent enough purchase.
The weather in Glasgow this week has been rain and wind, so unfortunately I’ve been getting the train rather than cycling. Over the winter (gale force winds permitting) I’ll probably be using the hybrid rather than the road bike. It’s a Giant Escape M1 and I’ve stuck a rack on the back. Due to getting loads of flats with the tyres that came with it, I’ve stuck Armadillo knoblies on for the time being, but I’m thinking for commuting, of changing these for Schalbe marathons. Better for commuting and still bombproof.
It’s been ages since I’ve used it regularly, and when I did use it about a month ago to do the Glasgow SkyRide with my wife, I jumped on, sat down and missed the saddle completely as it wasn’t where it would have been on the road bike. Actually felt pretty weird for a while, being that upright. So yeah, need to use it more. It’s a good bike and doesn’t deserve to be sitting unused.
…a wee trip on the bike.
Unfortunately I’m at work and can only commute. C’est la vie.
I other news, a friend has just bought his first BMX bike after a shot on one at a skatepark. A mid-life crisis’ go, that’s pretty cool.
Finally, the winds that have been gusting for what seems like months, have finally abated. The forecast for the week is good. Mild, and if the crocuses in the parks are an indication, then spring has arrived early.
So, with the weather in my favour, this morning I got back on the bike for the first time since the end of October.
I was pleasantly surprised that I only took a couple of minutes longer to get to work, than I took last year, so that’s good.
This year I’d like to take the odd day off here and there, and go for a proper run on the bike, and not just use it to commute. I’ll be playing that by ear, and just see how it goes.
I’ve managed to keep to using the bike to cycle to work most days for the past 5 months, so I’m really pleased. The only day I can’t cycle is a Thursday when I have a guitar lesson straight after work. So that’s 10 miles a day, 40 a week (on average).
It’s not a hell of a lot, but it’s giving me some exercise, I’m getting in to work earlier, and I’m saving a fair bit of money on rail travel, so it’s all good.
Last night on the way home was a bit wet, so I finally bit the bullet and fitted a rear mudguard. It meant a bit of footering about, re=positioning reflectors and lights, and it’s a tight fit as I don’t have the saddle raised much, so there’s very little space on the seat stem, but eventually I got everything in place.
I’ve also got new lights, just in time, as it’s getting dark earlier, and it won’t be long before I need to use them.
So, that’s me all set up for the darker, wetter morning and evening commutes.
On this morning’s commute, I got a puncture cutting through Bellahouston park. No probs really, checked there was no glass or thorns in the tyre, popped in a new tube, and was on my way again in about 10 minutes. Only problem is the little hand pumps aren’t great at getting the tyres up to pressure, so it’s a bit on the soft side. I’ve got a track pump at home, so I’ll get it back up to the right pressure when I get home tonight.
This is the third puncture in two weeks, on the same wheel, so, I’ve decided it’s time for new tyres. I’ve been recommended some Schwalbe tyres by a friend, who’s done over 4000 miles on his and hasn’t had a single puncture yet.
Either he’s extremely lucky, or they’re as good and puncture proof as they claim to be. Either way, I’ll probably pick up a pair tomorrow and get them fitted for the weekend.
It’s good to know that it’s so easy and quick to fix a flat. It’s also nice that the people who passed me in the park all asked if I was ok or if I needed a hand. It reinforces my faith in people. Not everyone is selfish and out for themselves. There are still decent people out there.
That’s about six weeks now that I’ve been cycling to work. I’ve saved about £80 in train fares, and I’m getting to and from work earlier than with the train.
It’s just over 5 miles each way, so I’m getting in 10 miles a day, except the one day when I have a guitar lesson. So, 40 miles a week for commuting, then there’s mileage on top of that if we’re out on the bikes at the weekend.
I feel better for it, mentally as well as physically, so that’s a plus. It’s also nice to be able to take a different route now and again just so it’s doesn’t get monotonous.
Time wise, I’m quicker door to door by bike. Leaving the house to get to the station, then the journey time, plus the walk from the station to work, is about 40 -45 minutes. Door to door on the bike is about 20 – 30 minutes, depending if there’s a head wind or a tail wind.
I’d like to get a out further afield and do some wee runs on the bike out in the country. I’m hoping to get a roof rack for the car, so we can drive to the coast with the bikes, then get a ferry over to Bute or Cumbrae or even Arran, for a cycle round.
I know my wife wouldn’t be interested (at the moment at least), but I’d love to strap on some panniers, and just start cycling north, and see where we ended up. Quiet roads, and ferries to the western isles, that would be great.