Well, I just turned over 920 miles on my bike earlier tonight. Due to construction, I’ve been trying out different routes, kinda like the variety. Falling a bit behind my goal for the season, but I’m hoping that the long term weather forecasts are correct and that we’ll have fewer rainy days throughout the rest of the autumn which will allow me to pick up at least a few more hundred miles.
Some things I’ve noticed:
- I can’t say enough about my Arkel Briefcase Pannier. I picked it up last year, got it for about half of its current price from a bike shop here in town. I’ve been using it over a year now; I don’t think I would have nearly as wonderful of an experience commuting if it weren’t for the bag.
- Secondly, the iPod has been a great toy to have this year, as I’ve been biking much more on trails than commuting. I can setup playlists with varying tempos, beats and lengths to match the ride I’m expecting. It fits just fine bungee-corded onto the handlebars, in the dirt bag under the seat or in my pannier.
- Third, the Lobeman has been an even greater partner on my rides. It fits perfectly over my right ear, leaving my left ear open for the environmental noises. I listen to the iPod (paired with my iTrip) or my favorite radio shows. I especially have gotten in the habit of getting my Marketplace at 6:30 on the evenings I bike. Comes in loud and clear.
Of course, no list would be complete without talking about the bike. My Specialized 2004 Expedition Sport is doing just dandy, even tho it has surely taken a beating this year while being driven through mud and rain and a pretty rough wipe-out. About the only thing I’d change is to increase the gearing a bit - I often find myself in 21st gear (3 in the front, 7 in the back) and I want to shift it even further.
This year I don’t have the luxury of shower facilities at work, which I knew would decrease the number of commutes I’d make to/from work. I’ve also had the temptation of a fully working car all season, too, whereas last year I only had a bike while my car was in the shop for about three weeks. But I still had a goal to surpass the bike mileage from last year by at least 100 miles. (About 20%)
I’ve got two remaining goals for the rest of the season, both of which will contribute to the original goal of putting on more miles on my bike this year than I did last year. The first is to participate in the Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour on September 12th. I plan on doing the 30 mile route; I’m really excited to get an opportunity this year to try it out.
Assuming that all goes well, the second goal is to bike all the way up to Saint Cloud. I’m still researching the best route to take, but I plan on doing it a week or two after I validate my abilities on the 30 mile Saint Paul Classic ride. (The longest ride I’ve taken so far this summer was 22.5 miles after work a few weeks ago)