The commuter diaries Feb 2009
Over the last year I have been stung by a wasp, have fallen in a canal, slid on ice 20 yards down a main road beneath my beloved road bike and have been threatened by 2 lorry drivers.
But, would I have it any other way? Absolutely not!
My daily commute is a comfortably flat 17 miles between Bristol and Bath. The original Sustrans route has seen increased bicycle traffic over the last 2 years. People dusting off old bikes, using the ride to work scheme, visiting the bike shop (hopefully the local IBD) or trawling ebay. For me this is great, I ride anything and it is fantastic to have a growing fellowship.
"it's not about what you ride, but how much fun you are having" - Gary Fisher
Winter commute check points:
12th February 2009
An eventful commute this morning.
Freezing fog misting my glasses and black ice! How do you ride on it? Keep it in a straight line, do not brake and prepare for the front wheel wobble! Well this I did, until I descended a small off camber road, where I had to scrub speed. The invisible black stuff pushed my front wheel sideways and before I knew it I hit the deck! Landing heavily on my hip, I dusted myself off, checked my bike and pushed on gingerly for a further 6 miles.
There is nothing worse than the sound of your 4 year old completely reliable 105 group set scraping down the road and sparks flying from your Crank Brothers, Candy SL pedals (brand new).
I am riding Bontrager Race X-Lite 23’s, which are fast and durable, but in the Ice, no hope. If we get a cold spell I am going to dust off the Kona Paddy Wagon for some single speed simplicity and a burlier ride. Add some new Halo, twin rail 23’s in purple as a more robust option and I’ll be back in the Ice next week.
12th February contd
....tonight on my commute I was joined by another rider, no longer head down pounding the pedals, but head up, talking all things bike and life; taking in the scenery and pushing / encouraging each other along.
My ride companion was a policeman from Bath riding a very interesting bike – a full suspension MTB tourer, complete with front and rear racks, bar ends, numerous bags, all manner of lights, guards and clip on TT bars. In fact he rode in a low profile position the entire 6 miles we were together.
What a capable bike I thought, maybe overkill for the commute, the bike would have been at home on a trans continental tour. But hey, perhaps that is the point, he was prepared for every eventuality that riding on the road can throw at you.
As it turns out, he was a triathlete and Iron Man competitor, chairman of a local club and sports coach and could certainly turn the gears on that rig.
I should have paid more attention to the model, it may have been a Steppenwolf, a real multi terrain warrior. I'll pay closer attention next time.
This got me thinking about bikes and how they can reflect their owners. Mine certainly do?