Bike Commute Day 1

I got my rack and pannier bag installed last week and ended up riding to work today. The bag I got works great, more than enough room for a change of clothes, shoes and lunch. Felt a little weird walking into the building in shorts and sandals. My team lead comes in later than me and leaves earlier so I’m changing in her office. I kept a quick pace coming in and got a little sweatier than I wanted so I’ll just have to take my time. I’ll post a picture of my complete commuter setup.

I’ll probably end up really liking a bike commute. At 6:40am the streets are pretty quiet and peaceful which makes for a nice relaxing start. I’ll be forced to bring my lunch more often so I need to start exploring lunches more exciting than PB&J.

Expensive Car Month

July is a huge reminder about just how much money we spend on automobile transportation. The planets seem to align when insurance and registration for both of us come in at about the same time. This year I got the added joy of renewing my drivers license and smogging the RSX for the first time (I kid you not it took about 3 minutes for them to test it). All that on top of two car payments is a nice little sum of money vanishing in a short period of time. The monthly cost might not seem bad, but it all adds up to a significant portion of our income.

I’m one step closer to my bike commute though. I bought locks, rear rack and trunk bag last night which means I might be ready to make the switch in a couple weeks. The Topeak rack and bag are pretty sweet since they have a slide on mechanism for easy installation and removal. Ordered from Tree Fort Bikes which had everything I wanted at very competitive prices. Still contemplating if I want to put fenders on.

First long bike ride

Yesterday, a group of us went down to the beach to surf and relax. I’m not big on surfing or laying on the sand waiting to inevitably get burned so I decided to ride down and meet everyone. I started out at the Wallace ranch and got on the San Gabriel River Trail at Imperial Hwy. The trail ends at the beach in Seal Beach so I made my way over to PCH for a hop over to Sunset Beach and rode through the parking lot to end up at the north end of Bolsa Chica. 20 miles total, 1:50 of actual pedal time with a few breaks along the way at Liberty Park, El Dorado and Seal Beach.

It was probably the best workout I’ve had in 3 years and I’m not even sore today. If I had gone surfing or attempted to run a couple miles I’d be feeling the pain today. Cycling is probably my best bet to get in shape right now. I’m also pondering an attempt at the 100 Pushup Challenge.

The Downey Bike Gang

We (Yosts, Wallaces, Jason, Luna, Sarah and me) had our inaugural bike ride tonight. Met at the Park’s and rode up to Blizzberry. Good times were had. Picked up some glowsticks and stuck to side streets to avoid the Po-Po and our illegal rides (no lights). I Google Mapped our route and it was about 6.2 miles roundtrip from the Park’s. Good times, must do it again!

Jumping on the bike wagon

Two big problems have developed in my life: gas prices suck and I haven’t had any significant exercise in about 5 years. The former makes my wallet lighter and the latter has made me heavier. The solution to both of these problems is a good old fashioned bicycle. We went over to Pat’s 605 Cyclery to pick out a beach cruiser for Sarah and I asked about what would work for starting a bike commute. I was pointed towards the Trek “hybrid” bikes that where close to my budget.

I had done some research on bikes and knew the major differences between road bikes and mountain bikes, but didn’t know a whole lot about hybrids. Hybrid bikes are just that, a hybrid of the two that combine the skinnier, smooth tires and gearing of a road bike with the frame and seating position of a mountain bike.

I grew up riding fairly generic street bikes and rode mountain bikes a couple times up in Mammoth, but besides that my bike experience was pretty limited. I was looking at the Trek 7.2 FX and went in for a spin around the parking lot and I was sold almost immediately. I’m pretty out of shape and it was fun just riding around in circles.

Sarah’s beach cruiser was ready to go home and I couldn’t let her ride alone so I went ahead and bought it right there. Good thing I did because the next bike they would have ordered was going to cost $70 more because of price increases for rubber and all the components getting passed to the consumer. At $480 after tax it wasn’t cheap, but I see it as an investment that will reduce my gas bill and help me get into shape. Instead of driving Saturday morning, we road 8.5 miles around town so the savings have already began.

I’ll post more on all of this, but this will definitely bring some big changes in my life.

Quick specs

  • 20″ aluminum frame
  • Shimano shifting components, 18 speeds
  • 700cc x 35mm wheels

And Sarah’s beach cruiser