Friday July 6, 2007 was expected to
be a slow day at work and overall a slower than normal work day traffic
wise because this is the end of a shut down week for the big three and
many of their suppliers. A lot of people at my place of work were off
this week on vacation as well. I had been thinking about riding my bike
to work since I started at this Washington location. I decided this was
going to be the day to ride my bike to work. At one point I planned to
try and ride at least one day per week during the nice weather, I still
think this is a good goal.
Distance wise I knew it wouldnít be
a problem, but I was a little nervous riding in this one location where I
had to go out on the main road and ride with the cars during rush hour.
Normally this wouldnít be a problem, but this one particular spot the road
is very narrow and there is a small bridge that I have to cross which is
even more narrow. I think this area is flat out dangerous during rush
hour. In thinking about this ride I have decided to cross this section I
would just sit on the side of the street until I saw a fairly large break
in traffic and then just try to get across this section before the traffic
catches back up. I figure if I take this approach I would be safe. I may
have to wait a few minutes to get the proper size break in traffic, but
that isnít a big deal, its not like Iím in a race. Iím just in it to
I typically try to arrive at work at
7:15 am and to do this I need to leave my house about 6:55 to 7:00 am when
driving my PT Cruiser. On this day I figured I would need some time to
change my clothes when I got to work, so if I could still arrive by 7:15
am when riding my bike I could be at my desk starting work before 7:30 am
which is still fine. It is about 10 miles one way to work and I figured
this would take me about one hour on my bike. My plan was to leave home
around 6:15 am. On the way to work from my house it is primarily
downhill. So, the ride there would be easier than the ride back home. I
figured if I rode there at a nice easy pace along with the downhill
portions I would hardly even break a sweat. We do have shower facilities
at work, but due to time I am hoping to not have to take a shower when I
get to work. My plan is to carry my work clothes in a small backpack and
just wash my hands and face when I get there. I will hang my riding
clothes in a locker for the ride home.
I ended up leaving more like 6:25
am. I put clean clothes in a small light weight backpack with my Garmin
palm and a small hand towel. Usually I bring my lunch to work to eat at
my desk before I go for a walk out at Stoney during my lunch hour. This
day I was planning to go out to lunch with the guys from my old linkage
and suspension department before I transferred to the seat belt group, so
I didnít need to bring a lunch with me. I guess I wonít be driving to
lunch either, I will have to tag along with someone.
It was cool outside when I started.
I think the temperature was in the low 60s. I was wearing shorts and a
thin wicking shirt. I even put on a light wind breaker jacket when I
started. Another reason I picked this day to ride was the weather
forecast was for a nice day without any chance of rain. It was just
beautiful when I started. The sun had just come up and there werenít many
people out yet when I began my ride.
Going from the west to east in the
morning the sun was still low in the sky and I definitely needed my sun
glasses. I was able to ride neighbor hood streets and paved bike paths on
Tienken all the way to Rochester Road and even a little bit past until I
came to that narrow section I mentioned earlier. My biggest obstacle on
the way there was avoiding the automatic sprinkler systems everywhere. I
got pretty good at timing how to weave in and out of the streams of
I took it easy trying not to work up
a sweat, I would be able to do plenty of sweating on the ride home. I
really enjoyed the long down hill sections. I stood up on my pedals to
enjoy the cool breeze blowing in my face as I coasted down hill. When I
came to the short up hill sections I put my bike in low gear and took it
nice and slow. When I got to the light at Rochester Road and had to wait
my turn to cross the street and I took this time to take off the wind
breaker and tuck it away in my burrito basket. I had already warmed up
enough where the cool temperature no longer felt cool. I was making good
time and it was an easy ride just as I had expected.
I continued on across Rochester Road
on the paved bike path. I went past the middle school and high school and
through the first both rotary without any problem, traffic was definitely
on the light side. When I got to the narrow small bridge area I stopped
and looked behind to see the traffic. There was a large break in traffic
so I immediately took off and crossed the narrow bridge without any
trouble. I stayed in the road until I came to the second rotary where I
cross to the other side and got back on the paved bike path. This ride
was really turning out well.
I stayed on this road to Dequindre
where I crossed over and turned left heading north, again on the paved
bike path paralleling the street. I stayed on this section until I came
to the path with the many wooden slatted bridges that lead directly into
Stoney Creek Metro Park which is located right next to where I work. The
night before I went on line and checked out the satellite images from
gmap-pedometer.com website to determine my best route for riding to work.
I noticed the entrance to the path off Dequindre was 7.0 miles from home.
I kept this in mind when riding to help locate the proper turn. As I was
riding I came to a path that looked like it might be my turn, I looked
down at my Cateye speedometer and it was too soon so this wasnít my turn.
I continue on a bit further and I came to another path, I quickly looked
down again and this time my Cateye read 7.05 miles, amazing how cool and
helpful technology can be in these situations. Based on this information
I was sure this was my turn, and without hesitation I made the turn.
I was the only one out on this
path. I crossed each bridge with the sounds of clickity clack of the
wooden boards under my wheels as I pedaled. Shortly I arrived to the path
in Stoney and I took the path the short distance to the trail that leads
directly into the backside of the building in which I work. Everything
was working out just as I had envisioned, no problems at all. It was a
fantastic ride work. I rode over to the other building to put my bike in
the bike rack located near a side entrance. I took my small backpack into
the locker room and changed my clothes. I was at my desk by 7:25 am,
before most of the people that sit around me.
One of the nice side benefits about
riding my bike to work is being able to think about the ride home during
the day. It gives me something to look forward to at the end of the work
It had warmed up quite a bit from
this morning. It was about 85 degrees and sunny when I left work around
4:30 pm. I had averaged 11.5 mph on the morning ride and I thought it
would be neat if I could maintain the overall ride average speed of 11.0
mph. I know this would be tough with all the up hill sections on the way
home. I followed almost exactly the reverse of the route I had taken in
the morning, for the ride home. And, just as I expected it was a much
harder ride, but still enjoyable. When I got to the narrow small bridge
section I stopped and this time I did have to wait a few minutes for a
decent size break in traffic before I made my dash to cross this section.
Traffic was again lighter than normal and I made it across this narrow
bridge without any trouble. The rest of the ride home was uneventful, but
I did push it a little harder than I normally would trying to keep my
average speed up. As I got closer to home I switched my Cateye over so I
could monitor the average speed and it was bouncing between 11.1 and 11.2
mph. I was right on the ragged edge of dropping below 11.1 mph and even
below to 11.0 if I wasnít careful. Even though my legs were getting tired
I push myself hard on the last couple gradual hills in an effort to keep
my speed up. I also pushed myself on the last stretch on my street before
pulling into my driveway.
Following are the statistics from
the rides this day. On the way there 9.8 miles, 11.5 mph average speed
and 51 minutes of ride time. For the entire ride including both
directions; 19.2 miles, 22.5 max speed, 1 hour 42 minutes of time riding
and average speed of 11.2 mph.
Overall this was a very good
experience and I thoroughly enjoyed myself while riding to work and back
home again. I will definitely do this again, and maybe I can work my way
into finding one day a week for riding to work.