Rochester Hills PCT Bike & Hike Club

July 6, 2007
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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 finish safely. 

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 water. 

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 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 day. 

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.
David Lindquist 

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