Guest article by Bob W. Deeg
When I was a kid I was always fascinated with my bike. It took me everywhere I wanted to go during summer months away from school. Every ride was a mini-adventure. If I wasn’t riding it I was taking it apart to see how everything worked. If something on the bike broke or needed an adjustment I could usually fix it. 50 years later I’m still doing the same thing, but now I have a small fleet of bikes and ride year-round. Every ride is still thoroughly enjoyable.
One thing I’m doing differently is outfitting my bikes to carry stuff. Whether it be hauling clothes, laptop and lunch to the office, bottles to the recycling bin near Home Depot, or food from a grocery store, I enjoy the benefits of cheap, efficient cargo transport, which is environmentally friendly and a great cardio workout.
A Bicyclist’s Week
Here’s what a typical week looks like for me.
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I work in the office. The 11 mile office commute takes 45-50 minutes.
Wednesday and Friday I work from home and get in an early morning 60 minute ride toward downtown. On these rides I can easily stop at a grocery or hardware store for any needed items.
On the weekends I make an effort to not use my truck unless the weather is bad or I’m hauling something heavy.
One memorable weekend trip I hauled a 40 lb bag of dog food home tied to the rack over the rear wheel.
On shopping trips with the tandem bike, my wife Patricia and I can haul a week’s worth of groceries home in 4 pannier bags. One of our favorite fun tandem bike trips is to haul our dog Penny in the 2 wheel kid carrier to a local park or to a nearby coffee shop.
It’s A Different Kind of Commute
Its 7:00 Monday morning, I’ve had some coffee, walked the dog, perused online news, chatted with my lovely wife about how lucky we are and now its time to put the mettle to the pedal and get on with my bike commute to the office.
A quick check of the temp helps determine how many layers are needed to stay warm. Weather radar may be checked for rain.
Water bottle is filled, clothes and laptop go in a small backpack and then into one pannier bag near the 3 spare tubes and tire wrench. Lunch and laptop cables go in the other pannier bag net to the portable air pump. Floor pump with its accurate gauge tops off the tire pressure if needed.
Reflective vest goes on and the 4 lights all turned on. Hat and gloves are chosen from the 3 sets in the right pannier and off I go.
Fifty minutes later I park the bike in my cube, check in at the fitness center showing my app recorded ride to get the 8-rides-per-month discount, get a steam-bath and shower and I’m ready for my day. A pair of dress shoes and electric razor are kept in a cabinet at my desk.
What About Weather?
When the roads are covered with ice or snow, I don’t ride. When the temp gets near single digits, I use an insulated full face mask and ski gloves and keep repeating to myself; ‘this is fun…this is fun.’
To keep mud and rain off me and the bike I have a set of fenders mounted to the frame. To be visable to drivers in the dark I have a pair of red and white flashing lights mounted to the bike and another pair of lights mounted on my helmet. A neon yellow reflective vest helps drivers see me in the dark.
Some Helpful Hints
- Google Maps is a great resource for picking a good, safe bike route.
- The more pavement to the right of the white line the better.
- A helmet, lights, water, gloves and proper biking shorts are a must for safety and comfort.
- Is also a good idea to carry a few spare tubes, a pump and tire wrench to fix a flat.
- Keep your eyes open for wildlife! I’ve seen deer, possum and raccoons on my office commute.
Along with the obvious environmental, financial and fitness benefits of bike transport, there’s one more side benefit called the ‘runner’s high.’ The mild endorphin rush generated by the hard physical exercise makes my morning ride the best part of the day & the ride home the 2nd best part of the day. Brain-produced endorphins are chemically similar to morphine, generating a natural feeling of euphoria depending on how hard the runner or biker works.
So, when you see me out there churning and burning in low gear, hauling a load of stuff up a big hill, know that the experience is not as painful is it may seem. There’s always gain after the pain!
Join me sometime!