Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's tough when you first become a serious bike rider and commuter. First of all, the bike racing community can be a little bit tough to break into and really feel comfortable in at first. I've seen this first hand a little bit down at Hains Point during lunch time rides. It would probably help a little bit if I would try to talk a little to the other guys but let's face it; I'm busy just huffing and puffing to keep up while they are chatting away. Hopefully that comes with time; we'll see. Luckily there are certain clubs that are more oriented to bringing in riders and not so centered on racing and all.

The second and most prevalent obstacle for the new rider is the gear; that crap is expensive! I mean a good jersey costs at least $60 bucks and you can't just survive on one jersey. Unless of course you feel like doing laundry every single night especially as a commuter. Then there are the shorts, where a good pair that actually help on long rides costs around the same as the jerseys. That's not even getting into things like socks, shoes, pedals water bottles, tires, tubes and of course the bike itself. (Oh and those guys have some sweet kit; my little ebay ordered trek team jersey stands out like a sore thumb).

Now to make this all worse it's friggin freezing out there now. This morning for my commute I wore a long sleeve base layer shirt, three short sleeve jersey's and a long sleeve jersey and was an absolute icicle when I got to work. That was almost every single piece of cycling gear I own too! I rode during lunch with just about the same get up on though I added some arm warmers to the mix and so when I went to get dressed for the commute home I realized my base layer long sleeve shirt was still sweaty from lunch; so much for that one. The ride home was cold to say the least, though the fleece lined arm warmers were quite helpfull.

Around this time of year my mother always begins to pester me about what kind of things they can get me for Christmas and almost every year I come up with the same old "I don't know, whatever you feel like getting me" response. This year however was quite different. I actually had a list for her; all of it winter cycling gear hilighted in the performance cycling holiday catalogue. Oh Santa please be good to me this year; my core body tempurature will greatly appreciate it.

On a slightly different note, this morning on my commute in to work I was riding down 9th St NW right next to the convention center when someone behind me starts honking. I turn around and there is a big Chrysler 300M driving down the center of the road half way in each of the two lanes going south down the road. At first I assumed he was honking for something else but then I realize he's honking at me because I am riding on the street. Now I am almost always very good about taking up only the amount of space I need to be clear of car doors and giving cars plenty of space to get around me and this morning was no different. I throw my arm up as if to ask what he wants and he honks again and speeds around me (I of course respond by giving him the finger and riding on).

The great thing is that he then pulled up behind about four or five other cars at a stop light that he was going to sit at whether I was there or not. I was tempted to stop next to his window and tell him off but thought better or if it and rode up to the light and on my way. He never got any where near me again after that as the traffic around 9th and Mass is always pretty heavy and I breezed through pretty quickly on my bike. That though was prime example of how it seems most people view bikes on the roads which is such a sad thing.

Besides the whole environmental impact aspects of cycing instead of driving cyclists should be considered a blessing by those people who feel they absolutely must take their cars to and from work in the city. That's one less car off the road and lets face it, in no way this morning did I slow a single person down on their way to work. Car traffic on the other hand, now that's another story. People driving cars should be happy to see another cyclist on the road; they don't cause the congestion of cars, they are easy to pass and while cause only the slightest delay when passing is neccessary and we don't take up any parking spaces (unless you count one car space removed for five to ten bikes being parked).

All in all its a win-win situation; unless of course some idiot drivers road rage causes him to hit a cyclist because he might have had to slow down for a couple of seconds before he could get around him.

Photo from

Check out the story on that above pic; that is just sick. Kind of reminds me of my buddies altercation the other week I wrote about.

Oh and one other thing, another transportation related post by The Rock Creek Rambler that I found pretty good.

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