Friday, July 25, 2008

Bike Commute Week and Going a little Green

(Well this might be the Bike Gallery's theme this summer, but I'm going to use it!)

What a great week! Except for the fact that Tom was gone and I had to go to work it was a great week. Last weekend we spent a lot of time driving around, in and out of Portland to go to the Velodrome and just other general running errands and all that. With all the gas that we used in my car I decided that this week I would go by bike and leave my car home. Monday is my regular "rest" day from all athletic type activities so I drive every Monday. Although Monday is the day that I go and stock up on lunch type items at work and make sure that I have all that I need so I don't have to bring so much in my backpack so it's a necessary drive day in a way. Tuesday - Friday though, bike all the way!

It's funny how people here at work will talk to me about cycling news that is coming up in the newspapers recently. Most recently the report on how representatives from Portland Police Bureau's traffic division have been parking themselves at key intersections in Portland and targeted cyclists running the stop light and/or the stop signs. Not that I would do that, but there have been occasions that I have merely slowed down (a lot) at a stop sign and then went thru or waited and waited at a red light and decided that waiting was silly and gone on - but things are different here, Clark County doesn't have the numbers of bike commuters as Portland so it's hard to really compare. No matter though, someone on a bike gets hit by a car or hits a car or makes the news and I get to hear about it. Like I can make it stop. I do my part to try and stay safe and I am more than courteous to cars around me. All I can do is try to gain their respect. What other people do, does unfortunately transfer to me and my choice of transportation at times.

Salmon Creek Hill today Alpe d'Huez tomorrow?

Now that my "new" compact crank is all dialed in and I haven't had a problem this week - I'm excited to try some hills instead of the bumps in the road that I have been riding. This morning I decided to go thru Felida on my way to work and the hill was not that bad. I took it slow and steady and didn't stop. I have been kind of dreading going thru Felida to go to work because it isn't as fast and a whole lot steeper than my regular route, even though I made it to work in less time, but it took longer for the distance that I went. Now I understand why the mountain stages in the Tour are broadcast for more than two hours than the flat stages. Going up hill goes slow - for me at least.

Last night I rode to meet Tom at Esther Short Park - instead of taking Main Street all the way to 39th or 33rd I decided to take 45th (another short hill) to Washington and on to Columbia Street to head to the park. It isn't that bad in a car, but on a bike, a little slower. That was a snap too!

I don't know if I'm getting better or if the crank is helping or what, but all of a sudden I'm liking these hills. Of course, Shawn keeps telling me about all the hills in his neck of the woods and thankfully I'm way far away from Yacolt so I don't have to ride them!


When Tom goes out of town and I have been on my bike a lot I tend to come up with some pretty funny ideas. That's what happens when I have no one but the cats to bounce ideas off of. Decaf is always in agreement with me as long as I have a snack for him! These ideas seem perfectly fine to me, but might not appeal to other people. When I think of an idea I am hopeful that Tom will entertain my suggestions to see if they will work. My ideas for going a little more green have been few, but the latest is that I would like to start riding to the Salmon Creek Safeway to do grocery shopping. I have refused to go to that store even though it is only 3.5 miles from our house. That store has always been so frustrating to me, but I would be willing to shop there if I didn't have to drive my car. This plan would take some extra planning at first, but I think we could make it work out. Darn that Planet Green Network!

No matter, I believe that if everyone makes a couple of changes in their everyday life it will make a difference in the long run. Plus, being eco-friendly and riding my bike is good for me too - except for the car exhaust and the people trying to run me off the road!

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