Ray's Biking Blog

I ride my bike to work… I'm a bike commuter

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Long Ride, Cool Temps, and 1,000 Miles

The heated grip of summer is loosening here in the Carolina’s. I for one know it couldn’t come soon enough. It has been a brutally hot summer this year. One for the books. I’ll be glad to wave it goodbye.

This morning, with the crisp morning temps calling my name, I did my first long ride into work. 10.7 miles. It was heaven. A rode a route I mapped out years ago and became quite familiar with it. Back in 2011 and 2012 I rode quite a bit into work. In those 2 years, I amassed 2,500 miles just riding to work.  (6,000 miles total) To put that into perspective, this year I have ridden 460 miles into work. I’m riding with more frequency this year, just shorter commutes.

Not this morning though.   This morning was awesome.

The route was a bit more hillier (is that a word?) than I remember. UPHILL that is. I was churning along though.

This afternoon’s ride back will put me over 1,000 miles for the year. My 4th best year, out of the last 9. I’ll take it.

Tomorrow will be another long ride as well. The weather is just too nice to NOT ride in further.


“Dammit! The Streak is Over!”

For the past 115 days, I have made it out for a bike ride.   I started a streak that has grown day by day into a triple digit number.

I always knew when I first started that the only thing that could possibly derail me from riding would be one of 2 things:

  1.  I get injured
  2. My BIKE breaks

Well, the 2nd option happened this morning.

I drove into work (into the church parking lot where I park to ride in.)  Upon taking my bike off my bike rack, I loaded up my saddle bags and started riding the short distance into my office.

I could tell right away something wasn’t right.  My back tire was all over the place.  It felt like I didn’t secure the quick release mechanism to keep the back tire in place.    Upon pulling over to examine what was going on, I could feel the rear cassette moving around.   NOT good.

“Damn it!   My streak is over!” I kept muttering to myself as I walked (with my head hung low) back to my car to reattach my bike to the rack and proceed to drive in and park (AND PAY) for the day.

The last time I didn’t ride my bike into work this year was back on March 30th.   Torrential (BIBLICAL) amounts of rain kept me off my bike that day.

So, as I sat in my office PISSED OFF, I googled the symptoms of my bike and it appeared to be an easy fix…  (Easy being relevant….)

So, I stopped by my FAVORITE bike shop on the way home where the bike mechanic diagnosed the issue NOT as a loose cassette (which was my hope)…. I cracked my back axle in half.    That’s a first for me.   I’ve been riding bikes pretty aggressively for close to 42 years and I’ve never done that.

Fortunately, he had a spare rim and axle  in the back.

“The STREAK is NOT dead afterall!!” I said to myself over and over again as my bike was being repaired.

I was anxious to get home and take her out for a  ride.   I’m not lying when I say she rides better now than the day I bought her…(and YES, I treat my bike as a “her” just like guys do with their CARS.)

My GT bike is 22 years old and it runs like a dream.

I got out for a short 6-mile ride that was pure heaven…   I also replaced the ORIGINAL saddle that came with the bike.  It’s like I’m sitting on a pillow now!

So, the streak is alive and well.   116 days.   I’m 25 miles shy of 1,000 miles for the year.   Sure, I’ve had many years with more miles, but I’m happy with my totals.

I’m just happy to have my bike back in TIP-TOP shape.

Life is good!

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Parking Rates Going Up

When I first started riding into work, back in 2009, parking (in the lot where I parked) was $5/day. Today, as I rode my bike into work, I noticed the fee went up to $7/day (after being $6/day for a few years…)

I just SMILED ear to ear as I rode by that sign. $7 a day? Seriously? That’s $140 a month I’m saving by simply riding my bike (part way) into work.

For $140 a month, that’s my cable bill ($68) plus my water bill ($25) and almost my (average) monthly electric bill.  I never really thought of it that way.

By riding into work, I’m basically getting FREE cable, free water, and free electricity.

I think I’ll keep riding into work.

Let the parking rate keep going UP.

Doesn’t affect me ONE BIT….

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Combining Two Of My Favorite Hobbies

aa_IMG_5919Cycling and photography.   2 of my favorite things.  (Writing music would top out the perfect tri-fecta)…

Got out this morning with my camera.  There is a farm about 1.5 miles from my house that I pass every morning and I have been wanting to grab a shot of it for a while now.

Well, today was the day.

I’m fortunate to live in a small town that has a deep rich history.   Old buildings that date back hundreds of years dot our Main Street here.   Southern plantation-type houses that have porches to die for are all around town here.  IMG_5953-001 I really enjoy walking and cycling right here in town.   Each time I’m out I notice something new or find a new interesting part of the town I never took the time to slow down and see.

That’s the joy of cycling vs. driving.   You SEE more when you are on a bike.   You learn the landscape of your town with each pedal you push.

So instead of jumping into my car to drive a short distance, I loaded up my camera gear in my saddle bag and headed out.    The morning temps gave a slight chill to the air.   PERFECT riding weather.

I took about 35 pics this morning while out and about.

If you want to see more of my photography, head on over to my Photo blog site at:  www.rflanaganphotography.wordpress.com


Cooling Off a Bit

I track the morning temps of my rides.   Always have.   I’m a numbers guy.  I’m fascinated with them.

The 60’s are back (at least this week) here in the Carolinas for my morning ride into work.

Will it last?   I hope so.   It’s the HIGH 60’s, so it’s nothing stellar, but it beats the heck out of the high 70’s I have ridden in all summer long here.

Now if we can just work on the afternoon temps.   They’re still in the 90’s.

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One Streak is Over, One Still Continues

My good friend Bill, who is a MACHINE when it comes to cycling, ended his 46-day streak yesterday.   There comes a time as a cyclist (and an athlete) and as a HUMAN BEING where you have to listen to your body.   As you grow older this becomes even more so the case.   To ignore signals your body is sending you is to risk injury.   And seriously?   Who wants to do that?

Bill texted me last night that his streak is over.    I still applaud his 46 days.   He covered more miles in his 46 day streak than I did in my 104-day current streak.

Mileage is not the goal this year.  Same with Bill.   Just being on the bike is the goal.   We are both definitely meeting that.

Kudos Bill.    Now, start another streak!  :)


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