27 July 2011

Bike-commute day 60—to work

Wednesday, 27 July 2011.

Today is the 60th day of commuting this year, but I was in no shape for a celebratory ride. It was slow going this morning. I felt a bit of wooziness even as I started out. Is it from dehydration? I wondered, thinking then of the triple hands-cups of water just before bed and the frothy mix of orange juice and La Croix water this morning and deciding No, I don't think I've been lax in taking the fluids. Maybe from our low-carb salad dinner last night? Perhaps. But in any case, I had allowed myself a late start this morning, after hand-watering plants both in the back yard and the front. So the late start and a continued slow pace would mean no time for shaving during my shower.

At the Springfield Street crossing out of Eastwood Park, I caught up to a single cylist, a woman who I had never seen before. After navigating the crossings of Springfield Street and North Smithville, I decided to wait for her to catch up. Her pace was slower than my usual, but at 14 mph was well matched to the lower intensity I could muster today. Her name was Bonnie, and she typically rides a few days each week from her home in Beavercreek to Xenia and back. Today she wanted a change of scenery, and she was enjoying the canopied cover and occasional open areas of the ride into Dayton.

Bonnie is retired, as is her husband. They had often taken their bike rides together, until he had suffered a few bike crashes, one of which broke his hip and collarbone. Now his sense of balance is lower, and he's much more tentative, so Bonnie rides alone. We had reached the split of the Iron Horse Trail by the time I had offered my own crash stories, and she turned east toward Beavercreek and I headed south to work.

Mid-Season Summary
Looking back over the blog posts for the commuting season, I see I was anticipating the commute as early as February. But that month had no commutes and only a Saturday trial to check the viability of commuting. In March, I had 10 days of commuting; a few "rain days" are accounted for in the month. April had only 7 days of commuting by bike and 4 documented days of rain that prevented commuting. May had 16 commute days by bike, and some of these occurred with rain in the forecast or actually making my ride a wet one. I took 14 bike-commute days in June, and the same number so far in July.

So my average is commuting about 60% of the workdays from March through July. That's a bummer to me: I've often said that I commute by bike four days a week on the average, and the truth is more like three days a week.

One of the FiveRivers staff was mowing the grass bank above the Mad River bikeway this morning. It seemed a strange choice to me that he had mowed over plastic bottles, shredding them into gnarled segments. If a cleanup detail is posted for the area, they'll have a bit more work because of the mowing activity.

Mowing always seems a strange choice to me. First, why not leave the river banks in their natural state, except for removing trees and shrubs as they begin to gain a hold? The uncut grasses would cut down the numbers of geese squatting on the bikeway, since the geese prefer to be within view of water and the safety it provides. Another benefit to leaving the grass uncut is financial: mowing costs are lowered and cleaning the debris on the bikeway is made unnecessary. Finally, leaving the grass uncut benefits the cyclist users too, since the mowing always kicks stones and rocks onto the bikeway, which offer a potential of flats or, in extreme cases, instability from gravel patches on the bikeway.

Glass still on the bikeway about 0.15 mile south of the Linden Avenue crossing. I'll call this in today to the Springfield Street shed.

Tree debris still littering the bikeways under the canopies.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 69 to 80°F at 07:55
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm
Clothing: Skinsuit, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed gear
Time: 00:45:31 for 11.92 miles
Heart rate: 121 bpm HRave, 140 bpm HRmax
Bikeway users: 9 cyclists, 7 pedestrians, 1 dog
Playback of the ride.

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