15 August 2011

Bike-commute day 67—to home

Monday, 15 August 2011

I left work very late—leaving my desk at 18:45, as the ever-earlier sunset rules me now. And as I rushed from the locker room in my cycling kit, Dave Stephens asked me as he approached the exit also, "What are those things on the bottom of your shoes?"

I lifted my heel as I held momentarily at the door. "It's a kind of cleat that mates to the pedals on my bike. Here, I'll show you at the bike rack."

I led him outside to my waiting bike, and then twirled the Shimano pedal. "The pedal is the same on both sides, for easy clipping in."

"Oh, so you can pull up as well as push down on the stroke!"

"Well, actually so I can apply power throughout the stroke, not only up and down, but also pulling back at the bottom of the stroke, and using the full circle of movement to apply power."

"Well that makes sense, to tie your leg to the machine."

"But that's not the only way to make the man-machine more efficient. You see the gears? It's just one gear on this bike, and it's a fixed gear—there's no coasting. When I pedal, the bike moves. And if I would happen to pedal backwards, that's the direction I would go."

By this time, I had turned on the Garmin, clipped it onto its pedestal, unlocked and recurled my padlock cable. I pulled the bike our of the rack and set it beside me, ready for the hop on.

"Well," Dave said, "I have to take the top down on my convertible. And you have the top down all the time, perfect for a day like this." He headed on to his waiting auto.

I gave Dave a whoop of a goodby and a wave. We were both looking forward to the commute home.

So with this fresh reminder of the importance of a circular, fluid stroke, I had additional power against the north winds that had open stretches to build their strength for the short ride along Spaulding Road before I turned into the Haverfield Canopy. I wondered if Dave's engineering background would incite thoughts of how the man-machine efficiency I experience compares to the power and joy of driving his vehicle.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 76 to 82°F at 18:15
Precipitation: none
Winds: 5 to 10 mph from the northwest
Clothing: Skinsuit, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed gear
Time: 00:41:09 for 11.95 miles
Heart rate: 135 bpm HRave, 152 bpm HRmax
Bikeway users: 30 cyclists, 17 pedestrians, 1 dog
Playback of the ride

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