My planned bike commute route, and first attemptI’ve only done one practice ride and I didn’t even make it all the way, but I think it’s still feasible enough to say it out loud: I may become a bike commuter.

Mind you, my commute route is 18.14 miles long (according to Google maps), over hilly middle Tennessee terrain (according to my legs). It’ll be one hell of a workout. But on the plus side: it’ll be one hell of a workout! I’ll never have to visit a gym again.

Except, of course, that part of the logistics involve visiting a gym every morning. Part of what makes this possible is that the Cool Springs YMCA is mere blocks from Magazines.com, so I can shower at the Y and coast downhill to work.

My next step is to try another test ride, this time with some of the gear I might use to commute. If I go through with this plan, I’ll need to invest in:

  • lights and reflectors to be safe on the ride back after work
  • panniers to carry change of clothes, laptop, and miscellaneous stuff
  • neon-bright bike wardrobe that protects against leg chafing — definitely an issue yesterday

Me at the farmers marketAnd yes, I probably want to buy a new bike. I love my fun and adorable cruiser for riding around town, but I gather that a road bike would make the long ride much easier and more efficient. But I want to be sure I’ll actually do this before I invest in a commuting bike.

Because there are several other considerations: I’d also want to try to adjust my schedule so that I leave the house as early as daylight will allow and leave the office while there’s still enough light left to avoid riding home in the dark, at least for now. If I do this through the winter it’ll be pretty tough to avoid riding in the dark, since it’s already pretty dark by 5 most days in December. Not to mention what it might be like to ride that far in the cold.

But December is a long ways away, and the conditions now are pretty much opposite: plenty of daylight, and too much heat for comfort.

Still, I’m excited. I really want to do this. If I could manage to do it five days a week, I’d be riding 180 miles, saving 175 lbs of CO2, burning 8,460 calories, and saving almost $40 in gas costs each and every week.

Any one of those numbers would be incredibly motivating, but all of them together? How could I not give this a go?

New bikes!
Get a car off the road AND get a great workout? Sure!

4 thoughts on “Get a car off the road AND get a great workout? Sure!

  • July 20, 2008 at 11:30 am
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    Do it! But for God’s sake, make sure you think safety first. Auto commuters aren’t very excited about sharing Nashville roads. I’m the geek with the mirror clipped onto my helmet, but it sure does help.

    Get yourself a good hybrid bike, but don’t be afraid to sacrifice a few lbs. of weight for a frame and tires that can handle jumping the occasional curb and a little sidewalk riding. I’m in the market for just that sort of bike because there are parts of my commute where I want to get as much concrete and asphalt between me and the cars as possible.

    Reply
  • July 20, 2008 at 11:48 am
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    Do it! But for God’s sake, make sure you think safety first.

    Definitely. Karsten wouldn’t even entertain the discussion until he drove the route while I rode it yesterday and could see that in most places the conditions look pretty safe for jumping out of cars’ way and that sort of thing. After I joined him in the car, he conceded that it looked reasonable, but he wanted me to wear as much fluorescent orange and yellow as I could, to rig up mirrors, and to be basically as overly cautious as I can. I think that’s do-able.

    Get yourself a good hybrid bike, but don’t be afraid to sacrifice a few lbs. of weight for a frame and tires that can handle jumping the occasional curb and a little sidewalk riding.

    You’re one of the people I knew would have some great input on this; I’d love to get as much advice as possible. Do you recommend the bike shop on West End for good guidance, or is there somewhere else where people might be more knowledgeable in helping me narrow down the bike options?

    Reply
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