zigdon: (Default)
 Oh, so stuff happened. Ouch.
zigdon: (RBR)
I don't normally complain about bad drivers on my commute, and this particular bad driver isn't why I'm posting this.

On the ride from Caltrain at Palo Alto to the office, I ride through Stanford University.  Most of the way is very nice, with bike lanes, but the initial access road (where University st becomes Palm Dr) is just a busy two-lanes-per-direction street.  Most of the riders getting off the train end up riding on the sidewalk (which is marked as okay), but I got in the habit of just staying in the road, instead of dealing with pedestrians.

So today, I'm riding along, and given that it's a narrow road with no shoulder, I take the lane.  At some point, a car flies by me, IN MY LANE, basically squeezing between me and the car in the next lane over.  The speed difference was probably about 30mph.  I yelp, yell at it, and catch up to it as it stops at the red light down the road.

The driver does her best to pretend she can't see me, refuses to make eye contact, whatever.

The another cyclist that was riding on the road behind me catches up, and I complain: "That was way too close".  His response?  "Well, you were riding in the middle of the lane there...".

Uh, yeah.  It wasn't by accident either!

Am I crazy?  What am I missing here?  Given that I think everyone involved agreed that that was way too close (including the driver, based on her reaction), how does it make sense to blame me here?  Am I expecting too much from other cyclists, as far as sympathy?

New bike!

Oct. 10th, 2010 01:20 pm
zigdon: (Default)
I've been riding my trusty Trek 1200 for quite a while now.  It wasn't my first bike as an adult, but it was the first road bike.  

I'm sure it will always have a special place in my heart, and I'm not going to be getting rid of it any time soon.  But a few months ago I rode a friend's bike, and while it didn't quite fit me, the experience was quite amazing.  It felt light, and responsive, the shifting was so smooth, it was eye opening.

So I decided perhaps it's time to upgrade. Looked around a bit, rode a few different bikes, but the only one that really clicked with me was a bike I felt I had no right to get:

TCR Advanced SL3
 It's a racing frame, all carbon, Ultegra parts, and I just didn't feel I'd be comfortable riding on it, or locking it outside of a restaurant, or taking it on Caltrain.  But eventually, Alameda Bicycle was able to offer me a really good deal, the insurance company agreed to cover it under the house's policy, and my friends helped me see that once I'm on it, I'll be plenty comfortable.

Well, as it might be been clear from the start, I did get it.  Rode it home from Alameda last night, it was SO MUCH FUN.  First time I got on a road bike after riding the hybrid, it felt like it just "wanted to go".  This bike gives me the same feeling when compared to the Trek.  I think I can deal with riding it for the next few years :) 

And if people are laughing at me?  Since when do I care? ;) 
zigdon: (RBR)
I just sold my car. Waiting now for the pile of emergencies that will suddenly make owning a car really really useful.
zigdon: (RBR)
MLK day, it's an optional holiday at work. Perhaps I should have taken that option...

Got up on time, dark, gray out, seems windy. Oh well, get dressed, get on the bike, head out.

Once I was out the door, I found out that it's also raining. Hmm, maybe wearing these jeans isn't such a great idea, but no time to change now!

2 blocks down I notice I left my iPod at home, oh well, no music for me.

Get to BART, the shuttle is already gone. Perhaps it wasn't running today at all? No matter, need to find an alternate route.

Look at the bus schedules, find that the C bus should be by in about 3 minutes, sweet.

Search and look and eventually find the bus station wait there.

...

@$#@, it's MLK day, bus probably isn't running it's weekday schedule. Stupid weekend schedules.

Wait! If everything is on the weekend schedule, I could take the bike on BART!

Ask the station manager, got an "uhhh, you might be okay?". With that ringing endorsement, I get on the platform. Next train is in 20 minutes. Did I already fuck the weekend schedule? Good.

On the train, long ride, most people get off in SF, I'm able to sit and read until Millbrae.

There, figure out which side of the platform I need on CalTrain, see a train approaching, run for it, make it.

As an afterthought, ask the conductor if the train stops at Palo Alto. I suspect I would have ended up in San Jose if I didn't ask, because the answer was "No! But we do at Menlo Park". Fine, only a few extra miles ride, not a big deal.

Train stops. PA says "Ladies and gentlemen, the train has stopped...". We all share a laugh in the bike car "Yup", "Figured that part out", "Perhaps a why we stopped would be more interesting?".

... 30 minutes pass ... I send a text message to the breakfast chef at work that I'll be late, but if he saves me a burrito, my morning would improve greatly.

Eventually, we get going again. I get off at the station, try to figure out which direction I need to go. Thankfully, having a GPS in my pocket actually paid off (and knowing how to unlock the phone with my nose so that I don't have to take my gloves off!). Ride.

On the way, thinking about all the things that went wrong I was thinking "at least I'm fairly dry". Cue *heavy* rain. My pants (which I thought were wet before) get soaked through in about 30 seconds. And my shoes (which *were* dry before) fill with water.

"At least my torso is dry, I shouldn't get sick!". Sudden feeling of wetness in my elbows dripping down to my hands.

"FUCK YOU POSEIDON! I'm getting to work and there is *nothing* you can do to stop me!". Heavy winds. Heavier rain. I don't care about time anymore, or speed for that matter. I'll be in my granny gear, being passed by joggers, I will get there!

Eventually, I do. I roll into the cafeteria (which has stopped serving breakfast 30 minutes ago). I drip there, waiting to be noticed. My guy sees me, goes to get my burrito that he has saved... and it's gone. He comes through though, and makes me a fresh, hot, tasty breakfast. The day *does* improve.

Getting to my office, I strip down as much as would be appropriate in the office, and lay down my soaked socks, gloves (inside out), hat on a towel I happen to have. I should start keeping a pair of shorts here, would have been nice to get out of the wet jeans.

But I made it, and only 30-60 minutes late. Take that, weather.

(why do I have a feeling that payback might be on the ride back home? ;)
zigdon: (RBR)
So this whole commuting to work by car is starting to get old. Here's what I currently do:

Get up around 7-8am, get in the car by 8:30. Drive to work (880S to either San Maeteo or Dumbarton). Get to work around 9:30-10, depending on traffic. Each way is about 40-50 miles, $4 toll (one way), wear and tear on the car, and I have to stay awake for the entire thing.

But what if I find a way to ride? One "easy" option would be to just take BART down to Union City, and ride across the Dumbarton. ~45 minutes on the train, then on my bike for ~25 miles. Including across the bridge, which is a very windy 4 mile hill. I've ridden across it a few times, it was never fun.

Another option that I started thinking about today is to go the other way. Cross the bay to SF, then take CalTrain to Palo Alto. Thing is, my bike isn't allowed on BART during rush hour across the bay. Which leaves me with two options:

- Take the BART shuttle from MacArthur station to SF (costs $1, runs during rush hour every 45 minutes or so, usually fills up at some point)
- Borrow S's folding bike, which is always allowed on BART, and ride that.

I'm not a huge fan of riding her folder though, but it might do for a test run. If I do like it, I could always buy a modern folder, with a reasonable gear selection, that wouldn't kill me going up the hills to work.

I might try that, but I think I'll try the shuttle first. Which leaves me with the following plan:

- Get up at 7 or so.
- Ride down to MacArthur by 7:30 (2mi ride). Should be there early enough to get a seat on the shuttle.
-- If that fails, ride back home, drive to work, and try again another day!
- Shuttle across to SF, ride to Caltrain (1.2 mi ride).
- Get one of the trains that leave at 8:19, 8:24 or 8:44.
- Get to Palo Alto by 9:01, 9:18 or 9:26.
- Ride to work (3.8 miles).

Total ride: ~$9, 7 miles, get to work by 9:45 or so.

If this works, it's a little bit slower than driving, but not that bad. Significantly cheaper. And I get to read on the shuttle and train for more than an hour. Oh, and also, drive a lot less :)

Sounds awesome, right? ;)
zigdon: (Default)
Hmmm, I wonder if I should go to Boston on my birthday and ride Hub on Wheels with Haplo?  Might not be a bad way to celebrate :)
zigdon: (RBR)
Riding home last night, I noticed a rhythmic bump on the bike.  Took me a while to figure out if it was on the road, or on the bike.  By the time I decided it must be on the bike, I was losing air in my rear wheel.

"Oh great, a flat."

Pull over, get on the sidewalk, and replace the tube.  It's not too cold out, not a big deal.  But as I was checking the new tube is in place properly, I notice there's a problem with the tire itself...  Yes, that's a hole the size of my thumb.



Damn, guess I'm not going to be riding home.  Ended up walking about a mile to a bus stop, and taking that home - so pleased the buses here have bike racks on them!

Today, I went to the bike shop, got a new tire, and while I was there, had them replace my cassette, which I somehow managed to bend:



Now, all that's left is to see if I can get some of those bike-commuting tax money that was passed with the big bailout!
zigdon: (Default)
Went riding around today with Stephanie and DC in SF.  Given that I've lived here for over a year, there really isn't any excuse for barely ever making it up to the city.

So we went riding around, and even crossed the Golden Gate Bridge :)  Fun day, not too much to report.  Pictures are here.
zigdon: (Default)

This year is starting off fairly well. Instead of my usual "sit at home and kinda ignore new-year's eve", I was actually invited to a NYE party, up in Sacramento. The party was fun (thanks, Matthias!), but the real reason to go there was a grand scheme - DC, Stephanie and I were going to ride out bikes down from Sacramento back to the bay area, about 60 miles total.

And so it was. We took the train up (with Christina), had fun, drank lots of booze, played lots of Contact, and went to sleep. In the morning, had tasty tasty French Toast, and around 1pm started our ride.

The ride itself was a lot of fun - I wouldn't have complained if it was 5F warmer, or if we EVER saw the sun, but it was still a good time. I love group rides, and I like hanging with DC and Stephanie, so really, there wasn't anywhere I'd rather have been.

We got to ride on two ferries, have a tasty lunch (nothing tastes quite as good as WARM FOOD when you can't feel your toes), got lost a number of times (or at least miss our the turns we were looking for), but we did make it without any serious mishap.

All in all, it was about 70mi, and took about 6:30 hours (counting the stops for lunch, oranges, ferries, pictures, map lookups, etc). Activebody was impressed - when I entered the ride data last night, it proclaimed that at this rate, I'll do 27k miles or so for the entire year. I think it's being optimistic, but that's ok :)

I sat down today and plotted what I could of the route on Bikely (with Stephanie's help, that is), and posted some of the pictures.

A good start indeed, and I have no reason to expect the year won't get even better :)

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