My First Partial Bike Commute: Trial and Error

My alarm is awful. I’ve worked to slowly get used to waking up as peacefully as possible, and I now wake up to one of my favorite Bach pieces, Aria by Simone Dinnerstein on almost minimum volume. But at 5:45am, even an angles song would piss me off.

This was the first morning I would try bike (partially) to work! The night before I planned everything. I was already wearing my base later (a merino wool long sleeve, some long johns, and the best travel underwear ever!), the water was measured and ready to start some great local coffee, my tire pressure was perfect, and my lunch was ready to be thrown in the bag with my neatly folded office clothes!

That smile wouldn't last to long though :(

That smile wouldn’t last to long though 😦

Coffee down, banana ate, and layers applied, I stepped out into the 42ºF morning. It was drizzling, and my hands were cold (I lost my gloves camping a few weeks ago >:8), and I had developed a sore throat, cough, and the sniffles during the night, but I wasn’t going to let any of these excuses stop me! I put the rubber to the metal and began my first ever commute!

3 miles later I was just about to exit town. I was alread a quarter of the way there and ready for anything. Traffic was light at 6:15am, and the rain wasn’t so bad either. The street lamps had lit my way for a time, but soon they would become few and far between. Then it happened: my head light went out…

I forgot to charge the damn headlight.

I had faced down every obstacle that morning. The cold. A cold. The rain. The early morning. Everything. But I couldn’t ride in the dark.  Even if I could see (which I couldn’t) cars entering the highway couldn’t see me. Irritated, I turned around. Pulling in I scared my wife half to death as she wondered from the shower what the noises were as I dragged my bike into the house, defeated, and slightly peeved. My first commute had dissolved to mere 6 mile workout.

But today was different. Still fighting a cold, I got up, made another pot of coffee, packed another lunch, and made a quick steak and eggs breakfast. As I tied my shoes, my pups wished me luck in a variety of ways. Zoey licked my shoes and pawed at my knee; Java, rubbed her butt on the floor. I am truly loved.

Java left, Zoey Right.  The best cheerleaders a guy could ask for!

Java left, Zoey Right. The best cheerleaders a guy could ask for!

When I stepped outside today the weather was a great 48ºF !  That’s not sarcasm, only 6 degrees difference and suddenly my hands aren’t cold anymore. There were only a few clouds in the sky and the moon shined bright. Compared to yesterday, these were perfect conditions!

I had to tackle 3 large hills on my way, but I was rewarded on the last one with a speed I’ve never experienced on a bike before. As I raced the sun to the Buckhead MARTA station, I abandoned my workout playlist (a J-Pop album that is both upbeat and allows me to practice listening to Japanese!) to enjoy the wind, occasional bird song, and the sound of panting progress!

Arriving in Buckhead via Bike

Goooooood morning Buckhead!

Just short of 12 miles and a tad over an hour later, I rode into the station sweaty and alive. I wanted to talk to everyone I passed, but most were still asleep; they had barely made it this far, better to not disturb them. That’s OK, don’t mind the crazy person smiling to himself, he’s going to be just fine.  He’s going to be better!


8 thoughts on “My First Partial Bike Commute: Trial and Error

  1. I love your first day, that you battled the cold and your cold regardless….and very smart turning back with no light!

    I’ve just started bicycle commuting last week myself and absolutely LOVE it! I rode here this morning in 32F weather….clear and COLD! Borderline too cold for me but the ride home should be sunny and beautiful!

    Have a great ride home!

    • Haha, I’m looking very forward to it. Contemplating ducking out a bit early even 😉

      32!? Looks like I’ll have even less excuses the next time I think it’s too cold haha.

      Thanks for commenting! Ride Safe!

      • Haha, I’m still so excited on the days that I bike home that I barely get any work done in the back half of the day!

        My first day involved falling off my bike twice (stupid clip in pedals), getting lost and swallowing two bugs….things improved from there!

      • Hahah that sounds like a heck of challenging first ride! Glad to hear you kept at it. It’s already pretty scary, add on the apparent cursed learning curve and I’m surprised anyone has managed to do this 🙂

        Glad to be a part of such a special club haha!

  2. Bit late to preach once you have already learned from your mistake but I always have fresh batteries in the tool bag on bike and if doing any of my endurance stuff have spare light &| head torch in rucksack, pack of batteries is a few grams.
    A pleasant read though, good post!

      • Personally it changes depending on the weather and the distance. Normally a spare chain link and chain breaker, as I ride fixie the chain is under more load, inner tube and a puncture kit (magic patches if I have any), pump, Allen key set, tire patch, tire leavers and pack of jelly (makes you feel a bit sick but good energy boost if energy levels are down and still miles from home. Oh and in winter / on rides that extend into the night, spare batteries and a head torch that can be red or white

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