Bike Commuting is Fun!

After starting a new job, I’m reminded of the fun of bike commuting.  A few main points:

  • Riding a bicycle every morning and evening keeps me sane, especially because I spend 10.5 hours of my day sitting at a desk in front of a computer.
  • Co-workers are always surprised and impressed and want to talk about it.  I try to make it sound fun and easy, while at the same time secretly being proud of the one trait that makes me interesting.
  • Businesses are really catching on.  The new sky scraper where I work has a lovely secure bike room directly off the lobby.  I was locking my bike up outside the building when a man from security saw me through the window and came outside to walk me to this magical bike room.  Very nice!
Oma at Night

Oma at Night

My commutes continue to be dark and rainy, but I’m having fun. I’d better get used to the dark, as the days are only getting shorter.  The rain will soon become snow, though.  I say bring it on!

As for clothing, I continue to overdress.  The temperature today was a relatively temperate 55 degrees.  I wore sweater tights with a sweater dress and tore off my wool cardigan at a stop light en route to work.  For the commute home I added my rain coat and leg warmers, and was hot by the time I got home.  Those leg warmers are seriously warm!

10-29 dot oma

Another fall outfit

Mr. Dottie wore his regular work site clothes with a wool shirt underneath.  No fancy clothing or gear necessary.

10-29 greg

Greg

Yesterday was – shocker!- not rainy and I enjoyed the ride home with my friend EA, stopping at a pub to enjoy mixtures of Guinness, Harp and apple cider. Somehow I forgot to take pictures. If there are no digital images to document an event, does it really make a sound?

Sadly, tomorrow is supposed to bring thunderstorms and I may take the el train to avoid lightening.  Just when I’m getting back in the bike commuting groove…

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30 thoughts on “Bike Commuting is Fun!

  1. commuting is fun, but I’ve noticed that the parts I like the most don’t involve car traffic. I got a good drenching on the way home today, but the wetness kept me from getting too hot. Which made me think that when I dress with too much emphasis on staying dry, I get hot and sweat. So, maybe I have a choice. Do I want to get wet from rain water or do I want to get wet from sweat? I’m thinking I’m glad my legs were wet today

  2. shane says:

    It’s amazing how quick you adapt to commuting by bike. I’ve been car-free for a few months now and loving every minute. Rain, wind, three abreast strollers on the bike path. The only issue I’ve found is that having the right clothing is important. It’s great to be in touch with the seasons, the little changes each day. You miss the connection to nature going from home to car to office, office to car to home.

  3. Braxton says:

    Do you leave for lunch on those 10.5 hour days?

    Don’t worry too much about storms. http://www.weather.gov/os/lightning/medical.htm (It’s hard not to be comfortable with crazy thunderstorms living here. I think it’s only worse around the equator!)

    • dottie says:

      Yes, a 30 minute lunch but I pack it to save money.

      Interesting link! Looks like the dangers of lightening are as exaggerated as the dangers of cycling.

  4. Mike says:

    Dottie,

    First of all, your fall outfit is cute as a button!

    Your blog combines two of my favorite things in the world — bike riding and Chicago. And you showcase each beautifully.

    Oma is gorgeous and I’m very happy you don’t have to leave her outside. I would imagine she’d be a theft priority.

    Keep up the great work! If you get a chance, come see me at mikespokes.blogspot.com.

    • Jessie says:

      I dunno–I never thought about it until now, but it seems like a beater might be just as appealing to a thief as a dutch bike. Maybe more so because a dutch bike (a) is very heavy and (b) looks like a girl’s bike (to someone who doesn’t know a lot about bikes, I mean, and is hellbent on seeming masculine).

      • dottie says:

        Yes, I agree. Don’t want to jinx myself, but I’m not worried about Oma’s safety. For one, I use a massive heavy lock and multi-locking system with her. Also, she is heavy, conspicuous, girly, confusing and unusual.

        p.s. Thanks, Mike. Cool blog!

  5. Christine says:

    I always think this time of year is trickiest to dress for because every day and every hour is so different, and you have a really great attitude about it. It takes a lot of trial and error to get a handle on wardrobe. For me, when it comes to cold-weather commuting, if I’m not chilly for the first mile, then I’ve overdressed. Lately, the outfit has been what I would normally wear indoors plus a wide pashmina scarf/wrap (keeps my neck and chest warm) and synthetic tank and shorts as base layers (keeps clothes from sticking uncomfortably to me when it rains)
    I totally agree with you that the rides lately have been fun, especially at night, and also with the earlier commenter that being in touch with the subtle changes in weather is a really lovely experience, even if you get poured on now and then.

  6. Maggie says:

    One of my first jobs had a warehouse attached to the office. Back then you could smoke inside the warehouse. Well I biked in and a new employee was on her smoking break. She was so impressed and excited to see me come in on a bike. I remember being disgusted that she was a smoker. Still, we became fast friends and quickly became roommates for a few years. We are still friends living in different states. I chuckle when I think if it hadn’t been for the smoking and bike commuting, we might not have met.

  7. adriennejohnson says:

    Just about the only thing I miss about my job is the loss of my commute! How is that for a ringing endorsement for cycling for transportation (especially as I loved my job!).

    I am with you on theft, Dottie. Having to get through my rear wheel lock and my U-lock and dealing with the center stand that no one is used to and the weight and the fact it is the only one like it in Northern California (there are one or two other Soccoros but none with my modifications) means that my Batavus is not high on the target list. My old Raleigh mixte, on the other hand, that would get grabbed in a NY minute.

  8. Scott says:

    I would want to shoot myself in the face if I could not ride home after doc review all day. This is the weather where the oma leaves all the other bikes behind. How’s the silk legwarming working out? I tried silk once in the summer and I didn’t like it.

    • dottie says:

      Ha, yes, you know what I’m talking about.

      I like the legwarmers a lot. They’re 80% wool and 20% silk, very warm even when wet and not itchy at all.

  9. Catherine says:

    I love having bike parking at work–and my area is really very pretty! I hope my video of my commute comes out one of these days. I’m also kind of concerned because if (more likely when) I have to move on from my current job, the place I go to may not be quite so bike friendly (or, worse, much much farther away or in a place I’d be unwilling to bike to).

  10. Trisha says:

    I think I’ll forward this post to our publisher. Now that two of my colleagues commute by bike as well, my space under the fire escape is getting crowded! We need a bike room.

  11. cycler says:

    Riding to and from work was the only thing that saved my sanity when I worked in Milan. It was too expensive to call home every time I had a bad day, and there were a lot of them. Riding home, I could feel stress receding from my limbs and jaw.

    I’m lucky to have bike parking in the corner of our office. We were cleaning up for a client visit, and my boss said- you can leave your bike out- it’s visually interesting! We have three bikes parked around our office on any given day, and i think mine is the prettiest!

  12. Ghost Rider says:

    I have to take issue with the following statement: “…secretly being proud of the one trait that makes me interesting.”

    Dottie, Dottie, Dottie…don’t be so hard on yourself. There are MANY things that are interesting about you, not just your love of bikes. Chin up and all that.

  13. Ok, no one’s talking about the one true gem in this post…

    Speak to me of this Guinness/Harp/Cider concoction!

    • E A says:

      Ah…well… Dottie had the Guinness/Cider blend – called a Black Velvet – and I enjoyed the Harp/Cider blend – a Snakebite! (I’ve had better snakebites, but this is not a review of the new watering hole we visited).

      No storms today. Did you ride today, Dottie?

  14. [...] Bike Commuting is Fun! « Let's Go Ride a Bike [...]

  15. A magic bike room at work! That would definitely entice me to take the job.

    Silk + wool = YES!

  16. Doug says:

    Magical Bike Room…..how cool is that?!!

    Overdressing for cold weather. It took me several years to get the hang of not overdressing. All the bike commuting tips for dressing in the cold suggest you should start out feeling cold. I finally started doing that. It works for me. Since I commute with a rack and panniers, I have room to take an extra layer I can throw on just in case I dressed a bit to lightly. I almost always carry an extra layer, including a warmer pairs of gloves or glove liners, and extra head gear. If I’m not wearing a neck gaitor when I start out, I make sure I have one with me.

  17. Doug says:

    Looking at this post again, I have to say the picture of Greg illustrates very well how much more visible a rider is with reflective sidewalls as compared to his front tire without reflective sidewalls. The difference is like night and day.

    • Braxton says:

      True but consider a camera flash is not a fair indicator of the effectiveness.

      • Mr. Dottie says:

        I think the reflective sidewalls do well when seen from the side or an angle, but I’m not sure if those directly behind me can see the reflection very well. Perhaps a driver behind me can see a constant reflection since I’m typically to the right of the driver’s vision. I recently replaced my rear tire with a Schwalbe Marathon after a terrible flat.

        • Doug says:

          I have Schwalbe Marathon Plus on three of my bikes. I have to say I feel much more secure knowing that cars coming at me from cross streets cans easily see me. I think what a person in a car sees with car headlights pointed at you is very close to what you see with a camera flash.

          • Ghost Rider says:

            And that’s the point of reflective sidewalls: side visibility — not one of the nighttime cyclist’s strong suits. We’ve got hyper-strong lights front and rear, but very little in the way of accessories for side visibility. Sparkly sidewalls definitely help!

  18. GeekGirl says:

    Hi! I’ve been reading LGRaB for about a month now, and I wanted to say I love it! Not only do you help remind me it’s perfectly ok to ride your bike everywhere (Kansas City is not a very bike-friendly city) but you can look amazing while doing it. And that skirts and heels are perfectly acceptable on a bike.

    Thank you for the encouragement, both in fashion and in biking. Have a great day!

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