Archive of ‘Commute Diary’ category

Reasons or Excuses?

Sad Bikes

Sad Bikes

I mentioned in an earlier post that I don’t force myself to ride if I feel it would be unsafe or really unpleasant.  But when does that become an excuse rather than a reason?  I need to make sure that I’m pushing myself sufficiently beyond my comfort zone to discover my limits. 

Here are the reasons I did not ride my bike to work today:


In the Dark

Between extremely cold temps and an actual cold that I’ve managed to acquire, I’m not sure I’ll have more new commutes to share this week (though I’ve got my fingers crossed for Thursday and Friday).

But! I do have some photos from my rides home last week, and I thought I’d use those to share some thoughts on cycling at night.

Hillsboro/Acklen at night.

Hillsboro/Acklen at night.


Amtrak and More Snow



Yesterday I had to go to Milwaukee for work, so I took the Amtrak train.  These trains are pretty fast and comfortable.  I usually listen to my iPod and stare out the window, although I could use this time more productively to work or read a book.  Compared to driving the highway, with the accompanying awful traffic, construction, and hazardous weather, the train is infinitely superior. 

The weather is still extreme here in Chicago.  There was a blizzard advisory last night and now a winter weather warning, or something. 


If you’re the only bike on the road…

You might be bike commuting in Nashville. In the spring and summer, I usually see a bike or two during my journey, but in winter? It’s just me. Or at least it was yesterday.

What I wore

What I wore

So, here’s me just before leaving for the office (and yes, that is my bathroom mirror). As you can see, I wear my work clothes, down to the coat (I especially like this one because it is the perfect length for biking and I think the red color makes me stand out).

So, cardigan, tank top, work pants and normal socks. I threw on gloves, boots and a scarf before actually going out the door, along with my helmet. And no, I’m not wearing hammer pants, even though they were all the rage in France last summer. These particular dress pants are wide-legged and I have to clip them tight so that they don’t catch on my water-bottle holder. I hear tell there is actually biking equipment that does this, but I usually use hair clips or rubber bands, proving once again that you can bike commute without all the gear. ;)


The Tortoise and the Hare

I left for work this morning at the same time as my husband. Once he saw that I was going the same direction as him and taking the city streets, instead of the other way to the lake front path, he said, “I hope you’re not trying to keep up with me; I’m in a rush.” Whatever, buddy, I’m just trying to get to work. ;)

Wearing my scarf


If A Skier Goes By On Your Commute…

…you might be riding your bike in Chicago. I only wish I had thought to take a picture!

Snow has returned after a one-week hiatus and is making my daily rides a bit more interesting. My new Schwalbe Winter studded tires are working overtime keeping me upright, which I greatly appreciate, and my snowman companion is having a blast. (He totally forgives me for accidentally ripping off his left arm. Really.)




Bad bike commuter — that’s me

Or perhaps just ill-equipped? I couldn’t agree more with Dot’s thoughts on getting outdoors in winter. The cold isn’t an issue after the first few blocks, and the stark silhouettes of the leafless trees have a certain beauty. Unfortunately winter in the South tends to mean rain more than snow. Or at least it does this year, when the planet seems determined to make up for last year’s drought (it has rained for five of the seven days so far in 2009).

If this is a sign of things to come for the rest of the winter, Pinkie needs fenders and I need a raincoat! Anyone out there have any recommendations? I want a coat that breathes but still repels water. I know most of the readers so far aren’t bike commuters, but you’re all more outdoorsy than I am.

The forecast for tomorrow is clear, if chilly, so I’m hoping to have something to write about and perhaps pictures of my own commute!

ETA: The sun is suddenly making an appearance. Wishing I had ridden this morning!

Beautiful Winter – Tuesday’s Commute

My ride today was noteworthy for the disparate conditions in the morning and the evening. In the morning, strong headwinds coming from the south made the simple act of pedaling quite arduous. Not the worst wind I’ve encountered in the Windy City, but in the top 3. My mood lifted during the final leg of the commute, when it began snowing. I’m a sucker for snow, which is still a novelty for me after a lifetime of living in the South.  So I stopped and took some pictures.


Many people seem to hibernate during winter, forgetting that the world is still out there. I was one of those people last winter, my first in Chicago. Now, on my bike every day, I’m reminded that the outdoors are just as interesting and even more beautiful on the bleakest days as on the sunniest days.



Commuting on a holiday

A sinus infection and monsoon weather kept me off my bike for most of December. I think there was only one week that I met my commuting goals.

However, I feel I’ve made up for it this week. Sure, I only rode twice, but one of those days (today) I went to work when our offices were closed. Surely that counts double? It was a beautiful day (at the moment we seem to be alternating between bone-chilling cold and nearly spring-like temperatures here in Nashville) and the commute was wonderful. Since the office was closed, what to wear was not an issue, and my jeans, sweatshirt and moccasins worked just fine. Traffic was light, and aside from a bit of debris in the bike lane (from last month’s rain) and one very rude motorcycle rider who zoomed past me when I was trying to turn left (surely he should have more sympathy for other two-wheelers?) it went smoothly. Next week, when everyone’s back at work, it’s sure to be a different story, but I certainly enjoyed it.

Sticking to bike commuting is one of my New Year’s resolutions, so between that and the responsibility of documenting here, I hope to have a lot to write about.

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