Today was my first day of riding the Dahon Vitesse D7HG, reputed to be one of the best folding bikes out there. I picked it up from my friend P on Friday and had all weekend to practice folding it. Luckily, it wasn’t that difficult! I was impressed by how well the parts fit together and most of all, that it fit in the trunk of my Mustang convertible.
Even though I didn’t ride my bike, the past few days were full of bike-related activities. I met Elisa and Anna of Bike Skirt for coffee in Birmingham, and we hatched a plot to ride the Chief Ladiga/Silver Comet trail with them sometime this spring. Can’t wait! I am very close to finalizing my plans to buy a brand new bike, a Batavus Entrada Spirit, when I go to England in April. My friend Jennie generously gave me her old bike rack, so I can transport Pinkie without having to take down the top on my convertible. And I filled up the tires on the Dahon and practiced folding it to get ready for the first day of my commuting pledge week.
This will be my coldest ride yet. I am trying to think of it as an adventure and remember Dottie biking to work under much chillier conditions.
It’s been a slow week here, but Dottie and I have made a pact with Elisa of Bike Skirt to commute at least three times next week. Given that the forecast for Nashville next week looks pretty clear and not too cold (lows in the 20s), I’m going to up the ante and say I’m riding in for all four of the days I’ll be in the office next week.
One reason I should be able to do that? Novelty. A friend is letting me borrow her Dahon folding bike.
This isn't the exact model, but close!
Stay tuned for a full report on how it compares to old Pinkie.
I woke up all prepared to finish my commute diary and talk about riding in the dark, but now I think it’s my turn to write about why biking is better.
Let me begin by saying I am an extremely lazy person. I would much rather be doing just about anything other than physical exertion for its own sake. Running makes me want to die, treadmills are the devil’s tool (all that walking and you’re not even going anywhere!) and don’t even talk to me about spinning or boot camps. Other than the occasional hike when the weather is right, and my weekly Iyengar yoga, exercise felt like a chore to me.
So the idea that I could exercise while also accomplishing something necessary to my life, getting to work or running errands, really appealed to me. That was what made me dust off the old Schwinn and bring it up to Nashville. The surprise came when I got on and realized that riding my bike was actually fun.
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
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.
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!