Wednesday, November 17

First Time Ride to Work – v3

Today, I got to try out the rules for bicycle commuting I posted last week, and I rode my bike to work for the first time. Actually, for lack of a better term, I’ll call it “Bicycle Commute v3” instead of making the mistake, as in my Alliance commute, of calling it “my new commute.” Following the same approach, instead of calling Alliance my “old new commute,” I’ll simply refer to it as “Bicycle Commute v2,” and the Haltom City as “commute v1.” Admittedly, I did commute before Haltom City, but THOSE commutes don’t appear in my log and I’ll simply call them “Legacy Bike Commutes.” Clear as mud, eh?


Anyway, it was fairly apparent when I made Thursday’s post entitled “Last Commute,” that something was afoot. Well, my employer likes to keep us all from accumulating too much work stuff by periodically moving us. Conveniently enough, this v3 location is much closer to home; seven miles instead of the twenty mile v2 commute. Yippee!

No More Pavement Like This
Highlights
As it turns out, those rules I came up with are pretty good. Also, as it turns out, every commute has a different set of highlights and challenges. This new commute turns out to be very simple from a riding standpoint. It’s got smooth pavement all the way, and traffic is more consistent than the v2 commute. What’s more, I already made much of this route when I rode the v1 commute to Haltom City, in the days before this blog began. This morning, just to be sure I was leaving plenty of time, I slept in for an extra 45 minutes and then hit the road. It was already beginning to lighten outside. Wow, no more long cold morning ride in the dark!


No More Pavement Like This, Either!
 Challenges
Commute v2 had almost optimal facilities for a bike commuter. Simply roll in the back door, get stuff out of the locker immediately adjacent to the shower room, and then roll on to the elevator and park behind the office door. About the only feature it lacked was free cafeteria food for bike commuters. The v3 commute will require more arrival sophistication. Starting off, I think there’ll be none of this bringing the bike inside; certainly not at first. There are bike racks; ancient “wheel bender” racks. What’s more, I heard a bike commuter “…was told straight up by one of the security guards that a bike had been stolen from the rack right in front of the guard shed, in broad daylight.” Hmm, it seems that the days of lock-free commuting are over. No lockers near the shower either. OTOH, there IS a shower, and it doesn’t look heavily used. Brightening things a bit more, only one person so far has told me that I’m crazy and sure to be run over.

Preferred Method of Attaching a Bike to a "Wheelbender" Rack..
Luckily My Wife's Bike was the Only Rack Occupant Today
First Day Solutions
Yesterday, I brought in my heavy lock and cable, and attached it to the bike rack. While I believe in locks, I also prefer not to lug them around if it isn’t absolutely necessary. This morning, I rode in semi-work clothes, carrying my work shirt in the trunk bag. It was a compromise solution intended to be workable regardless of how the shower situation worked out. I quickly concluded that the arrival path of choice is to ride in whatever clothes are most comfortable, lock the bike, then walk upstairs and grab the shower stuff, shower and change. It takes several extra minutes, but reduces the amount of stuff I’ll need to carry on the bike on a daily basis. This will leave room in the trunk bag for gym equipment and such. I also rode my wife’s bike - until the security picture comes into better focus. Unlike Buddy, Seth is 40 years old and not a likely theft target, particularly with a strong lock. Frankenbike would probably be an even better choice, but it is down for minor lighting-related modifications at the moment. Should the worst happen, and the bike get stolen, I imagine she’d be delighted with a new one when she decides to start riding again.

A Newly Discovered Route Variant on the First Day. More on This in a Future Post

ALMOST FORGOT
While Alliance Airport is a major employment center in the City of Fort Worth, “The T” completely ignores it. Taking transit there actually required me to ride further than riding straight there, so I never did it. In contrast, the v3 commute is located directly across the street from a TRE Commuter Rail station that has direct connections to both downtown Fort Worth and downtown Dallas. What a bonus! I sense some promising field trip opportunities to come. One day, you may hear about the “Really Really Long Commute.” The adventure DOES continue...

When There's Something to Lock Up to, Kickstands Mostly Provide Ballast to Keep the Lock Taut. Shot Today at Coffee Stop on the Way Home
Rat Trap Should Note that I'm Not as Stuck on Clipless Pedals as He Might Imagine! "Court Classic" Was "Shoe of the Day."

5 comments:

Pondero said...

Pretty exciting stuff. I looking forward to all the new stories from a new route.

I wish I had a shower at work...

Trevor Woodford said...

When I used to commute there were no shower facilities so I just had to settle for riding slooooowly.....!

Steve A said...

The shower is most needed with a long commute in the North Texas summer. My Commute v1 had no shower, so even that can be managed, but a shower is very nice. Privacy in a close-by place to freshen up is more precious even than a shower IMO.

RANTWICK said...

Steve - Privacy +1... I am blessed with an old fashioned office. I can close (and lock!) the door and get changed easily. 7 miles. Personally I think that is close to an ideal commute length... thanks for ending the suspense.

Apertome said...

Having a new commute to explore is always a fun thing. Looks like an improvement over the old commute, except the facilities at work perhaps..

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