Wednesday, December 05, 2007


This is my commuting backpack, dressed in its Wal-Mart hunting vest, which I've had for years for running during hunting season. It gives me 2 extra pockets, one of which I use for a sandwich, where it doesn't get crushed. And it seems to make me visible -- so far, drivers have been very polite to me.

I took my bike in to the shop b/c my gears were slipping and my rear shifter was tricky, like sluggish.... doesn't click right away. Sometimes it takes a couple of tries, including downshifting my front gears and then upshifting and trying again.

They replaced my gear cables, which were rusted, and tuned everything up.

My bike FLOATS now. It's amazing. I'm cruising up hills in my middle gears.

Which is good because that's all I can use.... my rear shifter needs to be replaced, kaput, and I've gotta wait till next payday. The mechanic tried irrigating and lubing it to no avail, and after that treatment it's slightly more sluggish than it was before. Very hard shift up. So for today's commute I kept it in the middle rear gear and just used my triple chainring as a three-speed. And it worked. The bike, as I said, floated. I only had to shift down lower (still the lowest granny gear) for the fiercest longest hill. And I managed to get it back into the middle gear after reaching the top.

Other than the broken gear shift, the bike rides like a dream.

Commuting by bike is cool. I like it. I've got the hang of moving to the left turn lane from the right side of the road. It takes me about 1:15-1:20 to cover the 16 miles, with waits at stoplights sometimes lasting 5 minutes. I haven't had to try it in rain yet, but that will come. I've got my Marmot Precip rain gear I got for hiking the AT. I'll need to get a rainproof pack cover.

In my pack, I take:
Baby wipes
Sweatshirt (I get cold after riding)
Electric hairbrush/dryer combo gizmo

It takes me 15 minutes to put myself back together, and then I give myself 15 minutes for lunch (sandwich and cold sweet tea, my cheapskate energy drink,) and I'm ready to roll with the babies.


ShirleyPerly said...

We think alike! When I was doing long rides training for IMFL, I wrapped my camelbak in an orange traffic safety vest that my FIL gave me. Glad you're enjoying the bike commuting.

Fiberjoy said...

You're making good time with traffic and hills.

I read an article awhile back by a British cyclist who decided to do a survey of bike safety in England: city and country. Surprisingly enough he found that when he wore plain clothes and no helmet, thus looking like an ordinary chap, not a cyclist, that traffic gave him a wide berth. The more cycle gear he wore the closer traffic edged towards him. When he was in full gear with clips, helmet, jersey, shorts, head mirror he felt most in danger! He figured that people coming up to a jeans and t-shirt type bicycle ride gave him plenty of space because they weren't sure if he'd be able to hold a steady line. Something to think about.

No doubt high visibility no matter what other gear you have. Actually, wearing a backpack like yours perhaps signals a novice.

Kent Peterson said...

Fiberjoy is recalling the Walker study. Before you get rid of that orange vest based on a three inch difference, you might want to read more about the study. One place to start is here: