My First Fully Equipped Bike Commute

On Friday, I got a package containing the missing pieces of my bike commuting puzzle: new pedals and a rear rack. And a bell too, but that wasn’t totally necessary. I was lucky enough to get some bike shoes from a co-worker last week for free, so I went ahead and ordered some Shimano PD-M424 pedals to take advantage of the shoes. The pedals have a regular platform on one sides, and clips for SPD cleats on the other side. I installed them in the shade of the carport on Saturday afternoon, and spent 10 minutes practicing getting my foot in and out of the pedals, because you don’t want to be falling over after being unable to get your foot loose. That would hurt.
I also put the Axiom Odyssee rear rack on the bike, finally enabling me to use the panniers I got for Christmas. The rack was really easy to install now that I have the proper mounting points on the bike for it. And surprisingly enough, the panniers stayed on the bike the whole ride in to work this morning. Yep, I rode in to work this morning without parking my car here first. I’m car-free now. Well, except for Thursday, when I have a dentist appointment at 3pm. I don’t think the dentist would appreciate me sweating all over his nice chairs. Anyway, I was especially pleased that all of my stuff fit in the panniers with no problem: shoes, clothes, towel, toiletries, and lunch. There was even room for my book and newspaper. Tomorrow should be an interesting day, as it’s supposed to rain like crazy in the afternoon. Luckily, it’s also forecast to be a Code Red day, which means that I can ride the bus home for free. I’ll play it by ear and see how it goes before deciding to bail out though.
The ride itself was blissfully uneventful. I got caught at both long lights for longer than I would have liked, but it was great to not wear a backpack and be able to have the breeze blowing through me and cooling me down. And those pedals and shoes really helped carry me up the hills, since I can pull the pedal up with one foot while pushing down with the other, using the full range of motion. Best of all, now that I’ve been doing this for a few weeks, I’m not nearly as sore when I get done with the ride. I’ll be interested to see what my actual riding time and speeds were once I upload the data to the MotionBased website.
Speaking of which, I uploaded my first week’s worth of new bike ride data over the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to see that MotionBased separates out the time I spent stuck at lights from the time I spent actually in motion. As such, it shows that with my mountain bike, I usually averaged about 13.4 mph while riding, but with the new bike, I have not averaged any less than 15.0 mph! That’s a pretty big difference. Now, if I could just get those lights to cooperate so that I can get places just a little bit faster.