Tuesday, April 2, 2013

30 Days of Biking: Day 1

Ready to roll on my first bike commute!  Been planning for this day over the last several months!

I mentioned recently as I returned to this blog about this annual event called "30 Days of Biking" and is in its 3rd year started by two guys in the Twin Cities.  The concept is really simple: just get on your bike for any distance for 30 days.  As of today, there are over 3,000 people who have pledged to do this!  I've already shared with you my personals I set for myself this year and will elaborate on my 3rd goal of riding across Iowa in a future post.

I chose to try bike commuting most days of the week during this event.  I honestly haven't had the desire or confidence to pull it off but seeing where I want my fitness level to be this summer and how many miles I put my car since I moved to Tennessee from the Midwest.  I've ridden my bike to a couple jobs I had in Omaha but never wanted to do it regularly.  This time, I don't want to use that excuse and figured this would be the perfect opportunity to really give it a shot.

I'm not sure about you, but I have a moderate commute from home to work... 17 miles.  That's quite a distance, with 700-800 feet of climb on my heavier cyclocross (which I've now named "Crossley") and lugging my work gear.  17 miles isn't a challenge in my cycling kit on my road bike.  Commuting is a totally different challenge.

Day #1 Ride Report

The concern I initially had was riding on Charlotte Avenue (one of Nashville's arteries into downtown) for a distance of about 3 miles during the morning rush hour.  There was moderate traffic but between my riding gear and taillight, you couldn't have missed me.  Despite the 3-foot law that Tennessee has, most drivers are unaware of it or not willing to obey it.  Thankfully, there weren't any drivers who passed me who wanted to stir up trouble.

Nashville's current Mayor (Karl Dean) was heavily involved in updating the city's infrastructure to make some roads more bike friendly through adding sharrows, bike lane markings and signs.

Riding on the same roads takes a high level of comfort established through experience developed in group rides.

After 16.7 mi, I made it into work and felt relieved.  My legs were feeling it especially with the last 6 miles going uphill into work.

Made it to work!

Had about 15 extra minutes this morning to get cleaned up.  Plenty of time to look like a meteorologist!

On the ride back, the first 6 miles is the easiest since it's pretty much downhill.  It turned out to be a beautiful day in Music City with sunshine and low 60s.  The shots I posted here are screen grabs from both my front and rear facing GoPro cameras.  The rest of the ride was tough mainly because my legs were still recovering from the morning and standing at times throughout the day.  My legs were cooked by the time I got home with my quads cramping the last 5 miles.

My ride, newly nicknamed "Crossley" (2005 Trek XO-1)

Security gate opening at work.  This means it's time to roll!

Dickerson Pike is where the most challenging riding conditions exist with many cars not obeying the TN 3-Foot Law

Approaching LP Field, where the Tennessee Titans play

Downtown Nashville skyline
Crossing the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge

Made it home after cramping up the last 5 miles!  Here I am showing proof of the ride with helmet hair!