Saturday, April 14, 2012

It became a habit

Somewhere, in one of those bicycle magazines in an article on one of those training plans that I never follow, I read it takes so many times or days of doing something to develop a habit.  Can't remember how many times, but I just googled "habit" and one guy claims the number is 66.  I'm a bit skeptical of claims like this, so I like this answer I also found on the internet: It depends.

I don't know how long it took me, but somewhere along the line it became a habit to get up in the morning and ride to work.  Like others, I started bike commuting a few days a week. I'd wake up and I want to ride my bike today?  Oh I don't know, I'll have to get my bag ready, maybe bring a change of clothes, check my bike.  Maybe not today.

But then I figured out I get to and from work in about the same time it takes to drive to work and park, or take the bus, or get a ride to work from my wife.  And it's cheaper - well my wife doesn't charge for driving me to work, but I usually take the bus home after getting a ride to work. And it's funner than riding the bus or driving.   It's funny - I might be tired after a long day of work, but once I get moving on the bike I wake up a bit.

So I learned to have my bike and bag always ready to go.  I get up in the morning like normal, shower, make a lunch maybe and throw whatever else I need in the bag and get on the bike and ride.

Well, I wrote this before I broke the little bone in my hand, but my bike and bag are still ready to go whenever I am.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Boxer's Break

damn.stupid.I am not a very good poster boy for biking. 
Some studies show bike commuters are more healthy and take fewer sick days. Then there's guys like me.

The details - Well I was just crossing Maxwell at Elm St, going south, on my way to work last Tuesday. I usually turn left onto Maxwell, but something about a truck going north on Elm St made me decide to go straight, even after he'd signaled a left turn and was waiting for me to cross the intersection. Which I did. But then what do I do? After I clear him, I suddenly go oh let's turn left. Bad idea - don't know if I turned too sharp and/or hit some gravel, but I went down. It's amazing how hard you can hit the ground at a slow speed! landed on my side and hand. Knocked the wind out of me. Looked at my hand and it didn't look so good. Thought should go to urgent care. 

Went to work instead. Muddled my way through the day until 3pm when it was time to go to my previously scheduled appt at Rockwood Dermatology. Man, 4th Ave is bumpier than I remember it. RN Theresa examines my hand and tells me I have what's called a boxer's fracture. Great. She calls X-ray and urgent care for me and I head over to the main clinic where X-rays confirm her diagnosis. No cracks in my ribs but they sure are painful.

So I'm out 6-8 weeks, depending on what the hand specialist that I see tomorrow says. Cruel fortune - made it through winter and I crash on a nice spring day. It doesn't help that people like Kent's Bike Blog and 26InchSlicks are posting terrific biking pictures as part of the 30 days of biking. That John Wayne Trail sure looks inviting.

Well, I'm still hoping to do STP and maybe a few Wednesday Night Mountain Bike races. We'll see.

The bike is ok, just a little torn up handle bar grip. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Look Ma, no mirror!

I used to have one of those mirrors that attach to your helmet visor. Handy little device, if it was a pain to keep attached to the visor.  After I got used to it, I relied on it heavily to know what was behind me and to see if it was safe to move out into the lane to make a turn.  I might look like I wasn't aware of what was rolling along behind me, but I knew exactly what, if any traffic was behind me.  In fact, this is Robert Hurst's criticism of bike mirrors in his book The Cyclist's Manifesto (or maybe it's his other one The Art of Cycling formerly known as The Art of Urban Cycling).  To the vehicle driver, it looks like the cyclist is oblivious to the traffic around him/her and off in their own world.

Well, I got a new helmet last year to replace my $20 Costco helmet.  The new one was one of those fancy racing style helmets, without a visor.  (Of course, after buying it, I immediately wanted a skate/snowboard style helmet). I looked at the other types of mirrors that attach to the helmet shell, but I didn't feel like gluing or velcro-ing one to the helmet.  Partly inspired by Hurst, I ventured out on my commute without a mirror.  After awhile I became more adept at looking behind me without swerving and I noticed something: vehicles would slow down for me and let me in a lane if I needed to when I checked back.

There are those who strongly encourage using a mirror.  I'm not advocating against bike mirrors, but I find I get by safely with listening for traffic and looking back.