First Ride of the Season

First Ride of the Season

March 13 was marked twice on my calendar – the first was a reminder to change my clocks and the second was to take out my bike. I am, I confess, a fair weather cyclist. I know this may seem terribly wimpy to those of you in Canada and other snowy climates, but I do not like riding my bike in the winter in Seattle. Riding in the dark and rain, in traffic, is not my idea of fun, so I take the bus, walk or drive, depending. However, once we “spring ahead”, the day lit hours stretch long enough that I can comfortably get to work and back before it gets dark. I pulled out my road bike, checked the tires, cleaned and oiled the chain, and searched for my gear. A quick check of the weather forecast (fair weather, remember?), and I picked Thursday for my first ride.

Wednesday evening, I packed up my backpack with Thursday’s clothes, toiletries, etc. It’s hard enough to get ready in the morning – if I’m changing my routine, I’d better get things prepared the night before. Thursday morning was overcast, but chilly (yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh at me, Edmonton) when I set off. The neighbourhood streets were quiet, as the morning commute was just beginning. I crossed Salmon Bay at the Ballard Locks. It slows down my commute, because I have to dismount and walk my bike, but it’s pretty and I love seeing the water and the boats. That day, however, as the locks were closed and empty for their annual maintenance. It’s a fascinating chance to see the mechanisms that are normally underwater.

I got to work without too much effort, which is only a modest accomplishment, as my route is two-thirds downhill. I entered the parkade and was about to lock up my bike, when I realized that I didn’t have my bike lock. Doh! It must not have gotten unpacked after our move last fall. Right – time for plan B – storing it in my cubicle. It’s hard to be inconspicuous, wheeling a bike into the elevator in tights and a bright yellow jacket. Back down to the locker room to shower and change. That’s when I found the second mistake – no shampoo! Well, I could make do with soap from the wall dispenser, at least once. I had a quick shower, got dressed, went to put on my shoes…and realized that my spare shoes were upstairs, under my desk. At least I had a pair and didn’t have to wear sneakers all day. Besides, walking around in sock feet isn’t THAT eccentric, when you work with a bunch of scientists, right?

All in all, it was a relatively successful first day for bicycle commuting.

Friday’s forecast predicted a high probability for rain and for beer. I took the bus. But I did promise to be back at it the next week.

4 thoughts on “First Ride of the Season

  1. Jen, I’m curious about the wearing tights, showering, & changing – I guess because so many of the bike commuters I read find that they’re able to commute in their regular clothes with only minor modifications. Is it because your bike isn’t a chaincase-and-fenders sit-up-and-beg affair that you do the shower-and-change routine? Do you find that you get too sticky in Seattle’s humidity? Just curious about your experience…

  2. Oh I wish Mar 13 = riding here…since I’ve yet to do more than a “around the block” winter ride (because our winters while not nearly as wet – I’m from Van. Island so I get the wet! – they still suck!)

    So…I noticed you didn’t mention the commute home…because it was then 2/3 up hill? The thing I miss the least about living on the coast was riding the hills, though that was a much younger me who probably should’ve complained much less 😀

  3. The vast majority of folks that I see commuting on the bike paths are in “sporty cyclist” mode. It may be open to debate whether we all NEED to be, but that’s how the bike culture seems to work here. It’s quite different on the weekends – then I see a much more even mix of sporty vs. street clothes. I like to push myself a little, especially on the hills, so I do build up more of a sweat than if I took it easy. I’ll probably do a whole post on my commuting routine and how it got that way. Humidity isn’t as much of a factor as I would have expected. We get most of our humid weather in the winter, when it’s cooler. The summers are surprisingly dry – not as dry as Edmontom, but not nearly as humid as New York.

    Angel, the ride home is MUCH more work! I’m still varying my route street-by-street, in the hopes of avoiding some of the hills. I didn’t intend to leave the trip home out of my post. I was so amused by how many things I left behind, that I didn’t really think beyond the punch line.

  4. Antijen-I don’t think there’s anyway to avoid hills in Seattle, unless you hug the waterfront(s) the whole way. Every time I visit I try a new route, but there’s always a big hill.

    As for winter riding in the Northwest, it’s one of those things that get better/easier the more you do it. Wool works wonders in this climate!

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: