Archive for the ‘Biking’ Category

2010 Biking Summary

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

I got back on my road bike this year after it gathered dust in a black-widow infested closet for the two years that we were in Las Vegas. I think I rode once while we lived there.  I was never excited about riding with all of that traffic and the road surface wasn’t ideal for biking either.  I put new tubes in it when we moved back to New England and used it a couple of times to cruise to the beach, but it spent most if it’s time in the back of my truck as we couch-surfed our way through the summer of 2009.  Last year, I decided to get back in the swing of bike commuting.  During the tourist-filled days of summer, it’s faster to bike home than drive.  Additionally it’s good exercise and I find the ride home gives me time to clear my head from all of the day’s chaos.  Finally, on days that Tina and I aren’t able to carpool, I can avoid using the second vehicle.

The first ride of the year was April 22nd, Earth Day.  By then, the weather was fantastic for riding.  The season would have started earlier if I didn’t have to dig through mountains of boxes to find all my necessary biking gear.  I quickly settled in to a routine of riding a couple of times per week when I could.  Sometimes work got busy or the weather was uncooperative and it was easier to catch a ride in the car and other times I was just too tired to ride from all of the work around the house.  Then, on July 12th, my trusty steed let me down.  I was riding in to work on the shore route despite a bit of a headwind.  Everything seemed to be going well at first, though my legs felt a little tired pushing against the wind.  As I made my turn to the north to head up around the harbor, I heard a distinct metallic ping.  Nothing seemed odd, so I kept on going.  As I rounded the harbor, turning back into the wind, I suddenly felt as though I was riding through mud.  I decided that it was the combination of the headwind, my tired legs, and the heat and that I should just push on.  I struggled along the shore and up the big hills toward work.  As I turned into the driveway, I felt as if I couldn’t handle the last hill so I dismounted and started to walk up the hill.  The bike would hardly move!  I gave the back wheel a spin and it quickly came to a stop, rubbing against the brakes.  I could clearly see where it was bent.  No wonder why I felt like I was riding in mud!  Not having my spoke wrench, I tossed the bike in the car and caught a ride home.  Further inspection showed that I actually had broken a spoke.  So that’s what that ping was.  Now, I can’t really complain and I do expect some trouble from time to time with the bike since it’s an ’84 Schwinn that I got for $10 at a yard sale.  I upgraded tires and brake pads a few years ago, but everything else is still original.  Unfortunately, life kept me too busy to get a repair until mid August and I didn’t really get back in the swing of things until September.  The last ride of the season was November 15th.  It was starting to get pretty dark by the time I was getting home and a bit chilly so I put the bike away for the season.  Overall, I spent nearly 23 hours in the saddle covering 360.4 miles of commuting.  Not too bad.  Hopefully this year is even more!

While I was riding, I played around with GPS tracking on my blackberry using GPSed.  It’s not a bad app and what made it even better was that I could download the gpx files.  I wrote a parser in python to stick all of the information into a database so I could play with some data visualization.  Here’s a quick look at speed by segment along various roads that I travel:

Bike Routes

I haven’t gotten too far with that because of other priorities, but the data are there and I’m already adding to it this year.  I had the first commute ride of 2011 on April 15th.  Hopefully more to come soon!