30 Day of Biking–Week Three

Another week, another seven days of cycling. Commuting, taking the long way home, the weekly coffee-outside ride, a Sunday road ride in the sun (with its attendant early season sunburn), and more porteur-ing to work and a conference.

Also, the Necro-Pug is sorta for sale. Kinda.

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30 Days of Biking–Week Two

After the second week of the 30 Days of Biking, I realized that I didn’t in fact ride every day. Damn.

But I did ride three more of my bikes. The Necro-Pug was pressed into service for the Saturday coffee-outside ride, the Soma ES took to the road on Sunday, and the VO Polyvalent finally returned to commuting duty on Monday.

The first and last of these largely came about because the Devil has finally reached a point where a full overhaul is necessary. There’s a stuck rear brake caliper, a rumbling bottom bracket, and the headset probably needs new bearings too. Not to mention a good cleaning, fresh brake pads and cables, a new chain, and a longer stem.


One of my favorite things about winter–especially a good winter storm with substantial snowfall and a bit of wind–is that everything turns one shade of gray or another.

White on white on gray.

Picnic Point: white on white on gray.

The Ox, also monochromatic.

The Ox, also monochromatic with the crew docks for a bit of color.

Just like a good fog, it makes the entire world look soft and new and interesting. And so I rode the long way (or at least a little longer) home so that I could make fresh tracks in the snow, look at the frozen lake, and enjoy the solitude of a heavy snowfall hissing down.

And then I rode home and shoveled the driveway and sidewalks–which is really just another way of being in the snow (In-der-Shnee-sein…pace Heidegger).

Ducks and Drakes

With the day off, my thoughts naturally turned to contemplating a long (all of the daylight and then some) fat-bike ride on one of the local rail trails to take advantage of the frozen gravel and lack of snow. But this morning I was simply too relaxed and couldn’t rouse myself to that sort of effort. And, there’s snow predicted for tomorrow and the few days after that, so the fat-biking will be all the better then.

Instead, I pottered around in the shop for a while and then left the house to run errands. I had the foresight to brew some coffee and take my thermos. After the errands (none of which were successful), I took the long way home, drank some coffee outside, and made a few photos.

In other news, sitting on a concrete retaining wall during the winter is cold. I must remember to bring something to sit on next time.

Spring Leaves and Lonely Buoys

Last night’s ride the long way home (LWH) sent me westward on a coffee-outside reconnaissance mission. If it’s not already obvious, I like to drink my coffee near the water.

The ride wasn’t as long as I would have liked, but the fall scenery more than made up for it–and recon was a definite success.

A New Bridge

On the Long Way Home (LWH) yesterday, I found a new bridge–or new to me at least. I parked for a moment to drink pineapple juice from a tiny can and to look upon a tree.

The bridge is just past a three-way junction in the trail. Since my options were to cross the bridge and go somewhere I didn’t or to poach some trail forbidden to bikes, I ended up backtracking a bit to continue on my usual route.

Time or Miles?

As often as I can, I take the long way home from work. Instead of 6-7 miles in 20-30 minutes, this gets me about 20 miles of riding in roughly 1.5 hours (I’m generally not in a hurry in either case). The short way takes me through central Madison along a route made up partly of bikes paths and partly of neighborhood streets. Most variants of the long way take me along the southern edges of town using bike paths, neighborhood streets, and a country road or two.

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Part of the reason that I take the long way home–besides the fact that I love riding my bike–is that sooner or later my mind will slip into a fluid state in which my thoughts flow and float along. This is not only a highly useful way to think through the problems of the world, but it’s also the single best way to let the work day evaporate.

But I don’t seem able to slip into this flow state right away. It takes some amount of riding. One of the things that bubbled up into the foreground when I was riding home last night is this: is it miles or time that’s required to attain this mental flow state? Or perhaps something else, like a minimum level of exertion or just getting out of the traffic grid and on to a path in the woods?

Clearly more data is required.