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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bike Commuting Again!

My new job is located in Norwalk, CT, which approximately 35 miles from where I live. If I take back roads, the distance is more like 26 or 27 miles.  This commute will be the longest point to point, bike commute in my entire cycling life.  To shower, I had to join the office park gym which is $50 for your lifetime with a company at the office park.  With the price of gas around $2, I figure my break even on the gym is somewhere between 9 and 10 rides, based on the amount of gas that I am saving by not driving to work.

I left the house at around 5:20 AM and it was cold!  The Garmin said it was 23 degrees F (-5 C) and from my house till Hattertown Road I was seriously thinking about turning around.  Everything on me was warm except my legs.  I have ridden in these temperatures before but knowing that there was really no place to stop to warm up was really shaking my confidence.  I kept going when I hit Hattertown and by the halfway point, the Saugatuck Reservoir (pictured above), I was fine.  I got to the office in one hour and forty-nine minutes.

This is my first bike commute in which I have to lock the bike up outside.  The property manager wouldn't let me bring the bike in the office and that means locking it up on a rack where there is little or no visibility by security.  Two of the other buildings have racks directly outside the buildings but not mine.  Therefore, I have decided not to leave anything to chance and remove everything mounted to the exterior of my bike.  

Then comes the actual locking of the bike or what I like to say locking the bike up like a NYC bike commuter.  A buddy of mine corrected me on Instagram, the correct term is Pee Wee'ing Your Bike.  I picked up a real nice U-Lock from Sean at the Bicycle Center but the bike rack is wedged between the stairs and the wall so I can't use the sides, which is the only way to lock the front tire to the frame.  I ended up putting the top of rack between the wheel and frame and was able to lock the front tire to the frame and to the bike rack.  The U-Lock came with a cable, too, which I used to secure the rear wheel.  Then I used another cable lock for Brooks Saddle. 

Since I was riding the Cross Check and could ride unimproved roads I deviated a bit on the way home I took the dirt section of Newtown Turnpike to Cobbs Mill.  I actually think this is faster and safer because there are little or no cars and it's gradual ascent.  On the way to work, I am going to take this route as well and then cut through my old neighborhood up to Chestnut Hill Rd.  Back in the mid 1970s I used to live in this part of Wilton!

I left the office a little hastily and by the time I got to the Saugatuck reservoir, the back teeth were floating and I had to stop.  All in all, I was quite surprised at my time riding home which only took me 3 minutes longer and my average speed was .1 mph faster than the way down.  I definitely think the cold has something to do it.  I do need to reconsider some logistics.  I need to find a way to carry my pump, tools, locks and lunch on the bike so I can lose the backpack.

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