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.