Author Topic: Back in the saddle again...  (Read 3971 times)

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9410
  • Location: Seattle
Back in the saddle again...
« on: October 05, 2013, 01:57:07 AM »
I just got a second-hand bike and am going to start experimenting with using it as part of my commute.

I live in Beijing and the reason I haven't had a bike for several years is that my last one was destroyed when DH was smashed by a taxi while riding it.  People who saw the accident were amazed he lived.  So I'm a bit nervous to be hitting the road again.

That being said, I am planning to start small/gentle.  I am going to replace the bus segment of my commute with biking to the nearest subway stop.  That is about 3.5km each way.  I should be able to do it in about 10-15 minutes, and it will cut 15-20 minutes off my commute (especially considering the time I typically have to wait for the bus). 

Eventually I hope to build up to riding longer distances, and perhaps even doing my whole 16km commute by bike.  If I can get comfortable with that, then I may be able to drop our gym membership -- concerned that our gym might be going under as the lease is about to run out, so this is my backup  plan to ensure I still keep getting exercise if that happens.

Anybody else getting back in the saddle lately?  Would be great to offer each other support/encouragement to stick with it.  Winter is coming and that is going to be hard...

 

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9410
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 09:23:06 PM »
Rode to the closest subway station today.  Took 15 minutes and shaved at least 15 minutes off my commute.  It isn't too cold yet, perfect temperature for biking actually.  Just hope the bike is still there when I get back this afternoon....

chardog

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 182
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Austin, TX, USA
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 09:31:41 PM »
Way to go!

How was the ride?  Was it enjoyable?  That's reason enough to do it.

My bike commute did not shave time off my commute, but the fact that it was enjoyable made it seem shorter than driving.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9410
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2013, 07:17:01 AM »
The morning ride was quite pleasant.  I left the house at 5:30 so the roads were virtually traffic free.  Now that I know I can make it to the subway in 15 minutes I can push my departure time back to 6:00 am and still make it to the office by 7.  Should still be relatively calm at that time.  Only downside is that it is now very dark that early in the morning.  I'll need to get a light to make myself more visible, and probably add some reflective tape.

The ride home was also fine, but I was tired -- have a particularly busy week so I didn't start heading home until 6pm, and I was really hungry.  More traffic at that time of day, but not too bad.  Again, a light and reflective tape will be wise investments.

I'm debating whether to ride a bit further to an event site where I need to drop some stuff off tomorrow morning.  That is about 7km and saves me a change on the subway (event site is right near where I change subway lines).  But I probably have another long day tomorrow, and not sure I'll be up for the ride home, especially if I can't leave the office until late. 

Anyway, i'm glad to be back in the saddle again and looking forward to exploring my bike commuting options.  I typically take the bus and subway as we don't have a car, but just being more free to do my own thing and not have to fight for a seat is pleasant.  Running errands on the way home is going to be much more streamlined, too.

Nancy

  • Guest
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 07:37:26 AM »
Congrats on taking up biking again! Lights on the front and back of your bike are essential (I also go for lights on the wheels, so you're visible from the side). If you haven't already, head on over to the October Cycling challenge and join the community for support and motivation.

avonlea

  • Guest
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 07:39:50 AM »
Way to go, lhamo!  I'm glad that you are enjoying riding again. 

I like your idea of starting up this support group. My kids and I have ridden our bikes a while for fun but this is the first year we've seriously done bike commuting for daughter's school.

I'm not sure what we'll do about winter. I'm planning on driving during the cold/dark months, but I'm hoping that maybe we can do half-and-half.  In the morning, I'd like to load her bike in the trunk, park it at the school when I drop her off, and then bike home in the afternoon. Not quite sure how it will work out, but we'll see.

If you bike to the event site tomorrow, let us know how it goes!  Nice to hear that you had a pleasant ride this morning. :)

madgeylou

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2373
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 08:16:52 AM »
Hey Lhamo, this is probably pretty obvious to everyone but me, but having a snack right before I bike home helps a LOT. Even just an apple or a bit of cheese makes the ride a lot easier and more fun, especially at the end of a long day.

Good luck and good on you for figuring out a way to make biking work for you!

jflo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2013, 11:16:26 AM »
+2 on food.  And something small but filling usually works best for me - cheese, handful of nuts, or a hardboiled egg.  No good being lightheaded on a bike ;).

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9410
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2013, 06:35:46 AM »
A snack on the way home is probably a good idea. 

I made the longer ride today and MY BUTT HURTS!!!!  Sorry, but I was not anticipating how hard that seat would feel on the longer distance.  I rode 7km each way, 30-35 minutes each way, so a good hour of exercise.  But man, was I uncomfortable toward the end of it.  Traffic was also kind of unpleasant both ways (left at after 7am, and came back around 5). 

I think I'll stick to the shorter route for awhile until my butt callouses kick in.  15 minutes is nice, but not too tiring.  Building up slowly is probably a better idea.  And maybe I'll get some extra cushioning for the seat.

jflo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2013, 10:31:44 AM »
:)  Day 2 is always the hardest in getting back in the saddle - because of the saddle.  Should get easier from here on out. . .

non geordie beth

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 30
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2013, 03:18:00 PM »
How's it going lhamo? I'm about to start cycling to work again :)

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9410
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2013, 08:56:42 PM »
Last week was a wash -- had a complicated schedule because my DH was on a business trip and I had to juggle kid bus dropoffs/pickups with an insane work schedule. 

This morning was a wash because I had to drop DS off for a school trip at 4:00am.

I will be back in the saddle tomorrow.  Going to aim for the 3.5 km easy ride one way.

lhamo


On_a_slow_boat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Age: 41
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2013, 09:33:47 PM »
I am an expat (american) living in Beijing.  I bike to work about 2x a week. Even did so today.

Congratulations on starting to bike to work.. One of my favorite parts of living in the city is the freedom and speed my bike gives me. Plus it has helped me burn more calories so i can consume more of the great food the city has to offer.

my commute is about 9KM (Near chaoyang park to near Huamao).  So far I have learned a few things.

1) Invest in a good PM 2.5 mask - on the bikes especially you are all around buses , cars, and other things that are spewing lots of nasty air right in your face

2) lights lights lights... if you are biking in the city at all once it gets dark , light yourself up like a christmas tree! LOL.  I have three LED's on my bike and four on my 9 year old son's bike, makes me feel so much safer.

3) Make sure to laugh each time you see a Porsche Cayenne or G series Mercedes stuck in traffic while you blow by them on your bike.

4) I had my bike stolen once, after that I found a place that I pay 10RMB a month that watches my bike - it's still chained, but it makes me feel a bit better there is some supervision. So far I have been fortunate with my 2nd bike.

good luck!

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9410
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Back in the saddle again...
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2013, 04:04:16 AM »
Thanks, On_a_slow_boat -- waving at you from NE of the Park (i'm in Lido).

Definitely need to get both lights and a mask.  The day I biked to Hujialou on the third ring side road the AQI was 200+ and the traffic was heavy and it was NOT pleasant.  Coming back was slightly better due to the wind. 

I do the laughing at fancy cars things from the bus already.  It is more fun on the bike.  I also track my time compared to the buses I would normally be on.  Often I'm faster. 

Nice to see so many mustachians in Beijing.  Maybe we should do a potluck or something sometime.