Bike Commuting! (Rain or Shine)

Lets try this again. I got to about 1k words and it just didn’t save. So this might be a little less wordy than the last version you didn’t get to read.

I had written a post a nice long post that was just too whiny to publish. I needed to talk about all the bad things going on at work, but you didn’t need to read about it. ( That is why you didn’t get a post last week.)

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Last week it was just looking to be a beautiful week, so we decided to try to bike to work. What do you know… its possible! I had done it twice before, but Quix and I had never tried together. There was one kind of scary spot on the way there, and if we get out of work too late (and the research campus across the street is closed), there is one kind of scary spot on the way back. But because of the great number of one way roads in Austin, the way to work is just over 4 miles, and the way back is just over 6.2015-10-26 18.42.53Our first ride into work, I wore my laptop backpack, and that was not very comfortable to ride in. Our second ride into work, also had us doing a OWS and run after work, so I used my big TRI bag. That made me feel very unstable and it was just overloaded with stuff.

2016-05-27 19.16.27Over the Holiday weekend REI had a sale and a 20% off any one item deal going on, so I stopped in to look at racks and panniers. I ended up getting a very nice rack with an interesting locking system. (Topeak Explorer Bike Rack ), and a bag that works with it (Topeak MTX Trunk Bag EXP). I didn’t realize the bag was $99, I thought it was $65, but I used that 20% off on it, to make it at least $80. Once I was home and looked it up on Amazon, it would have been cheaper to buy it on Amazon, so that’s what I linked you to up there.

FB_IMG_1445114724501(What big red looked like the day I found him.)

Once we got home I attempted to hook it up to BIG red, my old Schwinn I have been working on and… well, big red is too old, and didn’t have the correct holes in its frame to support a rack. So after moping for a few minutes, I looked online how to fix it. I decided to go return it at REI and get one that just attaches to the seat post. It turns out that big red is SO OLD, that it has a non standard diameter seat post, and to put one on, I would have to use so many shims that it would end up unsafe.

I talked to the bike mechanic there to see what he thought. He had the parts, but didn’t know where they were, and they were closing in the next 30 minutes. So I just took all the stuff I had already bought back home. We had places to go and people to see, so I just left it all undone for the day. We went to a fun pool party some friends were hosting, but thankfully there are no pictures from that event.

2015-10-18 20.47.40(Once I got big red mostly fixed up.)

Come Monday evening, I was feeling bummed about the rack not working, and went to go clean up the giant mess of bike stuff I had made in the front room. While putting things away I found an old flashlight mount I had that fit perfectly on the seat post, and provided a bolt that I could use to secure the rack to! HOORAY!

2016-05-30 18.16.04It only took about 10 minutes after finding the part to getting it all put together, tightened down and ready to go.

2016-05-30 18.16.22That gets us to Tuesday! We rode to work with the new set up. I really wish I would have gotten some pictures with the bag packed. I had a change of clothes for work, clothes and shoes for the gym, and stuff for lunch all stuffed in there. It was a little heavy but manageable on the way into work. It started to rain about 11am, and didn’t stop until 6pm. We left when the rain stopped and decided to skip the gym in favor of getting home while it wasn’t pouring.

Looking back we would have been fine, the rain didn’t start up again until late in the evening. We did still get to the grocery store and stocked up for the week. I think it only added about 10 more lbs to the bags. It did affect my stopping distance.

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Speaking of stopping, after the grocery store we passed Performance Bicycles and I suggested we stop in and have them take a look at Quix’s brakes. They were not functioning as well as I would have hoped. We have to take her bike in on Sunday to get new cables and brake housings. I guess that’s what happens to a cruiser if you just let it sit in the shed for 5 years.

Well, that would be our cycling to work adventure for the week. Here are other things that happened…

We volunteered at Cap Tex Triathlon Sunday morning. It was a blast to do bike check in. That might be my new favorite volunteer position. Sadly, because of the weather Monday morning, the race was turned into a run only. Swim and bike legs were both canceled.

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2016-05-28 14.03.00Saturday was opening day for the Hawaiian Falls waterpark, and after a nice Shoal Creek Bike ride, and a little hood run, we went there and enjoyed the first day of slides. Well, I enjoyed it until the 3rd slide when I got my eyes wasted by opening them at the bottom of a slide. Then, I rubbed my eyes with sunscreen covered hands. Needless to say after we did the next 3 slides and lazy river, I was having serious issues keeping my eyes open and not tearing up. So, into the EMT tent I went. Then we spent the night in a dark room getting eye drops every few hours for a while. But, I was all better the Sunday morning when I got up.

2016-05-28 16.16.26Well, I think that is a recap of most of my internet-safe adventures!  Until next time, Keep your eyes closed at the bottom of the slide!