Tag Archives: commute

Two minutes

24 Sep

My ride to work takes about 15 minutes, mostly on a bike path and neighborhood streets.  It’s relaxing, in the way that turning the pedals over easily usually is.  Too short to be a workout, but ideal as a transition time between home and office.  A chance to clear my head a little. 

Even so, there are days and times and topics that can’t be shaken loose so easily, when I get home still agitated about the last thing that happened before I left work.  I no longer have that problem on the way in to work, however.

With the onset of my relapse into cyclocross season — yes, I pretended to complain about August and early September being “too early” for ‘cross, but it was a sad attempt at acting out a struggle — I’ve started adding a diversion on the way in.  A sharper turn to the right on that downhill, and instead of rolling down a paved path I’m off on a twisty bit of singletrack wedged between a condo development and a suburban park.  It certainly started as just a goat path cut out by some kids, but over time someone has invested in this little stretch, putting in water bars and removing a fallen tree that had blocked the trail.

For two minutes and three dismounts, I can’t worry about anything else beyond the bike, roots, rocks, and trees.  My courier bag bounces off tree trunks and I lean over to keep from smearing bark and leaves on my dress shirt as I weave around the corners.  Head blissfully empty, I come to the bottom of the hill and hop back on the bike path.

At home, the preschooler’s pre-school chaos may still be raging (“C’mon, you’ve got to brush your teeth now,”), but that’s behind me and the day ahead is open and full of potential.

Not a bad trade for two minutes of extra commute time.

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Gear Review: Specialized Neoprene Shoe Covers

10 Feb

I have an annual love affair with mudguards, neoprene, and other wet-weather bits that enable riding through winter and early spring.  My latest fling has been with Specialized’s Neoprene Shoe Cover.  These improve on the basic bootie in ways that make you wonder why no one thought of them earlier.

I’ve trained and commuted with these covers through Washington DC’s coldest and snowiest winter on record.  The neoprene is good and thick and works as expected.  The bonus in colder conditions, though, is the improved zipper and ankle closure.  Specialized moved the fully-separating zipper to the inside of the foot, and added a reflective hook-and-loop strap at the top of the bootie.  The result is a tight seal keeping heat in and wet out, and less work getting the covers on and off.  Apparel manufacturers: spare us our epic stories of mid-ride duct tape repairs and switch to this setup for less strain on those delicate zippers.

One quibble — despite scuff-resistant material reinforcing the toes, a hole is already starting in one cover from putting a foot down at traffic lights and my short post-lockup walk at work.  For $50, booties should last more than one season.

Ride home

15 Jan

Warm night
Ice floats on dark river
Pedal home through
Moving tranquility