Bike commuter’s guide to the galaxy

2014-01-17 06.59.34I use to be the guy who avoided the early morning rides with the same enthusiasm you’d reserve for a truck stop bathroom. However, like that bathroom you had to unlock with a key that’s tethered to a pipe wrench to prevent it from being stolen(?) you sometimes have to do the unthinkable.

Some of you might remember, but for those with short term memory loss, I got a new job that moved me to the OC. Sans vehicle, I’ve been riding my bike to work every day. Like I wrote in my last post, at first I dreaded it. Now I enjoy it. I rode in to work last week with a co-worker who took me on a different route taking us through UCI, over Turtle Rock, and into Irvine. This new route is a bit longer and includes some actual elevation gain other than the many dips beneath the freeways and wide boulevards that dissect the OC like bad plastic surgery scars. My Turtle Rock route is now my most favorite thing.

With almost two months into my new commuting schedule I’ve learned a few things.

1. Morning commuting drivers in OC aren’t cycling friendly
I hate to throw a whole group of people under the bus, but I swear instead of easing up on the gas pedal to let me merge, the morning car commuter downshifts their luxury SUV and punches it to squeeze by me like this was a sprint finish on the Champs-Élysées. I halfway expect the driver to roll down the window and flick me with their bent elbow in true Mark Cavendish style as they roar by.

2. Always be blinking
I use to only activate my Knog lights during the ride home in the dark. Now, in the dawn’s light, I have them blinking and strobing like an evening at Studio 54. Too many morning drivers are distracted by a myriad of things: screaming kids in the backseat, balancing their venti drip with an add shot, and deciding if this is a “1st Wave” kind of morning or more of a “Coffee House” listening day. The blinking light at least draws their attention to hopefully avoid me or at least lock-in their aim missile-like to fully run me down like a slow squirrel rather than winging me with the side mirror. I have scribbled on the back of my driver’s license that if, due to an accident and I’m left in a vegetative coma or I begin to take Twitter seriously, I give permission for someone to go Chief Bromden on me with a pillow. However, I’m hoping the blinking light plan circumvents this plan.

3. Random shit seen on the bike path
Twice I’ve seen a coyote posted up just a yard off the bike path watching the world pass him by. I wonder if he’s waiting for some trophy wife to come trotting out with her accessory toy dog on a leash to snatch and eat. It’s the circle of life. I’ve seen a fully enclosed recumbent tearing down the path like it was trying to set a land speed record. And there are the usual odd sightings and occurrences like a unicycler, the douchebag who tries to pass me on the inside of the ONE turn on the bike path (Seriously you couldn’t wait two seconds until the path straightened again?), and the person wearing the helmet backwards. However, I am surprised by the lack of road p0rn. Back in the day, finding road p0rn was an almost weekly occurrence. Now, thanks to the internet, I can’t even remember the last time I’ve noticed anything. Thanks ObamaCare!!

My co-workers love that I air dry my clothes in the office.
My co-workers love that I air dry my clothes in the office.

4. Strava!
Every section of my commute is electronically marked with Strava segments. Some of the segment times are redonkulous. I’m speculating they warmed up on the turbo trainer and rolled over to the start of the segment with a light sweat wearing an ice vest to regulate their body temperature for optimal performance all the while reading JV’s tweets like it was scripture from the Old Testament. Sidebar: If you make a Strava segment that’s .1 miles long you deserve to be cursed with pinch flats and chaffing. In that order.

Answers from the mailbag
To answer the question from my last post and the conundrum of transporting my workout shoes back and forth – I’m too cheap to buy a second pair to keep at work. Hence my shoe dilemma. I’m hoping to find a discarded pair along the path.




One comment

  1. David says:

    Rapha still sticks out here like a sore thumb amongst the local team kits, pro peloton knock-offs, and P-Mart specials. Hell I have 4-5 Twin Six kits and I can count on two fingers the number of T6 kits I’ve seen locally, and they were riding together.
    I like riding in Turtle Rock area to get to Back Bay and down to PCH, Sand Canyon dead end bump is always fun.

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