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Vineyards and SprinklersSeptember 12, 2007

Guess what I did today?

I rode my bike to work! Dude!

Now, given that I live more than 30 miles from work, and given that my bike is a beach cruiser and we don't go up hills together, period, the whole ride would have taken me more than four hours, one way.

Obviously, I didn't ride the whole way. If I did that, I'd just be ready to turn around and take a $50 cab ride home.

Nope, last night when I got off work, I went to Target and bought many, many, many bike lights (it's DARK at 5am). I went home and attached them all (I felt very butch. I hate doing things like that with the screwdriver. Always makes me cranky). But now my bike lights up. I even put flashing things on the air-valve-stem thingies (that's the technical term). I think I could now land planes using my bike lights.

I borrowed a bike rack from a co-worker (but I think I'll buy one now, now that I know what it's like), and last night I attached it to the car. I wasn't really sure I'd done it right (although Lala says I did, and I trust her bike-judgment), so I used four hundred or so bungie cords to strap it down even more firmly. If I am a nervous bike-rider, I am an even more nervous driving-while-bike-is-hanging off-the-back-of-car kinda gal.

But I did it. Got up at 4:20am (no jokes), only twenty minutes earlier than I normally do, got ready, and drove to Livermore. I parked about two and a half miles away from work in front of someone's house who will surely get the cops out later to check on my extremely dirty vehicle ("Officer, it must be stolen. It looks like it's from Oakland" *gasp*).

I put my helmet on while sitting in the car which felt funny and probably looked even funnier, then I took the bike down, hopped on and rode away. I rode away!

It was so cool!

It was actually literally cool, too, but I was comfortable in my tee-shirt. I rode through the dark early morning, on broad, well-lit, bike-laned streets. I rode past sprinklers spraying, getting lightly misted as I passed. I rode past fields that smelled of fertilizer, boxes lying at the ends of the rows ready to be filled. Then the fields moved into vineyards, dark grapevines with heavy leaves, the smell of dust. Then onto the huge property where I work, past the badge gate (where I forgot, after getting out my badge, that you must put on BOTH backpack straps when you ride and not leave the backpack dangling, or you will come close to falling while the guards watch), and in to work.

I was so PLEASED with myself.

It's a little thing. A very little thing. Instead of 31 miles to work, I'm driving 26 miles. That's not really very environmental. It just kills me that there are no public transportation options available to get to my job (we work 6am to 6pm, and BART-bus connectors don't start until later -- we aren't allowed to adjust hours), but this feels like doing a good thing, albeit the smallest thing. Riding five miles. Plus, it's 40 minutes of motion, which I NEVER get on my work days -- by the time I get home at 7pm, I'm just too beat to go for a run, or even a walk.

This way, I start the day with a little ride. Boosts my energy, or at least it did today. And at the end of the day, I HAVE to ride the bike in order to get to the car to get home. No choice in the matter, no being lazy. Doesn't matter if I don't have the motivation, I'll HAVE the motivation, you know?

I am so excited. That was so fun. Oh! I've shown you before, but this is my bike (photo from Raleigh website):


There are some obvious differences. I took off that six-pack holder (with its built-in bottle opener) and put on a basket, and I added forty-two thousand watts to any place I could stick watts.

PS - I keep meaning to point you to my friend Rachel's new blog! Please go tell her hello, tell her she's sexy, and make sure you vote in her poll and make sure she knows her name is spelled wrong.


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ah.. bike riding. I do it almost every day. I think you'll really like it. It sounds like your ride is much nicer than my gritty city ride. I love that you suped it up with lights. Good luck and have a safe ride tonite!!

I just discovered the joys of bike commuting this past May. My ride to work is only 12 miles, though, and I have a 21 speed bike, so I can do the whole trip in an hour. The best part is that I don't have to take out separate time to go to the gym. Happy (and safe) riding!

Woohoo! Every little helps you know. If everyone cut 5 miles off their drive to work it'd be pretty cool. And there's the exercise thing, and the feeling better thing, and that is a funky-looking machine too.

Good for you! It sounds like a great way to start your day. I wish I could do public transit/biking to work, but the whole drop the kid off at daycare makes it much more complicated...

Yay! Good for you!
I'm a bike commuter too.
But only when the weather is nice.
In Seattle.
So that makes me an occasional commuter, but I love it.
I'm glad you enjoy it so much too.

I am SO PROUD OF YOU! Awesome job, my friend.

I think we need a photo of the bike in all its blinky glory.

This is excellent. Yay for you on the environment thing and the exercise thing and the more energy in the morning (although GAH, 4:20! ick!) thing. And if you think about the cumluative benefits, it's not a little thing at all - think about how many fewer minutes of emissions your car is sending out every day, and the decrease in gas usage. That adds up over a week, a month, a year. And it may be five miles today, but in a while maybe 6 or 7 or more when you get used to it. DUDE!

p.s. - ain't nuthin' wrong with the way your friend spells her name.

I ride every day and it feels great! Just to get moving. It also is very relaxing at the end of the day to get a little wind in your hair and work the stress out on the road. Good on ya!! (Rach(a)els are the best for the environment too!)

I am going a little overboard, though. I'm doing this-

Hmpf. Just read your PS.

yay for bike commuting! and yes, ever little bit helps. i'm moving back to my old town so i can bike more and drive less.

there should have "park and bike" lots for areas that are not so bike friendly. after all, there are 'park and ride' lots...

Nice! Great job on the biking. My husband and I are going to buy some bass ass mountain bikes for each other for Christmas. I can't wait to go for a ride on the weekends instead of a long drive.

Keep up the biking- it's great for you and th enviroment- although 4:20 in the morning is EARLY. I always get a kick when you talk about Oakland- my roots are all in Oakland. I went and voted- Rachael -all the way:-)

That daily bike ride should make your Runagogo total skyrocket in no time!

Yay for bike riding! I just bought a new bike a few weeks ago and still haven't blogged about it--but I love how it just rolls and rolls. I've been such a slug on the weekends, only wanting to sit and knit, my SO has been pleasantly surprised that a recurring question that I ask him is, "where are we riding today?". Plus it's another thing to buy clothing and gear for. :)

Now that the fires are getting under control and the air quality is improving I'm anxious to get out again and explore more of the (easy) trails in the Bay Area.

I'd love to see you ride by in the wee hours of the morning with your lights a-flashin'!

Aw geez, you're putting me to shame. My office is 1.5 miles from my house, and I usually drive (hides face behind hands).

I'm so very, very proud of you! And i love your bike. In 2004, I rewarded myself for a year of not smoking by buying a $200-and-change bike which promptly sat in my living room looking brand-new for two years. I occasionally bought cool stuff for it, like a rear rack, headlight, rear-view mirror, a European tire lock (had it shipped from England, no shit, but I love it), and a handlebar basket. Totally pimped-out, never ridden. This marks the first year I've ridden it with any frequency (the cool Canadian summers and the flat terrain had a lot to do with it), and I discovered that it's a HYBRID. The sissy bar is too high to be called a girl bike, but not straight across like boy bikes.

So my husband looked over at my monitor while reading your post, and he commented on your bike (he likes it, esp the 6-pack holder, lol). And that spurred a whole conversation about how I miss being able to just step through the sissy-bar instead of having to swing my leg over the back of the bike (which is probably too tall, but once I'm riding it's fine). Darren said, "Well, my dad's not McGuyver, but I remember him, years ago, cutting and soldering my aunt's bike to make it a girls' bike. It can be done, and it would probably be cheaper than buying a whole new bike that you don't love in every way."

So we talked about how I could then give my bike a custom paint job, and we told each other we'd bring it up to his dad to see if he wanted to give it a try.

And then Darren said, "Unless I'm just remembering an episode of The A-Team. Might not have been my dad at all."

You're getting awfully perky there, missy. I'm not sure if I should be proud of you or smack you *g*

Yay for bikes! I'm moving to 5 miles from my office and I can't wait to find myself a good non-traffic-y route to work. Careful though: bikes can be habit forming. I rode my first century this year!

Good on ya for the biking!I have a new bike that I could theoretically ride to school except for the bike-on-bart hours, the way carrying it up and down stairs hurts me, the being in the way on the train, the total lack of a safe route between bart and school, and on and on. It rocks you found a way to make the biking happen!

P.S. Nothing wrong with the way she spells her name!

P.P.S. Did you see this on C.O.?

Lovely bike. I am very jealous!

I've been dreaming of bike riding, and now I'm going to dream specifically of that very bike. I love it. And good for you!!

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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