Bicycle Commuting

I bike to UBC when I can (from the West End in Vancouver). Up until today (15/06/00) I couldn't bike when it rained because my brakes would stop working when they got wet. I got a new bike yesterday, however with the new style V-brakes. The stopping power on them is amazing! My tires skid before the brakes let the wheel slip.
I have a Giant Rincon SE mountain bike. It's pretty nice. Very light, which is a plus.
Phew! I'm starting to feel the effects of biking every day. Today (21/06/00) I've biked every day for a week. My legs are feeling tired, it was really hard getting up the hill and then up the stairs at work. I assume it can only get better from here on in!
(21/06/00) The seaside bike route is no good for commuting. You have to cross a major street without lights or a median. Plus it meanders all over the place. I passed a guy on the Burrard St. bridge. When I passed him he started cheering me on :-) Sometimes biking is really great.
(22/06/00) My brakes have started squeaking when I come to a full stop. Owning a new bike is just like owning a new car. Every squeak and creak is scary! New cars generally don't have a year of free tune-ups though. Yay Bicycle Sports Pacific!
(29/06/00) Now my brakes are full-on squealing whenever I apply them. Adrian (my boyfriend) took my bike to BSP for a tune-up this morning. Hopefully that will help. (Disclaimer: this isn't strictly about bicycle commuting but it is interesting :-) Yesterday night I went for a night ride in the UBC woods with some friends. That was quite exciting! We went over those trails a lot faster than I've ever done before, which isn't saying much considering I've only ridden them about three times. But still... There were lots of slugs on the path, it felt like all the slugs in the forest had decided to try the other side of the trail. We saw a mouse or shrew or something as well. Then after an hour my light suddenly died. One minute it was on and I was pedaling furiously and the next minute it was pitch black. We figure the battery pack was old and wasn't charging properly. By that time I was stoked and didn't want to stop! Oh well, there will be another time. We biked 14.27 km.
(03/07/00)Mountain biking weekend! We went to a friend's cabin near Princeton and played with our bikes. Today we rode something like 52 km on the Kettle Valley Railway from Princeton to Tulameen and back. It's an old railway with the rails and ties removed which is supposed to be great for biking on because there are no big up or downhills. The maximum grade is 2%. This is all true, it wasn't too hard to keep moving (except through a few patches of sand, ugh). What they don't tell you is that the road is gravel with lots of washboard and very rocky sections. It was bump, bump, bump all the way. The bridges are even worse. There is almost always no decking so it's just the ties. You have to keep a minimum of speed up so that your front wheel doesn't turn and slip through the space between the ties so the rattling is unreal. One of the bridges was so bad it felt like my eyes were being shaken in their sockets. Then, about 7 km from the end, we were caught in a downpour! Boy, we were soaked! Everything was dirty and covered in grit from the railway.

A minor epic. We had bad weather, equipment failure (One of our friends broke a spoke), injuries (sore bums and arms and necks) and poor route finding (we had to ask someone where we were and how far to Tulameen). It was worth it for the experience though! While we were up there I saw four deer and two gophers and lots of birds including a little fuzzy baby! I managed to ride my bike along a log without falling off twice! The scenery along the railway is beautiful. Imagine reddish orange sandy cliffs on one side with a green river on the other. Amazing! We passed these cliffs which had all different coloured strata. The rock was red and orange and yellow and so powdery that the natives in the area used it for face paint. That was even nicer in the rain, a sort of consolation.

Check out Tandeming the Twin Tracks for pictures. Follow the link for "Summerland to Coalmont" and go to the middle of the page where they reach Princeton. They had some trouble with washouts but by the time we got there they were all repaired. We only had to suffer from rocky sections due to rockfall. We felt okay later that night too. Nothing ached, although I was expecting my forearms to hurt. See below for the stats.
(04/07/00) No biking this week! I can't muster any enthusiasm.
(09/07/00) Night riding again! Adrian made me a light out of a 20W halogen bulb and some plastic plumbing supplies. Works well! The speed was even higher this time! That made the larger bumps lots of fun, I felt like I was flying over them! Once I was actually bounced off my seat! Unfortunately I didn't survive the whole trip unscathed. One trail had these steps every few meters or so. They weren't that high, only about 15 cm but you could pick up some good speed going down them. I made it down all of them except the last one (or maybe second-to-last, I forget). Right after the step there was a deep groove worn in the path with some rocks. When I hit that I lost control of my bike and went over the handlebars! Ouch! I didn't really hurt myself. A big bruise on my thigh, some little almost-scrapes on my knee (I was wearing pants) and a big scrape on my elbow. It isn't serious but it stings! Apparently now I am a real mountain biker! See below for the stats.
(30/07/00) Night riding again! We did the trail of pain, narrow singletrack right through brambles and holly. Some fun tricky stuff, riding over roots and rocks. One really fun little dip, just like an amusement park ride. I managed to hop a log, about 10 cm in diameter. It came up a little too fast to stop and walk over so I just went for it. Boy, were the trails ever muddy! There were some big puddles where it seemed like you were going to lose your front wheel! Then down to Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks. Some of us went swimming in our underwear and there was one skinny dipper (not me). The water was cold at first but then it felt nice. The sky was so clear and you could see lots of stars. Beautiful! But then we had to ride home with wet underwear. I ditched my bra though. No point in wearing it. Yay for quick drying fabrics! See below for the stats.
(02/08/00) You'll notice that some days I only ride in the mornings. In case you're wondering about that, it's because I've started going to the gym after work two days a week. After working out for an hour I'm usually too tired to bike home (or too lazy or sweaty). I either take the bus (w/ bikerack!) or Adrian comes to get me.
I'm using a Cateye Enduro 2 cycling computer to record these stats. If you're interested, my nominal wheel circumference is 205cm.
Daily Commute Statistics
Date Time (hr.min.sec) Average Speed (km/h) Maximum Speed(km/h) Distance Traveled (km) Odometer Reading(km) Comments
 am:15/06/2000 00.44.37 14.2 30.0 10.66 10.8 First commute on my new bike!
 pm:15/06/2000 00.41.03 16.0 46.5 11.01 21.9 Holy speed, Batman!
 am:16/06/2000 00.45.56 14.1 33.0 10.86 32.9 Short detour today to deliver something to a friend
 pm:16/06/2000 00.34.46 18.6 53.0 10.81 43.8 Passed two people today!
 am:19/06/2000 00.41.42 15.2 33.0 10.63 82.4 Biking on the weekend too
 pm:19/06/2000 00.35.27 18.3 52.0 10.85 93.3  
 am:20/06/2000 00.42.40 14.9 34.5 10.65 104.2 Hot today!
 pm:20/06/2000 00.37.11 17.4 52.5 10.81 115.1  
 am:21/06/2000 00.43.56 14.5 29.3 10.65 125.9 Feeling slow and tired with a heavy bag
 pm:21/06/2000 00.42.42 16.3 48.0 11.61 137.7 Detour to Lee's Candies, Seaside route home
 am:22/06/2000 00.41.27 15.3 36.5 10.65 148.5 Go, go, go!
 pm:22/06/2000 00.36.55 17.5 47.0 10.85 159.4 Point Grey Academy parents all over the road today! Couldn't pick up good speed
 am:23/06/2000 00.42.27 15.0 35.0 10.66 170.3 Some kid complimented me on my bike today
 pm:23/06/2000 00.38.14 16.9 49.5 10.87 181.2  
 am:26/06/2000 00.44.10 14.4 31.5 10.66 206.9 Seat height and arm warmers adjustment delays
 pm:26/06/2000 00.32.55 19.7 55.0 10.84 217.8 Speed demon! New afternoon record!
 am:27/06/2000 00.38.18 16.6 34.0 10.65 228.7 Beat that, baby!
 pm:27/06/2000 00.35.43 18.1 47.0 10.83 240.3 Arg! Squealing brakes! Cyclists all over the road!
 am:28/06/2000 00.39.54 15.9 33.5 10.65 251.2 Still pretty fast!
 pm:28/06/2000 00.37.51 17.1 49.0 10.89 262.2 Squealing brakes part two!
 am:30/06/2000 00.41.35 15.3 35.0 10.66 287.5 Ahhh, the joy of a tuned bike
 pm:30/06/2000 00.35.43 18.1 52.5 10.84 298.5  
 03/07/2000 03.53.29 13.1 25.9 51.25 379.6 Kettle Valley Railway, Princeton to Tulameen and back.
 pm!:09/07/00 01.32.35 16.2 38.5 25.09 405.2 Night Riding, UBC endowment lands.
 am:13/07/00 00.38.56 16.3 35.0 10.68 416.0 Finally got my lazy self back to commuting. Pretty good time though!
 pm:13/07/00 00.37.08 17.5 47.5 10.88 427.0 Chain creaking and groaning, oh no!
 pm!:14/07/00 01.27.51 14.8 43.0 21.78 448.9 Evening ride at UBC to Spanish Banks
 pm!:17/07/00 01.58.14 15.4 38.5 30.45 479.7 Night ride: Riding through holly bushes and crazy pedestrian trails!
 pm!:20/07/00 01.59.39 15.0 34.0 29.98 510.0 Night ride: More insane pedestrian trails! Boardwalks galore
 pm!:23/07/00 00.59.16 12.0 27.8 11.96 522.2 Trials riding at UBC in the dark
 am:24/07/00 00.39.57 15.9 38.5 10.69 533.0 Hard uphills today
 am:25/07/00 00.39.26 16.1 36.5 10.69 547.7  
 pm:25/07/00 00.39.01 16.6 43.0 10.88 558.7 Windy!!
 pm!:30/07/00 01.24.33 13.8 39.5 19.59 578.5 Night ride: Very muddy, my chain needs a clean and a lube. I hopped a log! Swimming in the ocean
 am:31/07/00 00.52.15 12.1 33.0 10.70 589.4 New panniers. Spent 10 min adjusting them so I didn't kick them every revolution of the pedals
 am:01/08/00 00.41.55 15.2 36.0 10.70 601.9 Windy again! I thought I was going to die or at least puke coming up the hill today.
 pm:01/08/00 00.34.36 18.7 53.0 10.91 612.9  
 am:02/08/00 00.38.05 16.7 38.5 10.70 623.9 Push, push, push! Gotta keep the heart rate up! New morning record!
 am:03/08/00 00.42.33 15.1 32.0 10.72 635.3  
 pm:03/08/00 00.35.17 18.4 56.5 10.85 646.2 Phew! New speed record!!
 am:04/08/00 00.39.43 16.1 38.0 10.71 657.1  
 pm:12/08/00 02.00.34 16.2 40.0 32.69 718.8 Bike to the base of Burnaby mountain and back!
 am:22/08/00 00.41.23 15.5 35.0 10.77 728.8 Biking on Broadway for a change of scenery!
 pm:22/08/00 00.37.22 17.3 42.0 10.86 739.8 Biking on Broadway again!
 am:23/08/00 00.38.23 16.7 36.5 10.75 750.6  
 pm:23/08/00 00.43.15 16.1 38.5 11.61 762.3 Detours around road re-paving; Met a friend by chance and stopped to have iced coffee!

Some Interesting Bicycle Commuting Links
Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips: General commuting information from a guy in San Fransisco
The Vancouver Cyclist: Commuting in Vancouver
SFPIRG Cycling Information: Commuting at SFU
UBC TREK Program Center: Commuting at UBC
Vancouver Bicycle Pages: City of Vancouver Biking Information
Trails and Cycling: City of Burnaby Biking Information
Bicycling Life: Lots of bicycling information

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