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Penn’s Cycling School: DATE set for Penn’s Adult cycling Camp AUG 1, 2009

July 20, 2009
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Penn’s Cycling School: DATE set for Penn’s Adult cycling Camp AUG 1, 2009.

This looks like a very good opportunity for anyone in the Tampa area looking to start bicycle commuting.  I’m thinking about signing up for this myself, calendar permitting.  Yeah, yeah, I already know how to ride a bike, but I’m pretty “noobish” when it comes to the rules of the road.

Save the world, or just save 20 bucks a week?

July 20, 2009
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I’m looking to start commuting by bike pretty soon here.  Within the next month I’d say. Initially I’m going to be taking the bus for a good portion of the way (read: most of it) but that’s because my route to work is almost 18 miles.

I’ve determined that I can pick up the bus about 1.5 miles from my house, so I’ll ride to the bus stop.  The bus finally will drop me at the depot, which gives me another ~3 mile ride into work.  I normally spend $30 a week in gas just commuting and an unlimited weekly bus pass is $9.  So, I’ll save $20 per week right there.

An alternative to the depot is getting dropped at the “park and ride” lot, which would extend that 3 miles to closer to 5.  My plan is to slowly use the bus for less and less of the journey.  I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to totally eliminate it though as there is a section of the commute that is 8 lane highway (well, really 4 lane but it’s an interchange with another 4 lane highway and is ludicrously dangerous – I see wrecks there weekly) and can only be avoided by adding about 5 more miles to the already 18 mile commute.  While I’m not averse to riding the distance, I just don’t have that kind of time unless I want to leave my house at 5:30am.  Ben Franklin would do it, but not I.  Not yet at least.

Why commute by bike?  For me it’s mostly about saving money and getting in better shape.  I don’t really have any altruistic motives of saving the planet or anything like that, though I enjoy doing my part.

Camping vs. Touring, where do I fit in?

July 12, 2009

“Bike camping emphasizes the destination and what you do once you get there, and you just happen to get there on a bike.”

via Rivendell Bicycle Works: Camping vs. Touring.

This is a pretty great little article.  It isn’t very detailed, but I think it really sums up what I’m looking for right now, and what I think a lot of others are.

Of course, we’d all love to go on an extended 6 month bike tour of Alaska or ride the GDR.  Most of us can’t take 6 months off our jobs though, and I personally don’t want to have to go looking for a new job when I’m done with my tour (not to mention the 6 months of back child support I’d owe).

Weekend trips then are the ideal solution.  This article emphasizes “sub 24 hour” trips, but I’d prefer a weekender I think.  Taking a full weekend, you could combine the best aspects of touring and camping; making both the journey and the destination worth remembering.  The “S24O” may not be bad for your first couple of tries though.

Regardless, I think it’s best to just get out there and ride.  Period.

(oh, and going the weekender camping route would let me buy smaller – and hence cheaper – panniers)

TdF

July 4, 2009

So, the Tour de France got underway today.  I didn’t catch any of it.  I did manage to see some highlights at the official site.  If you click on the tiny Union Jack in the upper right corner it will get you to the English version of the site.  Oddly enough, the URLs for German and Spanish indicate “de” and “es” in them, respectively, but the English one indicates “us” rather than “uk” even though the flag you click on is clearly not a US flag.  Yes, I’m in a mood.

I enjoy watching bicycle racing on TV.  It’s one of the more relaxing sporting events you can watch without actually falling asleep (golf).  Beautiful scenery and people going fast under their own sheer athletic power.  I just can’t get excited about it though.  I can’t relate to these guys.  They spend their lives training; they get paid to do it.  They have bikes that cost 3 or 4 times what I make in a month (quite possibly as much as I make in a year).

The one aspect of it that I do really like is that it’s an event that people my age (35) can actually excel at.  In fact, looking around when I’m out riding, I get the impression I might be the youngest cyclist in the whole county, so I should rephrase that last sentence.  It’s an entire sport that people my age (and much older) can and do excel at.  So, what’s my point?  Sadly, I don’t have one.  I was just rambling about my love/hate relationship with the TdF.  Hey, it’s my first post.  Gimme a break.

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