You may have noticed that I post less. There is a simple reason for that: value trade-off. Until recently, I used to go to the office via public transport. That was a lot of wasted time that I filled with writing posts for this blog.
In the past I used to ride my bike to the office, but after both my family and my company have moved around town, the distance between office and home was 19 km (12 miles).That scared me.
I never thought that I would be able to go this distance twice a day. Until I tried it once and discovered that:
- It is possible.
- It is less exhausting than expected.
- If I do it on Mondays, the chances are high that I do it all week (except for home office days).
- It takes at most five minutes more than public transport.
- Colleagues of mine have even longer rides (30 km or about 19 miles).
Since I had of lot of bike experience in the past, for me it was only picking up old habits and getting in shape again. Should you want to give it a try, here are some suggestions:
- Most important rule: Always drive in the lowest possible gear. That reduces strain on driver and material and is the only way to go long distance. Professional racers turn the pedals 90 two 140 times a minute (that is called “cadence”, think of it as “pedal rpm”). If you don’t have racing pedals that will not be possible for you. Try to aim for a gear at which your feet just do not lose contact to the pedal in the upward movement.
- Uphill, use one or two gears higher than comfortable. This is not a must, just a suggestion if you want to gain muscles and not only endurance. Think of a cadence between 60 and 80.
- Avoid dehydration. That one should be obvious, but it means two things: carry water with you and find a pace at which you do not sweat to much. You will need one or two bottle holders on your frame (I prefer that to a water backpack). Add some magnesium for taste and to avoid mineral loss.
- Avoid traffic lights but respect them if they are red. If you cannot avoid them, use the waiting time to relax and drink some water. You can also try to do some “traffic light pacing” by finding the right speed between two traffic lights which lets you roll on without a stop. This works especially well when they are synchronized between crossings.
- Wear a helmet. While the positive effect in case of an accident has not yet been proven very well, it is better to err on the safe side. Besides, a helmet als protects from the sun.
I will try to find a new rhythm also for posting. Until then I hope you bear with my slightly erratic timing…