According to Strava, May 11 (last Thursday) was Global Bike to Work Day(since it’s on Strava, it must be true). So I thought this would be a good day to ride to work (and back).
The company I work for recently moved from Breslau (about 10 km from my house) to Guelph (a little over 20 km from my house). At the old office, I hardly commuted by bike (the many excuses I have are all poor ones), and with the move to Guelph, I’m finding even more excuses.
However, since it was Global Bike to Work Day, I looked for reasons to ride to work. The day before, when I drove, I took a change of clothes so I’d have less to carry with me on my bike commute. I checked the weather and there was little or no chance of rain. The wind was from the east, so I’d fight a headwind on the way to work in the morning, but I’d hopefully get a tailwind on the way home at the end of the work day.
I’ve recently decreased my hours at work, so I didn’t have to leave the house too early. I hit the road at about 9:30am with the goal of being at my desk by 11:00am. The ride into the wind was tough and I didn’t want to push too hard and bring on concussion symptoms in my head. The route I took to Guelph was mostly paved so I rode my road bike and carried a knapsack with my laptop, lunch and a few other things.
The 23 km ride to the office took over 70 minutes, with an average speed of less than 20 km/hr. Not exactly a blistering pace, but still a good workout, given my current level (or lack) of fitness.
After my work day, I decided to take a slightly different route home that would allow me to take advantage of the tail wind. The route was about 25 km and I was able to get home in a just under an hour. Plus… with the tail wind, I was able to get a top 10 on a Strava segment in Guelph (Speedvale Road) and set a good pace along St. Charles from Maryhill to Bloomingdale.
The commute (both ways) was good for me. A lot of the route had good bike lanes where I felt safe. Other parts of the route, however, had no bike lane, and I felt exposed to traffic. One time (on the commute home), I was followed by a big transport truck up a hill. There was no bike lane, so the truck had to wait behind me until the driver could see far enough ahead to pass me while givine me enough room. Thankfully, the driver waited patiently (for about a minute… imagine!). But I still find times like that somewhat unnerving.
These roads where there are no bike lanes are unavoidable on most bike rides. At rush hour, the volume of motorized vehicles is high and I feel vulnerable. I put my life into the hands of drivers who are in a rush to get home (just as I am). Drivers need to respect cyclists, which, from cyclist’s perspective means: Please don’t kill me. I’ll respect drivers by staying in the bike lanes where they exist, and staying to the right (while avoiding pot holes, gravel, debris). But the bottom line for me is: on the roads, the most vulnerable human (i.e., the cyclist) should be given the most respect.
I found out today that a friend of mine was hit by a car while cycling yesterday. Luckily, he sustained only minor injuries.
Be careful out there, my cycling friends. And drivers, please give us room.