First off, I'm new to this blogging gig, so hang in there while I get my balance.
Second, the folks at the World-Herald wanted a photo of me for this blog. In service of journalistic honesty and integrity, I couldn't use a “blog double.” Worse, on all of our cycling trips and vacations, it seems I'm the designated photographer; lots of great pictures of smiling faces in beautiful locations, sans yours truly. Group photos and cycling go hand-in-hand. Riding with friends is one of the purest joys of cycling.
I was recently featured in LiveWell the Magazine because I commute to work more than 30 miles just about every day of the workweek on my bike.
That article inspired other commuters to write to me seeking advice.
Mark Crown, a 56-year-old Omahan, is a cycling enthusiast who has been commuting by bike to his job at Offutt Air Force Base for the last 15 years. He will blog monthly for livewellnebraska.com. You can email him at email@example.com.
One cyclist, Dan E., wrote to me and detailed his commuting routine and the quiver of bicycles he uses. He commutes six miles each way in all but the coldest weather, using one of two mountain bikes, one with studded tires.
Here's my advice to him: If a bike's in good condition, and it suits your commute, by all means, that's the bike for you. Six miles on a mountain bike is doable, and because it's a mountain bike, you can take some fun detours on the way home.
Here's my advice to anyone interested in commuting:
- Folks can use whatever is in the garage to get started. Don't dump a lot of money on a long distance rig without knowing exactly what you need.
- Most long-range commuters use some variation of a road bike: a road bike with touring geometry; a "new niche" gravel bike; a straight-bar road bike; a race bike; or, as in my case, a cyclocross bike with racks and fenders. The longer your trip, the more efficient and purpose-built the machine.
- If you don't have racks or fenders on your commuting bike, think about getting some. And there's nothing wrong with a backpack or messenger bag. I'm just sayin' a rack gets the load off your back and derrière, improves your center of gravity, and allows more ventilation in summer. And fenders get you out the door more often in sloppy weather, and they keep your shoes, backside and bike cleaner. (Though I must say one of the most fun rides I've ever done was on a fenderless road bike down the Wabash Trace Nature Trail in Iowa in pouring rain and with muddy, 10-foot rooster tails spraying off the back.) Cost? Not too bad. Dinner and a movie = rack and bags. Half a tank of gas = fenders. Just don't blame me when you walk through the front door on payday with a rack and panniers in hand, "Honey, I decided we're not going out tonight. Look! Bike stuff!" Might want to put a bottle of wine and some flowers in that new bag.
Thanks for writing in. Keep the questions coming.
See you on the road!
P.S. For you commuters out there, what was the funniest thing you ever forgot to bring to work? There's nothing like clip-clopping through the workday in cycling shoes.