Saturday, 28 June 2008

Cycling all the way?

For the first time, since I began to cycle-commute in earnest, these last couple of days, I have felt I finally was making some progress. True I've been cycling a good deal, but I'm afraid I've always been envious of the mileages other bloggers, such as Doug the mnbicyclecommuter, and Gill, of up in alaska fame, who seem to knock up 30+ miles daily, and more. Working 12 hour shifts, and my other commitments at home, hasn't helped, but I've finally increased the mileage, and seemingly, with very little extra effort, save time.

I started out this week, looking to cut the car out of my commute to work completely, by cycling to Neath, then making the rest of the journey, on the train, with my bike. Wednesday was the big day, I cycled to Neath, on my way to my dayshift, left home at 04.10, arrived at the station at 05.00, well in time for the 05.09 train, tried to buy my annual train ticket, but couldn't, because I needed a photo, all the time I've been enquiring about this nobody has mentioned the need for one? So I bought a single ticket to Port Talbot, intending to go out on my break, and get some passport photos, from a booth, to use when I bought the annual train ticket on my way home, later.

The day raced by, and we were busy at work, and I didn't get out to get the photos, home time came, my relief arrived, so I headed across the road on my Subway 8, towards the station. I decided, out of the blue, that no I wasn't going to wait the 20 minutes for the train, and would go for it, and cycle all the way home.

I was a bit dubious that I would make it all the way, but I needn't have feared, because though it took me 1 hour and 25 minutes, I enjoyed every minute of it, even the hills, mileage 19, giving a total for the day of 30. Thursday, I decided I wanted to ride all the way in, but would leave it till I got to Neath, whether or not to take the train. I got there in plenty of time, and just carried on, once more I cycled all the way, none the worse for wear.

My colleagues, at work, quickly decided I was completely mad, to get up at 03.55, and cycle 19 miles to work, but I felt great, and couldn't wait for the leg home. So far my extra long commutes, had been in fine weather, but during the day the weather started taking a considerable change for the worse. By home time, the wind had got up to 20 mph or so, and would be a headwind for me to battle against, and rain was imminent.

Setting out at 16.40, I was able to cycle strongly into the wind, surprising myself, that I was comfortably pedalling in 7th gear. The rain kept threatening, but I wasn't subjected to a real downpour, until I got to Neath, there I had to put on my waterproof jacket, I didn't bother with the trousers, preferring to stick to my ordinary shorts, I didn't want to get too hot. Showers kept coming in heavy bursts, but that only made the ride, that much more enjoyable for me.

I made it home by 18.10, one and a half hours, I know that isn't fast, in anyone's book, but I don't want to go fast, and I'm so proud of myself.

Friday was a day off for me, I didn't ride the bike at all, Elizabeth and I went out to do some shopping while we also babysat Jack, while his mum, Anne had the car serviced, after shopping etc., we went and picked up Conor, then Anne, and dropped them all back to their car. Meanwhile, I had a call from work asking, me in to do a nightshift. I need the overtime, so I said yes, but was annoyed that it was too late to cycle to work.

It's Saturday evening now, I've just been outside, checking my tyres for glass etc., pressure, I also lubed my chain, pedals and hubs. Really pleased with my tyres, but disappointed that I had to dig a shard of glass, out of the front, why is there so much glass out there? Anyway, the Subway is ready for my commute tomorrow, and guess what, I'll be cycling all the way.

That annual train ticket will have to be bought, I've finally got the passport photo, because it will always be a backup, the car could well be resting alot, as far as travelling to and from work is concerned at least.

4 comments:

Doug said...

Hooray...way to go! That's great that you were able to make it all the way. That is a long commute on either side of a long shift. But you did it! I think you're walking a fine line between madness and good sense! :-)

In answer to your comment on my blog recently....the handlebars are made by Titec and are called a H-bar. Originally designed by Jeff Jones and made by him in titanium. The originals sell for $250 US. He made an agreement with Titec to make a cheaper version. That's waht I have.

welshcyclist said...

Cheers Doug,
There's alot of madness this side of the pond, but even though it makes for a long day, I feel great, and it doesn't seem like a chore, in anyway. Now all I need is that extra bit of discipline, to record a regular blog and get some shots of my trip into it, as well as recording all these extra miles I'm now racking up. Thanks also for telling me about those handlebars. All the best.

Antoine said...

Well you are mad, but you're healthy, happy and mad!

I really look forward to my commute home after a 12-14 hour day (only work 3 days a week) and also don't mind a bit of rain on the way home. I wish my ride was a bit longer, but I don't get enough sleep as it is, so it's probably just as well.

The UK Cycle-to-Work scheme sounds great and your employer helping out with public transport costs is fantastic. I wish we had something similar down here in NZ.

Nick said...

I admire your determination. For myself, I don't mind getting wet on the way home, but if it's raining in the morning it's the bus for me. (And anyway, commuting to work where I live doesn't exactly require a lot of effort; we're hill-free here.)