Monday, September 1, 2008

Of bikes, blogs and clothing...1st complete month.

August has been the first calendar month I have been bike commuting. So far I have over 300 miles since I started in July. I'll have to see how many miles I had at the end of July to get the breakdown for August. More to come on that.

It is interesting to have more than one bike to ride. I'm not bragging here, but there are definitely enough differences between certain bikes that, if a person rides a lot, could justify wanting more than one bike.

My mountain bike is very nice and I enjoy riding it, but it is hard to really do much distance on the road or on mixed bike trails. I also feel bad wearing my tires on pavement when they are really made for dirt. I just don't get out as often to mountain bike and usually ride off-trail portions of the local Bear Creek Trail system that is easy access from where I live. It's fun, but after riding it several time I would like to try other sections. I'm sure this will come with time as I become more familiar with the area.

My commuter, on the other hand, is the work-horse. I have logged around 600-700 miles since purchasing it in May of this year. I've even added another box I can lock to carry my camera gear and other things I deem valuable when I am out and need to lock the bike up. Even though my Buzz is heavier than my mountain bike I prefer to ride the Buzz because it works much better in the city and on the paved trails. I can keep my speed up better since it does not have knobby tires even though they are 26" like my mountain bike. I also have all the lights and even the bike computer on the Buzz because I use it most ofter...it is, after all, my commuter.

This brings me to my point...I see the possibility of picking up a road bike for the weekend rides with more miles and for recreation purposes. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your point of view) I also like the idea of a cruiser bike for just tooling around town or DT Denver.

I guess only time and money will tell. I'm waiting for the new Novara Buzz line to be introduced and see what makes my mouth water. Who knows, maybe there will be a road-style bike and a cruiser this year. That would be my luck!

I've been having a lot of fun lately keeping up on the several blogs on cycling and specifically a few in the Denver area. I'm really impressed with the information and opinions, not to mention the amount of time and dedication the blog authors (blogger I believe) give to their blog to make it up-to-date and relevant. Kudos to those who make these great blogs. If anyone reads this I hope to list several of these blogs. I currently have a few, but I have found other good ones not listed yet (there's that time and dedication part).

Lastly, I just want to express my opinion as I watch some changes in the cycling culture. When I started commuting over 10 years ago (I commuted for a couple of years in Boise, Idaho by bike and foot) I was always fighting with the concept of cycling clothing. I have never been excited about compression bike shorts (though I understand the advantages and benefits) and preferred to wear street clothes while riding so I could easily go to work, to class, and finally out for a beer without constant changing clothes for the rides. I can see wearing a cycling "outfit" on recreational rides; especially long rides that can cause chafing and other discomfort, but not for commuting.

When I started bike commuting again a few months ago I kept my dedication to wearing street clothes while riding. This has some unfortunate consequences in the Mile High area. Heat and afternoon thunderstorms can make wearing regular street clothes challenging. I find I need to change my shirt when I go to work in the afternoon and need to carry a rain jacket for those afternoon t-storms. It doesn't always cool down with the rain, however, and this creates other challenges.

I decided to do some research and found a few cycling dedicated companies designed and carried some great urban cycle-wear (specifically Swobo and Swrve). There may be more, but I was able to find these two...both have more traditional cycle clothing and great stuff (not only bike shorts, but knickers too)...some I can see myself wearing, other...not so much, but they are carrying clothing that I could easily commute in and then wear into the bar for a beer without reeking or having to change (or at least deal with showing off my white-guy thighs). I've even found jeans for cycling...great stuff.

Recently on Bike Hugger I saw a post for Hincapie (apparently a well-known bike clothing brand...please forgive my ignorance) and a new line of casual cycling clothing geared toward urban cycle-wear with street clothing appeal. At least for now, with growth in the urban commuting area of cycing, I can see a real niche market for bike clothing like jeans and functional, comfortable casual bike gear. I'm really looking forward to seeing what new technology, organic and renewable materials along with great design brings to the evolution of urban cycing/commuting.

That's all for now...here's to over a month without a car! I have some pictures from my ride today...I will post them in the near future.

By the way...BikeDenver rocks!

1 comment:

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