Sunday, April 3, 2011

Commuting to Work

25-45* F, snow flurries

I started riding to work this week, a full three weeks later than last year, but to be expected with the record setting winter we've lived through this year. In Vermont this carries over into our 5th season - Mud Season!


Miyata's front tire with mud. The fender is a tight fit,
but there isn't room to move it out anymore, short of
finding a new tire with less height.
My commute is an 11 mile one way ride, 10 of which are on paved country roads with the last mile on dirt. I start each morning by cycling with my youngest boy to school; he uses his transport of choice - this week it was his inline skates. Afterwards it's a steep three block ride to the top of the hill, past the fields of the University of Vermont, then the rest of the miles are on country roads south of Burlington.

The fields are still a brown mat from the months of snow, but overhead the Canadian geese are honking, flying in V-formation on their commute northward. I pass two dairy farms where the cows are outside now, but still penned until the grass grows in the pastures. I am thankful for the trill of red winged black birds, my constant companions for the entire ride. I see a few other bike commuters, but the main traffic flows north while I cycle south. I pass a small vineyard, now sprouting solar panels alongside the grapevines.

The last mile is a quiet pedal on dirt, firm in the morning, but a slow wheel-sucking trial in the warmer afternoon. Moisture in the road reeks havoc with rutting from the autos. My front tire is tough to steer and I watch, somewhat horrified, as the mud collects in my fender and oozes out in clumps. As I leave the dirt road each afternoon I often stop, grab a stick, and dig out the greater part of the mud so it won't end up on my feet or the crank set as I pick up speed on the pavement. I find it odd that this doesn't happen at all to the rear tire.

Neoprene socks as shoe covers.
I added new leather toe straps to
the Miyata. I like them!
I've adapted neoprene socks as shoe covers by cutting slits in the bottom and reinforcing the seems with zigzag stitching. For the most part they keep my feet warm, or at least as warm as can be. I still suffer cold toes and have to stamp life into my feet when I get to work. But finally I feel complete, able to ride to work again.

See Commuting to Work Redux.

3 comments:

  1. Read a few of your posts. Nice blog and posts. Also love the pic of the Raleigh grand prix - just gorgeous. I would definitely take it home :). Vermont is beautiful. Look forward to reading more of your posts.

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  2. Thanks Sue. I'm glad to see another NE rider reading my posts. I'll link to your site on my blog. I love the Pashley, especially with the red accents - so sweet.

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  3. Thanks. I usually spend a week up in Pittsburg, NH (I bring the MTB); maybe we will cross paths one day :)

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