Monday, October 24, 2016

The Real Signs of Autumn - A Bike Commuter's Perspective

At the beginning of Autumn, it feels much like summer, and if it wasn't for the date we couldn't exactly tell when the season changes. But by mid-October the temperature plummets and will hover in the mid 50s for highs - that's when Autumn truly begins in Vermont.

On the same note, I've noticed bicycle-related seasonal shifts, those signs that a commuter cyclist deals with when the weather takes a dive.

Sadly, I can no longer wear sandals, even with socks. I rummage in the closet and dig out my hiking footwear.

I wear a head band beneath my helmet to keep my ears warm.

I don fleece gloves, daily, and sometimes windproof mittens.

I need a windproof jacket, every day, and often on the ride home.

Shorts? Brrrr. I can't imagine wearing shorts until next May. Under Armour cold weather tights are essential.

A cold cable lock is stiff. I struggle to unwind it to wrap it around my bicycle.

I no longer need sunglasses for either direction of my commute. The sun is so low in the sky that I wear clear safety glasses for eye protection.

Lights! Gotta have 'em and prepare to keep the USB headlight charged.  And with a cloudy sky today, I used my headlight for the first time, as I pedaled home.

And lastly, with snow flurries forecast this week, I am wondering how long I can keep commuting this year...and on weekends for pleasure, hopefully at least through the coffeeneuring challenge!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Foliage Overload - The Best Part of My Commute

The best part of commuting in October:
Riding on the gravel-line trail beneath a row of vibrant color maples - a better alternative to the nearby high-traffic road.

Admiring the leaves beneath my wheel...

...And the canopy overhead.

A mile later, the dazzling color is a corridor, guiding me onward.

The leaves barely hit the ground and a crew is managing the fallen leaves, blowing nature's crinkly companions into neat rows. Hold on a moment, I want to say, Let me enjoy it for as long as I can.

At mile 4, I pass through a mystical forest, lit from the rising sun.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Platform Pedals - A Cure for Knee Pain?

In August I transitioned from toe clips to a platform pedal on my Ross commuter bicycle. I didn't make this change out of necessity - I was looking for easier footing to accommodate flip flops, sneakers, or monstrous winter boots. After the switch, my nagging knee pain lessened, considerably, a benefit I did not expect. And while I generally spin at high cadence - that simple remedy learned from past long-distance tours - the new pedals have made a noticeable difference. My foot naturally falls more forward on the platform pedals, approximately 1-2" than previously wedged into toe clips. I've been wondering if my body wanted to stretch and lengthen to account for a too small bike frame, in addition to the adjustments I've made - namely a longer seat post and slightly upright bars. Whatever the reason, platform pedals are here to stay!

Has anyone had a similar experience?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 - Second Cup at Bayside Park

I love coffeeneuring with my spouse. It's like a bike date and a picnic all rolled into one awesome outdoor adventure. And a bonus: I have a willing person who can take a snapshot of me relaxing in my camping chair - a self-imposed chore that's proving difficult with self-timing cameras limited to 10 seconds. (If anyone has photography tips, please reply in the comments. Otherwise, it's a good thing my readers can't see me perform this comical maneuver!)

My husband and I shared a bagel and watched s few sailboats zip across the bay. With an unusually hot summer and lack of rain, we'd heard that some sailboats are stuck in the sand, which would explain why, in mid-October, so many boats remain in the water.

I set up the stove behind a public building to heat tea water. What's up with all these windy coffeeneuring days?
I've been riding Miss Clementine lately for joy rides and for coffeeneuring - outings where I can keep my eye on her. We are getting to know each other.

The Place: Bayside Park
Date: Saturday, October 15.
Drink: Yorkshire Gold English Breakfast Tea 
Observation, Bike Friendliness: The beachfront park has a beautiful grassy lawn overlooking Malletts Bay. 
Total Miles: 21

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Blast of Vermont Fall Foliage

Heading towards Smugglers Notch.
It's no secret that I love Vermont in autumn. I will drive to see the changing leaves...

I will pull over to experience the ambiance: the smell, the whisper of wind moving the canopy, the vibrant explosion of colors.

Grist Mill covered bridge, Jeffersonville, VT.
I love to visit covered bridges.

Peak foliage is nearly at lake level currently, so I'm devouring my surroundings via riding my bike to work...

And plowing through crackling leaf puddles on the way home.

My son has even been getting into the act, filming Stowe's peak color over the Columbus Day weekend.