NBD = New Bike Day.
After several years of having a single-speed Craigslist bike, which I stickered-out and rode like I stole it, I finally graduated to a real bike with gears and drop bars.
A month ago, I bought a 2016 Fuji Tread 1.5 – it was a bit of an investment, but I’m commuting with it and will also ride it during the Bike MS Bay to Bay Century ride later this year. My commutes are five miles each way on paved bike trails that are not shared with other vehicles. I’m on the regular road for less than a mile and for the remainder, it’s bike trail. At work, I have a shower that’s literally a few feet from my desk.
Anyway, the bike has 18 gears, disc brakes, a carbon fork, and 700×32 tires. It’s technically a cyclocross bike, but I chose this bike since I needed a more robust frame and construction for daily commuting, but I also wanted drop bars for my weekly rides and for the upcoming century. I’ve moved my pedals, my bike seat, the rear rack, rearview mirror, and the bottle cage. I removed the EZclick mount off of an old Blackburn pannier bag (which was pretty unwieldy and didn’t hold much) and I hacked it to my laptop bag, so for now, I can put my laptop on my rear rack and my spare clothes in a backpack. I have another set of panniers on order and they’ll come next week so I can stop using my backpack for clothes.
Having the right bike has really made bike commuting enjoyable. Gears make a huge difference in momentum and drop bars also help with getting good speed when I want it. I’ve timed it and the fastest I’ve gone from door to door has been 18 minutes by bike. By car, it’s about 15 minutes. Basically, it’s a wash, and I’m getting a workout.
I guess the only downside is timing. I frequently have 8:00 AM meetings, which means I need to leave the house by 7:00 so I can have time to shower and get ready at work. Also, work is getting pretty busy and I’m staying later than I like, but then I still have to ride home after a long and exhausting day.
Honestly though, when I hit the straights coming home, I gear down, get in the drops, and go fast. I momentarily forget about the day and deadlines and emails and documents and meetings…and I focus on the road, my cadence, my speed, and what’s ahead of me.