Friday, May 30, 2008

The First Commute

Speaking of commuting, recognize this commuter aircraft?
Talk about riding to work in comfort!
Well, as some people say, talk is cheap. As I mentioned last week, I intended to ride the Fast Red Bike to work at least once this week. With the price of gas approaching $4.00/gal., a more workable shift schedule, and (finally) some mild weather, all the pieces fell together to make commuting a reality.
Sunrise, about 5 miles north of the ARTCC
Thursday and Friday I was able to ride to work, saving 50 miles of driving. It’s only a small dent in the cost, but it’s a start at least. Why only 50 miles? Well, since my season is off to a slow start I didn’t want to overdo the first attempt. So, I drove the car and bike to the halfway point to Centerville, and rode the rest of the way into work. It worked out to be right around a 13-mile ride each way. So, assuming I at minimum ride 50 miles per week commuting, that means I will save one full tank of gas every 6 weeks. If I ride the full distance on Fridays the cost savings rise dramatically.
At least it didn't rain until after I got to work!
More importantly, I was able to enjoy two lovely morning rides on both days. I had forgotten how lovely peaceful and quiet the 5:30 AM rides could be. Of course, there are the usual challenges, especially during the afternoon ride back to Centerville: Traffic, construction, the traditional afternoon lake breeze, and of course, more construction. It seems like all of Bountiful is under construction. So far, I have only had to create one detour. During Friday’s ride in to work, I did see four other commuters on bikes. I will keep track of how many I see as summer approaches.
My luxury parking by the security office...
Speaking of functional cycling, please check out a new web page: Ecovelo, is a project by Alan Barnard addressing the use of bikes for a purpose. That is, using bikes for commuting, shopping, traveling, etc. Alan, who for years published a wonderful recumbent blog, has been moved by our societal and economic changes to now write about more global cycling issues. Please, I again invite you to enjoy his latest endeavor.
That’s all the news for now on cycling. Have a great weekend.
P.S. Someone LOVES me very much!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Business Travel...

Any American baseball fan knows this ballpark....
Hi All,
Sorry for the delay in writing, I was away in New Jersey, working at the FAA National Technical Center, testing ERAM for the FAA. (You may recall, the big 2.5 billion dollar project, of which I am but an infinitesimal part). Our residence hotel was built in the 1930’s, and was sadly lacking in Internet access, so no blogging while I was in New Jersey. We did enjoy a couple of nice weekend outings to see major league baseball, and to go play golf in the rain near Reading, PA.
Sunset at Camden Yards...

First off, let’s give a warm welcome to the newest member of the camera family; a Nikon Coolpix 5100 Digital camera. Yes, I finally finished shopping, and made my choice. The tipping point for me was that the ‘5100 came with both manual aperture and shutter controls. That and the true black and white feature with filter capability and I was done. So, hopefully there will be cycling pictures for you to enjoy this summer.

The Old and the New...
In cleaning out my camera tote, I was struck by the immense jump in technology from the first digital camera I owned. Ten years or so ago, I used a Sony Mavica which used a floppy disk for data storage. Now, with the new ‘5100, I can use an SD card with up to 4 Gigs of storage and can shoot images with a full 12 mega-pixel size of 4000 x 3000. Amazing! I can only sigh and recall that my first hard drive at work in 1992 was 40 Mb!

Ok, so this is not a commuter bike!
In cycling news, there are suddenly more bikes in the bike rack at work. I noted on Friday morning as the Frontrunner Train passed by, that all the seats were full. People are changing their behavior, and finding ways to park their cars.
While in NJ, I only saw one bike on the road the entire eleven days I was there. The bike I saw, I later found parked next to a cubicle at FAATC. It is owned by a software engineer I met while on a break from the lab. We had a nice conversation about commuting and riding. I remarked to him that his bike seemed to be an older model, and asked him of that was his commuter bike, and that he must have a high-end bike for his racing events. “No”, he replied, the bike is his baby. He has had it 15 years, and can’t imagine ever riding another bike. I can only wonder all the places his trusted machine has taken him.
My trusty "bike" that brought me home from NJ....
That’s all the news for now. My plans are to commute to the ARTCC at least once this coming week. The bike is ready, and I will try and take care of the rest of the logistics this weekend. Of course, I will take some pictures along the way.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Bits, Pieces, Hoods, Bikes....

Hi all,
First, before I go any further, before we write about the mundane subject of cycling, congratulations are in order to the first Doctor in the family. For those of you that don’t know, my daughter Amy received her Doctorate of Audiology this past Saturday from Utah State University. There are still busted buttons all over the Spectrum. What can I say, I am a proud papa. So, if you are ever in Arizona, and are in need of clinical advice on hearing, you know who to call. I enclose the following picture as Amy and I ponder the post-graduate life.

Now, to cycling:
Well, the last two weeks has been a mixed bag. There are many subjects to discuss, so, rather than write 5-6 small blog entries, I will give you the news all in one shot. (oh yes, please do check out all the links in this post!)
I find as of late, that I am not logging as many miles this year as last, and that it doesn’t bother me. Yes, I do know the actual number I behind from last year on this date (230 miles), and still it doesn’t bother me. I have finally learned that riding from year to year doesn’t guarantee great miles from year to year. Each year is different; weather, work, projects, and energy level all create variables that I didn’t plan for in January. But, the point of course is to ride. And therein, lies the key.
You never know what you'll see through the lense...
There has been a change in the tone of some of the blogs on my tab list as of late. Alan Barnard’s Blog has taken on a new challenge that of riding bikes for functional purpose. Yes, racing is important, but in today’s world of high fuel costs, riding bikes has taken on a new focus. He is ending his Recumbent Blog, but will be back with a new blog in the near future. Please, take a few moments and read his last post about the functionality of bikes, and how they can benefit our lives and our society.
Sunset from Fernwood...
Vikram, from Calgary, has also taken on a new tone in his writing, and riding. Check out his blog, and learn all about his new bike, the Big Dummy. No, it’s not an insult; it’s the actual model name of a bicycle. A functional bicycle; a bike that can carry a load! A bike that you can be car-free with!
And, in looking at recent posts of mine, I notice a change in tone, too. There are fewer specifics about mileage, more about riding as a whole. I expect that this thread or mindset to continue for a few months, and let’s see where it takes us.
The Barcroft, in need of reflective tape on the fender...
Commuting. I am preparing to increase my commuting. Two factors have increased my thought process towards commuting. First, the price of gas; enough said, it is what it is. Second, is my work schedule; it looks like I will be on day shifts every Thursday and Friday all summer. With that in mind, I will be working my way towards commuting both days, either riding full mileage, or sharing the miles on the new Frontrunner train.
So, I am configuring lighting, checking routes for construction, consulting the train schedule, and establishing a plan.
It's really not a giant light, only a giant picture!
Speaking of riding with a purpose, have you ever taken the two mile challenge? Check out this link, and see if the bike hanging in your garage can make a difference in your life. (And your pocketbook)
That’s all for now. More news as the nice weather continues…