Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Train! The Train!

I shot this video on a nice 'bent ride on Monday...
Another summer goal achieved. No, it’s not a 200-mile double, nor is it the mountain bike ride to Desolation Lake. Those challenges still remain on my list. This latest riding goal is more related to commuting and the price of gas.

On time, too!
As the price of gas climbs closer to that of all the other nations in the world, many people in this country are changing their driving habits. I see more and more cyclists on my rides to work, and today I took my next step in changing my routine too.

Kinda hard to screw this up...
I finally worked out all the schedule issues, and this morning I commuted to work using the Frontrunner commuter train. Right off, I can tell you that it was an excellent experience. It’s only a mile and a half to the station, and a mere three and a half miles to the ARTCC where I work. So, logistically it was really pretty simple. I did not however ride the Barcroft Recumbent to the train. Why? Well most importantly, UTA (The Utah Transit Authority) has not really provided for bikes on the trains, and the ‘bent simply will not fit in the small entryways where bikes are allowed.

My little MTB waiting for the train...
So, I rode my Cannondale F7 mountain bike. It is most assuredly not designed for this type of riding, and I found myself quite slow on the road. But, it will suffice until I either complete the Peugeot project, or find a low-end beater road bike to use on the train. Anyone reading this blog who has the bike I seek, drop me a note!

Some weird irony here, passing one of Utah's many oil refineries...
Back to the train; punctual, clean, quiet, efficient, a very nice ride to Salt Lake City. I plan on riding the rest of the week! My first impression is that the system is being well used. I had a great time doing something new, not that I didn’t learn something along the way, too. Let’s see…
Things I learned:
1. One must actually wash out a rarely used water bottle.
2. Riding in 90+ degrees in dress clothes is hot.
3. UTA most assuredly has to fix the problems of bike access on the train.
4. Using the train and bike was simpler than I thought.

5. Watching the normal 5 PM parking lot on I-15 from the train was immensely satisfying.
6. More people can use the train and a bike.
7. I had forgotten how to ride without my rear-view mirror
8. I saw more bike commuters today, than in any other day this year combined!
9. My ticket is transeferable to TRAX, too!
10. And most importantly: The FAA will reimburse me for my train passes, making the whole adventure of using the train for commuting free!
See you on the road on a whole variety of bikes


Gump in SLC said...

If you see an old BLUE Peugot around town, that used to mine. I miss it SO MUCH. I hope someone is still putting it to good use. It's only been about 2 years.

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Paul said...

Add to the list:

#11: UTA must actually check for tickets on the train.

Its only 3 cars long!

Princess Pat from Zardonia said...

Dear Jim,
I loved the train video. Particularly that the Video has Audio!! I love those trains sounds. Keep sharing this way. It brings te blog to life!
Your sis, Patsy

Harding said...

You are my inspiration. Mine is a 10 mile commute each way. As soon as it cools off a bit, I'll try it.

Gump in SLC said...

Jim, you have a large cross country tour going through your area on Sat July 19 that includes a speedy lowrider bent homebuilt. Even on a speedy rig, 95 miles, 97 degrees plus, and mountain climbs would be difficult. They're going from Willard to Jordonelle State Park passing through Emmigration Canyon.