So here we are in September, and once again it is the BTAs (Bicycle Transportation Alliance) Bike Commute Challenge wherein people are encouraged to sign up on the BTAs Web site to log the miles each day (or week, I guess whatever works for you) that they ride to work. This is my first year bicycle commuting, which is kind of shameful since I worked only seven miles from home for three years before taking the job I now have (25 miles from home) and never rode to work then. Actually it would have been more problematic at that job, as there were no lockers (there was one shower for women, one for men in a company that now has approximately 200 people on-site), no bike racks or lockers, and really no place to keep anything. So the distance is harder now, and more complicated by driving half the way, riding the rest, but at least I can keep essentials at work and not have to carry everything with me everyday.
But anyway… the Bike Commute Challenge is a month-long event, open to individuals or companies in Oregon and SW Washington. I signed up as part of my company’s “team”, so far I have the second-highest number of miles ridden! Eesh, most of them don’t have any miles logged yet so that is likely to change quickly. I only rode once this past week.
I did try out a different way to ride to avoid that one highway overpass that I was so worried about. It adds about a mile to the ride, and is mostly flat, but it parallels the I-5 highway, and wow was it windy! I felt like I was fighting for every inch of ground all the way up the road. It also felt like a “false flat”, it looked flat but there was a bit of a grade to it. Ugh. I really haven’t had any trouble on the overpass, except that of course it’s an uphill, and it can be dangerous if drivers aren’t willing to give me space, or in too much of a hurry to notice me. I’ve only ridden it five times now, but my cycling mentor (who just went back to the UK for two more months) said even he wouldn’t ride it, too scary. I dunno, there’s one other road that’s in another block from the one I took the other day that parallels the highway as well, but since it’s more protected it may not be quite so windy. I might give that a try next time.
And I do think the hills are getting a teensy bit easier. I’m still huffing and puffing by the time I reach the top, but I think I’m reaching the top a little bit faster than I was. I suppose if I rode more often I’d see a faster improvement.