Bike to Work Day

If you weren’t aware, May is National Bike Month.  It’s meant to bring awareness to riders and non-riders alike, including sharing the road, environmental impact, and giving out free food.  Within the Month of the Bicycle, May 20th is the official Bike to Work Day.  All around the country bike-friendly shops are offering up free food, coffee, and other goodies to encourage people to hop on their bikes instead of into their cars.

Austin is a super outdoorsy city and there is a ton of support from local businesses.  The City of Austin website even has a map of all the businesses on or near bike routes that have partnered up to make May 20th extra bike-friendly.  The support is amazing and Twitter has been buzzing with all the supporters spreading the word to make sure you get out there.  So obviously I rode my bike to work today, right?  No.

Unfortunately an unexpected 8am meeting and the threat of thunderstorms all day forced strongly influenced my decision to forgo riding my bike to work.  It’s a little over 10 miles for my “short” route to get to work, so it would mean leaving at 7am just to get to the office with time to shower before the meeting without stopping for any fun times from local businesses.  The decision to drive to work did not come easily, but I think it was the right thing to do.  I’ll just have to wait until next May before enjoying some of the Bike to Work festivities.

I Can Ride My Bike With No Handlebars

Full disclosure: I cannot ride my bike with no handlebars.  It just so happens to be the name of the song by Flobots that I’m listening to right now while trying to think of a title for this post.  Good thing I started when I did or else this post could be called “Killing in the Name” or “Mayday!!!”, either of which would have been concerning.

Notwithstanding, it was a good song choice, since I rode my bike (with handlebars) to work today.  A bit risky since I only just attached the front wheel to the frame for the first time last night since moving to Austin.  I also wasn’t quite sure how to get there.  I mean yes, I could have hopped on the highway and gone my normal way, but I wanted to keep things legal.  Instead I looked at the route we ran yesterday, decided I could remember half of it, and then settled on taking a main road the rest of the way.

The first half was pleasant and relatively flat, but for all the running I do, I sure felt like my legs were working hard on the slightest inclines.  I departed the smooth, biked-path-ed Shoal Creek Road and entered the overdriven, underloved Burnet Road.  There was surprisingly sparse traffic the whole way up, which was nice, though it was clearly not a bike-friendly street.  After getting to work a coworker’s eyes popped out of her head when she heard I rode on Burnet.  I told her I karate chopped all the cars in the face it was no big deal and traffic was light.

Overall a good experience!  I’ll be giving it another go for sure, and who knows.. maybe it’ll become a weekly thing!

Running Just to Run? Not This Time

99.9% of the time, I run just to run.  Training or racing, the reason I put on my shoes is to run.  Every so often though, the stars align and I find myself running with a purpose.  Saturday, for example, I decided to take the subway up to return a book in College Park and then run home.  Why?  Because 1) I needed to run, 2) I needed to go to College Park, and 3) I needed to get home.  So after a productive morning (read: caught up on LOST) I geared up, grabbed Groundswell, and started over to the metro.  To keep with the theme I got a little warm-up in by running the half mile to the green line.  Conveniently, while waiting for the train (7 minutes!?!? boo Saturday schedule!), bam, I had a book to read.

After the long metro ride I got in another 1.25 miles from the metro station to campus.  More than anything it was nice getting a change of scenery.  At this point I could tell things were heating up.  If you’re a die-hard follower of this blog (thanks!) you’ve probably picked up on a theme: the weather is my nemesis (although my true nemesis is Major League Baseball, but that’s neither here nor there).  I dropped off the book and was on my way again.  This is where the run actually started.

I’ve run from College Park back home once before, only getting mildly lost (despite the fact that there are literally zero turns).  There are rolling hills the whole way, which always seem more up than down.  The hills are accentuated by the 85 degree weather.  Things started off well, but my heart rate drifted skyward quickly and never seemed to come back down to Earth.  Holding steady in the mid 170s bpm I had to take a few breaks to, well, catch my breath.  I passed a few street festivals (only moderately tempted to stop) and enjoyed the new sights and sounds (and smells of some awesome looking BBQ at those festivals).  Interestingly (and maybe I should’ve taken a hint) but I didn’t see a single runner during the entire 8.5 miles.

I must say, it’s on the verge of cruel to watch the street numbers go down, block by block, for 5 miles.  43rd St, 42nd St, 41st St… until you get to First St.  But wait!  Then there’s North Capitol, and then First St. again!  And then back up until I reach the end.  Like watching the seconds tick by, only now it’s 85 degrees, your legs hurt, and each second is actually about a tenth of a mile.  Not ideal.  Overall it was a good run.  I got to see new things while crossing something off my to-do list.  Maybe I can turn my running into a useful mode of transportation a little more often.  A boy can dream.

The details:


Distance: 10.32 miles (total for the trip)
Time: 1:23:43 (total for the trip)
Pace: 8:06 min/mile
Average HR 166 bpm (181 bpm max)