Sep 222011

How apropos that on World Carfree Day I’m still rolling with 30 Days of Biking, coasting through Week Three after a great Week One and Week Two:

Thursday, Sept. 15: The day dawned with a gray sky and the delicious fresh smell of rain in the air. It looked a bit as if that rain had already fallen in the night but I couldn’t be sure, so I threw some rain pants and jacket into my Donkey Boxx and got rolling in a gray knee-length skirt, aquamarine silk/nylon blend sweater set with elbow-length sleeves, and gray Aerosole sling-back pumps (really comfy for riding!), accessorized by an awesome multi-strand silver/pearl necklace I got at Tangerine on Bikespedition #1.

Nope, that rain didn’t fall in the night. It held off until I got to the stoplight at Sprague and Division, then opened up with nice big splatting drops. I dashed the long block to work and got inside with my bike–somewhat damp but I dry fast (and so do the fabrics I choose to wear, which is not a coincidence).

After that the weather got better and better all day, with sunshine and breezes by lunchtime. I never encountered any more rain through plenty of errands after the morning meeting: haircut downtown, back to campus to present on social media to a student brown-bag, appointment at one of the Deaconess buildings on 6th, back to campus for a Revita Rehab treatment session for my computer-induced backaches, some time in the office, Main Market Co-op for dinner from the deli since I missed lunch, then to another meeting just north of downtown on Lincoln, and home at last through gathering dusk with lights going. Miles: 12.85

Friday, Sept. 16: Not much riding and all of it easy. I zipped into downtown to stop by Eldest Daughter’s wedding venue and then the bank (possibly related activities), then headed to work.

Today’s forecast was only in the mid-70s, down 20 degrees from last weekend. I’m starting to shift to the fall wardrobe a bit. It still involves lots of skirts, but paired with tights for a little more leg warmth.

Outfit: Knee-length corduroy flared skirt, brown tights with a bit of a fishnet pattern, brown pumps I got at The Walking Store that provide really nice foot coverage and grip on the pedal, a black long-sleeved T-shirt, and a brown jacket. Plenty for the cool morning temps and not too much for the sunny midday warmth.

Our family routine includes a trip to pick up my husband’s kids on odd-numbered weekends. This means I ride to work, then he picks me up at the end of the day, takes the front wheel off the bike, and puts it in the back of our Honda Odyssey for a l-o-n-g drive. Hence the short mileage today. Miles: 3.61

The weight adds up fast! A gallon of milk, roughly 6 lbs. of cheese of various types, 2 bags of macaroni, a quart of half & half, bananas, English muffins, a box of crackers, & 2 cans of coconut milk (I make a killer good coconut/vanilla/almond ice cream) added up to an interesting packing/balancing/not-crushing grocery distribution act.

Saturday, Sept. 17: We took the kids up to Green Bluff to pick apples and peaches–not a bike trip for that one! So when we got back I hopped on the bike to head up to Rosauers for some ingredients to make dinner for our future newlyweds, who were coming over expecting some killer mac/cheese thanks to a friend bandying about a recipe on Facebook.

I had my Donkey Boxx on one side and put one of my old Black Uglies on the other side for balance and additional capacity. I wish I’d put my Po Campo Logan Tote on top too, as it turned out–it would have provided needed space and a better load balance. A second Donkey Boxx would have been better than the Black Ugly too, but I want to leave one side free for my Po Campo Loop Pannier so I won’t commit to the Boxx.

The load I ended up with was both heavy and bulky. I asked the box boy to balance the weight between the two bags but hadn’t factored in the need to have things of the right shape, as well as the right weight, in the right place to fit right, so I ended up standing at the bike rack unpacking and repacking for a while. The back of the bike felt pretty squirrelly as I got rolling so I didn’t go bombing down Southeast Boulevard the way I usually do–I actually used my brakes. Miles: 3.85

Sunday, Sept. 18: As I said last week, I have to plan to get weekend miles in if I’m not going anywhere in particular. Today’s plans fell through.

I was going to meet up with Eldest Daughter to shop for some wedding-related chatchkes but we postponed that until next weekend. Too bad, as it would have been a nice 14 miles or so round trip.

Instead the day flew by. I made doughnuts for a breakfast treat, worked on some editing projects (my moonlighting gig), then got involved in making rhubarb-plum jam from goodies I got at South Perry Farmers’ Market and our Saturday trip to Green Bluff.

Suddenly it was time to drive to Pasco and I hadn’t ridden my bike. Blue skies, sunshine–and over 5 hours of car time ahead of me.

So when we got back in pitch darkness I said to Sweet Hubs, “I know this sounds silly but I’m going to go ride my bike around the block. Want to go with me?”

“Sure!” he said. And away we went. Sweet-smelling cool darkness (it rained Saturday night), quiet streets with almost no traffic, easy pedaling, a nice neighbor who stopped and waited to let us pass through an intersection together. Downtime, in the best sense of the word; I only wish we’d ridden longer. I highly recommend an occasional nighttime ride, preferably with a sweetheart if you have one. Miles: 0.55

Oh–and this is the day that thanks to my Women’s Bike Blogs list I discovered a woman who did 330 days of biking. I can do this 30-day thing.

Monday, Sept. 19: The forecast of mid-70s and cloudy put me in a fall wardrobe frame of mind: black knee-length skirt that has a bit of a flare to it so getting on and off the bike presents no straight-skirt challenges, chartreuse top, big black belt, gray hose, black low-heeled pumps, little black cardigan. I also thought about the possibility of rain and knew I had a full set of rain pants/jacket in the drawer at work in case I needed them–the ones I hauled to work last Thursday.

Then it turned beautiful and sunny so I could have worn open-toed shoes quite happily, as it turns out. Oh well-that’s fall!

Rode to my morning physical therapy at Revita Rehab, work, a meeting in downtown, back to campus, then up the hill to finish the day with yoga and home down the hill. Miles: 9.51

Barb Chamberlain in apricot silk dress and jacket with matching leather pumps, wearing a bike helmet.
Typical business attire, typical biking attire. Same thing. I just wish you could see my earrings--they're little tiny bicycles made of recycled wire by village women in Africa. I'm wearing my cute Ana Nichoola biking gloves with the little blue bows.

Tuesday, Sept. 20: Nippy in the morning, beautiful during the day, cool on the way home.

Outfit: Apricot silk dress/jacket and serendipitously coordinating kitten-heel pumps, a souvenir of Washington, DC. (For some reason, every year when I go to our nation’s capitol on a business trip I come home with new shoes.) Since I don’t bike fast enough to sweat, this worked just fine for my day, which included a legislative committee hearing on campus and an after-hours political event. Miles: 5.69

Wednesday, Sept. 21: Simple day to physical therapy, a quick stop at the STCU ATM conveniently located on campus, work and back.

Well, simple now that I learned that trick for getting a dropped bike chain back on . . . yep, happened again! This time it caught the pedal so I got off, went to the sidewalk, and used the shifting/pedaling trick while I walked alongside. Worked the same way–no grease.

At the end of the day I made one decision I find myself making more often if I’m leaving work around 5pm (which I had to do tonight to get home and take Second Daughter to buy make-up for opening night of Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Spokane Civic Theatre this Friday, in which part of her role includes playing the “New Modern” at the end).

Where was I? Oh, yes. [[Stage Mom hat removed.]]

Map of a route from the Riverpoint Campus in Spokane to the South Hill
The direct route--fine much of the time, but a bit busy on Browne around 5pm. About 2.4 miles.

That decision: At the intersection of Spokane Falls Boulevard westbound and Browne, I can go left/south on Browne, then left again in three blocks on Sprague and be headed home. Or I can continue westbound to Howard, which has bike lanes; take that south; and take 4th/5th Avenue east. Either way I end up at Sherman using the bike lane to climb the hill.

The second choice adds a tiny bit of mileage and isn’t completely traffic-free. But I’m in heavy freeway-focused traffic on Browne and even though it’s only three blocks, it can be an intense three blocks at 5pm. If I were heading home at 4 or 6, no problem–take Browne. As I mentioned in an earlier post on choosing your bike commuting route, time of day can affect traffic behavior quite a bit.

Outfit: Dark red skirt, those Bandolino burgundy stilettos I like because the T-strap really keeps them on my foot, white tank and cardigan. Miles: 6.17

Map of a different route from the Riverpoint Campus to the South Hill.
Another way to get there--less direct but can be quite a bit quieter at rush hour. 3.1 miles, so not really that much added distance and who minds that anyway on a pretty day?

Total mileage for the week: 42.23. On to Week Four!

Things I notice about the week:

  • I’m not the Wicked Witch of the West. Proof? I don’t melt when I get wet.
  • I’m far more attuned to the weather than I was when I got to work safely insulated by lots of steel and glass. I like this increased awareness of my natural surroundings.
  • I can haul quite a bit on the bike, although I don’t always push it quite this far. I get groceries in small batches, typically (except for those Green Bluff runs for food-preserving quantities). With the way I shop my fruits/veggies are farmers’ market fresh and the eggs are straight from the hen. Big batches from the big box that require big vehicles represent big food miles and big-time delay between when they’re picked and when my family eats them.
  • Biking is genuinely faster and easier than driving for short trips with lots of stops. That therapy/ATM/work sequence on Wednesday? The buildings I went to are all pretty close together on the Riverpoint Campus, but most people wouldn’t park in one location and then walk to all of them. If you did, you’d be hoofing it quite a bit. Instead, most people would move their vehicle a few hundred yards, then do that again. Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? (No need to ‘fess up about the number of times you’ve done that very thing. As I’ve said before, I bike because I’m lazy.)


Posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging Inspiration & How-to Series for Sept. 2011 30 Days of Biking

  1. 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!
  2. Why We Ride/Resolve to Ride–A Blogspedition
  3. Preparing to Commute by Bike: Get the Worry out of the Way
  4. Buying a Bike for Commuting: Some Questions and a Blogspedition
  5. How to Bike Commute: Getting the Gear Together
  6. Bike Commuting 101: Carrying Stuff
  7. On a Roll with Wilma Flanagan
  8. 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report
  9. Ride with your Community: SpokeFest Rocks!
  10. There and Back Again: How to Pick your Bike Commute Route
  11. Intro to Bike Commuting: Route Selection Part 2
  12. More Bike Commuting Route Selection Tips: Part 3
  13. Thinking Like a Driver vs. Thinking Like a Bicyclist
  14. Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity
  15. 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report
  16. On a Roll with Katherine Widing
  17. I Shouldn’t Assume
  18. Falling Down on Your Bike. It Happens. To Grown-Ups.
  19. Pretty Handy, Gloves. The Blogspedition Assumes You’ll Get ‘Em.
  20. What to Wear for Your Bike Commute? Clothes.
  21. How to Get a Dropped Bike Chain Back On, Grease-Free
  22. 30 Days of Biking: Week Three!
  23. It’s All in the Attitude
  24. Things I Now Do on My Bike Without Having to Think About It
  25. Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Risk and Trust
  26. More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Friendliness and Openness
  27. Even More Mental Essentials for Bike Commuting: Tolerance, Humor, and Persistence
  28. Bicycling Rites of Passage, Spokane Style
  29. Dear Reader, I Chicked Him
  30. 30 Days of Biking: Final Report!

Your Turn

  • How has your riding been going, even if you’re not trying to keep up with 30 Days of Biking?

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