Sep 302011

After great riding in Week One, Week Two, and Week Three, here’s how it went in the final week-plus of 30 Days of Biking, along with a mileage tally for the full 30 days.

Barb Chamberlain in green jersey dress with Po Campo bags, 9-22-11
Jersey is a great fabric for dresses to bike in. It’s soft, forgiving, and washable.

Thursday, Sept. 22: A beautiful sunny fall day. Crisp enough that I wore a cardigan over my dress for the morning ride, balmy enough that I didn’t need that same cardigan riding home at 10:30pm.

10:30pm?! Yep. I packed this day full: physical therapy, work, a downtown meeting, back to work, a stop by Rite-Aid in downtown to pick up a necessity or two for Second Daughter, then to Spokane Civic Theatre for the “family and friends” dress rehearsal of Thoroughly Modern Millie, in which she has a role in the chorus. I rode home through the gentle darkness humming songs from the play and thinking about the brief night-time ride I had recently with my sweetheart; I was glad to get to enjoy another peaceful night ride. Miles: 9.6

Friday, Sept. 23: A Nuu-Muu day–I took some time off to run more errands for Eldest Daughter’s upcoming nuptials and racked up the mileage.

Stops along the way: Early-morning meeting at LaunchPad, the Spokesman-Review building to finalize the layout for the wedding, Saranac Building for a meeting on transportation policy with T4Washington, Chairs Coffee just north of downtown for lunch with Sweet Hubs and some awesome Roast House Coffee, rental store to arrange for wedding linens, Spokane Public Market for some goodies, Sun People Dry Goods, up the hill to Spokane Yoga Shala for some quality stretching and some even higher-quality time in corpse pose when my sore shoulders gave out, farther up the hill for the wedding banquet permit from the liquor store (whoops! How did that Irish cream end up in my Donkey Boxx?!), and home at last. Miles: 13.8 and sunshine all the way

Saturday, Sept. 24: A beautiful day to wear a Ruu-Muu and ride up the hill with Sweet Hubs to pick up some things at Rosauers. Coasting back downhill is so fun! Miles: 3.84

Sunday, Sept. 25: The skies looked a bit overcast but that didn’t dampen our spirits–Sweet Hubs and I rode to Chaps for one of their outstanding breakfasts, with rain gear packed in case we needed it.

It’s a nice six-mile ride there: we wound through tree-lined Rockwood Boulevard, sailed downhill on Washington, enjoyed the nice new asphalt on 2nd Avenue, then dropped down Inland Empire Way through Vinegar Flats. Very few cars in sight anywhere along the route at 8:30 on a Sunday morning–we had 2nd pretty much all to ourselves.

Coming back, of course, some of that “sailing down”and “dropping through” represents “climbing up,” but we were fueled by potatoes and eggs. We used 4th Avenue for much of the return route through downtown–quieter than 3rd and has a bike lane for a bit. Home to some French press Roast House Coffee roasted by our friends Deb and Dave and a quiet Sunday of chores and messing about with projects.

Outfit: A Ruu-Muu, Pedal Panties, and one of my hats by Old Man’s Pants picked up from Sun People Dry Goods to cover my messy hair. Miles: 11.98 (exactly 6 miles there but a hair under coming back).

Monday, Sept. 26: Forecast: mid 60s, 30-40% chance of showers. Not much riding in the day, really: physical therapy appointment, work, a meeting at the Spokane Regional Transportation Council in the afternoon, then home. Managed to dodge the raindrops completely; a light sprinkle fell while I was inside at the SRTC meeting.

Franco Sarto black shoes
I wear these Franco Sartos more than just about any shoe in my closet. They work with jeans, skirts and tights, or trousers, and have a nice grippy sole for pedal contact.

Outfit: Black knee-length skirt, black tights, black and white striped tank, bright apricot jacket, black shoes by Franco Sarto that have been my go-to shoes for several years now. I keep resoling them because their sensible heel and relatively timeless design match up equally well with pants or with skirts and tights, I can walk for miles in them if need be, and they’re great for the bike. Miles: 5.71

Tuesday, Sept. 27: It rained in the night and the forecast was for additional chance of showers. That’s why I have rain pants and covers for my shoes, although I didn’t end up using either today.

Quite seriously, I would rather ride than drive even when it rains. By the time I was ready to leave for the downtown meeting that started my morning it was only sprinkling lightly and the air smelled damp and fresh.

I wore black tights and those great shoes from yesterday, a gray herringbone knee-length skirt, black tank, and long dark green jacket. It’s a worsted wool so it’s awesome for biking–handles the rain fine and would keep me warm even if I got really wet underneath, which I didn’t. I also wore a skullcap under my helmet, which protected my hair from the damp.

The gray skies darkened during my meeting and my midday dash to campus was a little wetter but I was dry within a few minutes of getting inside. By the time I headed back downtown around 1:45pm the streets were dry, and I rode home at the end of the day in brilliant sunshine. That’s Spokane fall weather for you! Miles: 6.93

I feel veddy veddy British in my velvet topper! (My maternal grandmother came from England to the colonies on a ship at the tender age of four years old.) The cover is vented in the back so your head doesn’t have to cook, but provides a nice wind block on these cooler days.

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Crisp morning ride, beautiful sunshiney day! The white jeans I wore were a bad call, as my dark saddle (which is pretty well broken in) is apparently not quite done giving up its color to whatever makes contact with it…. Good thing I could spend a fair amount of the day in my chair!

And a mental note to self that if I want to ride in these pants I have to cover the saddle. They’re a bit too wide-legged, actually, but darn cute with a black and white spotted top, little black cardigan, and those black go-to shoes I keep wearing.

I reined in the right pant leg with a cute snap-on dealio made by a friend (like a fabric cuff–prettier than the velcro things and still with reflective trim). When I started riding, though, I realized the flare was a bit flappy even on the left leg, so I stuffed that into my sock.

I wore a black velvet scarf to keep my throat warm buzzing downhill in the morning, and topped off the whole thing with my brand-new helmet cover made by Hub and Bespoke in Seattle, now available through Bike Style! Love it–the Yakkay look without the Yakkay price and it will fit either a standard “racing” helmet (pointy with vents) or the round style. Miles: 6.15

Thursday, Sept. 29: Another gorgeous day! Nippy enough in the morning that on the way to a 7 a.m. meeting I wished I had knee covers under my flippy red skirt, but tank top weather midday and not at all cold riding home around 7 p.m. Full-fingered gloves for the morning ride, cute Ana Nichoolas with the bows the rest of the day back and forth through downtown. At noon I got to ride along the Spokane River on the way back to campus. We’re so lucky to have a river running through the heart of downtown!

(In a Stage Mom aside, this day also brought the news that Second Daughter will play the lead role, Elle, in the Lewis & Clark High School production of “Legally Blonde.” Since the rights just got released, this may well be one of the first high school productions of the show in the country–or the world?)

Outfit: Aforesaid flippy red skirt, white tank, denim jacket, beloved Bandolinos. Miles: 9.06

Friday, Sept. 30! Thanks to the upcoming wedding of Eldest Daughter (this Sunday!) today included lots of driving for errands. I managed to squeeze in a short ride–all uphill at the beginning, all downhill at the end–to go visit Betsy at Spokane Yoga Shala. (I didn’t actually stay and do yoga–more family errands.)

Because it was such a short ride I stayed in the jeans and tank top I wore for the day, although jeans aren’t something I would recommend for riding because of their typically heavy seams and chafing tendencies.

What an utterly glorious day! Pleasant temperature, sunny skies. I felt as if I could have ridden forever. Miles: 1.87

Mileage for 30 Days of Biking:

Week One: 36.12

Week Two: 57.89

Week Three: 42.23

Week Four-Plus: 68.94

30-day total: 205.18 (Yes–over 200! I initially published this with mileage of 199.49, but then discovered I had missed recording mileage on one of the days. Whew. Not that I’m obsessive about round numbers or anything, but 199.49 is soooo close to 200.)

Things I notice about my 30 Days of Riding:

  • Weather doesn’t intimidate me. On a day like Sunday, when the weather wasn’t 100% beautiful, it didn’t occur to me to say, “Oh, let’s drive instead, Honey.” I’ve noticed Spokane’s weather pattern often tries to intimidate you in the morning. It either clears off or drops its rain in the middle of the day, leaving me with a fresh-smelling ride home.
  • I have certain go-to outfits. I should mix it up more. I wouldn’t notice this pattern if it weren’t for recording what I wore every day to give you a sense of the regular clothes I wear to ride.
  • I definitely have go-to shoes. While I can ride in any of the shoes I own, some provide much better design for feeling as if they’re solidly on my foot and have a better sole for gripping on the pedal. Paying attention to those design features helps me in future shoe shopping.
  • I bike so much that it feels funny to drive. When I headed out the door this morning and got in the car (carrying my Po Campo Loop Pannier because I needed to haul my laptop and it’s not just a bike bag, it’s a pretty purse), something felt off. As I started to pull out of the driveway I realized one contributing factor: my hands felt naked without biking gloves. It was such a beautiful day and I was trapped in that hot box of steel instead of out there feeling it on my skin and living in the world. I feel sorry for people who have to drive every day.

Thank you, 30 Days of Biking organizers, for giving me the chance to reflect every day on what it takes–and what it means–to ride my bike.

Watch for tomorrow’s post: A round-up of all 30 posts in our 30 Days of Biking Blogging.

Your Turn

  • Did you participate in 30 Days of Biking?
  • If not, how much riding did you get in this month?
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Reader Comments

  1. Great series! I just returned to my office job last week and am working up the courage to begin commuting via my bike instead of in a car; reading your posts has made me feel like I can deal with a bike commute in a safer way with more confidence on the road, and I am eager to begin. Thank you!

  2. Aha! Just realized that I accidentally skipped a mileage note in the Week Three post. I will be checking the math to update this post, as I may have actually ridden over 200 miles after all. Not that I’m obsessive about recording my mileage or anything.

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