Iâ€™ve been really nervous cycling on the roads since Adamâ€™s death last week. So when Brian asked if Iâ€™d like to accompany him on his commute to work yesterday I was a little hesitant. It seemed like a great opportunity for some jerk to swing his door into me, or for some redneck to try to see just how close he could come to running me off the side of the road (do those people realize that if they mess up and hit me itâ€™s vehicular manslaughter and they’d be ruining both our lives? Seems like a big risk to take in order to prove that a) your truck is bigger than my bike and b) you are an asshole. Seems like you could do something safer and still prove that you are in fact dumber than a retarded chimpanzee. Like the video belowâ€¦).
Anyway, I wanted to see Brian, because I donâ€™t get to see my friends nearly enough when Iâ€™m training this hard. I met him on the Burke Gilman Trail and headed south to Downtown Seattle where Brian works. Then I rode home. It was a casual and chatty ride, and I was amazed that the drivers near downtown Seattle seem to be a lot nicer than the drivers in the rural areas where I normally ride. Yes, thereâ€™s way more traffic, stop lights, and opportunities for being â€œdooredâ€ by a parked car. But the people on the road seemed to be aware of how much space to give a cyclist, and I was never told to â€œget off the roadâ€, â€œride on the sidewalkâ€, or (my favorite) â€œget a carâ€. All this was surprising to me because Iâ€™m not normally commuting by bike during rush hour â€“ I just assumed traffic would be a dangerous nightmare. Then I dropped off my friend and headed back to North Seattle. Suddenly it became obvious why downtown drivers are better at dealing with cyclists on the road than rural drivers: there were hundreds of bikes headed toward downtown! When youâ€™re riding in the same direction as the other cyclists you donâ€™t really notice how many there are, but once I was riding the reverse commute I could see everyone descending on downtown. There were all kinds of bikes, all sizes of people, plenty of yellow rain jacketsâ€¦ I saw hundreds of cyclists riding in the opposite direction, within four miles of downtown. It was great to see that kind of dedication to health, and the environment. It was cold and dark, but Seattleâ€™s cyclists are committed.
I was riding with my Garmin Edge 705 and my Quarq Cinqo Powermeter. It was impossible to ride steadily in traffic and I logged 15 minutes of pause time in a 2 hour ride, which is really high for a focused training session. I wouldnâ€™t recommend trying to do your interval training on the way to work, but itâ€™s certainly a great way to log extra miles and get in recovery rides. If youâ€™re training and have the opportunity to commute, I say join the crowd. The more people that ride, the safer it will be for everyone, and the ride is certainly better training than sitting in your car watching brake lights.