Bike Commuting Challenge: Week 2

Things really heated up in Week 2 of the Bike Commuting Challenge. Literally. A heat advisory was issued for three of the five commuting days: Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. On my way home on Tuesday afternoon, it was 93 degrees with a heat index of 101, and on Friday 97 degrees with a heat index of 105. It was HOT, my friends.

I'm still adjusting/tweaking the logistics from week to week and making plans for fall/winter weather riding. For the current commute, I got a new bag. I loved my ChicoBag because it is so light and because it zips up into its own little pouch and can be clipped onto the bike, but I felt I was shoving way too much into it and didn't feel it was sturdy enough to hold up for the long haul, meaning the entire duration of the work commute project. When I was in the local bike shop last week, a Detours Teeco Pannier caught my eye, and I was instantly in love. Perfect. Bag. For. My. Commute. 

What I love about this bag is that rubber bottom that keeps the bag upright and protects the bottom of the bag from elements/dirt/whatever when the need arises to set it down in a parking lot, on the garage floor, on a sidewalk, on a bench, or on a picnic table in the park. The sturdier structure of the bag means I can ride in a bit more comfort without one of my high heels that's part of the fast-change-once-at-work outfit poking me in the spine the entire way. I like the handles at the top of the bag for easy carrying once I take the bag off my back and the drawstring top closure. And, in thinking toward fall/winter weather riding, I love those clips for attaching this bag to the rack on my hybrid. I've used the bag for about a week now, and it suits my needs perfectly. I have found a nice little, very informative blog post about bike bags (and how you really can't have too many. My kind of thinking!) here at Pedal 'n Purl.

In other Week 2 news, my week had its share of good moments and not-so-good moments:
On Monday I had a good moment on the way home as I sat at a picnic table at Perry Farm and listened to music and ate a couple of Deluxe Hots from Jaenicke's. 

On Wednesday I had a not-so-good moment on the way home when some jerkface driver screamed at me to get on the sidewalk as I was cycling down Broadway. Seriously, drivers should have to become acquainted with the Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road; this information needs to become part of the Illinois drivers test. Only bicyclists care about bicycle rules of the road. Exposure needs to happen more broadly. I don't think most drivers even know they exist, and they need to know what to expect from bicyclists rightfully riding on the road. I really don't like being screamed at by an ignorant person when I am following the rules.
I had a good moment when a colleague mentioned that he, too, would like to ride his bike to work, and I have had several other good moments in sharing my experience with students, other colleagues, and friends and answering questions and seeing another friend begin to commute to work as well. This is the part of the challenge I didn't really expect. I thought I was just taking this challenge on for my own little personal project and decided to write about it to hold myself more accountable. Now I see more value in my challenge, and that is in regard to advocacy for cyclists.

Another not-so-good-moment was when I experienced a little mishap on the way home on Friday. I hit a bump in the road while going over the Washington Street Bridge, and my phone flew out of my binto box, hit the pavement, slipped out of its case, and sailed across the road. We are talking a busy Friday afternoon of a busy holiday weekend, lots of cars coming in both directions. There I was a bit freaked out running with my bike in one hand and my other hand in the air begging the approaching cars to please wait for me to gather up my phone from one lane and my phone case from another. I would have hated to see this whole crazy scene on video. But I've learned a lesson. I no longer put my phone in the binto box. It now goes inside the new commuting bag. 

Interesting week, to be certain. 

Total Week 2 work commute mileage (plus errands to and fro): 82.21. Total biking miles for the week: 116. Total amount of money spent on gas for my truck: $0. 


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