bike safety

It’s Early in the Morning

It’s early in the morning…

The changing seasons mean more darkness when I get out of bed. It’s harder to get out of bed, especially with Fat Kitty warm and purring by my side. He helps me pump my bike tires even though I’m barely awake.

I peek my head out the window to see if it’s raining. It’s rained all week long. The roads are dark and wet but it’s not raining. Yet.

I zip up my warmer rain jacket, lower my helmet onto my head and clip into my bike. I’m off. It’s not even 7 a.m. yet and I’m on the road. It’s quiet out on our little street. The kids wait for the school bus, their parents are still in their warm houses, and I’m biking through the neighborhood on my way to work.

I started doing this to train. I love my car, I love the convenience of getting place quickly. It surprises me when I realize how much I love being car-free on days I ride to work. It is just me and the early morning air, this time very cold, and my bike. I continue biking to work long after the race is over. I’m saving money on gas (which is expensive here in Portland), a few times a week I am one less car on the road, and I am getting in a two hour workout by riding to and from work.

Biking makes my legs lean and strong. My stomach has shrunk a little bit over the summer of hard training. I am feeling stronger and more confident.

It’s dark…

I have a head lamp jerry-rigged on my bike handles because I don’t have a proper light. Safety is my number one concern. I want cars to see me in the darkness of the morning.

A light rain starts and it is cool on my face. I’m not cold because my rain jacket traps the heat in. I peddle along. I feel slow. I have not been on the bike in over two weeks. I focus on the road, cautiously because the roads are a bit wet. I do not think about anything in my hour long commute but the road in front of me. It is a nice change.

By the time I make it to OMSI on the Springwater Trail it is light out. The rain has stopped. I feel damp but not uncomfortable. I make it to the office with a decent time despite the cautious pace I was keeping.

Morning Stats:
Time: 57 minutes
Calories Burned: 483
Distance: 12.18 miles

I’m wet. I do not have a fender on my bike so my clothes are damp and muddy. No worries, I have a change of dry clothes at the office. I hope for dry skies on my commute home. At least it won’t be dark.


I dress in my gear–rain jacket and long pants. No more riding home in the afternoon in just my shorts and jersey. I head toward the waterfront, even though the Occupy Portland protesters were down there.

There are thousands of people downtown, starting at Waterfront Park. There is no way I could ride my bike through there so I take a detour.

I bike passed Portland Police officers and the crowds clear. The march is moving on from the Waterfront.

It’s clear sailing the rest of the way. It’s brisk out but the gray sunshine was bright. I’m a bit tired from the week. I feel slow on the bike.

Four miles in it starts to rain and it is a steady downpour for the remaining 8 miles.

It is not what I would call a fun way to end the day. I get home and Michael has the door open for me, snacks ready and a kiss. It makes me feel a bit better.

I get out of my soaked clothes and take a hot shower, feeling unhappy. It isn’t a good day.

Afternoon Stats:
Time: 58 minutes
Calories Burned: 465
Distance: 12.16 miles

Total Distance: 24.34 miles.

QUESTION:  Want to vent about something bad that happened this week?


The Reluctant Ride

I wasn’t really feeling like biking to work this week. In fact, Tuesday night I was secretly hoping it would rain on Wednesday so I could push the ride to Thursday. I don’t know why I wasn’t feeling like it, but Wednesday morning I still didn’t really want to ride. I did it anyway. I knew I’d feel better if I did it, plus I have to take advantage of what little sunshine we have right now. Plus I really have to prepare for the Gorge Ride. It’s not far away and I am no where NEAR ready to do 40 miles of hills!

I left my extra jacket in the car and it was pretty cold when I started out on the bike. I warmed up quickly though, so that was good. I rode passed the above church. Not religious but I love old fashioned churches. It’s so cute!

The trail was a ghost town Wednesday morning. There were very few runners and cyclists out there with me. One guy rode by me and said Good Morning, which was nice. Since Michael wasn’t riding to work Wednesday (he did on Tuesday), he lent me his winter cycling gloves. They were REALLY nice! My hands weren’t cold at all.

The Hawthorne Bridge was pleasant and uncrowded as well. I had a lovely ride despite my reluctance!

I arrived at work in only 30 minutes and it took me about 5 minutes to lock my bike up.

Morning Commute:
Time: 35 minutes
Calories Burned: 245
Mileage: 5.7

Afternoon Commute:

Once again I took the Morrison Bridge out of downtown and went up Water Avenue, passed OMSI and onto the Springwater Trail.

There’s a lot of construction around where I ride right now. There’s also a lot of big scary construction trucks and weird detours. I’m being a lot more cautious because a few times I’ve wondered if those guys in the trucks can see the cyclists.

The ride home was hard. It was especially warm out, my back hurt, my backpack was heavy, my bike shorts don’t have great padding, and my legs felt like lead. Not only that, I almost got CREAMED by a jerky cyclist that decided he was in too much of a hurry to respect common courtesy. Ugh. It’s jerks like that that give cyclists a bad name. He came “THIS CLOSE” to plowing into me head first. Ugh.

I arrived back to the car in Sellwood after a ride in the sunshine. At least I had that! I’m glad I rode even though the ride home was brutal.

Afternoon Commute:
Time: 27 minutes
Calories Burned:  227
Mileage: 5.7

When I got home I had a snack of CRACK IN A CAN.

Seriously. This stuff is addicting. I think I chowed down two servings before heading outside to work in the yard. Michael and I spent a good hour and a half in the garden and then made dinner.

Dinner was baked acorn squash, steamed cauliflower with Goddess Dressing and pork chops. It was healthy and filling.

I collapsed into bed last night and fell asleep INSTANTLY–which never happens to me. I slept like a rock, completely exhausted.

QUESTION: Is your city a safe city? Do you feel safe running or cycling alone? What safety measures do you take?