Thursday, 4 October 2012

Commuting ^2

You know that it's been a good ride when you try to stand up after a wee sit down after getting home and your legs buckle and threaten not to make it.  My commute is about 8 miles, so it's pretty good good time trialling practice.
Going in today, I hardly felt it in my legs.  Coming home, I stopped off at my LBS, so had a bit of a fankly route home through Glasgow & an extra 20m or so of climbing from riding right down to the river.  Riding a velomobile through a city centre is fascinating.  People treat you like a bike/car; randomly assigning attributes from each.  The main thing that is apparent is that, given I'm enclosed, folk assume that I can't hear them.  I heard numerous conversations about me from 2-3m away, with folk clearly oblivious to the fact I might be able to hear.  The one person who decided to address me leant sideways to get face to face with his face about 30cm from mine.  That was clearly the only way he could get eye contact....
Still, folk are generally positive, so it's not all bad & I like to think that I'm doing my bit for promoting cycling in general.  I just wish that cameras in phones were less ubiquitous.  Or that folk would ask before taking photos.

The VM is getting more familiar, as is how to undertake the route in it.  I'm also doing that super fast recovery of fitness thing you do when you start back doing something, so am getting appreciably stronger too.  (The rate of improvement nosedives frustratingly quickly, but the first few weeks are always fun).
So times are coming down....  I still refuse to use the GPS bike computer on my phone 'cos I'm not yet ready to deal with the distraction, but I got a couple of looks at my watch over the lightly trafficked section of the commute.  Slightly different route each way, but there are 11 traffic-lit junctions, 6 pedestrian crossings and 1 roundabout each way.  2 right turns on the way in & 1 on the way home without lights.  The timed section is 5.3 miles.
The way in's profile looks like this:
 41 vertical metres of climbing and 83 of descending.

The way home:
86 vertical metres of climbing and 41 of descending.  6% is the toughest gradient either way.  The big hill is 3 * 5% ramps.  (Images are from Track Logs software, which I use & like lots)
So way in over this section was 15 minutes and 20 minutes coming home.  (That's +/- a minute or two since it was timed by looking at my watch rather than with a stopwatch or anything exact).  Still, a 21.2mph overall average in the above conditions for the easy section & 15.9mph on the way home is pretty impressive.  Traffic was heavier coming home, so you can't draw an exact comparison.  But still, an out-of shape cyclist shouldn't be able to do these times.  I can't wait 'til I'm properly fit & can climb properly....

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