Notes from the commute

As I mentioned this morning, I’m testing out commuting options. Today’s experiment was to ride the train from Lakeline Station to downtown, and then make the return trip (20 miles) on my bike. The train ride in was, as usual, uneventful. The in-train bike rack is easy enough to use. I rode the six blocks from the downtown station to the office, and was able to store the bike in a corner out of the way.

The ride home is best described as a series of short notes.

  • Jim’s first rule of bicycle commuting is, “You forgot something.” I forgot my sunglasses. A pretty minor omission, really. Not like forgetting my helmet or shoes.
  • I waited five minutes for the elevator before I got annoyed and walked the bike out to the parking garage and just rode down the ramp. Next time I’ll go directly to the parking garage.
  • Most of the ride back to Lakeline is along a route that I used to travel regularly when I worked at the State Capitol 10 or 12 years ago.
  • Riding in downtown Austin is okay as long as you stay in the bike lanes and stay alert.
  • The street after 39th Street is 39-1/2 street, not 40th Street as one would expect. I don’t recall seeing 38-1/2 Street. Guess I should pay better attention to street signs.
  • A long section of Shoal Creek Blvd. is closed for road construction. Fortunately there are detour signs.
  • If you value your life, do not ride Allendale Road during rush hour, regardless of what the detour signs tell you.
  • Due to traffic signals and construction detours, the first third of the ride takes almost half the time.
  • The hills are taller and steeper than they were the last time I rode that route.
  • There are more bike lanes than there used to be.
  • Two bottles of water is not enough when it’s hot. That’s what convenience stores are for.
  • A quart of bottled water costs 50% more than it did 10 years ago.
  • 20 miles on one of the hottest days of the summer (over 100 degrees) probably isn’t how I should have started after not riding for almost a year.
  • Good thing I had a meeting until 5:30. If I had left at my normal time an hour earlier, I might have melted.
  • Google Maps did a credible job of mapping the route for me. I made a few small changes.
  • My legs are tired. They’ll be sore tomorrow.

All that said, I’m hopeful that I can make the same ride on Thursday, although I might cut the trip short: ride to one of the train stations closer to downtown, and take that up to Lakeline. It depends on how my legs feel Thursday.


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