Monday, May 1, 2017

National Bike Challenge Starts Today

The National Bike challenge is a nationwide event uniting thousands of current bicyclists—and encouraging countless new riders.

I've been a Bike Challenge participant for several years now. It's easy for me because my daily commute to work combines riding my bike with our city's public transportation bike-and-ride program, where I can bring my bike along on the bus with me.

I started commuting over a decade ago. Back then, I was an avid runner, and I wanted to find more time to get the miles in. My solution was to give up my downtown parking and take the bus into work so that I could run the five miles home in the evening.

Originally, I had hesitations about giving up my driving. I had this notion that I was giving up my freedom or something. That, and I imagined the city bus (have you seen who rides the bus???) would be a horrible experience. So, for the sake of running, I gave it a try.

It turns out that I couldn't have been more wrong about the bus. The drivers are professional and friendly, the fellow commuters are no hassle, and best of all, I discovered how how great it was to relax while someone else managed the road. All that for a buck twenty-five.

When our local public transportation authority added bike racks to the front of the bus, I pretty much gave up running, which was alright, because that meant I could do what I loved even more: riding my bicycle.

It takes me about 8 minutes to comfortably ride the 1.3 miles from my house to the bus stop. Those eight minutes are enough to put a smile on my face each morning. Who doesn't love riding their bike? It's a fantastic way to start my day.

Financially, commuting makes a lot of sense. For one, parking downtown costs $75 per month pre-tax. I spend about $25 per month to ride the bus. Maintenance aside, quick math shows that I save $600 per year by commuting and not paying for parking.

That's a lot of chains and inner tubes.

Granted, commuting's not for everyone. Dropping kids off at daycare/school can make it difficult. Another hindrance could be time: unless you're living near an express route, or are in the mid-town sweet-spot with a direct connection to your destination, the bus can be slow. Fortunately, my commute from 62nd and Dodge on a local, direct bus only takes 15-20 minutes, which is not much slower than by car.

Still, I'd like to encourage you to give commuting a try. It's easy to find a route, schedule and ETA to final destination through google maps.

Finally, get signed up for the National Bike Challenge already. It's fun, you can win some prizes, and it benefits our community while you walk, run, ride or commute by public transportation.

Keep the rubber side down. Thanks for reading.

Over the years, my #trekbikes 2010 Madone has been raced all over the Midwest, but it now serves as my "B" bike/trainer/daily commuter. Its Bontrager Aeolus race wheels are as comfortably nestled in the wheel wells of  the city bus' bike racks as they are in railing neighborhood corners in super commuter mode throughout Omaha. #RideBontrager  

Friday, April 28, 2017

I just washed my bike


That's the figurative dust being blown off this blog. I said I'd update this from time to time, so why not now?

It's cold and wet outside. At 40F with light rain, you'd have to be either nuts about cycling, or just plain stupid to ride in this stuff. Or both. Hello, let me reacquaint myself with my reader. My name is Brady. I have a passion for riding bikes, no matter the time or place or condition.

Anyway, Shim had asked me through a text if I was riding today.

I told him that I was, and that I had 1.5 hours of hill repeats that weren't going to ride themselves.

Shim replied, "it's all rainy and stuff."

I don't mind the riding in the rain from time to time. If it was everyday, I'd probably have to come up with some sort of coping mechanism besides shrugging my shoulders and acknowledging that it would be an uncomfortable ride. Thankfully, most of my rides aren't.

I answered that I was leaning towards riding in the afternoon when the chances of rain were less, but I'd go over lunch if he wanted to join me. Either way, I was going to ride no matter what.

He declined.

I don't blame him, nor do I hold it against him. Honestly. Riding in the rain, much less a cold rain, isn't very fun. My thoughts are that it's perfectly valid to simply decline the invitation.

"No thanks, have a good ride" is more than sufficient.

Kudos to Shim, because he did just that.

But then he shot me another message: "I don't want to catch a cold."

Now that -- the excuse of not wanting to catch a cold-- is what I have a problem with.

C'mon Shim. You have better excuses than that. Our (as in several of us who know Shim) -- our personal favorite excuse of his is, "I just washed my bike." Yes! We like that one because at least that's acknowledging something truthful: nobody likes a dirty road bike.

Saying, "I don't want to catch a cold" is a bunch of crap. And I told him so.

Being wet and cold doesn't produce a cold. That's been debunked. You have to catch a virus for that.

Shim replied, "Tell that to Bill Winke".

So I said, "Who is Bill Winke? If you give me his contacts, I will."

Bill Winke is apparently a college buddy of Shim's that is an avid outdoors man, and knows a thing or two about being prepared for the elements. In short order, Shim produced Bill Winke's website, which included an, "Ask Bill" feature.

So here's is what I submitted to Bill Winke:

Hi Bill,

My good buddy Greg Shimonek says that cold, wet weather can make one sick. I think that he's using that as an excuse to not join me on a one hour bike ride in the cold (40F) light rain. When he said, "I don't want to get sick," I countered that his thinking has been debunked, that one must get a virus to get sick. He replied, "tell that to Bill Winke".

So Bill, per Greg's request, I'm telling you that cold, wet weather doesn't make a person sick.

Brady Murphy

PS: I like what you've done here. Nice website!
PPS: could you copy your reply to Thanks!


If Bill should reply, I may post it here.

Happy Friday. Thanks for reading.