02 April 2008

Oh my god, Yes!

I am continuing to get my commuting operations suitably adjusted. I am commonly displeased at the amount of stuff it seems to involve buying. I don't like buying things. On the other hand, every day I drive in to work, the ostensible (but slightly outdated) $0.50 per mile that it costs to run a car would cost me ~$18 to get there and back. The train tickets cost me $4 round trip, so I'm saving $14 every time I ride in. I'm sure that's not quite accurate, because I'm putting wear on my bike, clothing, probably eating more, etc. On the other hand, I would much rather give my money to TC or Quality Bicycle products or Local Harvest Grocery than Exxon-Mobile, or Ford. But I digress. I was posting to talk about the spiff new stuff I'm using.

First, I finally got around to getting some SPD pedals and some mountain shoes last week. These are cycling shoes with a metal cleat on the bottom that clips into your pedals. It's like toe-clips, but much, much better. It is in fact, Awesome. The shoes are comfy, and don't have laces to get caught. They are velcro shoes, but I'll forgive them that because it's for a good reason. Don't let that dissuade you, they are totally awesome! My coworkers have been telling me for months and months that clipless pedals are the best possible way to go, and now I believe them 100% (I still don't like road shoes, though)

A nice thing about these shoes is that they're well designed to vent air in between your toes so you don't get so sweaty. My feet sweat a lot when I'm wearing shoes, because I don't when I can help it. So this will usually be a great feature. The downside, is, not surprisingly, that they will blow air in between your toes all the damn time. These days it seems that, no matter how nice it's supposed to be during the day, it's 35 deg. out when I leave for work. This means that my toes first sweat, then the frigid air blows on them, then they go numb. Brrr! The first day this happened, last week, As I was riding, worrying a bit about the condition of my toes, I thought to myself, "self, all you really need is some sort of plastic barrier to stop the wind. Perhaps a cheap plastic bag of some sort, you had better use that on the way home" Within 10 minutes of arriving at work, as I was massaging the life and blood back into my toes, one of my co-workers asked me if I was familiar with "The bread-bag trick" It seems I am not the first clever fellow with cold toes. Stu!

The second point, I finally got around to buying a thermos that I can use for commuting. I have a green Stanley thermos, which is the bestest thermos ever, it will keep coffee too hot to drink for 8 hours. Unfortunately, it is fairly big and fairly heavy. Not perfect for backpacking or bike commuting. My former co-worker, Chris, had a very cool REI thermos which was smaller and lighter than mine, in fact, designed for backpacking.
So, this morning, I pulled in, stopped sweating, warmed up (yes, I know, but that's how it works) changed, then? I had a piping hot cup of joe! Kick ass! There is a coffee maker here at work, but I'm the only coffee drinker, and I won't make it just for myself. Also, I like milk in my coffee, and it's too much trouble to keep milk in the fridge at work. On the other hand, the little REI thermos is perfect for a couple cups of coffee, where I can add whatever I want at home.

Really, few things in life beat a nice hot cup of coffee after a cold ride. Really, it's as good as a cold beer after a hot ride.

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