Back to commuting

Mar 14, 10:30 AM

March has been mild so far, and I’ve started bike commuting again as of March 1: four days each week. One day I wimped out because of the weather and one I was recovering from hard exertions the previous day. Mostly I’ve been riding my normal 6-mile round trip from home to my office, but a few times I’ve gone further, including a ride up to the Renaissance Center, which involves a stiff climb. That day I wished that my commuter bike had a lower low gear. It currently bottoms out at 28.5 gear inches.

I like commuting this time of year. When I set out in the morning the temperature has been in the upper 30s or low 40s. I wear my regular outfit, slacks, dress shirt, and sportcoat, with a reflective vest. I’ve been carrying a jacket but I haven’t needed it. There’s still a lot of sand on the shoulders, but my Breezer commuter has good fenders and an enclosed chaincase.

I’ve seen hawks and a wood duck on the ride in, though it’s too early for the sheep and alpaca to be out at the UMass farm. Hopefully the formerly vernal pool, now year-round pond, on Maple St. will attract a heron or egret.

Now that we are down to one car (the other was totaled after a bizarre January parking lot flood), I’m hoping I can bring myself to commute in the rain. After riding for nearly four hours in light rain yesterday, 15-20 minutes won’t seem so bad. But the trick will be keeping my work clothes presentable.

Brian W. Ogilvie

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