Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tuesday 2nd September: Commute to Work

Got my backside out of bed and rode to work. The forecast was for a nice morning but heavy showers in the afternoon and evening so I thought there was a chance of missing the showers (I usually don't but I so wanted to ride). It was a gorgeous morning but most definitely autumnal in feel, bah! I put some 3/4 lengths on over my shorts as I could always not wear them for the ride home in the unlikely event it was too warm.

I set off and it was a gorgeous sunny morning, a little cool but not too bad, until the first section of the tramway. The first section I hit on my ride in (or last on my ride home) is an old cutting and it just collects cold air, it has a very noticeable temperature differential to the rest of the ride which is magnified the colder it gets.I was wishing I had some ear coverings for a while but it improved when I got to the second tramway section which isn't a cutting but more like a small embankment with tree cover on each side. The sunlight was breaking through the gaps in the trees and creating gorgeous golden dappling effects on the tarmac. I slowed down a bit to enjoy it and tried to ignore the thought process in my brain of: golden light means the sun is not high in the sky therefore autumn is here!

Emerging onto the bridge over the Ribble and the river actually looked lovely - amazing what some flattering golden light can do. The tree cover on the Preston side of the riverbank is quite dense still so I stopped enjoying the scenery and started pedalling faster again, its not particularly scenic from now until St Annes unfortunately. On my old commute to Blackpool the last 5 miles or so were past fields which doesn't sound very inspiring but there used to be some fantastic mist/cloud inversion type effects on them in the winter. I just really have main road now.

It seemed to be bike central today, I saw loads of "proper" and fast cyclists out and about, I don't usually notice so many. It maybe the fact I set off a little earlier than usual or it may just be fuel prices. I was also caught up by Ed which is again very unusual, I think I've only met Ed once before even though he commutes out to Warton at least three times a week and pretty much always on a Tuesday, I put that down to setting off earlier. It was nice to have some company and we chatted for a bit on the cycle path until we had to move into single file ready for the road section. I initially tried to keep up with him but then remembered I still have 6 miles to go after he was at work and I had to cycle home again. If I haven't commuted for a while I often push too hard on the ride in and feel tired on the way home.

My backside felt like I was sitting on brick, I have a relatively new saddle on the roadie and it obviously needs a bit more breaking in!

I cruised at a nice speed to work, I still did it in just under an hour though which is a little too fast. I parked my bike at the sheds near C block and was a little disconcerted that all the bikes there had locks on......As I was heading into R block I saw someone else who rides in a lot actually take his bike into the building. I asked him about it later and there is a large empty cupboard on the ground floor that takes a few bikes. I had a look and think I might park my bike there next time.

Had a bit of a walk to get a shower as they are working on the C block shower. They have "improved" the J block ladies shower as it was a new cubicle with a bit more space, brilliant I thought. However, the door opens away from the wall so you have to open it wide to get in which allows water out, the door doesn't actually seal properly so more water out. They have also fitted the new shower tray on top of the old one without adjusting the height of the shower so there was barely enough room for me to stand under it and wash my hair and I'm only 5ft 4. Who knows what the C block one is going to look like once their finished with it. They are also supposed to be putting a shower in R block, no sign of it yet but I bet it ends up in one of the men's loos.

Ride home was not too bad, it had been raining on and off during the afternoon but was actually stopped by the time I set off though there did appear to be a bit of a headwind. The roads were wet and there was a short shower as I passed through Lytham but that was it, I managed to get home unscathed. I saw Ed again, coming out of the BAe main gate as I was stopped at the lights. Preston was really quiet so it was a quick one home.

So: 35 mile round trip and really enjoyable.

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