Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Biking to work, II

What to do with a bike
Turns out that, surprise, surprise, I wasn't as out of touch as I originally thought. I found it very easy to ride two or three miles around town. I would drive the bike to work and then occasionaly ride during my lunch hour. It was a good starting exercise. If I rode those small distances I would wake up the next morning with sore muscles. But this was merely the beginning: two or three miles was one thing, going to and from work on a single day was something else altogether!

The Big Day
The Friday prior to Bike To Work Week, my bicycle was sitting in the office, like many days before. I packed up everything in my car and was getting ready to go when I asked my coworker Max if he thought it was a good idea for me to ride home. He wasn't too sure. It was starting to get dark and he knew I hadn't ridden that far. I decided to go anyway. And if it's really hard, then I'll find that out too late: I'll be committed to finish, right?

Turns out it was really easy. I was home in an hour. The next morning I got an early jump to ride back to work to pick up my car (still sitting in the Google parking lot). Very satisfying all around. Now all I needed to do was ride in both directions on the same day.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Biking to work

Earlier in the year, I saw all these people around the office wearing Google Bike To Work t-shirts, and I sort of found them cool. No, I found that the t-shirt made the people look cool, so I coveted one almost instantly. I didn't think I could actually get one of these. I hadn't regularly ridden a bicycle since high school, and only recently rode my wife's cruiser around town to do minor errands. If you don't know what a cruiser is, it might help you to know that I call it my wife's 'grandma' bike, and she usually responds by ringing its bell.

In addition to being out of practice (and out of shape, no less,) my commute required driving through real traffic. So when the opportunity arose to bike to work during this year's Bike To Work Week, I jumped at it. You must understand, I didn't do it because of the health benefits or the cost savings. I did it for that t-shirt. Yes, I am that shallow.

Purchasing a Bike
First thing I needed to do was purchase a bike. I did the least amount of research available by picking the style of bike I wanted. In my 20's I bought a friend's racing bike, which I acknowledge was a superior bike for the amount I paid for it, but I never found racing handlebars comfortable, nor did I feel safe bent so far forward. I settled on the notion of a comfort bike. I asked my coworker Steve to accompany me to a local bike shop, and we settled on one of the many Helen's Cycles in the Los Angeles area. I didn't feel like wasting time and comparison shopping, so after a few minutes and a 5-minute test ride, I settled on the Trek Navigator 200. It felt comfortable, had nifty new features I'd never heard of before (though have since learned are fairly standard nowdays) and I didn't get any signs of disapproval from Steve. Plus, it wasn't too hard on my wallet, so that felt good. I finally had a bike, and a month to get up to 20 miles a day!

(to be continued)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Roger Ebert reviews The Longest Yard

This is an interesting and surprising review. Roger Ebert wrote his review for The Longest Yard three weeks after watching it. In between he attended the Cannes film festival. Sufficiently distracted, he had this to say.