The $22 Ride

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

The $22 Ride

Postby Leadlined » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:07 am

This is the story of my typical commute to work - It's not every day, but when I get the chance ...

The alarm initiates its attack on my peaceful deep sleep at 5:15am. It's the sound of a coo-coo clock and I keep it on the ledge where I have to get out of bed to turn it off. I guess it also somewhat saves it from being launched across the room. There's no time to press the snooze button, because I have to be in the pedals at 6:00 sharp ! I'm a breakfast person. It's critical, and most definitely mandatory for days I cycle commute. Winter brings some interesting logistics too. I have to allow a minimum of 10 minutes to get dressed. Knicks, Jersey, full leg knicks, winter cycling jacket, winter socks, cycling shoes, winter booties (over the shoes), hat (for head warmth), ear warmers and double gloves.

So it's now 06:05 and I'm in the pedals (I'm never away on time of course). If I'm not quite fully awake yet, I will be before the bottom of the street as the sub 5 degree air starts penetrating my winter cycling armour. In about 2.5km, I hit the M7 cycleway which means the start of 40km of non-stop pedalling. It also means the trusty iPod gets switched on. At this point, I just have to explain that during 3.5 hours of return commute riding, the brain comes up with some pretty creative thoughts. Over the years, my brain has come up with interesting names for certain portions of the cycleway. The first 'named section' I come across is the Pyrenees (when I am fit, this is pronounced "Pyr-en-Easy"). It's the series of climbs between Hoxton Park airport and Cecil Hills. It certainly makes the climbs a good training session with two panniers on the bike, one containing my laptop and the other my clothes, shoes and food. The next section I come across is the 'Middle East' This is where I come over a rise to see a massive water tower in the distance that looks like it's one of those buildings you'd see in Iran and Iraq. Combine that will the new industrial area to the left and the chicken coups to the right (with the smell) and it all has a very middle eastern feel to it. After that I hit a section called 'The Roller Coaster'. You go down, up, left, right, right, down and left in very quick succession (on the way home at night with the lights blinking past you, it's very carnival-like). Not long after that I come across the section I call 'Deja vu'. This is so named because there are two series of bends in the path after the M4/M7 Interchange which are exactly the same. You go through the second lot of them thinking "Haven't I already done this bit!". Last but not least, I go through the 'Jet Stream', so named because although you're on a bit of a rise, the tall side barriers generate a wind tunnel effect that lifts your speed as you go from the flat to the rise. A few kms of life threatening rate race on ever busier Norwest Blvd, and I'm there. Shower, walk to shops for scone and coffee, back to work and logon.

The return trip in winter is much faster due to me not having to wear so much to combat the cold. Leaving around 5:30pm, it's warm enough to get away with only knicks and no booties. I have learnt to ride a balanced commute home. I ride at about 92%, just leaving enough in the tank at all times in case the 'Jet Fighters' come flying past at Warp 7 speed. The 'Jet Fighters' I refer to are any of the pelotons of roadies doing their training on the M7 cycleway at night. If I have left enough in the tank, react fast enough to them overtaking me, I'm in the correct gear, it's an odd numbered month, high tide and 58% waning gibbous moon, I might be able to hook onto the back of them. When I do manage to do that, I'd love to know what they are thinking to see some guy on a flat bar road bike with two panniers on the back keeping up with them. After about 15 minutes of drafting in their after-burn, I may or may not start thinking about going up front to do my share of the work. I further would love to know what they are thinking when the complete chump they can't flick off the back then takes a turn at the front. If the planets have aligned and all this comes together, I could end up home 10 minutes earlier than normal which is great, because it means I'm that much closer to my hot shower and hot meal !

Why, you might ask, is the title 'The $22 Ride'. Well, I'm glad you did ask. $22 is that amount of cash I save by cycle commuting. $12 in tolls and $10 in petrol. 25cents a Km.
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by BNA » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:57 am

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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:57 am

Leadlined wrote:$22 is that amount of cash I save by cycle commuting.

:shock: :shock: :shock:
Sounds like fun. I only save $4.08 per commute but I still love ride. How long does it take?

P.S. welcome to BNA!
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby Leadlined » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:28 am

Sounds like fun. I only save $4.08 per commute but I still love ride. How long does it take?


Hi casual_cyclist, thanks for the welcome. Depending on fitness, and weather conditions, it can take between 1:35 and 1:50.
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby Chanboy » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:17 pm

Nice story Leadlined, I saw a huge block of black text and thought this was going to be a bit of stick in the eye to read. Happily it was quite entertaining...

Do you go an buy yourself an nice $110 present on the weekends?
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby casual_cyclist » Fri Aug 14, 2009 3:58 pm

Leadlined wrote:
Sounds like fun. I only save $4.08 per commute but I still love ride. How long does it take?


Hi casual_cyclist, thanks for the welcome. Depending on fitness, and weather conditions, it can take between 1:35 and 1:50.

Pretty good investment for $22 saved, a much more enjoyable trip, exercise and de-stressing. It is funny that my trips to work are much slower than my trips from work. In the mornings when the weather is nice, riding along the river, relaxing and enjoying myself, I am in NO hurry to get to work :mrgreen:
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby not4resale » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:57 pm

I reckon he spends the extra 22 bucks on food thus cancelling out the saving effect.

But then again... I'm a cynic... :D

Great story though!
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby the dang » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:54 am

Hi Mate

I dont post here too often, but this was a very entertaining story as I was eating breakfast!

Thanks and good on you! you also probably save a dollar or 2 by showering at work. I am a two showers a day guy cos the morning one helps wake me up, but when I commute I shower at work hehehe
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby JustinS007 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:04 am

Leadlined wrote:This is the story of my typical commute to work - It's not every day, but when I get the chance ...

When can I come for a ride with you? You make it sound so romantic. My rides are more like "follow the white line, push a bit harder, ugh will this hill never end, oh crap I need to piss again". Your ride sounds much better!
I'm a runner, but I sure love to ride!
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby 2WheelsGood » Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:25 am

JustinS007 wrote:My rides are more like "follow the white line, push a bit harder, ugh will this hill never end, oh crap I need to piss again".


How far are you riding that you need to piss - AGAIN?! :shock:
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby JustinS007 » Sat Aug 15, 2009 8:32 pm

2WheelsGood wrote:
JustinS007 wrote:My rides are more like "follow the white line, push a bit harder, ugh will this hill never end, oh crap I need to piss again".


How far are you riding that you need to piss - AGAIN?! :shock:

LOL, not as far as my wife that recently did 1516km in 7 consecutive 200k+ days. But far enough :wink:
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby wombatK » Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:44 pm

Leadlined wrote:
The return trip in winter is much faster due to me not having to wear so much to combat the cold. Leaving around 5:30pm, it's warm enough to get away with only knicks and no booties. I have learnt to ride a balanced commute home. I ride at about 92%, just leaving enough in the tank at all times in case the 'Jet Fighters' come flying past at Warp 7 speed.

Great story leadlined, and welcome to the forum. Love your terms for the sections. If you're riding on a Tuesday night, the Jet Fighters might be BNA's illustrious M7 Footpath racers - certainly worth introducing yourself if so. My commute takes in just your Middle-Eastern section of the M7, but at different times so there's no risk of uninvited wheel sucking with me.

With your return trip starting a 5:30 pm, you might be heading past the Deans Park/Richmond Rd troublespot in fading light - if you've not found it yet, it could be worth keeping an eye on the M7 safety thread. Most of the trouble seems to occur leading up to and during school hols, but might pay to be cautious until the offenders are apprehended. It's otherwise an extremely safe way to commute to work.
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby jonnyweir » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:20 pm

Great story man, really enjoyed it, welcome and keep posting
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby black4tress » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:22 am

Welcome aboard Leadline. Great read and colourful description of areas !!!!.
Thats $110 a week to buy commuting food and bike stuff - Nice.

There should be more cycle paths along motorways like the M7.
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby Leadlined » Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:59 pm

Wow, thanks for all the comments.

I don't actually save $110 a week, as I usually only get to do that commute around once a week due to different work locations and what not, but it's nice knowing when I do commute that it's saving a little bit. I do however enjoy coverting some of that saved cash into food and coffee (well spotted not4resale !). I swear the coffee and scone at Norwest always tastes better after the 44km commute in.

wombatK - Thanks for the M7 safety thread link. That is absolutely crazy ! I'll keep an eye out for that.

Tomorrow is my commute day for this week, so the tyres are pumped up, panniers packed, and alarm is set ... hmmm, 'Deja vu' ...
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby Chanboy » Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:28 am

beautiful day for your commute today... :-)
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby Leadlined » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:16 am

Absolutely !
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby wombatK » Fri Aug 21, 2009 6:59 pm

Leadlined wrote:Wow, thanks for all the comments.

I don't actually save $110 a week, as I usually only get to do that commute around once a week due to different work locations and what not, but it's nice knowing when I do commute that it's saving a little bit. I do however enjoy coverting some of that saved cash into food and coffee (well spotted not4resale !). I swear the coffee and scone at Norwest always tastes better after the 44km commute in.

wombatK - Thanks for the M7 safety thread link. That is absolutely crazy ! I'll keep an eye out for that.

Tomorrow is my commute day for this week, so the tyres are pumped up, panniers packed, and alarm is set ... hmmm, 'Deja vu' ...

With the wind howling in from the North to North West (Friday) afternoon, you should have set a new land speed record heading home :) :)
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby Leadlined » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:20 pm

Come to think of it, it did feel pretty fast. When I read your post, it prompted me to pick up the speedo and have a look, and sure enough, 1:33 on the way home as opposed to 1:45 on the way there this morning ... I think the puncture on the way home took the shine off the fast return. Luckily it was only about 2km from home base.
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby wicksey » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:26 am

great little read, thanks!
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Re: The $22 Ride

Postby RobertFrith » Fri Nov 20, 2009 10:38 am

$22 is that amount of cash I save by cycle commuting. $12 in tolls and $10 in petrol. 25cents a Km.

You're actually doing even better than you think; factor in insurance, licensing, depreciation and maintenance and you're likely to be looking at over 70 cents per k saved :D
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