October 7, 2011

new commuting strategy

I can see the campus from my house, its about a 20 minute walk, all downhill for the first half of the trek, then slightly uphill the rest of the way to the Olin building.  I’ve always thought that biking to work would be the way to go, but I hate getting home all sweaty and gross.  The problem is the uphill trek.  From the River to My House is about a 300 foot climb over the course of just under a mile, a 6% grade for those who care to know.  But trust me, its steep.  It takes a lot of work to get up to my house, even on my road bike.
But, awhile back I was reading about some of the new electric assist bikes, and I thought hey, I haven’t bought a new bike in a long time.  So, I started doing a bit more research and decided that one of the Trek Ride+ bikes would be great.  I ended up with the Trek FX+.  Sadly, my local bike shop can’t sell the Ride+ bikes, so I had to go to La Crosse to find this one.  The good news is that this is a good time of the year to get a new bike!   30% off was the sale today.
Trek FX+
I took it for a ride around LaCross and up the only little hill I could find,  the Cass Ave Bridge, not much of a hill, but I knew I was on to something when I felt like I was riding on the flats with the wind at my back, when I was actually going up a little hill.  After riding it around downtown a little longer I went back to the shop, smitten.  The only decision was which panniers to get so I can haul groceries and my stuff to school.
Jane hasn’t ridden it yet, but I have the feeling I know what she’ll want for Mothers day.  This would be the perfect option for our cycling marriage.  I could ride my road bike and she could ride the electric assist.  I think I see some longer bike rides together in our future :-)
The other great thing is that no gas is required.  Its all battery operated, and as I coast down the hill the battery is recharged.  I’lll be able to easily cruise my way to school, and then on the way home I can engage the electric drive at the bottom of the hill, and get the assistance I need to climb up to my house.  I won’t arrive home sweaty, and I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I got a few extra minutes of exercise, and didn’t use any gas!  The only downside is that I’ll be only inches away from the Whippy Dip as I ride home, but as long as I can get by there I’ll be fine.