Monday, February 18, 2013

Errandonee! pt.2

What better way to end a weekend spent with my brother and sister-in-law in the greater Des Moines area than a pair of errands via bike. After about 550 miles of windshield time over the weekend, six or so miles of  bike time sounded like perfection. I'm running behind the pace in both mileage and errands run, and my next post will detail the rule-bending that I was forced to commit to complete the challenge.

5: Library
Destination: Dordt College Library
Mileage: 2
Bike: Schwinn Suburban
Lighting: Planet Bike Blaze 1/2w, Front/Back
I do love that tailight
Lesson/Observation: For this errand, I expanded my route to include the northern portion of Sioux Center's bike trail. While we have only about eight miles of trail in my town, the main line runs the length of the town, providing a separated, car free route from the north to south end of the trail. You do have to manage street crossings, but they are minimized through some excellent planning when the route was first installed. However, the trail is utterly unlit. While my lights threw enough light to see what was ahead, the tightly focused beam made the many curves in the trail almost completely blind. Now I know the trail very well, but if it were new to me, my speed would have been extremely limited by my lighting set-up. Now I don't want lighting on the trail, part of it's appeal is the ability to see stars in town on a late night run. But this has served as a good test on the limits of this lighting system, and a motivation to research additional lighting, perhaps a helmet mount?

Destination: Hy-Vee Grocery
Mileage: 4.85 (To date, this is the only ride where I took a direct route.)
Lighting: Planet Bike Blaze 1/2w, Front/Back

Lesson/Observation: NW Iowa may not have much for hills, but it can certainly cook up a roaring good wind. Though the night was mild, I still layered up against the wind on the outbound leg of the trip. (Emergency dish soap run, btw) The tailwind pushed me back home, and I promptly started shedding the hat, gloves and scarf that had been necessary on the way out. Once again, a relatively short trip has been a lesson in proper layering. Product plug: Duluth Pack #51. This is a simple canvas and leather backpack with a single large pocket and a top flap closure. With the single, large pocket, you can ram pretty much anything your back can handle into the bag. Duluth pack is a small company based out of Duluth, MN on Lake Superior. Their gear is tailored to canoeing, but much of it is useful for anyone valuing durability over low weight. They do offer some bike specific gear which I have not tried, but reviews on these products are mixed.

No comments:

Post a Comment