GMT bikemuting - dark and/or wet!
Updated: Nov 13, 2020
What started with the challenge to cycle to school just the once has, from the off, changed the way I think about travel and judging distance. I have now bikemuted to school 8.5 miles each way over the Downs, twice a week minimum during BST since I started my new job in September 2018 (less a few weeks after I smashed my coccyx in February half term 2019).
I met a cool lady on possibly the second day I pedalled home from school right back at the start. She patiently waited for me on a few sections and gave me some good starter pointers; she also told me she cycled to work everyday whatever the weather and whatever the light (Hoveish way to Lewes). That was amazing I'd said, but instantly limited my ability to do such, thinking I needed natural light. Sadly I didn't catch her name, and bizarrely I have never bumped into her again. This October... it took me a whole 2 years, I decided I too would continue to cycle to school twice a week, even during the 'off' season, and have just completed my first week. I have done the sideways freezing rain, and done pitch black, I have not done both!
This out of season commute perhaps became possible because I coped with some of the worst Summer conditions when I cycled the South Downs Way during a weekend in June. So what is an hour of rain each way compared to 10 hours of horizontal rain? Fortuitously we had watched an episode of one of the Bear's and mine favourite programs called Naked and Afraid the Friday night before the SDW, where this amazing survivalist spent days 17-21 perched on a platform, above a flood, in torrential rain, solo, unclothed and she bossed it... so I reframed a max of 12 hours in the rain as easy, especially knowing a hot bath, warm food, and a dry bed was waiting at the end of both days!
So some details
High viz blinged to the max
Have two independently powered front lights
Have 1 rear bike light and two red LEDs on my heels.
My bag now has a garish cover to keep it dry and mud/dung free
My D link lives on the new bike rack at school to minimise weight
I carry my work clothes in a waterproof bag
I carry a waterproofed homeward cycling outfit in case outward kit gets wet
I carry lunch in a waterproof bag in case it leaks
I carry my marking in waterproof bags
I love waterproofing...
I do a full Clark Kent/Superman in the work toilet cubicle
I have all the bike spares/tools I need
I am marginally concerned about certain ultra slippy sections getting worse.
I am planning how to address some very boggy deep segments...
I will adapt, improvise, and overcome as and when, like the Army girl I am!
Commute times have already increased 15-25% up from my normal, and almost double my PB! It'll get slower as I may have to push some sections instead of risking falling/injury. It is not easy to go fast off-road in the dark: I fear unexpected livestock, gorse bushes, or dew ponds let alone the bumps and rocks. Getting in and out of my many layers of lycra either side of work is quite the rigmarole, I will get slicker at this!
I need all the resiliences, fitness and bike skills I can muster... as I am cycling 933 miles (minimum) in 9 days in June!
Fitness, adventure, accomplishment, wildlife, skyscapes, mental health, random conversations, less cars on the road, free parking; I love eking up the little wins!