Metal Bike Commuter

Skin peels like a banana

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on July 14, 2009

I’ll spare you any pictures, but I fell off today.  I was on a trail covered with gravel, and because my bike is rear heavy (panniers), it slipped out from under me, and I went head over handle bars into the trail. My first reaction was to make sure no one was looking.  My second reaction was to hope my laptop was not damaged (its fine).  My third was to check for any wounds.

Because I planted my hand in an attempt to break the fall, I suffered a minor flesh wound.  I’m sure I have cuts on my back that I haven’t checked out yet, but I’m ok.

Except the loose gravel, I’m trying to figure out how it happened.  It was so quick.  I wonder if I clamped down too hard on my front brake, and while going down hill, it pulled the rear tire up just enough to cause the spill.

Eventually I shook myself off, again made sure no one was looking, and continued on to work.


On Conquering a Hill

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on July 13, 2009

Last year, I wrote about a hill that defeated me. Union Hill Road. Here’s an excerpt from that post:

“There’s this road called Union Hill that runs through Parsippany just past Greystone Park. Man, that hill almost gave me a heart attack. I first started tackling the road with determination figuring it would eventually flatten out. After what seemed like hours (probably minutes) I finally gave up

Yesterday I was riding, and knew that I was near that terrible road.  For some reason, I got it set in my mind that I would be able to ride the hill without bailing.  The closer I got, the more I convinced myself that it wouldn’t be as bad this time, after all, I know have a year of dedicated riding under my belt.  Finally I came across the road where it intersects.  As I approached, I debated changing my mind.  Multiple excuses came to me, like the fact that I needed to have energy after the ride for a BBQ so that I could chow down on hamburgers without my jaw falling asleep.

Finally I crossed onto Union Hill.  My heart started racing as I grew more nervous over the anticipation of having to climb this beast.  I didn’t want to fail out on this road.  I lowered my gears, and after a few yards, succumbed to the granny gear.  Not good, I thought.

Climb I did.  Slowly, but at a manageable pace.  Eventually the pain became something I was able to ignore.  I forced myself to take deep long breaths.  Cars passing by were only mere distractions, but I did not falter.  As I continued up the gigantic hill, a truck full of teenagers passed.  While their attempt at a joke may have disgruntled me any other time, this time I took it as encouragement to continue my quest at defeating the dragon hill.

And so, on I continued…

Halfway through, I was tired.  I kept moving.  I cannot stop, or else lose my momentum, and if my foot plants once, that means the hill defeated me again.

After some time, it was just me and the hill.  I think the hill knew that I was ready today.  It tried to slow me with the its ally, the wind, but my mind was made up.  That son of a gun of a hill was going down.  I think I heard “Eye of the Tiger” filtering through the leaves from a nearby BBQ.  I was encouraged.


Hill crest.

There I was.  My legs slowed down as I raised the gearing.  I had defeated a once worthy nemesis.  Union Hill Road was now mine.