Metal Bike Commuter

Newark Court System

Posted in Uncategorized by metaljaybird on December 10, 2008

I had my day in court today.

On October 20th, while trying to find a client’s office to do some virus repair on their network, I was pulled over for turning right onto Broad Street. The traffic officer informed me that there were no turns onto Broad Street from Water Street (I think that’s the name of the street).  It was about a $75.00 fine with 3 points on my driving record.

This year I finally had all of my points removed. So after much debate, I decided I would try to fight this in court.

One problem. No human being would answer the 800 number provided on the back of my ticket. It was a constant loop of how to pay the bill online or at the Green Street Court.

Through many emails and phone tag, I finally set my court date for today at 8:30 am.

I arrived at court in a sour mood because my poor little one was up half the night, keeping his parents up too. Of course, I hit bad traffic on the way (and thinking to myself, “Why didn’t I take the train?”), and came in ten minutes late. No problem, the judge was about an hour late.

I made a deal with the prosecutor to plead guilty to a “Failure to Obey Traffic Signal” violation with no points.

Driving sucks.

While walking to an ATM in downtown Newark, I noticed someone’s bike locked up to a signpost. I think they had their front wheel secured with the U-lock, and I know they tried securing their helmet by simply latching it around the lock! I was going to take a picture of it, but with the amount of cops standing around, I changed my mind. I figured they’d start questioning me, and to be frank, I’m done with dealing with the government today!

I am really thinking about just sucking it up and riding in the dark winter time.  I’m sure you’ll be the first to hear about it if I do.


Just a Short Ride

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on July 14, 2008
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Saturday I headed over to Watson Bagels on the bike but took about a 10 mile detour on the way over.

Here are a few shots of Indian Lake in Denville. I live across the street from here and get to wake up to this every morning. Not a bad view.

Indian Lake

Indian Lake

See if you can spot the bird on the dock here. I couldn’t get a clear shot, but it was a taller bird with a long beak.

Indian Lake - Bird

Blurry shot of the bike path that runs across parts of Northern Denville.

Bike Trail

Blurry posed shot with the handle bars.

Handle bars on bike trail

Parked outside Watson Bagels in downtown Denville

Bike at Watson Bagels

And here is my breakfast. Yep, I’m a breakfast sandwich kind of guy. Hence the extra pounds. Well, that is slowly changing as I ride more.

Breakfast sandwich at Watson Bagels

In total, I rode about 12 miles this weekend. Yeah, it is a rather low number, but my wife is due to have labor any minute now. Besides, I spent a few hours on Sunday working around the yard.

Short Commute?

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 26, 2008
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I’m getting to the point where I think my 6 miles each way is too short of a commute.  Without much effort, it is taking me about 30 to 40 minutes.  This is without having a proper commuter setup (no saddles, etc.).  My fat tires probably slow me down a bit, but I love the smooth ride the front suspension enables.  Besides, I am usually running into some sort of debris on the side of the road.

I’ve been riding for over a month now averaging 3 days a week at 36 miles.  If I can ride everyday, that would mean 60 miles.  Maybe instead of trying to add extra miles, I can try to ride everyday for a few solid weeks to see if I notice a physical payoff.

While I’m lucky to live close to work, I think it is true that those who average 20+ miles a day are happiest.  I guess I should try for some weekend riding on trails.

Anyway, nothing unusual or interesting to discuss, just logging my miles:

Weekly Total: 18.

Why “Metal Commuter”?

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 5, 2008
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Why is this blog called “Metal Commuter”, you may ask.  Well, simply because I’m not the most creative individual, and I like heavy metal (music, the movie, and sometimes the transitional metal types).  Of course, I appreciate other forms of music, but nothing hits hard like metal.  From the 70s to today, I appreciate metal of all variants (well…there is that pop thingy from the late 80s, but some bands are ok).

So, as a new bicycle commuter, I didn’t want to call myself “BikeCommuter” or “BicycleRider”.  MetalCommuter was the farthest I could reach in my right brain for something unusual and different.

The morning ride in was kind of cold and the skies looked dreary.  Gray.  Weather dude says it won’t rain until 6, so I’ll risk it.  If I get poured on, I can always skip a shower at home.  Tonight is going to be a long night.  The Celtics face off against the Lakers in what should be a good match up.  The big issue I have is that the NBA thought it sensible to start a playoff game at 9:00 PM.  I don’t see what is wrong with starting a game at 7:00 PM.  Most working human beings can’t afford to be up past 12 every other night watching a basketball game.


Skipped Today

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 4, 2008
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It was supposed to rain all day, so I decided to drive in.  (Well, the wife needed our one working car, so she dropped me off).  So far, no rain.

As I ride more, I notice my appetite has grown considerably.  If I want to lose some weight, I realize I need to watch my intake so that the pounds will start slipping off.  At 29 years old, I also realize that 30 seems to be that magic number where health-related issues start to occur.  Biking is a start, but only part of the solution.  First step is to eliminate the extra snacks.  I’m pretty good at work, but it is at home when the trouble starts.

I’m a family man.  With some history of heart disease on my mother’s side, I need to do what I can to take care of myself so that I’m around to see my kids grow up, and have lives of their own.  Sure, my daughter is only 2, and my son will be born next month, but again, this is the time to start.

It wasn’t until I became a married man that I started putting on weight.  While my wife hasn’t gained a pound and maintains her weight of about 115 lbs, I think I gained about 40 to 50 pounds since we tied the knot.  This is in part due to my job, and my general lack of exercise.  This is why I want to ride.  I enjoy it, and I need it.

Tuesday’s ride home went pretty good, though I was spent when I got home.  My legs are starting to feel the burn entering into my 4th week of commuting by bike.  Tomorrow’s forecast looks ok.  The rain should hold off until about 6 Pm, but the weather predictors have been off quite a bit lately.


Step it up

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on June 2, 2008

Stumbling out of bed after a late night watching This is Spinal Tap for probably the 20th time, I was in no mood to ride. The kind of mood that means I need to ride to maintain sanity. As I was carrying my bicycle up the stairs from my basement I smacked my head hard on the metal frame of the hatchway doors (or bilco doors, as NJ folks call them). Wow, that really smarted. I expected to have a bugs bunny-esque lump growing on the top of my head. While there is a bump, my thick hippie hair is doing a fine job of hiding the convex growth.

This just made me angry. I was civil to the wife and kid (darling daughter was asleep, so I gave her a little kiss on the forehead) and dashed out of the house. I guess I didn’t realize how fast I was going, because I was at work faster than usual, and some of the hills that have been a challenge were easily summited. Bring em on was my attitude this morning. On the 25 MPH streets, I maintained speed and even passed some cars.

I arrived at work safe and sweaty. Took me about 10 minutes to recover from the slam fest, but all is good now.

Week Total: 6 Miles.

Wet Morning

Posted in bike commute by metaljaybird on May 27, 2008

The ride in was a wet ride.  Since my bike isn’t optimized for commuting, (no fenders) my bag and back got soaked from the splattering of the rear tire.  Maybe I’ll purchase a commuter-gear bicycle if this day-to-day bike commute becomes a habit.

I saw no one riding today, so either the normal commuters skipped a drizzly morning, or the bike commuters are seriously lacking in my area after National Bike to Work Week finished.  I hope it is the former and not the later.

The afternoon has turned into a hot and humid sunny day.  During lunch I took a 10 minute walk to Atlanta Bread, Co.  I was just a little sweaty while there, but cooled off real quick while eating my chicken cordon bleu panini with an iced sweet tea.  The walk back seemed a bit warmer.  Yuck.  Hot and muggy.  Hopefully I don’t smell too bad.

This is the official start of my 3rd week of bicycle commuting to work.  If I ride 5 days a week, that would equal to about 60 miles a week.  With the rising costs in fuel, this will begin to pay off soon.  So far I think I’ve ridden about 50 to 60 miles total the last two weeks.  That probably saves me two bucks right there.  Two less dollars saved along with an incalculable amount of stress.  Plus, I’m sure my blood pressure is starting to lower.