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early morning ride

September 30, 2010

Morning Bike Ride

I love this time of day. The early morning ride to work. The sun is rising and the town is just waking up. Fall is also the perfect season for bike rides – cool and crisp and full of colors. Sometimes I use that morning bike ride to plan out my day, other times I just enjoy the ride while listening to NPR or my favorite podcasts on my iPod (all time favorites: This American Life, the Moth, Run Run Live, The Writer’s Block, and Savage Love).

How do you spend your morning commute?

Bike to work

14 Comments leave one →
  1. September 30, 2010 15:49

    I like to leave early so I can stop and take pictures and still have plenty of time to get to work:

    Sunny Autumn

    Gloves and shoes

    I agree, Autumn is the PERFECT time for riding a bike. Cheers!

  2. October 1, 2010 02:07

    Biking while listening to an Ipod? Definitely would not do that but I do enjoy my morning commute. The cool, fresh air and the prospect of all the opportunities of a new day. Totally enjoy it!

    • October 3, 2010 14:18

      Niklas, in my defense: I listen to it on a low volume setting so that I can still always hear the cars and traffic around me. But I enjoy listening to news or stories as I ride to work. :)

      • Dave permalink
        October 3, 2010 16:24

        I don’t think you have to justify yourself, you’re a grown-up and can make intelligent decisions about your safety. I’m sure based on where you ride, etc, you’ve given some thought to whether having the iPod on impairs your hearing too much. No worries :)

  3. October 1, 2010 02:44

    The picture you’ve posted of your morning ride is so idyllic. Just a perfect, Midwest picture. It’s making me miss the beautiful areas we visited during the summer.

    I like having an iPod on as well. I do keep one ear bud removed so that I can hear traffic and things happening around me, but it’s nice to have something pleasant to listen to, rather than focusing on the 75+mph traffic zooming past. :)

  4. AcademicUnChic permalink
    October 1, 2010 03:06

    Not quite re: the morning commute but did you see this in today’s NYT?

    • Cary permalink
      October 1, 2010 05:23

      I read this article and I’m afraid the oh so hip cyclists featured in it just got up my nose. One blithely explains she used the sidewalk instead of the road and it seems to upset pedestrians. I’m a cyclist and I get upset when some dumb arse whips by me on a bike.

  5. October 1, 2010 13:47

    AcademicUnChic and Cary –

    thanks for the article link, AcademicUnChic! Very interesting indeed. I have to say that like Cary, I had a bad taste in my mouth after reading it despite the fact that it’s trying to be a positive feature on cycling. Something about the emphasis on never wearing a helmet because of the uncoolness factor and all the emphasis on the bike as trendy accessory and the brands of the clothing left me thinking that the appreciation of cycling was somehow misplaced here.

    I want to think about this more to articulate what I think about the piece, but I’m really glad you sent the link my way, AUC!


    • October 1, 2010 15:49

      I think mostly the issue is that people have taken the idea of “Cycle Chic”, and are now using it to sell bicycles as fashion accessories, and clothing as bicycle accessories. The original intended idea was simply to document people riding their bikes in their normal, everyday clothing just getting where they need to go. Taking an idea and using it to sell something immediately removes the value from the idea and cheapens it, and I think that’s probably where a lot of the feeling from these kinds of articles comes from – it’s clear that they’re trying to sell you something.

      The fact is that the types of bicycles they are talking about here (Pashley, WorkCycles, Gazelle, Batavus, etc) are not made to be fashion accessories, they are meant to be tools to allow you to travel and carry things, just like cars. They are meant to be treated roughly and still function, to be left out in all weather, to carry multiple people and to be functional, practical tools. The fact that they look nice aesthetically is intended, but is not the primary purpose of the bicycle, and some of the aesthetic niceness is in fact simply a side effect of practical aspects of the bicycle (for example, the curve of the loop frame is just a side-effect of making the bicycle convenient to get on and off of).

      It’s kind of sad to see “cycle chic” get branded as this type of stuff, because people really see it as the posturing and salesmanship that it is, when the intent of most cycle chic bloggers and advocates is simply to present cycling as something normal and accessible to anyone.

      • October 3, 2010 14:15

        Dave – I think you echo my sentiments exactly. I think the idea that these articles seem a bit ‘gimmicky’ and like they’re selling me something is what puts one off as a reader. A sentiment I don’t usually get from reading ‘cycle chic’ blogs of real people using bikes as a way of transportation in everyday clothes. And while these articles (like the NYT one) tend to be written as if they’re in solidarity with the cycling movement, they tend to miss the point: it doesn’t matter what wicker basket you have, what high-end bike you ride, or what designer clothes you ride in – it’s the fact that you’re getting out there and using a bike rather than one more car that makes the transportation cyclists in the US newsworthy.

  6. October 2, 2010 19:15

    I personally would not get too worked up over the “salesmanship” of the chic aspect of biking. In fact it is good for cycling in the US. We will get more people riding bikes if they perceive it as cool or even fashionable than by using the fear of global warming or something like that. In Amsterdam and Copenhagen people “doll” up and individualize their bikes for fun and fashion. No problem there. In fact, the cycle chic trend will do much more than sport cycling has ever done in this country to get regular people to ride for < 3 mile trips. And the comments on helmets is just ignorance of statistics. Do people go around badgering pedestrians or motorists to put on their helmets?

  7. AcademicUnChic permalink
    October 4, 2010 05:35

    Glad that article has sparked a bit of a discussion! What do all of you think of the bicycle brand obsessions on various bike blogs? Batavus et al are quite out of the reach of your average joe after all. I haven’t been reading bike blogs for very long, so I’m wondering if there are blogs that emphasize the opposite i.e. grab any old beater and get on the road.

    • October 4, 2010 17:26

      There was a great guest post on Let’s Go Ride A Bike ( about the simple fact that there really is no “right” way to ride a bicycle, except to just get on one and go. You don’t need a super-tuned, high-performance machine, or all the right gear, or whatever, just a bike and the energy to push it.

      This was one thing that really struck us about Amsterdam – people are riding bikes that look like they could simply turn to dust at any moment. They aren’t wearing any kind of gear (including helmets), they are carrying multiple other people on those bikes that look like they could fall apart, and they’re just riding around casually (though not necessarily slowly), as if all of that is perfectly normal. The bike still moves, I’ll still ride it. If it breaks catastrophically, I’ll just leave it here and save up for another one (you see lots of parked bikes with wheels bent in half or bent forks, or whatever).

      I think as bicycles become more and more common in the U.S., people will become less and less concerned about what kind of bike you have, who made it, how fast it can go, what high-end components it has, how fashionable it is, etc. Because when you make bicycling accessible to anyone, anyone can get out on any kind of bike and it’s ok. You don’t have to have one on which you can race automobiles on the way to work, or wear a ballgown on. For just getting from A to B, any old beater will do, as long as it still moves.

      • AcademicUnChic permalink
        October 5, 2010 05:51

        Thanks for that link, Dave.
        In my town (Berkeley) most bike riders are students and they just need/and make do with something that will get them from place to place. It is the solvent post-graduates and other chics who stand around with their lattes discussing the latest or vintag-iest looking saddles. ;-) I am a mere 5ft 1 so I confess that once I got out of school I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for bike frames that actually fit me…

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