Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Message Board General Discussion › Summer 2013 Commuting Journal

Summer 2013 Commuting Journal

Brian E.
user 13760096
Raymond, ME
Post #: 250
OK, I'll start the summer version since both the calendar and the temperature say summer is here.

It was nearly 80 for my ride in today. I took the longer flatter way at an easy pace, very enjoyable! I'm grateful for a season that doesn't take 20 pieces separate pieces of clothing!

Some pics from my weekend ride: Marathon Chasing.
mike
user 3053132
Portland, ME
Post #: 824
I took a ride to Portland last night once it "cooled down" to about 87 degrees. Took it easy and surprisingly did not get too overheated. Lots of coasting. It also helps to end your journey at Novare Res!
Bob B.
user 3380725
Scarborough, ME
Post #: 174
Had two flats yesterday. One was waiting for me when I mounted up to go home, the other about a mile from home. On the second flat, a nail went through the bottom of the tire and out the sidewall. Ugly.

I am using 700x35c Schwalbe Sammy Slicks on my new cyclocross bike- turned commuter. I love the soft ride of these tires, and despite a bit of tread on the edges, there seems to be relatively little rolling resistance. However, I have had 4 flats in the last 1,200 miles, so they don't seem to be particularly puncture-resistant. When these wear out, I may replace with Continental Ultra Gatorskins, which I have found to be bulletproof. I think the widest is 700x32c.
Brian E.
user 13760096
Raymond, ME
Post #: 252
I've never found a correlation between getting flats and the type of tires run. I've had tires that boast ultra flat protection get punctures and I've had tires that don't have any flat protection go for 1000 miles without one. I got 5 flats in one week last summer and only 1 slow leak since (yesterday) but it didn't leave me stranded. I guess I got a pinch flat mountain biking too but that was just riding hard down a rocky section.
Bob B.
user 3380725
Scarborough, ME
Post #: 175
I have gone over 2,000 miles without a flat on the Continental UltraGatorskins. They are expensive, but they are more puncture-resistant than any other tire I have tried. I do believe there is a difference, although flats are pretty random, and even the Continentals won't stop a nail.
mike
user 3053132
Portland, ME
Post #: 825
Nothing like a noon errand ride along Spring/County road to change my attitude from "Bike Diplomat/We can all get along!" to "FUCK YOU ALL!!!1!!" I guess I better work on re-calibrating my ignoring skills over the weekend.
John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 2,048
Where exactly were you? County Road between Spring and Skyline is about the worst road I know for cycling. Nothing about it is good: Only one lane each way, lane configuration changes several times (turn lanes, center two-way turn lane, etc.), shoulder configuration constantly changing but mostly too narrow and discontinuous to be practicable, pavement is bad, congested pretty much all the time, and it's near an I-295 interchange and used by a lot of trucks. No time to relax at all; it's just one long string of decision-making.

The continuation up to Smiling Hill Farm is not much better, as the lanes are narrow with no shoulder, still pretty congested, and a gradual uphill on the way to the farm, making for slow speed with a blind spot over the hill crest.
Brian E.
user 13760096
Raymond, ME
Post #: 253
Nothing like a noon errand ride along Spring/County road to change my attitude from "Bike Diplomat/We can all get along!" to "FUCK YOU ALL!!!1!!" I guess I better work on re-calibrating my ignoring skills over the weekend.
Yeah, I got flipped off for daring to be the last vehicle in a line of traffic so that somebody couldn't pull out from a side street. I was following traffic, I was going the same speed as the traffic but I wasn't in a car so I was not traffic, just in his way.

I got my revenge, Rt 302 was a parking lot with 4th of July traffic and I had a nice 8' wide bike lane to ride past them all on. I made the 4 mile trip in about 15 minutes and the cars took about twice that.
mike
user 3053132
Portland, ME
Post #: 826
Where exactly were you? County Road between Spring and Skyline is about the worst road I know for cycling.
Yes, County Road between Spring and Skyline is exactly correct! Going out towards skyline I was in the middle of the lane in a bad pavement area, past the movie theater. A tractor trailer wanted to pass so it did move over the line, but by the time it was halfway through the pass it was forcing the oncoming traffic to move into the shoulder. So, at least he was being careful of bikes I guess?

But it was the return trip where a few incidents added up. Past the movie theater approaching County I was taking a good portion of the road (more bad pavement) where that flat concrete island is in between lanes. Plenty of cars opt to ride up on that instead of waiting to pass - that's fine since they are giving room. But then a pickup truck decides he'll squeeze by as close as possible. Ok, I guess I am not controlling enough so I move over more, which then gets a honk from another pickup truck. A few moments later we're clear of the island approaching Spring St. and another car zooms up to cut in front of me in the right-turn lane. Make the right onto Spring and about halfway between there and Eisenhower Drive a pickup truck passes close, honks, yells something. Fingers are exchanged as I move left to make the left onto Eisenhower. Lady passing on right (once I am in left turn lane) also yells something as she passes.

As I've said before I'm just not in practice for this sort of thing anymore since most of my rides are trouble-free or at worst have the one drive-by annoying person. And it's the close passing that gets me more than anything since it is actually dangerous compared to rude comments etc. Plus it was 80 degrees and everyone was cranky :p

In any case I've done some visualizations over the weekend and am ready to be back on the road and calm!


John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 2,050
I gotta admit, I usually use the shoulder on Spring Street between County Road and Eisenhower, at least this time of year, until it's time to move out for the left turn onto Eisenhower inbound. It's pretty wide, few driveways, and not in bad shape in the summer. I have enough control and release to do on Cummings Road, and I'm very thankful I don't have to use County Road regularly. I don't think there's any way to not delay at least a half dozen people transiting that.
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