I’m feeling a smug glow today, cos I’ve finally broken the 12 mph barrier on my way to work on my 29er.
It might not seem like much, but there are 39 sets of traffic lights along the 8.5 miles to work and pretty heavy traffic jams. It’s taken me 612 miles since I started recording speeds to beat 12mph. I got caught by about 10 lights today, but I think none of them for more than 25 seconds or so.
All the traffic lights are great for fitness, stopping at them is kind of like interval training. You get pretty good variation too, most of the way they’re just random, but there’s one 2 mile section where the lights are timed to work for someone going at about 13mph, which means I have a really nice sprint to try to catch them all.
It was 12.1mph average speed. I’ve got 125mm cranks on because I like to ride it offroad sometimes, which makes it similar to a stock coker. I guess 110s would be a bit faster, but I’m not in that much of a hurry. It’s pretty much all on major roads, a few of them have bus lanes which are good for getting past jams. I don’t use cycle lanes unless they’re really good shortcuts, because they slow you down and don’t make you any safer.
The lights are insane, but a lot of them are pedestrian crossings, where you can see if someone is going to press the button and speed up to try and beat the red light. It’s because London as a city was never really designed, it just sort of happened, so there are loads of junctions and also because there are a lot of pedestrians about who need to cross over. Once you’ve been riding for a bit, you know a lot of the sequences, so you know if you really need to hurry somewhere or not.
I think I’d previously had a bit of a plateau, where I just couldn’t spin faster than I was, I’m not sure what I’ve done, but I’ve got that little bit more spin going on all of a sudden. It’s possibly due to doing more swimming and being a little bit more flexible in the legs. I think if you’re commuting it’s easy to get into a groove, but if you conciously push yourself a little bit once every couple of days you can really improve quickly which is nice.
(ps. I don’t actually have a suit or a bowler hat, let alone ride to work in them)
Wow, what a coincidence! Today I was waiting for the bus as I was 2 miles and 2 large hills from school, when it hit me that it wasn’t going to come in time. I checked my watch and it said 7:50:23. I had to be at school by 8:00:00. Any later and I got detention. I decideds to go for the ride at 7:50:32. I hit the stop watch and went. I hit 5 green lights out of 7, and the two red were only 15 sec. So, I pant through the doors into school at 7:59:48, and hit the stopwatch. 9 minutes, 16 seconds! I too broke the twelve-mph barrier. It helped that I now commute on a 24x3.0 fireball with 158s, so I can simply fly. Also, I was in a mad rush because I had a dentist appointment right after school, and couldn’t be late because of detention. I love big wheels (can’t wait for a 29er, even if it’s about a year off).