Well, since it's below 100 degrees in The Valley, I rode the 25-ish mile ride to school today... and remembered some things about commuting that apparently I had forgotten...
1. Give Yourself EXTRA TIME: Thank goodness i gave myself an extra 30 minutes of travel time because, due to recent rains, many of my usual paths were flooded or obstructed by fallen trees. Plus I hit every stop light in downtown Mill. Like, all of them.
2. Always Bring Your LOCK! So.... I forgot my lock. After the 12 mile ride in, I pulled up to the college and realized I had nothing to protect my bike. This was just a silly oversight on my part (though I did notice how light my messenger bag felt!), but it got me thinking about how important it is to ALWAYS bring your lock. Even if you just anticipate a ride to work where you will store your bike in a storage closet, what if friends want to get a bite at Happy Hour afterwards, or you need to stop and grab something at the convenience store on the ride home?.... you are in a tough situation without a lock.
3. Hygiene Musts: I remembered a change of clothes, but let's be honest, the funk isn't just on the clothes. I had to sit as far away from my poor lab partner as possible so as to not offend him with my BO. It would have been super helpful to have a mini-deodorant AND body spray to freshen up. I did bring a headband which helped hide sweat and helmet head. Dry shampoo is also a good idea for people commuting to work or somewhere special. Also, when changing out of your sweaty clothes, keep them separate from anything clean and try to air them out as much as possible, dryer sheets work well for this. Also, I lathered on sunscreen pre-ride, but REALLY needed it on the ride home when the sun was super strong. Next time I'll bring a travel size SP5 50. The whole ride home all I could think about was the wedding I'm attending in a week and how ridiculous jersey tan lines would look under the strapless dress.
4. Charge Your Electronics: I wanted to ride lite, so I purposefully didn't pack my iPad charger. While studying for a huge test I noticed the battery icon turn red and started to freak out - all my study materials were on there! It made me think: how heavy is the damn charger, anyways? Like 6 oz? Since you won't have a car charger laying around, and may need to rely on your cell phone for an emergency, your comp or iPad for important documents, or your iPod for entertainment, make sure everything is charged, or bring the charger. Or it may be a long day, and an even longer ride home sans tunes... :(
5. Bring a little snack: An hour on the bike will definitely work up an appetite - and then add on an hour's ride home. I brought a luna bar to get me through, and bought lunch once on campus. I'm not huge on packing lunches since they are forced to endure long, hot rides and don't always taste great after that. The only exception to this rule is PB&J: let that bad boy warm up for a couple hours in your backpack, and it somehow gets even better.
So from this little list, can you tell it was kind of a long day for me? I used to commute this same ride several days a week and had it down to a science. While I work the bugs out, I'll keep riding and keep you posted!