Thursday, June 14, 2007

Summer's Here!

Us bike/CalTrain commuters have made it through that window between "too cold" and "too hot", where fair-weather bikers make it hard to get on the train, and can enjoy plenty of room on the bike car again. At least, we'll enjoy it when the A/C is working (I've found that on the older gallery-style cars, there seems to be separate A/C for each half, so if the bike section is sweltering, try the other side; and either it's my imagination, or else a trick of the internal thermostat, but when one side's A/C is out, the other's seems to go into overdrive to compensate, and it's very nice and cool over there).

I have a few tips for bike commuting in the heat:

  • Bring lots of water (yeah, everybody knows that, but it's worth repeating).
  • Take off your helmet the moment you stop riding, and you'll radiate a lot of heat out your head.
  • Go to work early (not that I'm taking this advice).
  • Ride just fast enough to get a breeze, but no faster.
I actually take a perverse enjoyment of biking in non-optimal weather. The world is not designed for our comfort. Suck it up, and thrive in the knowledge that dealing with a somewhat human-hostile environment means you're alive!

Summer is a good time of year for transit adventures. Kids are out of school, and if you take a day off of work, you can go places with them during the week when everything's running. Late sunsets help too.

Last week I took my daughter to Great America via CalTrain and VTA light rail. This works splendidly, but be advised to bring extra clothes--you will want to go to the water park, and a long walk and trolley ride in wet clothes is not so much fun.

Plenty of other outings will suggest themselves. This morning I saw a guy on the train with a fishing pole. Now it turned out he was meeting a buddy at SJ Diridon and they were going to drive to a lake, but there are actually in plenty of transit-accessible places to fish around here, especially on the bay. Just bear in mind that your fellow passengers will appreciate it if you make sure to have a fairly secure container for carrying your catch home.

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