Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Not your typical commute - it's Midnight Madness!

Last year when a friend of mine asked if I were going to Midnight Madness, I had to ask what it was. Essentially, Midnight Madness is the annual opportunity for San Diego cyclists to come out and ride bikes in the streets, wear costumes, and generally be silly. It's like this ride was MADE for me.

So, here's a little recap of my fun midnight "commute."

Similar to last year, I got all dressed up for the midnight ride in my business suit and pumps. I figure if I go to the office in bike clothes most every day, it's only natural for me to go to the bike ride in office clothes.

And while I don't recommend these cycling shoes for your daily commute, I found the pumps with the Crank Brothers cleats to be really easy to get in and out of. Depending on which foot you put which cleat on, you can determine the ease with which you clip out.

For carrying stuff on my commute, I recently got this really cool Timbuk2 messenger bag that carries everything I need. You can design them yourself in whatever colors you like. I used mine for the Midnight Madness ride to carry a spare set of proper cycling shoes, in case the pumps got to be too painful.

Another thing that makes your commute easier is a good light. I prefer Light and Motion for a number of reasons. Most all of their lights are compatible with most all their chargers, so the charger you have from 6 years ago will still work with a new light if you get one (the plugs don't change from year to year), and the lights and connectors are really robust.

The HID lights are great for mountain biking, since they throw a really wide spot, and the LED lights are usually better for road commuters since they are so incredibly bright and battery charge lasts for up to 40 hours (yes, forty). Check them out at bikelights.com, and shoot me an email if you have any questions. Between my husband and me, we have 3 of their lights.

Another part of my commute equipment is the repair kit. You never know when you're going to get a flat tire, and you should be prepared to make the repairs.

As it happened, my friend Alison got a flat about 2 miles out. She had a slow leak from a thorn puncture. While we could have patched the tube and re-inflated the tire, in the interest of time, we chose to replace the tube with a spare and use CO2 to inflate the tire.

In the interest of efficiency and multi-tasking, you could include your child in both "Bike to Work Day" and "Take Your Child to Work Day," all at one time! I think this is one of the greatest photos I took all night.

Hopefully the start of your commute won't look like this...

And finally, when I can pull it off, I bring along my mechanic, dressed up as Cookie Monster. There are few things that will make you feel secure like a good mechanic riding with you, and few things to cheer you up on a cloudy day like Cookie Monster.

Armed with this knowledge of the gear and equipment you need, you are ready to tackle the midnight commute!

Steve (Cookie Monster) admiring my fancy cleated pumps.

(for the full Midnight Madness report with all the pictures, please see my other blog)

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