Pat had to make a business trip out of town, so I was planning to do a longer ride than I have done lately. A glance outside showed that conditions would be excellent for riding. It was sunny, and the wind was light. By the time I finished attending to some duties around the house, by late morning, we were enjoying unseasonable weather once again.
Much of the country is enjoying this mild winter. The high in Austin today turned out to be 70 degrees (21C), with sun throughout the day. Some places much farther north got up to 70 as well. So my biking experience was probably not different from that of many folks.
I decided to ride to Buda, a town south of Austin, that would give me a nice 32-mile round trip. I do this ride several times a year with the club, but not so much by myself. I was interested to see how traffic in midday on a weekday would differ from traffic early on a Sunday morning.
It wasn’t bad. One spot about four miles into the ride was under construction, and the road was narrowed to one lane. I had to wait for the guy with the stop/slow sign to spin “slow” my way in order to continue. And the high school parking lot we cut through on Sunday mornings had the gates shut, because school was back in session today — so I stayed on the main roads for a little while longer.
The last six or so miles into Buda is along a two-lane road, paved with chip seal. It’s pretty bumpy, and because it crosses a creek, it climbs out of the creek valley for quite a way before leveling off. Once you reach the Walgreen’s in Buda, there’s still one more mile to go to get to the town’s historic downtown. Such as it is.
I pootled along some of old Buda’s residential streets, because we ignore them on club rides. Really, there’s not much to this town, although it’s seen explosive growth over the last seven years or so as new retail places open along the interstate highway, and new housing developments spring up on the outskirts.
The return trip was just as uneventful. I didn’t get honked at once, and two or three times, drivers waved me through intersections ahead of them — even though they had the right of way. (I have mixed reactions to that. It’s great to be waved on, but sometimes when drivers want you to go out of turn it can cause problems. You might be unclipped from your pedal, for example, and have to react quickly.)
When I pulled into my driveway, the temperature had risen from 61 at the start to 67 (16-19C). I had worked up more of a sweat than I’ve done in the last week, even though I was dressed the same. And I noted that I had exceeded 100 miles ridden for the first five days of any month. The closest I’ve come to doing this was in 2010, when I rode all but one of the first six days of January. I went on to over 4,000 miles that year.
It’s too early to predict if my mileage will be that high this year. I know that in two weeks, work obligations will cut into the amount of time I have available for riding. But the weather is supposed to hold until Monday, and I’m going to get bike time in every day until then. Unseasonable weather patterns to have their advantages.