Hello sunshine! Hello rain! My first (long overdue) commute of the year

I couldn't have picked a more eclectic day, weather-wise, to make my return to regular commuter cycling.

In the morning, the air was crisp and cold but there was gorgeous sunshine and an eternally blue sky.

In the evening, it was ice-cold, the wind was howling a gale, the rain was pelting down and, in some places, the cycle lanes resembled free-flowing rivers. And did I mention it was dark?

VictoriaMemorial

But there were lots of good things about my commute.

  • That feeling of freedom (and elation) at being back on the bike!
  • Very little motorised traffic on the route in, so that the roads were relatively quiet.
  • The feeling of arriving at work all energised and motivated for the day ahead.
  • The gorgeous (wintry) London scenery and landmarks I never see when I commute by tube. Even the Victoria Memorial (pictured above) looked beautiful in the pissing-down rain this evening. (I only stopped to take a photograph because I needed to check my new bike computer was working.)

The best part about today's cycle, however, was being able to use my new Garmin wireless speed and cadence sensor, together with a new heart-rate monitor, all Christmas gifts from my Other Half, to replace the wireless bike computer that died a mysterious death last November. Together with my iPhone5, that means I can now record all kinds of stats about my commute, map my journey and find out how well I am doing fitness wise.

For instance, I can tell you that on this morning's commute I cycled 6.08 miles, it took 38.29 minutes in total (32.52 minutes moving time), my average speed was 9.5mph and I burned 299 calories.

This evening's commute — the same route but in much worse conditions — I cycled 6.31 miles, it took 51.44 minutes (40.45 minutes moving time), my average speed was 7.4mph and I burned 247 calories. (I then wasted god knows how much energy having the world's hottest shower to regain feeling in my numb-with-cold hands, feet, legs, arms…)

Garneau-saphir-helmet
And, finally, I even got to wear a new Garneau saphir bike helmet on the cycle home, having purchased a much-needed new one at lunch time! (After seven years of continuous use, the padding on the inside of my poor old Specialized helmet had rotted away and the straps were slightly worse for wear — it didn't owe me much.)

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