5 (dumb) mistakes I made on my first day of bike commuting

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I made it, y’all. Day 1 of commuting 11-ish miles to and from work is in the books, and I’m feeling good about it — no major problems, no scary moments with cars, all smooth sailing.

I was surprised by the amount of feedback I received from my initial post Monday. It seems there are many bike commuters out there already and they have been quick to offer tips, guidance and even to ride parts of my commute with me.

While I feel like I had a very successful first day, I did make some pretty dumb mistakes, including:

(1) Looking just at the high temperatures in the forecast.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I thought this week the weather would be perfect for biking, since the forecast calls for temperatures in the 60s and 70s. Those are the highs.

What I didn’t consider is how cold it would be in the morning. It was a nippy 39 degrees when I pedaled off a little after 9 a.m.

I worried that I would show up to work looking like this:

It wasn’t that bad, though. I had my Panthers windbreaker to protect me.

(2) Forgetting my bike lock at home.

I realized this about a 1 1/2 miles into my ride. I thought about turning around, but the beginning of my route is uphill and miserable, so I didn’t want to do it again. Instead, I was that guy carrying his bike over the turnstile in the lobby, riding with it up the elevator and storing it by the desk.

(3) Not riding my bike for the previous three (plus?) weeks.

Eleven miles isn’t all that long of a ride, so I wasn’t worried about making it. But man, Charlotte is hilly. My legs were burning at some points during both rides, especially when I climbed the hills on some of those south Charlotte neighborhood streets.

A few warmup rides wouldn’t have hurt.

Let's do this. #CoreyBikestoWork. (Details in today's C5.)

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(4) Forgetting that Sharon Amity Road is being resurfaced.

Some preparation — i.e. driving the route ahead of time — would have really come in handy here. I turned on to Sharon Amity, crossed over Randolph and immedately realized I’d made a huge mistake.

The road has been chewed up ahead of paving, and my little road tires are not meant for that jarring terrain. I quickly moved to the sidewalk (which also isn’t an ideal riding surface.

Less-than-ideal biking surface.
Less-than-ideal biking surface.

(5) Leaving at 5:30 p.m. for the commute home.

Not only was I racing sunset the whole way home, but I had to fight through traffic while riding down Stonewall at rush hour. Then the traffic light was out at Colony and Runnymede, which made for an interesting crossing.

But no worries, I made it home safely and in daylight.

I’m excited to do it all over again today.

Photos: Corey Inscoe


CoreyCorey Inscoe is editor of CharlotteFive and refuses to turn the heat on in his home even though it’s 62 degrees inside and he’s huddled under a blanket while writing this. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyInscoe.

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