Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tank 337 - 29 November 2K12 (Worst Gas Mileage of the Year!)

So I sneaked out after lunch today to put more gas in the Mighty Corolla. I drove all the way to work with the low fuel light on and although I'd probably have been able to make it home, I didn't want to take that chance.

So, after 391.3 miles, I refueled at the nearby Wawa with 11.452 gallons of gas. And thus my fuel economy was a dismal 34.17 miles per gallon. Not only is this the worse mileage I've gotten so far this year, It's about the 18th worst gas mileage I've ever gotten with this car.

THIS IS ALMOST THE GOVERNMENT ESTIMATED HIGHWAY MILEAGE FOR THIS CAR!

I'M SUPPOSED TO BE BETTER THAN THAT!

I'M SUPPOSED TO BE BETTER THAN AVERAGE!

WAHHH!!

WAHHHH!!!

On the bright side, thanks to Thanksgiving, I went 19 days between tanks, which is the third longest stretch of time between me taking this car to the gas station. So I have that going for me.

After today, I have just fourteen work days left in the year. So probably I'll put one more tank of gas in, and be near empty by New Year's Eve. So I'll have purchased only 37 total tanks of gas for the year, which is the fewest since 2004, when I only bought 5 tanks of gas (since we bought the car in November of that year).

I'm going to try to coast as much as I can and drive like a grandma for this tank and see if I can get back on track with my habit of trouncing the estimated mileage numbers from the window sticker and get back to my greatness.

Maybe I need to add more air to my tires. I haven't checked that in a couple of months...

Monday, November 26, 2012

Five Days of Thanksgiving Vacation Helps the Effort

So I had the happy joy of five days off for Thanksgiving, so no commuting to and from work in the Mighty Corolla, plus four days of bike riding to catch up.

So as of this morning's commute, I am only about five hours short in my goal to ride my bike for more time than I spend commuting to and from work in my car.

In fact, if everything was rounded to the nearest whole percentage, the pie chart would show an even 50/50 split.

On the gas mileage front, it's been sixteen days since I put gas in the car, which ties for the third longest stretch of not putting gas in the car. So that's nice.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wasted Morning Ride - Wednesday Before Thanksgiving 2K12


Well I am off work until Monday and thought this morning would be a super time for a pretty long bike ride. But in my quest to leave the home in a quiet manner, I forgot my trusty mittens that were in my backpack in the bedroom.

I didn't want to wake up my lovely wife, so I stretched on two thin pairs of small gloves.

What a mistake.

It was 35 degrees outside and within 10 minutes I could not feel any of my fingertips. So I stopped and took off one of the two pairs of socka I was wearing and put the socks on my hands. It kind of helped, but I couldn't wrap my thumbs around the handlebars so my hands started cramping up.

So I came home. Lesson learned. 33 minutes and just over 8 miles.

Tomorrow I must be better prepared. But I'm still doing pretty good on my goal/resolution to ride my bike for more time this year than I spend commuting to and from work in my car. As of yesterday I was sitting on about a ten hour deficit. So if I can go on a couple good rides in the next four days I ought to enter the last week of November with maybe a 6 or 7 hour deficit, and if I can have a healthy wellness ride or two at work next week the gap shouldn't grow by that much more.

Mostly I learned that I need to be better prepared the night before so I don't get caught in this trap again. It would have been a nice ride if I had warm hands.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday Morning Commute vs. Bike Update

So I have just one more commute home in my car for the work week, and then a three-day weekend, in which I have apparently scheduled a long ride for on Friday.

With my current deficit of about 12 and a half hours, a long ride tomorrow and one more ride on Saturday or Sunday, discounting my anticipated commute home time today, should have me entering Thanksgiving week with a shortfall of only 8 or 9 hours.

I'm enjoying keeping track of this data. On recent bike rides I'VE BEEN REALLY GETTING INTO THE FEELING OF MY LEGS MOVING UP AND DOWN AND IN CIRCLES IN A GOOD RHYTHM (darned caps lock I'm not going to go back and retype that) and on a few occasions I've been fortunate enough to be riding along with the wind at about the same speed as the wind itself.

It's really neat when that happens. You hear more of the gentle mechanical noises of the bicycle and no wind noise to interfere with it and it's just one of those perfect bicycling moments when everything aligns just right and you just know it's all good.

Then the road turns and the wind comes back up and you get to keep on pedaling. Pedal pedal pedal...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tank 336 - 10 November 2K12 (Short Week, will it be a Short Post?)

So I put more gas in the Mighty Corolla over the weekend, after driving it only 382.7 miles. I went to the Sheetz that's kind of near the house, and bought 10.807 gallons of gas there. So my mileage for the tank was a less-than-good 35.41 mpg.

This was my 35th tank of gas for the year. Last year, I pumped the 35th tank on November 13. I ended up with 39 tanks of gas in 2011, and it appears I'll end up at 38, maybe 37 tanks for this year, due to the office move. 2013 looks like there'll be even fewer tanks. My daily round trip is now normally 39 miles, whereas before it was closer to 67 miles.

And the long-circuitous-super-secret back way home from the old office that was like 45 or 50 miles but kept me moving the whole time, well that's just about exactly my current method of driving home, so it appears that my days of long-meandering drives home are mostly over. Unless I act all foolish and indecisive and choose to take a super messed up way home.

Anyway, over last weekend I got some good bike riding in, and in fact on Monday (Veteran's Day Holiday Observed) I went on a delightful bike ride with my lovely wife. We actually drove to Mount Vernon, but when we got there we busted out the bicycles and rode a paved bike path about 14 miles towards Washington DC and ate a little picnic lunch of sub sandwiches at a park near Ronald Wilson Reagan National Airport where landing planes flew directly over our heads as they landed. It was fun.

So that was about three hours of riding, added to my normal ride on Saturday, so I entered my three-day work week with a sub-12-hour deficit between my time riding my bike and time commuting to and from work in my car. There are nine work days left in November, and nine nonwork days. It's quite likely I'll have a couple three long rides to help chip more away at the deficit here, plus a couple three healthy wellness bike rides at work. I'm feeling more and more confident that this goal is going to be met and my resolution will be kept.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Monday Update (Four Days of Bike Rides + One Day of Commuting = Closing the Gap Over the Weekend)

I happily rode my bike each of the first four days in November. Three of those days were chilly morning rides in which I layered layers of layering shirts and clothes to keep the chilly winds at bay. Okay, it wasn't actually freezing at 40 degrees, but it was cold enough to make my toes tingle before going numb after an hour.

But they were all still fun. I got me some wool socks, little windproof shoe covers, and I tried little heat packets in the shoes, which kind of worked. But the bottom line is that I rode over a hundred miles in four days and looking here on Monday morning, my deficit lookd great at under 14 hours.

However, I have five scheduled days of work this week, with the potential of three days of "healthy wellness" bike rides, so this deficit will grow, as usual, during the week.

But then next week I have Monday and Friday off, so I ought to catch up a little more. And the week after is Thanksgiving week with even fewer days in the office.

Yes, November is looking good so far. I am optimistic that the deficit will be under ten hours by the end of the month, and I'll be successful in my yearlong resolution to ride my bike for more time than I spend commuting to and from work in my car. It's growing to be a good feeling of accomplishment. I think I can do it.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October's Out, November's In (Fun Fact: November was originally the Ninth Month until Julius Augustus Caesar added July and August in the Summertime in his honor!)

Well, I should have known I junxed myself, as yesterday's bike ride of 54 minutes nearly matched my commute trip home of 49 minutes. VDOT's been repaving the area of the interstate near the exit I get off at, and the main road at that exit has construction on it to the west, which is the way I go for about a mile, and the last several weeks there has been slow traffic (slower than usual, anyway) at that exit. And yesterday was especially bad, so I took an overly circuitous route home in a vain effort to avoid stopped traffic.

So we enter November with a deficit just under 19 hours.

Last month I rode my bike 21 times, for 486 miles, in 1790 minutes. I commuted to and from work in my car 17 round trips, for a total of 1136 minutes. This month, I have 15 predicted days working, which will reduce my anticipated commuting time by about 140 minutes.

To be honest, I'm getting a little weary of this effort. I still enjoy the bike rides, but am not anticipating them with as much eagerness as I did earlier in the year. Maybe it's because it's getting chillier outside, but it may be partially due to all the miles I'm going. I've ridden 3943 miles this year in ten months. Last year I rode 3788 miles in the entire twelve months. And the year before was when my obsession was re-ignited, and I just rode 657 miles.

Not to say that I intend to stop riding in 2013. I'll just stop focusing on this bicycling/commuting relationship and just enjoy the rides.

But I shall press on and continue to pursue this effort for the next two months, finish strong, and hopefully achieve this goal.