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Alternative transportation, rev 2

Started: 2008-05-11 13:38:43

Submitted: 2008-05-11 14:03:58

Visibility: World-readable

Not content to let my first foray into biking home from work be my last, on Friday I closed the loop and biked both ways.

Without an oppressive headwind, the ride into Boulder resembled pleasant. I'm still a bit unhappy with the very beginning and the very end of my ride through the City of Longmont; I take the serene Lefthand Creek Path through Longmont, but to get there I have to follow the optimal car route: Pace to Third to Ken Pratt Boulevard, which involves one slightly-hairy left turn on the outbound trip and one exceedingly hairy left turn on the return trip. Exiting Longmont involves turning north on Hover for a few hundred meters and a hairy left turn onto the Diagonal. From there, the rest of the ride into Boulder involves a wide shoulder on a divided highway with a 65-mile-per-hour speed limit. (I doubt I'll be able to approach the speed limit on a bike. My overall average speed is 30 km/hr; on the Diagonal I cruise around 35 km/hr and peak at 40 km/hr.) On Friday, the weather was about perfect for riding into Boulder; it was a little chilly but I warmed up once I got going. The entire trip took 64 minutes, which is double my car commute time but not that much longer than my bus commute time.

By the time I was ready to head home, the wind had picked up out of the west, which ended up as a 45° tail wind, improving my overall performance and pushing my end-to-end commute time to under an hour -- better than I would be able to do on the bus. (I will concede that I usually don't feel compelled to change and shower when I get home after riding the bus home.) I would generally rate my bike-commuting experience as pleasant and worth repeating.

Last weekend, I set out to finish my irrigation and planting master plan that I first laid out for my HOA's approval two years ago. (My plan is to worry about my yard and landscaping during the spring while the snow melts above 12,000 feet, then entirely ignore my yard for the summer months.) I drug Kiesa along with me to The Flower Bin and The Tree Farm and ultimately selected two Dwarf Alberta Spruces and two Skyrocket Junipers. Actually digging the irrigation trench took more effort than I anticipated; I ended up having the time to plant just one of the spruces. I did finish my originally-planned irrigation system by expanding my "shrub" irrigation zone to the western edge of my yard, where I added drip irrigation to the lilacs I planted last year. (One of the lilacs is blooming brilliantly white; the other three shrubs have leafed out but don't look likely to produce much in the way of flowers this year.)

(I was pleased with myself for finding and buying irrigation adapters that connect 1/2" screw PVC to 1/4" barb poly, which let me add drip lines directly to the risers I built on top of my underground PVC pipe.)

Last Monday was another science fiction book club meeting. I didn't actually end up reading the book this time, which may have encouraged Zan Lynx to make it, though he didn't read the book either. Kiesa discussed the book with herself (which made for a rather one-sided conversation) and we decided to read Keeping it Real for our next meeting in June.