I like to tell the joke on bike to work day, “I’d ride my bike to work, but my wife doesn’t like it when I ride in the house.” I have worked remotely (at home) for several companies for the better part of 7 years. I consider myself an adept remote worker. When a friend of mine offered me to work with him, you’d think I’d think twice about the set-up.
Go into the office? Why?!? Well, first of all, going into the office is optional, I can still work from home. But I can also get away from any home distractions, which are surprisingly few as I’ve managed them over the years. However, I like the in-person conversations I’ve missed over the last 7 years.
The monitor on my desk at the office is 27″, so I’ve got that goin for me. But I think the primary consideration for me was the location. The office is exactly 1 mile from my house. It is also entirely downhill 😎 I now have the opportunity to become a full-time bike commuter as there are literally zero excuses. Some people think I’m crazy because I have a perfectly good car. But riding to work really hasn’t been bad even on the shortest and coldest Minnesota days.
I specifically recall riding home on December 21st, the shortest day of the year. I left at 5PM and while the sun was already down, the twilight of dusk was nice enough to provide me with a pleasant ride home. I did have to ride with lights, it just didn’t seem like the middle of the night .
My first ride in 2016
To clarify, I don’t ride into work every day. I enjoy biking and I’m an evangelist but not a hard-liner. If I’ve got to go somewhere far right after work, I’m going to drive in.
I procrastinated riding in during my first full week at work in 2016. We finally got some big snowfalls over the holidays. I was driving in because I hadn’t yet switched over to studded tires on my bike. I finally mounted the tires so I could ride in by Friday. I got up early to make sure I had enough air in the freshly swapped tires, fastened on my pannier and rode off. The ride in was great, a little snowy but the cloud cover meant it was comparatively warm.
At work a couple of coworkers admired my bike and were astonished I’d ridden in on a snowy day. It took one co-worker over an hour to drive in to the office – bleh!
Later that morning, there was a loud bang that came from near the front door that sounded like a gunshot. A woman from the neighboring company that sits closest to our entrance door screamed. I (and several co-workers) wondered aloud what it was. One of the concerns was that there was a shooter in the building. My friend Tom, who’s dad owned a gun range, remarked that it sounded like “AD” – accidental discharge. One of our coworkers apparently conceals and carries, and while he was on vacation Tom wondered if he had come back a day early.
I certainly did not rush to the entrance since there was a possibility of firearms involved. I was actually concerned about those who were getting up to investigate. Then someone reported back that it was my bike tire that exploded!
We all had theories about the expansion of gases since my bike was pumped up outside and was now being stored inside, but I don’t think that is entirely to blame since it wasn’t really that cold – ≈24°F. Luckily I came prepared with an extra tube and a C02 cartridge. I installed the new tube at lunch and filled it up so I could ride home alive and not shot dead. But when I left that afternoon my spare had gone flat as well. I hitched a ride with a coworker who was also still alive and not shot dead.
My suspicion is that it was a combination of things that caused the explosion. First there was obviously something sharp touching the tube (because of the 2nd flat). Over the weekend I checked the pressure of the rear tire with a gauge separate from the one on the bike pump, it was over-inflated. I think the 2nd factor was that the bike pump gauge was somewhat frozen, not fully reading however much I actually pumped into the tire. I purchased two new tubes and some new rim tape since the 2nd (patch-able) puncture on my spare tube was near the valve stem.
Live and learn. I’m just glad I’m still around to tell about it.