I rode my cross bike, complete with knobby tires, into town yesterday. Round trip it’s a little over 20 miles. I knew that I would be racing in the evening and consequently kept the pace easy. I also didn’t want to get all sweaty prior to my meeting, so I kept the pace below 14mph, and simply rolled along enjoying my time on the bike.This is what I call riding under the “sweat threshold” or ST. Most of my bike riding involves some sort of training, so either I’m hammering hard or hammering kind of hard. Either way I’m pushing the flats and attacking the hills. I’m so deep into this mindset that when it’s time to slow down and take it easy I really have to focus; a few minutes of inattention and I’m huffing and puffing my way back up to 20 mph.
So many commuters seem to think that they have to change out of sweaty clothes once they get to wherever they are going, but I figure if I can stay under the ST I’ll arrive dry and ready to go. I’ll admit that here in hilly Seattle riding under the ST is a bit of a challenge, but with a little concentration it’s totally possible.Riding 14 mph versus 20 mph only amounts to a time difference of 13 minutes over a 10 mile ride.
I suspect that many folks are put off bike commuting –and bike travel in general – because they mistakenly believe that there is this big complicated rigmarole associated with two-wheeled travel. It doesn’t have to be this way. Yesterday I rode 10 miles into the heart of Seattle under a light drizzle wearing the Gent’s Pants I’m developing for my company – Greenlite Heavy Industries – a polo shirt, an REI vest and a Pendleton wool shirt. I was comfortable, kept under the ST and arrived at my meeting invigorated yet sweat free.