It has been nearly a year since I first strapped my helmet on, put on gloves, and set out on my first bike commute from home to work. Since then (according to the Strava app), I have traveled 1,456 miles on my 7.9 to 8 mile-each-direction ride to and from work almost every day with small month or so break around the holidays for weather-related reasons. I have modified certain aspects of tracking my ride, the paths I drive, how I handle my ride every day accounting for variables like time and direction of commute, weather, and traffic. Mostly, I still take the same route each direction that I began with, but I fully ride in the streets on once my time on the river trail ends and comply with every traffic law applicable to bicycles as much as is safe. It’s truly been a great way to clear my head and an awesome way to experience my environments instead of mindlessly moving my frame from home to work and back.
To fully wrap up this review of the Flash Commuter v1 (thus far), here’s a sort of “lessons learned” list based on my first year:
- I have used Strava and my Apple Watch (series 2) to track my rides. Between the two, I get some semblance of an average, but I added a third tracker to my Health data inputs: the Motiv ring. It does ok at the activity-tracking, but does better for me as a general health tracker/sleep tracker.
- It takes a LOT of dedication to maintain a literal daily driver bicycle. I have been fortunate that my front tire and tube have sustained NO damage at all in this first year. The rear tube, however, has been replaced somewhere around 8 times. Part of this was due to my ignorance (had a tire that got wound up on the way in and didn’t fully get into the tire before I applied air pressure and then squeezed out the opening and blew up in my face as I didn’t notice until it was too late). Past the really ignorant tube, I had one blow out thanks to the dirty Anaheim streets and inconsiderate road construction crews, and 5 slow leaks that ended up being the sliver of what looked like an ordinary paper staple that was caught in the treads of the tire and would poke a hole in the tube. That being the case, I had my rear examined and tire lined by a local bike shop and the 8th tube is holding strong now. I have only just replaced the brake pads on my disc brakes and that was easy and affordable.
- Keeping the bike clean is as important as the mechanical maintenance.
- Most drivers on the streets of Anaheim are shockingly respectful and safe of lil’ ol’ me on my bike in the non-existent bike lane on Ball Road (an enormously busy street). I have had no incidents on the streets and very little disconcerting “close calls” (if you can even call them that). Score one for human nature…who knew.
- Don’t try to ride in any form of rain unless you have a FULL set of clothes and shoes available to you at the other location. And goggles aren’t too dramatic a solution to be able to see in the rain. Also, it’s miserable to ride in precipitation #southernCaliforniaWeatherWuss .
- Bugs are VERY much a thing on the River Trail…I now always wear a face-sock when I’m on there, regardless of temperature.
To sum it up, it’s a great bike to ride and maintain and I still love it and recommend it to everyone I talk to. I love the time I get on the thing every day and it’s afforded me more time to be pensive about my day, both before it starts and as it’s ending. I feel better, the commute is the same or better time than what I make in a car, it’s certainly better for the environment and I can’t wait to see what the next year with my eBike holds!
Ride on my friends!