Guest Article: My Commute by Marty Coplea

This was written by Mr. Marty Coplea.

I left my car parked in the parking garage at my office and rode my bike home. A 25-mile commute each way that I sometimes break up by driving in and then riding home. My bike commute back into work today was a bit rough. I woke up and my body was saying “NO, BIKE RIDE TODAY, PLEASE!” But, one of the benefits of leaving your car at the office is that you have no choice but to ride. So, I told my body tough turkey… we have no choice but to ride in today. So, I rolled out of bed and had a cup of the” Late for the Train” coffee. It was so smooth and just what I needed to get me going.

I pulled out of my house and it was quite a cold morning. After about 3 minutes, the wind was cutting right through me. So, I pulled over and put on another jacket that I had in my backpack. My legs, lower back, arms, neck and taint are all hurting like a son of a gun. I keep telling myself to roll on and things will get better. So, I get 20 minutes down the road and I am starting to feel better when I hear that dreaded hiss sound that all cyclists hate to hear. Crap, a flat! I change the flat and air it up and guess what, I hear that lovely sound again! So, I take the tire off again and find that I pinched the tube when I was changing the first flat. I do not have another tube on me, but luckily I packed a patch kit. I get one of the tubes patched and very carefully put the tube and tire back on the rim. I have 1 CO2 cartridge left and I am praying that this tube holds. Based on my morning so far, I am not very optimistic at this point. Fortunately, the tube held air and I am back rolling again. Things are looking up!

I get another 20 minutes down the road and now I am starting to get hot from the extra jacket and I can feel myself sweating. I pull over again and take off the extra jacket. Now that I am all sweaty, the wind is cutting through my body again and I feel like a popsicle. I am not a happy camper. I keep rolling for a few more miles and then I hear a “ting”. I thought that I ran over a piece of metal of some sort and I am praying that I do not have another flat. Fortunately no flat, but a spoke on my front wheel broke. That wheel hates me today!! I stop again, wrap the broken spoke around another, open my brake levers all the way and get rolling with a very wobbly wheel. UGH!

At this point, I am just dying to get off my bike. My body hurts, my attitude sucks and I am hating my bike!! I still have about a hour to go until I get to the office and “I want my Mommy!” Believe me, I thought about calling someone to come pick me up and take me away from this hell of a ride. Who knew that a simple 25 mile bike commute to work could feel like an epic ride?

The next 5 miles rolled by without incident. I am now riding on the frontage road next to the 101 freeway and I look over at the 101 that I usually drive every AM. I see that the traffic is backed up bumper to bumper for miles. I start to get a good feeling inside. I am doing something that is good for my body and the environment. Today, I am not part of that nasty congestion or adding to that brown cloud above the Valley of the Sun. My whole attitude takes a 180 degree turn.

I finally arrive at my office and I am feeling great. I have a big smile on my face and I am so glad that I rode in on this day. Not everyday on the bike is all peaches and cream. But, everyday that I spend on my bike is very rewarding in some way or the other. I think sometimes I forget that.

My ride stats:

Miles: 25.5
Ride Time: 1hr 48mins
Total Trip Time: 2hrs 40mins
Avg Speed: 14.3 mph
Calories Burned: 2020

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  1. Alan Barnard


    Good going. It’s amazing how many times I’ve only half-heartedly headed out for a ride, to find that by the time I arrive at my destination I’m so glad that I made the effort.


  2. Noah

    heheh he said “taint”.

    It takes a while, but eventually you’ll come to the realization that bike rides are like sex and pizza. Even a “bad” bike ride is better than none at all.

  3. Moe

    Where in the valley do you ride? I grew up in Pacoima…

  4. Eric

    Marty – I have a 30+ mile r/t commute – so I heavily rely on that fact that if I don’t ride, I don’t get home. It’s great incentive!

    That was a great story. Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Ben C

    Noah: That was a great analagy.

    Marty: I can only imagine having such a commute. I commend you in moving forward and resisting calling someone. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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