Monday, July 23, 2012

First week in Phoenix: Damn, it's a hot place to be a bike commuter!

I mean, it is hot as hell in Phoenix during the summer time.  We've been here a week and the highs have been between 103 - 109 degrees daily.  I don't want to think about what we'd do if we were without air conditioning for any extended period of time - I guess just  move around with the shade all day long.

The new place in Central Phoenix.
The heat, however, has not kept me off my Breezer.  I've been on it daily, taking into account with each and every trip when I'd be out on the road and for how long.  As advised by SRAB readers in the know about biking through Phoenix's summer heat, I had water on me at all times and packed a wash cloth for moping up perspiration that erupted across my face and neck whenever I came to a stop, be it at a light, on the train or at my destination.  It is definitely more comfortable in this heat to keep moving rather than stop, especially if you are unable to stop in shaded area.   I think it goes without saying that I covered my self with an SPF lotion for every trip.

Waiting at the shaded light rail stop at Central and McDowell.
My first trip included pedaling to the nearest light rail stop, followed by a short trip on the rail to ASU's downtown campus for a meeting with the field placement staff about my fall internship.  Piece of cake, and I was able to lock my bike up to one of the many excellent bike corrals in front of the school building once I arrived.  Students were encouraged to bike and take the rail to campus rather than drive because parking passes are a bear.  I could probably (and most likely will) dress myself in JCrew for an entire year on what it would cost to purchase a parking pass.

Suffering from camera shake on the train, but you get the idea.
My second bike trip was at the behest of the Planner Guy who asked me to pedal up to the Home Depot at the 3700 block of Thomas for some cable to lock down our front porch and patio furniture (as we were advised to do by a concerned neighbor).  "It's not far", he said, which probably would have been a truthful statement if I had not waited until 2 p.m. when the temperature had soared to 106 to depart on my journey.  The entire trip was likely no more than 5 miles both ways, but I was in serious danger of heat stroke by the time I returned home.  Luckily, I realized the situation and cooled down and dehydrated at HD with a PowerAid and water (plus I purchased an additional bottle for the trip home) and took breaks in the shade wherever I found it.  By the time I arrived back at the house,  perspiration soaked my clothes and goosebumps covered my arms. My face glowed beet red.  I thought I had sustained a bad sunburn but it seems I was just overheated as my face returned to normal color within an hour.  As a precaution, I sank into a not especially cool bath (a cold bath would have required the addition of ice cubes to the water) and pondered my stupidity at leaving after noon.  Not really a humiliating defeat but I felt much more hip and urbane the previous day on the train.  Heavy sigh!

Our Central Phoenix neighborhood is close to many bar, restaurants and coffee houses and we visited several of them this week since our kitchen wouldn't become functional until our unpacking was done.  I'll report on those trips in a later post.  I'll also follow up on some as yet unreported bike adventures in Flagstaff that occurred before moving day, including the recent New Belgium Clips of Faith movie night.  At the moment, I'm still trying to get our new OLD house in order, as well as some loose ends regarding the start of classes and my field placement in late August.


Melanie Suzanne said...

Your house is so cute!

David Bickford said...

Glad to hear you survived. Remember: Although the train is more pleasant to ride, the city buses also have racks, so you might consider bringing your bike on Route 29 (Thomas Road) if you have to make another trip to Home Depot.

She Rides a Bike said...

Oh, David Bickford, my new challenge is to conquer my fear of bike racks on buses. It's always something w/ me.

She Rides a Bike said...

Thx, Melanie Suzanne. We love this house. I've always wanted to live in a genuine craftsman bungalow. We even have built-ins!

Unknown said...

Maybe if you put a few pretty ribbons (or streamers) at the end of your handlebars, you'll have the illusion of cool air flowing...perhaps a pinwheel? :) Remember to cover the seat when the bike is'll help prevent hot cross buns!

Unknown said...

....the last comment was from Maggie!

She Rides a Bike said...

Ha, Maggie! I should have known. Maybe I can borrow streamers from you?

EcoCatLady said...

I'm impressed with your resolve. Denver is having its hottest summer on record, and I've hardly ridden my bike in weeks. I even got sunburned through my clothes last time I was out! Fortunately I don't have many places to go so I'm sticking to the exercise bike in the basement. Much less fun but at least no heat stroke to contend with!

p.s. I can't believe you have to lock down your patio furniture! That's disheartening.

Char said...

I live in Washington, DC, and it's pretty hot and humid here - though I know it's even hotter in Phoenix! Still, I bike through the summer, and a few things help... First, to get out early before it gets way too hot, or save errands til near sunset or after the sun goes down. Second, I put my water bottle (or Camelbak, if I will be out longer) in the freezer overnight and it helps a TON to have cold water as you bike along. Lastly, as one other poster mentioned, to use public transportation, such as the bus, in conjunction with biking, limits your outdoor exposure. The bike racks on the bus are scary at first to operate, but once you do it one time, you'll be a pro. :) Good luck and stay cool and safe!

She Rides a Bike said...

I'll give the frozen water bottle trick a try Char. I usually keep my bottle in the frig but it heats up pretty quickly on my bike when the temperatures are over 100.

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