Monday, October 8, 2012

Go-Go Super Cycler!! First (Partial) Bike Commute

Happy Monday! Well, besides the fact that I woke up with Mt. Vesuvius on my chin - really, this is one of the first times I have actively considered buying a band-aid to cover up a zit - it's a great day. Yes, once again I spontaneously decided to ride my bike to work. It went off a little better this time. :) But it started with me pushing the snooze button on my alarm one hundred times. It graduated from there to seriously considering calling in sick. Or at least faking a doctor appointment so I could go in late.

It's amazing how I rally sometimes. Because refusing to get out of bed somehow turned into "I'll ride my bike to work." How do you go from "I'm not getting out from under these blankets, and if I *do* I refuse to take a shower *and* I'm wearing leggings to work," to "Hey, it's really, really cold and dark outside - how about I hop on the bike??" (Answer: I'm crazy. I believe I've tipped my hand on this one a few times here, yes?)

Oh yes, I did! :)

Okay. Deciding to ride at least got me out of bed. And I was more prepared than I was last week when this attempt bombed, because I'd already transferred my lights and such to the new bike. Of course, getting out the door required a lot more thought than I had time to give:

- What to wear? Uh, plus, all my gear is dirty and sweaty from some serious rides this weekend (more later).
- Oops, I have to put all my lights and bags and such back on the bike, since I took it off after yesterday's ride (I had to leave my bike locked up at a park, thus, all the bags and lights come off. Very spendy stuff.)
- WHAT TO WEAR?? I went with my new super warm leggings with jeans over them. They made my jeans very tight, which made me unhappy. T-shirt, cardigan, all with a stretchy gut-squisher underneath since the jeans were tight, thus making major muffin-top. New fall coat from Costco, which I *love* but as a new athlete, I am finding that clothes matter. This coat is almost RUBBERIZED, and it does not breathe one little bit, so I find when I wear it when I ride - it is nasty. This is why they make special athletic clothes.
- Also, the scale said 143-something this morning, which threw me into a snit, and was not the least important among the reasons I used to decide to ride this morning.
- Okay, don't forget the bike lock. How badly would that suck? Getting to the Park & Ride without my bike lock would throw me into a spiral of confusion. Leave bike? Put bike on bus? Turn around and ride home?

When I do spontaneous stuff like this (which I do all the time - all the time - all the time - this is the story of my life, haha) - it sometimes occurs to me how much better it would be to plan things out. Better, maybe, but funner?? I think not!! I got it all together and was able to hop on my bike and zoom off. In the dark. And the cold. This was a new experience for me, for sure.

I decided to take my life into my own hands and take the neighborhood arterial hill toward the Park & Ride. This is a very steep hill, but that wasn't what bothered me (as it's downhill to head to work). But I was riding in the dark and I would refuse to use the sidewalk. I did that before, and with all the bazillions of driveway cuts and curb ramps, it was like riding a freaking roller coaster. Hateful. If you do not cycle and you wonder why bicyclists do not just use the sidewalk - THIS IS WHY. It sucks. Plus, my butt is very, very sore from a couple of long rides this weekend, of which I will describe in painstaking detail later. :)

Happily, I was not struck by a car on the way downhill. Yay, me!! I have a blinky blinky light on the back, but if I am going to ride in the dark, I need more reflective stuff. I thought of this as I wore my black coat and my black backpack. Unfortunately, due to lack of planning on my part and utter procrastination getting out of bed, I only had time to ride to my closest P&R, which is only a 15-minute, 3-mile ride away since I used the arterial short-cut. But it's a good ride, and the afternoon ride will be better, since it's a bit farther and includes my monster hill segments that make me feel like a bad-ass bicycle queen.

A couple thoughts about bike commuting as I reflect on my first experience:
- That's a lot of prep work.
- If you ride hard first thing in the morning, even if it's a short ride, you still get sweaty and your nose runs. I will have to do a cost-benefit analysis on whether or not it's worth it. Fun-wise: super, totally worth it! That may be good enough.
- I really need to do some wardrobe thinking if I'm going to continue cycling a lot. And I'm going to continue cycling a lot.
- I completely cracked the guy on the bus up when I got on, got settled in with my big bag, my helmet, etc. etc. and then pulled my travel mug of hot tea out of the side pocket of my backpack and started sipping. He admired my preparation for the day. He did not know what a chicken-with-my-head-cut-off scenario it had been at home getting out the door. :)

Whew - that was many, many paragraphs to describe a three-mile ride, but isn't it nice to imagine you were along with me? I would love to have some riding buddies!!

Speaking of which - yesterday I went for a very, very, very super-cool awesome ride with a cycling buddy!! Oh, how I had looked forward to this ride. It was so fun, the best day EVER!! Actually, I think I'll break here and give it its own post, it was too cool to dump at the end of this OTHER SUPER COOL BIKING MILESTONE: My First (Partial) Bike Commute. :)


  1. Its a start! You really need to work on preperation. Setting everything up the night before would be really helpful!

  2. Tish tosh, preparation-schmeparation! How on earth could planning and preparation possibly help me? Bahahaha!

    You are correct - I need to face facts on Sunday night that the *last* thing I will want to do Monday morning is go to work, so I should entice myself with an early morning bike ride. And plan accordingly. :) Would make things so much easier, and I would have loved to ride to the Mercer Island P&R, but didn't want to be late to work.

  3. Yup, it's a start and the more often you do it the more you'll learn and you'll have a routine/plan down in no time!

  4. I am so jealous! My commute to work is over an hour when driving a car, so I can't opt to take a bike. However, I only commute two days a week. I think I might take a bike ride or two this week during my "work" day. :)

  5. Nicely done. I sweat too much (plus I have a take home vehicle w/needed equipment) so biking to work is not an option for me. Love that you poswered through after a snooze fest. ;)

  6. Great job, Julie! Definitely stay off those sidewalks. They are dangerous with cars pulling out of driveways, not expecting a fast-moving bike to be coming along. I definitely pack up the night before so my mornings are a bit less hectic, plus it keeps me from backing out in the morning. It helps to leave some stuff at work, too, so you don't have to take all your clothes/shoes/etc on the bike :)

  7. I love how much you love cycling. Great job girl!