Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First Bike Commute of the Year!

I was planning to post this on Saturday, but I've been so swamped by the end of the semester/graduation rush that couldn't get to it. I'm posting now only because my brain is too dead to actually work on my thesis. Three more weeks and I'll have my master's and be done with it all! I'm still deciding whether to go for a PhD or not. If I do decide to get my doctorate, it won't be for a while; I need a breather.

So I've been waiting anxiously all year to start commuting by bike again. There are those hardcore cyclists who bike year-round, but I don't know how they do it. Cold and I just don't get on well. Actually, I despise it. (Yes, I know I'm in the wrong city. I'm working on it.)

Last was the first week that the weather here hasn't been below freezing. Naturally it's f*ing freezing again today, but Friday was sunny and beautiful. Those of you who take public transport regularly know that there's nothing worse than being stuck in a noisy bus/train crammed between possibly smelly strangers in lovely spring weather. That was my case Thursday, the first really nice, nearly warm!, day here this year: there I was standing on the train breathing other people's halitosis and whatnot and gazing dejectedly out the grimy windows when a line of cyclists zooms past (yes, my train is ridiculously slow), wind in their hair, sun on their faces. I resolved then that I would ride to work the next day whether it was nice out or not. Then I went out that night and got drunk. Brilliant.

So Friday morning, very tired and slightly hungover, I dusted off my bike, aired up the tires, and headed out into the sunshine. It was great. Not only did I beat the train by 10 minutes, but I had loads of energy the rest of the day.

The way home was a different story. The ride itself was good, but my body decided to pay me back at the end for letting it rot all winter. (I hate to exercise just for the sake of exercising. I really have to get past that.) Apparently, my leg muscles turned to mush over the past few months because when I arrived home and dismounted (as usual, hopping off the side while the bike’s still moving a bit), they couldn’t support me and I sunk like a deflated balloon slow-mo to the ground. No joke. It would have been really embarrassing if anyone besides my senile, non-English-speaking neighbor had seen me. It was the wimpiest fall I’ve ever taken. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a fall. I felt more like the Wicked Witch of the West when she got water thrown on her. I just sort of melted to the pavement.

Then, naturally, as I’m still sitting sidesaddle on the curb and holding the handlebars of my now-horizontal bike, I picture said melting witch and start laughing, out loud, somewhat insanely. Classic.

The moral of the story here, if you must have one, is that you should not assume your calves of steel survived the long New England winter. In other words, take it easy in the beginning.

More about biking to work/school and other frugal, green ways to commute: here.

Update: Check us out on the Festival of Frugality.

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Patricia Rockwell said...

Just to let you know, I took a short "break" after getting my Masters before going on for my doctorate. It lasted 18 years.

Wren Caulfield said...

Ha! Thanks for the warning. ;)

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