Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Commuter Chronicles: Is it worth it?

Hello everybody! Today I was chatting with one of the staff about their ride in and they were going on and on and on about the stresses and awesomeness of starting to commute by bike. So, in order to get her to shut up for a few minutes, I'm going to let her type away this afternoon. It's a total "I told you so" moment for me because, well, I told her so. Bike Commuting is awesome, even when you don't want to do it at first. Anyway, here she is:

There are days where I wonder if it is all worth the effort. I wake up late every single day [They have alarm clocks for that you know!] [Shut up Milo]and have to dig out two outfits: one of lycra and polyester and one poorly aimed in the direction of “cute” [Is that what you call it?] [Milo!] [Ok, ok, the peanut gallery is shutting up] [Thank you!]  I load my panniers with whatever essentials I can find. Pump, cliff, bar, multi-tool, spare tire, lights, deodorant [Thank God! ok, now I'm REALLY done], makeup bag . . . Where are my shoes?? I think about my seat height and if I need to readjust it because yesterday’s ride felt funny. I fill my water bottle, forget my keys, lose and refind the water bottle I just filled and bump my bike out the door. I click in right foot first and head down the street, praying to God for a tail wind because I’m already 10 minutes behind.  As soon as I pass the city limits I begin to glide with a slight wind at my back and even though 20mph is a big deal for me, a mountain for some, or a mole hill for others . . . I feel like I’m flying.  Heads of wheat crash into one another like tiny, soft cymbals. I can barely see snow capped mountains in the distance beneath the wind-cleared sky. My legs are burning because I’m just starting to realize that I can push myself little by little. I'm realizing that my body can do so much more than I’ve ever demanded of it before. I don’t burn for too long because this is still new and the drive to pedal myself into the ground isn’t there yet. 

At work I think about getting a shorter stem to ease the throbbing pain in my shoulder because I, unknowingly, bought a bike that is a bit too big. I bought shoes that are vacuumed and molded to my feet, ok maybe that’s not necessary, but they were on crazy sale and feel so good with my odd bones and toes. So far, the perfect combination of gear and fitness remains out of reach and I’m still trying to keep this whole thing simple. Adjustments are constantly being made and parts can always be tweaked or replaced. Mechanics juggle carbon fiber, steel, aluminum and titanium in front of my face and the choices seem overwhelming. So I ask over and over, is it worth all this effort and tinkering and pedaling? 

But while others were likely sitting in their car, drinking Starbucks, and wondering if the semi in front of them is ever going to move back to the right lane, I was busy riding the wind and racing birds.

Today I flew to work.

So yes, it’s worth the effort.

Milo here, so she seems a bit overly poetic, but I'll take whatever I can get. Ride on, Ride on. Now, who has some treats for me?

What keeps you riding on days when you don't want to be in the saddle? 

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