Thursday, June 19, 2008

Commuting is easy

Date: June 18
Mileage: 39.7
June mileage: 501.9
Temperature: 51

Dull twilight clings to the horizon at 11:30 p.m., casting a purple glow on wisps of fog draped over the mountainside. My headlamp captures streaks of rain like static in on a TV screen. As the static flickers, it stings, and I glance downward to watch my knees churn. In the yellow light they don't even seem like a part of me, the one who already is zoned in on late-night relaxing and the promise of the weekend. But all the while, my legs carry on, a simple crankshaft spinning mindlessly over the wet pavement.

I started bike commuting more than a month ago, and it no longer feels like extra work. In fact, it doesn't even feel like any work. I used to climb into my car and now I climb on my bike. Little else feels different.

I thought turning myself into a bicycle commuter was going to be my great challenge for the summer, but I was wrong. It isn't hard at all. It took me all of two weeks to get my logistics dialed in, and now I just go. I have to schedule my morning rides a little better to make time, and sometimes I have to put on a rain coat before leaving. But usually I just stuff my work clothes in a plastic bag, walk out the door wearing whatever was sitting on top of my "junk clothes" drawer, and let myself get a little wet. It's only 25 minutes for crying out loud. I keep extra sets of junk clothes at work to have something dry to wear on the ride home. I even had my hair chopped off to shoulder length so I can blow-dry it a lot faster.

To other cyclists out there who don't bike commute: I encourage you to give it a go. One habit translates well to the other. And, honestly, I'm not one of those commuters who feels all smug when I ride by a sign advertising $4.35/gallon gas or walks through the office in bike shorts so all can admire my rippling quads (Ha!) I'm not part of the car-free chorus, I'm just one of the recent converts, let in on the hushed secret that commuting isn't such a big sacrifice after all. So join us in bike commuting, bask in its easiness, and watch it make a big difference in many other aspects of your life.