bike commute: two days in.
saturday, june 10th, 2023.
Well, I've successfully commuted to work two days now, having just gotten my bike back from the shop. Forgive my excitement, but here's the picture I already shared of my commuter bicycle all fixed up:
How do I feel? In a word: sore.
In more: elated, determined, and thankful.
It's probably been a dozen years since I really commuted by bicycle. The last time I was doing this smartphones were just becoming popular! I'm no longer a "young man," but a middle-aged one. Not quite a Middle-Aged Man in Lycra (MAMIL), so I've got some endurance to build back up. Running and using a stationary bicycle on occasion just doesn't compare to schlepping a fully-loaded bike in traffic 13 miles a day!
My legs ache, my sit-bones hurt, and my lower back is a little tender from leaning forward in a way I'm not used to. However, this isn't my first time at the "getting used to the commute" rodeo. Give it a week or two and I'll be right as rain and my body used to its new task.
And, gods, I'm hungry these last two days! My fitness tracker indicates that I'm burning somewhere between 1,100 and 1,200 kcal bicycling each day, which tracks with what I've seen online. But, given that my minivan gets about 23 miles per gallon of gasoline, that energy expenditure is supplanting something near half a gallon of fuel a day, mass difference aside. But I'm not complaining— I've got some love handle energy reserves to get through! 😅
changing my daily ritual.
Probably the most noticeable part these last two days is how the new commute has changed my daily ritual. I have to get up earlier, I get home later, and it's difficult to get to a grocery store to pick up a few things on the way home. As bikable as my neighborhood is, it's basically a food desert unless you want to go out of your way a few miles to get to a proper grocer.
The routine change feels really good, just the same. There's something gratifying, dare I say smug (à la CrossFitters & vegans), about doing all of this to reduce my personal carbon footprint. It feels delightfully countercultural to stash my bike in the loading bay and get a shower at work in the mornings. I'd certainly be remiss if I neglected to mention that watching An Inconvenient Truth caused my first foray into bicycling so many years ago.
But, I digress. As excited as I am to rave about all the better qualities of commuting by bicycle, it will eventually just... be my commute. There will be good days, where the wind feels great on my face, and there will be not-so-good days, where I get two flat tires or caught in a thunderstorm and have to call my partner for an impromptu trip in the aforementioned minivan.
Basically, I'm modelling my life after Calvin's dad.
I'm thankful that I have a body that lets me do this sort of thing and I'm thankful that I was able to chart a relatively safe route to work, despite my city's lack of bicycling infrastructure. Eventually I'll know it like the back of my hand: where to coast, where to stand on the pedals and hoof it, and the best places to cross the main thoroughfares safely.
Until next time, be well! :)