Bicycle Lessons, Part II
Okay, the bike commute project continues, and it’s so far going well. (Er…as well as it can, given that I haven’t actually ridden my bike to work yet.)
Last time I did any “real” biking I was probably a teenager. Thursday I rode 2 miles around my neighborhood as sort of a test run; yesterday I rode a total of about 6 miles, doing about half of my commute-to-work trip to see if the alternate route I thought would get me under an expressway but avoid some nasty traffic would actually work. I’m happy to report that it will, like a charm.
Yesterday I also stopped at Sports Authority and got my very first bike helmet. Polystyrene. Sigh.
Yesterday on The Green Phone Booth I posted a few lessons I’m taking to heart in my journey to reducing my transportation carbon footprint. Today I have a few more lessons, these all more specific to the actual bike process. So here we go:
Lesson 1: Bike helmets aren’t as uncomfortable as they look. This one was lightweight, not too hot, and I could almost forget I had it on. Pleasant surprise.
Lesson 2: Bike seats are much more uncomfortable than they look. My butt is killing me. I will never again think bad thoughts about wimpy people who insist on soft bike seats.
Lesson 3: Bike helmets do give you helmet head. I’ll need to be prepared with brush and hair spray when I actually do the work trip or need to look presentable at the other end.
Lesson 4: One of many really good reasons to live in the Midwest is that there aren’t a lot of hills. The whole chunk of the ride I did today was fairly flat, with only a couple of small hills. They are the kind of thing where I’m sure I will curse in the moment when I come to them, but once on the road it’s not like I’ll have much choice in whether to scale them, and I can manage just fine.
Lesson 5: I won’t be able to do the hand signal thing until I can ride with only one hand on the handlebars. I can’t do that yet. So I need to just be really careful.
Lesson 6: I used to be terrified of other cars on the road. That was my biggest fear in starting this journey. But I didn’t take into account the fact that when I last rode my bike with any frequency I didn’t have a driver’s license. 25+ years of driving experience has made a dramatic impact on my road comfort and confidence; I ride like a driver in a really small convertible with no doors, you know?
Lesson 7: I’m still gonna need to train. 6 miles today, and my thighs are exhausted. I am exhausted. In a few days I’ll need to try doing the 6 miles twice or something…
Lesson 8: You get a lot farther a lot faster on a bike than you realize. It’s cool.
Lesson 9: I will never be one of those people who passionately loves biking. People who go, “OMG, you’ll get so hooked, it’s such a rush, blah blah blah”–not so much. I guess I hoped I’d fall in love with it…on the other hand, I don’t hate it. Trying to do better greenily isn’t just about doing what I love, but also doing what I can even if I don’t love it.
So that’s it so far! I’ll continue. I can do this. We can do this.