Monday, March 12, 2012

I biked to work this morning and plan to make it a routine, weather permitting.

Last year I biked home from work almost daily from spring until it got too cold, but I very rarely biked in the morning. The morning metro ride had become a big chunk of the time I spent reading for fun, and showering at work or even just changing clothes in the morning would be too much of a hassle, but I have to admit that the biggest reason is simply that I was in the habit of gelling my hair in a kind of spiky way, and I liked it like that, and wearing a bike helmet would ruin that.

However, I have to admit that getting exercise in the morning and saving metro fees would be worth giving up some reading time and a freaky hairdo. So I'm planning to bike as much as I can this year.

Some notes on the process:

  • At this point, arriving at work sweaty isn't even a concern; the trip to work is mostly downhill and it was probably below 50 degrees this morning, so I dressed normally and was still perfectly presentable. When things get a bit warmer, I might wear shorts and a t-shirt and then change in the bathroom. When things get so warm in the morning that I'd be too sweaty even if I dress comfortably, I might start taking the metro again, but at least I'd still get exercise and save metro fees for a few months.

  • I had planned to bring gloves, but I forgot, and I wish I hadn't. It's still cold in the morning, and when the wind is on your hands because biking is windy, it's really cold.

  • No matter how well I plan, though, there's always something out of my control. This morning the very first street I would have taken was blocked off by police tape for some weird reason. I took a roundabout route instead - nothing too complicated, just turning at a different time on the grid, but still, it was annoying.

  • I was struck by people being careless. (Obviously, a sample size of n=1 is small, but still.) Other bikers running red lights that I was waiting for, and walkers jumping out in front of me or walking against the lights. I think I tend to be a bit more conscientious about traffic laws than the average biker, but the average biker this morning seemed even worse than last year. As for other bikers, I'd guess that most fair-weather bike commuters haven't started yet, so the only people doing it now are the people who are so serious about it and experienced at it that they get cavalier.

  • Getting a little light exercise in the morning is really nice. I've never been in the habit of it. Getting balls-to-the-wall sweaty and winded isn't nice, but just getting the blood pumping a bit between breakfast and work would probably be worth quite a bit.

  • I want to get a bigger bag. I get around in general with a satchel. Last year I just barely managed to squeeze my biking gear in it, often by leaving the brim of the helmet sticking out or hanging the helmet strap off the satchel strap. But over the winter I started bringing lunch in to work more often rather than going to the cafeteria, and now there's just no way everything will fit. I resist buying one, partly because my satchel was a gift from my parents and it would feel rude to put it aside, and partly because it's perfectly good but just a tiny bit too small, but I have to admit the main reason is that having multiple bags would feel too much like my girlfriend choosing which purse goes better with her outfit - it would be, ewww, girly. (No, having a satchel isn't girly, it's practical!)

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