Thursday, March 22, 2012

So how has biking gone so far? Overall it's gone well, but there are a few caveats.

  • It took a while to work the kinks out. I got that new bag, and it's fine overall, but figuring out the how to use it took a little work - which pocket is the most convenient to put my ID in, etc. The first day I changed clothes to bike home, I absent-mindedly packed gym shorts instead of regular shorts, and my gym shorts don't have pockets, so I had to reach into my bag to get my keys and stuff.

  • I'm at the mercy of the crowd. The first day I planned to bike home I couldn't find any bikes at the usual station. It probably won't be as bad this year as it was last year, though, because a new station was built over the winter just two blocks away.

  • My hopes of biking in the morning through the spring and still being presentable may have been overly optimistic. When I started it was a bit too cold to bike comfortably. It's already warm enough and, worse and more importantly, more humid in the mornings. Even though it's downhill most of the way to work, I still work up enough sweat that I'm damp by the time I get on the shuttle. No one has complained so far, but if nothing else I'm self-conscious about it.

  • I'm not sure how to handle the weather. If I'm going straight home I don't need to worry about the weather unless it's literally dangerous - either so hot that 25 minutes of light exercise could give me heat stroke, or so rainy that visibility is bad or the streets are slippery. When I'm coming in to work, though, just a little bit of rain can generate mud on the road, which splashes.

  • What I said last time about other bikers being cavalier? I've become more cavalier this week myself. Well, I'd prefer "confident" to "cavalier," because "cavalier" implies "reckless," and there's really, really nothing dangerous about disobeying traffic laws sometimes. If I'm on a bike, it's an intersection with good visibility, and there are literally no moving cars in sight, waiting for the light to change would be just stupid. If traffic is bumper to bumper in the street and there's no bike lane but the sidewalk is empty, I might as well hop up there for a block or two. As I biker I have better reaction times than a driver, I have no blind spots, my top speed is much lower, and if I do hit something I weigh about a fifth as much as a car. Officially I'm supposed to obey traffic laws like a car, but that's very often unnecessary and in some cases it's probably actually more dangerous.

  • Events have conspired to keep me from biking home too regularly. I only actually did it once last week. Like I said, a bike shortage prevented it Monday. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I had plans in the evening that I didn't want to show up sweaty for and I didn't have time to go home, change, and shower first. This week so far I've been good, but tonight I have similar plans and might or might not tomorrow, I'm still not sure yet.

  • Now that I write this down, I realize that "I've been good" is an unhealthy way to think of it. I'm nowhere near in such bad physical shape that good health requires it. Self-discipline is not always a matter of virtue. My sister actually seems to enjoy exercise, but I shouldn't compare myself to her so much. For people who actually enjoy physically demanding sports or physical perfection as an end itself, more power to them. I've always found both of those as inscrutable as fundementalist religion.

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