Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bike to Work Day

It's easy to ride your bike to work when you live less than 12 miles from your office. C'mon, I just rode a century! Twelve miles is nothing, right? So for the Bay Area's 15th Annual Bike to Work Day I decided I should give it a shot. I've lived in this house for almost 11 years, my office has been where it is for longer than that and I've been riding a bike for even longer. I've always had some lame excuse to not ride and this year it was time. The idea behind Bike to Work Day is that possibly people will find how convenient it is and make riding to work a habit.

Jeanette decided she'd come ride with me, since riding from her house would have been quite a trek. Yeah, it sort of defeated the purpose of the day for her to drive to my house but at least we saved my gas, right? Anyway, it made it more likely that I'd actually get on the bike if I had company.

The day didn't start too auspiciously. In a big "whoops" moment, while I was pumping up my front tire the valve tip broke off. Right off, into my hand. Uh oh. It appeared that the little retractable stem was pushed into the valve stem and as far as I could tell there was no air leakage. But it was highly risky to decide not to change the tube right then and there. I decided to be lazy and see how it went. For once I got very lucky and my tire was just as hard when I got home as when I left.

It was cool and clear and beautiful when we set out. We were able to go straight down one main street for almost the entire way. We rode quickly and smoothly and got to the office in well under an hour. We even stopped at one of the Energizer Stations and picked up a cool commuter bag with the above logo, an energy bar and a banana. Pretty nice, for a measly 12 mile ride.

I had left a change of clothes and some toiletries/cosmetics in the office the day before so I was able to freshen up and put on clean clothes. But the lack of a shower after the ride left me feeling vaguely unclean. Although when I'm running or riding I don't care how I smell or how gritty and salty and dirty my skin gets, when I'm done I want to be crispy clean. I just have this thing, I don't like feeling dirty. Only a shower will make me feel clean and there isn't one at the office. That was the biggest down side of riding to work.

The other thing is, even though it's easy to ride TO work, riding home is another question. Even though the route is short I'd much prefer to ride 25 miles at once than ride half in the morning and half in the late afternoon. I was surprised at how fatigued I felt riding home. Although part of that was the wicked head wind (and what was up with that? All week there had been a NNW wind that would have blown us straight home, but today it was more SW and in our faces) the rest was plain old fashioned weariness.

The good news is it will get easier. Yes, I intend to do it again (even though I spent the day feeling schmootzy). And Jeanette said she'll join me again. Since there really is a short window of having enough light both in the morning and the evening, we'll start right in. At the moment our goal is to do it about every other week. Looks like having this special day worked!

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