Friday, August 13, 2010


Photo Credit: ME

Today marks my first full week of commuting to work (at least part of the way) by bicycle. As I sit here at lunch I look back on this last week and consider what lessons I have learned.

First lesson:
Blinky Lights are not optional in the morning.  I figured this one out on Monday morning, as I rode at the blistering pace of 9 miles per hour. I had looked for my headlight and had no luck finding it but the annoying red blinky light helped me stay visible on the early morning ride in.

Moral: Be Safe.

Second Lesson:
I have yet to get over my last accident.  Back in May I tore up my leg with a good case of road rash and messed my shoulder up.  While I have ridden since then I had not ridden as much as I have this week, as well as having all that riding be on streets I'm only marginally familiar with.  I realized that the ride was stressing me out and I was riding slower than I used to. What really made it clear to me was descending 18th street to the SouthSide.  This is a long twisty turny narrow road that I found myself going down really slowly. I noticed that my hands and shoulders hurt from gripping the handlebars and tensing.   As the week went on and I found myself getting more comfortable on the roads and on the hills. This made riding in a little bit more joyful each day.

Moral: Have Fun.

Third Lesson:
Its easy to get cocky. Really easy, so easy in fact that you don’t even realize it until afterward.  There is something about doing something that most other people don’t do (like riding into work) that just tempts you into feeling superior.  As I was walking out of the parking garage where I lock up my bike I saw a guy in a fast looking sports car pull into the leased parking section.  I had to wait for him to pass before I could cross and I stood there thinking:

“Look at you with your gas guzzling hundred thousand dollar car, You should be ashamed!”

I wanted to look around for the pompous AssHat who said that before I realized that the pompous AssHat was I.

Moral: Don’t be a Dick.

Fourth Lesson:
The term “Hill” is a relative one. OK let me preface this thought by admitting I have a long running love hate relationship with hills, Specifically climbing hills.  I’m a big guy, I weight a lot (not as much as i used to), My bike is a big heavy orange bike, it can be difficult to drag that weight up the hill.  My first ride on Saturday was a lot of huffing and puffing, and wondering just what I got myself into.  As I became more familiar with my surroundings and learned what to expect from the road ahead it became easier. In my mind the hills (most of them at least) became smaller.

Moral: Don’t over-think it.

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