Bike to Work

It may surprise many of you that I have never biked to work. The thought had occurred to me, but I always had two main objections. (1) Cycling is supposed to be fun and purpose-free. If I’m going to work, how could it possibly induce the same joy as when I just hop on and don’t know where I’m going? (2) Diabetes. I’d always been a little worried that I would get to work, have a bad diabetes day, and then have to limp home, bum a ride, or call the team car, which would be really, really inconvenient. So I never rode the 17-ish miles from my house to the office.

Until this morning, that is.

Yesterday, I decided that the most obvious way to get over my contradictory feelings that (a) my Ironman training plan doesn’t have me riding enough and that (b) I wouldn’t be able to find all the time to be in the saddle it does require would be to ride to work. So I loaded up my backpack, found a quiet-ish yet mostly direct route on Google Maps, and went to bed to have the kind of fitful sleep I get the night before a triathlon. Turns out all of my subconscious nerviness was completely unwarranted.

Some observations:

  • My bike commute (at 5:30AM) was quicker than yesterday’s post-swim commute, when I left Milford at 7:15. All told, it took just less than an hour. It doesn’t usually take me so long to drive, but Monday mornings have been like that recently.
  • The roads around MetroWest Boston are pretty quiet at 5:30. The state highway traffic was light and considerate. On the slightly hillier back-roads I took through Holliston and Sherborn, I only got passed by one car. In fact, I saw more deer than cars on that stretch.
  • Bib shorts are where it’s at. I bought my first pair at REI’s annual sale yesterday and wore them this morning. They were so comfy. I love them!
  • Wearing a backpack didn’t change my ride experience that much, although I did notice I carried my momentum a bit differently into corners.
  • Speaking of that backpack . . . If I’m going to do this more often, I seriously need to stash some stuff at the office. Obviously, I need to bring clean clothes every day, but shoes? Why not leave a pair at the office? Ditto for toiletries. My diabetes kit is another matter; this just-in-case stuff becomes even more important when I can’t just quickly pop home or to the pharmacy. I bet I can cut it half, though. Do I really need two of everything? Probably not.
  • It’s nice having a gym at the office. An hour of cycling and no stinking? Win-Win.

We’ll see what the commute home is like. It will be more uphill, that’s guaranteed.

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8 Responses to Bike to Work

  1. Victoria says:

    Fun! Fun! And from a girl’s perspective, you do need two of everything. ;) I keep a spare hair dryer and curling iron at the office, along with a second set of toiletries and a towel and washcloth. We have a gym, showers and lockers, so it’s pretty convenient. I try to plan ahead and bring my clothes and lunch with me the day before and leave them at the office. That way, on the day I ride in, I only have to carry a small amount of things — all of which fit in my CamelBak as opposed to a full backpack. Makes those hills and corners easier, too!

    My favorite part of riding to work is the nature… Most of my trip is on a greenway, so I see beautiful animals throughout my ride. It’s wonderful. Good for you! Have fun riding home!

  2. StephenS says:

    So, so jealous of you right now. I haven’t biked to work yet for one reason: I’d be required to leave my bike on the rack in the garage underneath the building. I’m not sure it would still be there when I returned. Good luck on the ride home!

  3. Portia says:

    Congrats on overcoming this mental hurdle. I love early mornings on the road too! On my feet that is. :)

  4. Jeff Mather says:

    Stephen, there are new fancy-pants bike racks in our garage, and I could theoretically park it there, but I really like having my bike indoors . . . mostly because I don’t want it to get lonely. Well, that and someone could steal it, so I get where you’re coming from.

    Victoria, I’ll have to make a plan tonight about what I want to take to the office with me tomorrow by car in anticipation of a possible ride on Thursday.

    Portia, I could definitely get used to this.

  5. Lisa says:

    You know you can always call the team car. It just might take the team car a while to get to you.

  6. Nancy Patrick says:

    So why am I the only one nervous about your riding to work in busier traffic on the way home? Because I’m your mother????

    I could ride my bike to work, but then I wouldn’t get much of a commute through the garage to the office door. On a positive note….I wouldn’t need a shower, because I wouldn’t break a sweat, also don’t need to worry about getting a flat either.

    Seriously though, Victoria has some very useful comments on planning ahead for the next day’s ride, but plan ahead for delays if you should have a flat.

  7. scully says:

    dude, this is great!
    I am always surprised at how many cyclist haven’t tried bib shorts. Then when they do they always say the same thing, “these things are the shit!” or something like that. Bib shorts ARE the shit. no annoying waste band digging in and causing muffin top. It just sucks for us ladies when we have to go to the bathroom. everything on top has to come off! I call bib shorts my “spanx” cuz it’s kind of like that.
    Any way… this is cute and awesome. I wish I could ride to work one day. My work is 80km away and no real side roads unless I want to add another 20km. Also, no showers. I have an impossible “bike to work option”.

  8. Pingback: Finishing strong…ish (part 2)

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