My Irrational Exuberance from Day 1 has now mellowed to Rational Acceptance. Bike commuting with a fresh cold is definitely not easy. However, I'm still having a lot of fun. I've also noticed the bike commuting thing is becoming a sort of religion. Friends ask if I want a ride or want to go out to lunch. I have been turning down rides since making forward progress in a motor vehicle is currently forbidden. This has evoked several strange looks. I have, however, met friends for lunch or breakfast by bike. Often, they are surprised by how quickly I get there. Driving is not always faster than biking!
Woke up and realized I now have a full-blown cold. Popped some Sudafed (the real stuff--the kind the meth cooks use, not the crappy fake Sudafed) and Ibuprofen, ate some oatmeal, OJ and tea, fed the bunnies and went back to bed.
Woke up for the 2nd time. With the meds and extra sleep, I felt better. Decided to try and make my way into lab.
Silently curse at myself for not getting my bike bags ready the day before. I forgive myself a little--I felt like crap last night. Pump up Strider's tires and put some lube on his chain. Attach the panniers and am off. Finally.
Head down the street. Make a mental note that I could have saved myself 15 minutes by packing bags night before. I'm wearing my running clothes in case I want to run later (less stuff to pack). Interestingly, I get fewer waves and nods from fellow cyclists on Strider in street clothes than I did on Bluebell (road bike) in full-on bike clothes. Hmmm. I smell an interesting cycling social psychology experiment.
Hop off to adjust panniers. My back is thanking me but I hate how the bags bounce around. I also hate how heavy the bike has become and how difficult it is to maneuver. Panniers are great for flat rides or short distances but maybe not so great for 7 miles of hills. At least Strider is more comfortable. However, Bluebell is faster.
Realize that there is road construction on Torrey Pines Road, the very steep 1 mile climb, which is the only obstacle separating me from work. The entire right-hand shoulder and lane is closed, making biking up that damn hill entirely unsafe. Not an option. I veer right into the park to take the inside road, which is MUCH steeper. I convince myself that it will be okay since it's shorter and more scenic.
I am cursing at this point, sweat is dripping down my face, and all-in-all hating life. It's hard for me to appreciate the gorgeous ocean views as I pedal at an agonizingly slow cadence to haul the HEAVY commuter bike and bags up the steep grade. Plus, did I mention I'm sick? Oh, did I mention my ankles are swollen and sore from climbing out of the saddle on Saturday? I resort to a seated climb the whole way to give my ankles a break and my cardio system, which isn't happy with the cold plus the hard effort.....not that I'm complaining.
Cruise into the back rack and lock Strider up. Change in the bathroom. Smile. That wasn't so bad now, was it? Funny how quickly we forget pain and torture. Plus, my cold actually feels more mild now. Maybe it's the drugs. But maybe, just maybe, it's the light exercise?
Despite my cold, I was able to get some work done, thanks to cold meds. I head over to the UCSD track on foot for a low intensity 4 mile run. Since the cold is all in my head, I'm hoping the little exercise will help clear my sinuses.
Feeling much better, I load up Strider and prepare for the commute home. Struggle with the panniers. I miss just throwing on the backpack and riding off. Something to think about. Originally, I was sort of lagging and dreading the ride home, especially with the cold. As I zip through rush hour traffic, I begin feeling pretty good. I zoom down Torrey Pines hill. Victory! Especially after the brutal am climb. It's a sweet reward. I would much rather go uphill in the am and downhill in the pm. I breathe deeply as I pedal by the coast at Torrey Pines State Beach, the smell of salt thick in the thick, ocean air.
I arrive home, re-energized. Instead of feeling worn-out the ride home has revitalized me. I immediately pack my bags for the next day and get Bluebell ready. This is beginning to get easier. I'm actually looking forward to my ride tomorrow.
(total this week: 38.6)
Gas $ Saved:
$2.82 (about 1 grande latte from Starbucks--not that I'm a caffeine fiend or anything! Gas is now $4.34/gallon!)
(total this week: $8.35)
(total this week: 1500)
Guilt from eating an extra chocolate-chip cookie?
Advantages of Strider (commuter bike) over Bluebell (road bike):
1. more comfortable (especially with panniers on bike)
2. less chance of flat
3. can ride in street clothes
4. easier to hop on and off (street shoes)
1. SLOWER (need I say more--I have a need for speed; places to go and places to be!)
2. panniers are a pain to get on and off; also can sometimes become dislodged and need to be re-adjusted mid-ride (ugh)
I'm riding Bluebell tomorrow with a lighter backpack (down to from 13.4 to 9.8 lbs!). I've begun leaving things at work, including a fresh pair of jeans and shoes. However, I miss some of my beauty products that I apply after a swim workout and before work. With the extra weight, these have become a luxury, and I have been going make-up-less and without my favorite hair-care products (I know--more of a gal problem than guy problem here). I think in the future, I will truck in a stash of all the supplies I need and keep them at work. I will also keep a week (or half a week's) worth of fresh clothes at work. Then I can bike on Bluebell bag-free! Whoo-hoo!