I mentioned in an earlier post that I don’t force myself to ride if I feel it would be unsafe or really unpleasant. But when does that become an excuse rather than a reason? I need to make sure that I’m pushing myself sufficiently beyond my comfort zone to discover my limits.
Here are the reasons I did not ride my bike to work today:
Yesterday I had to go to Milwaukee for work, so I took the Amtrak train. These trains are pretty fast and comfortable. I usually listen to my iPod and stare out the window, although I could use this time more productively to work or read a book. Compared to driving the highway, with the accompanying awful traffic, construction, and hazardous weather, the train is infinitely superior.
The weather is still extreme here in Chicago. There was a blizzard advisory last night and now a winter weather warning, or something.
I took this picture of Chicago Bike Police pulling over a car last weekend. This happened downtown on the busiest part of Michigan Avenue. Interesting how they did it, placing one bike directly in front of the car to prevent it from driving off and placing two bikes behind the car. The driver of the BMW was not pleased to see me taking his picture, which of course made me happy. Take him down a few notches, Chicago Bike Police!!
The bike police seem to have an office at the oddly name (money talks) McDonald’s Cycling Center downtown, where I park my bike during the work week. The officers have always been very polite – one night during a thunderstorm they asked if I was going to ride home in it and, after I said yes, wished me a safe ride and reminded me to be extra careful.
Despite their status as cyclists most likely to ride the wrong way on a one-way street or on the sidewalk, I’m a fan! In a city where both direct contact with citizens and maneuverability are important for the police, the bike cops seem a better investment than the mayor’s recent contract to replace almost the entire fleet of squad cars with Chevy Tahoes by 2011 – that’s 2,000 SUVs and a lot of gas!
Since yesterday, it has snowed 12 inches in north Chicago and it’s still snowing. What’s a cyclist to do? Well, first, be grateful that’s it’s a Saturday and the commute to work is not an issue. Second, have fun with it! This morning I had to babysit my nephew and if I was late, my sister would have been late to work, so I caved and took the el. Later that afternoon, my husband stopped by – on his bike – after a trip to Sears to buy new boots, which were strapped to his rear rack. He then cycled the 2.5 miles home (6 miles total).
I woke up all prepared to finish my commute diary and talk about riding in the dark, but now I think it’s my turn to write about why biking is better.
Let me begin by saying I am an extremely lazy person. I would much rather be doing just about anything other than physical exertion for its own sake. Running makes me want to die, treadmills are the devil’s tool (all that walking and you’re not even going anywhere!) and don’t even talk to me about spinning or boot camps. Other than the occasional hike when the weather is right, and my weekly Iyengar yoga, exercise felt like a chore to me.
So the idea that I could exercise while also accomplishing something necessary to my life, getting to work or running errands, really appealed to me. That was what made me dust off the old Schwinn and bring it up to Nashville. The surprise came when I got on and realized that riding my bike was actually fun.