Reasons or Excuses?

Sad Bikes

Sad Bikes

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:

1) Heavy snow, snow, snow, brown slush.

2) I cannot carry my heavy Dutch bike up from the basement myself (her temporary secure parking spot) and when my husband offered to help before leaving for work, I was too sleepy to consider the offer.

3) I had an evening board meeting scheduled that was 12 miles from the office and another 6 miles from my home.

These seemed like good reasons this morning, but by the end of the day they seemed like lame excuses.  I feel like a slug and could use a cold-weather cycling pick-me-up.  I have studded tires to handle the snow and ice, so I should not hide from heavy snow.  Also, I could not have predicted this, but my meeting was cancelled due to the severe weather.  On top of all of that, my morning el commute was a-w-f-u-l!  Twice I had to let full trains pass and when I got on the train, I was packed like a sardine. 

So what can I learn from this?  Well, I realized that I never regret a decision to ride my bike, but I often regret a decision not to ride my bike.   Thus, I should just ride my bike!

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9 thoughts on “Reasons or Excuses?

  1. Elisa says:

    So strange…I was just about to write a post that mirrored this almost exactly. Winter riding is…challenging. We should make a pact that we will ride at least 3 times next week! I can’t even look my bike in the eye (spokes?) when I pass him in the hallway each morning.


  2. editrish says:

    I could have written an identical post (well, minus the snow, and the basement, and plus a cold — you have better reasons/excuses I must admit).

    Elisa, count me in on next week’s pact!

  3. “…never regret a decision to ride my bike, but I often regret a decision not to ride my bike.” THAT sums it up brilliantly. Sorry you didn’t make your ride into work today as you had hoped. I’m not sure how one accurately discerns between reasons and excuses (intentional decisions versus rationalized afterthoughts), but something tells me that part of the answer lies in what you do the next day, and the one after that, and so on.

  4. msdottie says:

    Elisa, I’m totally in on the pact! It will help keep me an honost woman :)

    Scribe, that’s a good way to put it. Tomorrow’s a brand new day and I will be on my bike for it!

  5. Tad Salyards says:

    We commuters in Minneapolis are having similar feelings of guilt this week. Personally, I have three hard requirements during the winter before biking:

    1) Is the temperature at zero or above?

    2) Are the roads in such a state that I can safely bike?

    3) Are the roads in such a state that cars will not pose a major threat?

    The coldest day I’ve biked all year was -10 (NOT including wind chill) and I had to wear snow bibs.

    Don’t worry, this has been a bad week and before you know it the temps will start to mellow and we’ll all be back at it!

    Just make sure that your desire to get on the road doesn’t negatively impact good sound risk analysis :) Stay alive for the warmer weather.


  6. msdottie says:

    Tad, those are good requirements! I’ll try to keep those in mind for some objective criteria.

  7. […] response to my question whether decisions not to ride were supported by reasons or excuses, the Village Scribe said that the […]

  8. Doohickie says:

    I ride because it’s fun. It doesn’t mean I bag it just because it gets cold; I ride throughout the winter (which I admit is easier in Texas than in Chicago). However, if there is a day when I just don’t feel like it, I don’t. The next time out I appreciate the ride more. I’m not planning on selling my car any time soon, but maybe some day when my sons are out of the house and on their own.

  9. […] snow, sleet, slush, and so on. Many beat themselves up when they opt not to do so. For example, msdottie sums up the matter brilliantly: “… I never regret a decision to ride my bike, but I often regret a decision not to […]

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