23 September 2010

September is Bike Commute Challenge!

I participated last year, but this year I am committed to riding 100% of the month. I rode about half of July and all but one day in August, and so far I have ridden every work day in September. I was wavering one morning last week when the rain was pouring down but one of my coworkers texted me and asked if she could ride with me. What could I say? “Meet me at Multnomah and 16th.” And off we went into the watery world of the Pacific Northwest.

Here are just a few observations from my ride.

I don’t wear makeup and it’s a good thing. The morning of the downpour I reached up to wipe the streaming rain off my chin and could feel the moisturizer running down my neck.

It’s good to wear contacts in the rain. Without windshield wipers for your glasses, it’s a pretty blurry ride.

Men don’t have enough opportunities to wear skin-tight clothing. The fully outfitted, spandex-clad gear heads make up a large part of the biking public around here. I have noticed that men particularly like to wear those full-on bike outfits; you know the ones, with the sport logo jerseys and the skin-tight pants. When they are walking their bikes through a pedestrian area, they can often be seen stroking their legs and prancing just a little. I believe that they like the feel of their legs encased in smooth, clingy fabric. If men were ‘allowed’ to wear clingy fabrics in their every day lives, they would be more likely to bike in ordinary clothes.

I love my bike. Love, love, love my bike. LOVE. MY. BIKE!

My bike is the most elegant thing I own. I don’t wear elegant clothes; I don’t drive an elegant car… when you look at me you are more likely to think ‘practical’ rather than elegant. But my bike, ahh, she is lovely. I’ve named her Helen M*rren because she is elegant, beautiful and tough (and sessy!). She is a Trek Allant, the green women’s version. She has two full fenders, which are essential in this climate. She came with a frame for a front basket and I have found one that suits her just right. My mom is going to give me her collapsible rear baskets but I am hesitating to put them on because I don’t want to mar her beauty. I will put them on eventually though. It’s that practical side of me coming out.

I feel strong when I stand up and pedal. I feel strong and young(ish) and urban. I thought it would be terrifying to ride in downtown traffic but it is not. I feel quite capable and savvy wheeling through the city streets.

I love going fast and taking a corner leaning into the angle. Well, as long as there is not too much gravel on the street.

I wear my helmet all the time, even though I would really rather not.

I don’t think I have lost any weight, dang it, but my thighs are definitely thinner. Those little pouchy saddlebags on the sides are dwindling.

I am kind of a slow rider; I rarely pass anyone. But that’s ok with me. I’m not training for the Tour d’France.


weese said...

now i want a bike.
tho it won't do me any good on my commute.
bikes don't do well on stairs.

Grumpy Granny said...

I used to ride my bike to work when I was at the law office, about 3 miles each way. I could almost (almost) wish I were in an office again to motivate me to do it more. Perhaps October will be enough motivation! LOL

Anonymous said...

"I’ve named her Helen M*rren because she is elegant, beautiful and tough (and sessy!)" - Perfection!

I was a nervous wreck on that Nantucket (epic) bike ride whenever we were around cars. Good for you for owning that road. No fear! :)

the only daughter said...

LOVE this. I don't love my bike (yet, anymore) but this current ride is growing on me. I don't ride everyday, won't do rain because as you noted, no windshield wipers. CAN'T do snow. But, I ride as often as possible in between and am beginning to feel comfortable (again) in the kind of traffic Chicago serves up. No probelm riding around my 'burb though.