I have started riding my bike to work. Ever since we moved, I've been talking about it. We live three miles from the hospital, so I kept telling myself I would do it. Although, one would have to actually have a bike to ride it to work. But then, a year ago, I bought a bike. And then I still didn't ride it to work. I had a lot of excuses: I was running late, it might rain, I was tired, I just didn't want to...
Then a couple of months ago, I decided I just needed to do it.
And then I realized how out of shape I am. It was only three miles, but it absolutely killed me. By the time I got to work the first day, I was bright red, sweaty, and so out of breath I could barely walk into the hospital.
At that point, I realized that I absolutely needed to continue to ride my bike to work.
Normally, my door-to-door commute is about 20 minutes. I leave my house, arrive at the commuter lot in 8ish minutes, wait for the commuter shuttle, and then ride the commuter shuttle to the hospital. On my bike, my commute is now 17-20 minutes going to the hospital and 25 minutes coming home. Because there is a huge, steep hill on the way home, and I just can't make it all the way up it, and am forced to walk most of the way up.
My bike ride didn't start out that quick. That first ride, when I was so red and sweaty, took me 30 minutes. There is a small, but steep hill just before I get to the hospital, and the first week, I really struggled with it. I got passed by another cyclist who made the hill look easy, which made me feel a little bad. And then it happened...I got passed by a jogger. I wanted to jump of my bike, hide behind a tree and cry. But I didn't. I kept going. And my ride has decreased from 30 minutes to 17. My face isn't red when I get to the hospital anymore. And last week, I passed another cyclist.
I can think of so many reasons to keep this up. I add exercise into my day without really adding any more time. I don't use the gas in my car. I get to be outside. I really, really want to keep this up.
Unfortunately, the time is coming rapidly where my bike riding days are over. I have to leave at 5:30 am, and it is very, very, VERY dark at 5:30 am. Even with my headlight for my bike, it's just getting a little too dark for me. I get pretty anxious in the dark. Each morning, I keep expecting a crazy squirrel or raccoon to leap out of the bushes and attack me. Also, winter is coming. I'm definitely not hardcore enough to ride my bike in the winter.
My two wheeled commuting may be done for the year. But there is always next year, when the mornings are warm again and the sun rises a little earlier. And maybe next year, I will finally make it up that hill.