Bike joy

It’s been tough, these first couple weeks of bike riding. I have panted and strained to make it up the slightly inclined streets that lead toward Mt. Tabor and my neighborhood. This week I biked to work twice, but got only halfway home each time before stopping to catch a bus. At that point my face was deeply red, and I was sweaty and almost disoriented from exhaustion. I accidentally scratched the back of a lady’s head when I took my seat and grabbed the pole behind her for balance.

One of these days, when I’m not struggling to get to work on time, I ought to bring my camera on the home-to-office bike route. For the most part, it’s lovely. Being next to the river provides a cool breeze that will be much appreciated during the coming months. The other day there were geese on the trail: mamas and papas with their fuzzy goslings. Maybe my presence on a two-wheeled machine kept me from getting attacked as I cut a path through them, getting dangerously close to the babies.

Last Saturday was my first full day with the bike. I think I did about 16 miles, with rest stops here and there and no particular destination. I went to the farmers’ market and then biked along the East and West banks of the river. As I headed south along the West bank, I though I may as well continue that way and scope out the route to work. I didn’t know if I would go all the way to the office, but as it turned out, I had plenty of energy. I kept going until I was there; it was as easy as my co-workers had been telling me. It’s about six miles in each direction.

This morning I went back to the farmers’ market. I tried to tackle the hill at SW Jefferson Street, but had to get off and walk my bike a few extra blocks to its parking space. It took a little while to recover from that ride. The strain had given me a bad headache and I was breathing awfully hard. After spending a few hours downtown I was apprehensive about the ride home. This time I had a backpack full of fruits and vegetables.  Starting at the Hawthorne Bridge, I paced myself and rode a bit more slowly than I typically do. (During commuting hours, it’s hard to pace myself since nearly everybody around me is fast.) And … I made it all the way home without feeling, at the end, like I was going to collapse.

I think I’m going to start feeling a lot healthier and more fit—that is, if I don’t replace every calorie burned with a calorie consumed through pizza, beer, or pastry. Those things have been tempting me an awful lot lately.

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1 Comment

  1. Max

     /  May 23, 2009

    Hey – I think it might also make things easier if, instead of a backpack, you had a rack and a milk crate (or if you want to go fancy – you can get panniers). It’s maybe a $30 investment?

    It makes a big difference for me, but I can also understand wanting to save some money.

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