Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I used to be something of a biker. Back, say oh 6 or 7 years ago... I didn't have a car and didn't care much for the bus, so I biked everywhere. I rode critical mass every month, and never thought twice about a long ride. I didn't have a super bike or anything, but I loved my bike and I rode it through the winter. It was easy since I lived close to work and school, and I really enjoyed riding.

After Dave and I met and got together, we biked a lot. He gave me a bike on our first date, in fact - and it still sits in the shed, ready for a ride. He also gave me the bike that I ride today, a baby blue road bike which I adore. It doesn't have a rack on the back so I've been taking his bike recently, but the baby blue will always be my bike even I don't ride it as much as I used to.

Slowly I fell away from biking. Having a professional job was part of it - I suddenly had to look nice at work and not show up all sweaty. Plus pretty frequently I had to drive to suburbs, which meant that I needed the car. Dave and I have long been a one car family, and for awhile in order to use the car I had to drive him to work since he had to be there at some awful hour - before the buses ran and way too early to bike. Then he switched jobs and was able to bike or bus, and I got to take the car more frequently.

2 years ago we bought a station wagon, and it was the first time a car title was actually in my name. It's a silly thing to be proud of really, but I was a little bit. I have a car! It's mine! It has a CD player! It seats 8! I got pretty comfortable with the driving routine, and getting pregnant last summer really sealed the deal. Pregnancy was like a free pass. Don't bike - drive! Take your time! Put your feet up, you're pregnant! That's not to say that I didn't bike or work out at all during pregnancy - I swam laps twice a week up through my 7th month, and I frequently biked to the gym. The days of biking to work were long gone by last year summer though, even though I only lived 2 miles from my office.

The month before the baby was born, Dave's brother gave us a car. We protested at first - we've always just needed one car! But the luxury of having both of us drive to work was sooo nice. I never had to bus while I was 8 and 9 months pregnant, and Dave got home faster so I could do more of that putting up of my feet that I mentioned. After the baby was born though, we knew that there was no reason for us to have 2 cars. Two weeks ago we bid goodbye to the station wagon and now we are once again a one car family.

That means it's high time for me to dust off the ol' blue bike and get biking again. It's been both easier and harder than I thought. For one, we don't have a trailer and Gus is a little small to be pulled yet anyway, so Dave and I don't ever bike anywhere together. That being said, I've been biking to work. There were some skeptics who maybe didn't think I could or would do it (I was honestly one of them) but so far, so good. It's about a 5 mile ride, much further than it was to my old office.

I do it at least once a week, sometimes twice. I feel so terribly proud of myself when I arrive. It's silly really, since I used to hop on and not think twice about 5 miles. Now it's a struggle, and sometimes I get off and walk up the hill at the end. I'm carrying a ton of stuff - my bag, my lunch, my pump - so I feel weighed down. I also just feel older, though it doesn't seem like 5 or 6 years have passed.

I can't wait until the little guy is biking with us, and we can take family trips again. Dave is really the super biker of the two of us - he will bike to work 2 or 3 times a week, and his commute is 14 miles each way. We've got a schedule set up for the fall that will mean that I only really need the car one day each week, but I know he'll choose to bike just because he loves to do it.

I forgot what it's like to get on and just ride for a long time. It's like knitting a little bit - wait, no, really it is. Bicycling only requires a little portion of your brain if you do it long enough. You don't have to think about balance or turning or traffic. You're just watching the road and your body does the rest. Most of my biking time is spent in some deep meditative thought - which exactly what my knitting time is too. Your reflexes just take over, and you go deep into your head. Yeah, I'm sweaty when I get to work and I'm sore when I get home, and sometimes I think about taking the bus because I would get more time to read or knit. In general - I really love biking. And I missed it. It's like seeing an old friend again.

1 comment:

Catherine said...

Oh my god, right on. I just took my first bike ride since last summer this past weekend and have been trying to write a blog post in my head about it ever since. I kept thinking of the connection to knitting and why I like them both so hit the nail on the head! The difference this time though, was that I was NOT alone...I was pulling Jackson. We stayed out for over an hour and talked and sang songs the whole time. You're going to LOVE biking with Gus when he's big enough! (We started J at about 7mos, since his head was so big and the helmet fit...)