I Want To Ride It Where I Like

The end of four and a half months of being too busy, too tired, or too unprepared, while the weather was busy being too cold, too wet or too pollen-y came Monday morning when I released the brakes and coasted down the driveway on my way to work. Usually, one pedal is the throttle, and the other the brakes, but today both were accelerators (and not because of Toyota, either). Entering the corner-de-sac at the end of our street, I started pedaling, just as I have on dozens of occasions since I determined that I was kinda, pretty much serious about cycling to work.
Arriving here (spatially and strategically) took a bit of preparation. I lacked confidence in my ability to cycle competently after nearly a quarter-century out of the saddle, lacked the nerve to navigate fast & busy streets, and lacked a clear picture of just how hard doing such a thing would be. I gained confidence by awkwardly navigating the paths of a nearby greenbelt, then exploring neighborhood streets, much to the amusement of area dogs and my fellow neighborhood cyclists, aged mostly between three and twelve, who favor bikes with paint jobs dominated by shades of pink. I built my nerve by venturing on ever-longer trips down the bicycle lane along Metric Blvd, becoming more accustomed to cars zipping by a few feet to my left and developing strategies for left turns that don’t involve me trying to cut off any vehicle with a mass an order of magnitude larger than mine. Doing this preparation gave me a clearer picture of the physical demands of commuting by bike, demands that I feel even now in my faintly aching quadriceps femoris.
Incorporating a bare minimum of gear (a hedge against possible failure becoming too expensive), this practice and exploration turned into actual useful transportation. It was a lack of usefulness that put me off cycling back when I was aged in the single digits; mid-century development planning practices left my small neighborhood (which was coterminous with the City of Hays) an island of residential streets with no way to get anywhere interesting without a car. My friend’s house could be accessed easily via the back yard, so riding a bike meant going in aimless circles. The impulse against the monotonous, repetitive and boring, especially when I had to make extra time in the day for it, has made exercise regimes difficult to adhere to. Confronted with an imperative to shed mass, I observed that while I had been walking and taking the bus to get home occasionally, a bike would allow me to incorporate exercise with my commute both to work and back home, and do so daily instead of the once-a-week stroll I had become accustomed to.
There’s also the fun, which cannot be written off as an enticement. The path to the office is almost all downhill, which makes it a bit of a thrill in the cool morning air. It also means I don’t get too sweaty, which is nice. Homeward is a different story, of course, because downhill-both-way routes are hard to come by. Fortunately, the good folks at Capitol Metro will haul my lazy tuchus up the hill, that I might then pedal home along the relatively flat portion of Metric Blvd.
Four days of bicycle commuting are under my belt. I plan to repeat this weekly, taking the car only as needed for logistical purposes, and on Fridays when Christina and I go out after work. Summer is fast approaching, which I fear may test my resolve, but my hope is that by the time we wake up to 80°F mornings I’ll be fully habituated and roll on through the heat.