Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Laments of a Bike-Rider

Gas is expensive.
Exercise is healthy.
Parking on campus is a joke. 

These are only a few of the reasons that college students like myself choose to bike to their university campus rather than drive. And if you live close enough, why not, right?

I don't start classes until next week but I have started my campus job, which is great. I decided I would ride my bike whenever possible. Well. Riding my bike is great and I love it and I'm not about to start driving a car to school. But every bike-to-campus-er has moments where we start to wonder...what in the WORLD was I thinking?

It all starts off great. I'm leaving on time, I've got everything ready to go, I'm wearing a decent outfit for work, and things are looking up.

About 20 seconds later I have picked up significant speed and I am now realizing that 7:40 am can be quite chilly, even in the springtime. In fact, I can't feel exactly my face or hands anymore. Then it doesn't take long for icy-wind-tears to begin streaming down my cheeks. I imagine what anyone who sees me must think - she really really REALLY doesn't want to work, her car got stolen, her parents just kicked her out, who knows. 

A few minutes later I arrive at the uphill part of the journey, which is great because I start to warm up. Then it becomes not-so-great when I realize that I'm panting and beginning to sweat. NO! I need to be composed and nice-looking for work! Oh well, it's too late to take it slow. I left "on time," but on time for me is most people's "barely making it on time". By the time I park my bike, lock it, and walk up the stairs to the campus office where I work, I have already thought through possible parking scenarios for the next day. 

By the end of the day, I'm actually looking forward to some quality time with just me, my bike, and the sunshine. 

Once again, it only takes about 20 seconds for me to realize that weather conditions are not 100% desirable. I mean, it's a beautiful day outside. But then I start pedaling up a seemingly endless hill and start to wonder why in the world I even own any sweaters, and WHY did I wear one TODAY? Oh, right, because I definitely needed it in the morning. Tomorrow I'm wearing a cardigan and short-sleeved shirt, problem solved. 

The next day I do it all over again and as planned, wear a cardigan so I can ride home in short sleeves. It's still too hot. Then a nice cool breeze comes along to help me out. It's nice until the cool breeze turns into a full-on headwind. It still cools me down but it makes me work so much harder that you can hardly tell. Then that headwind brings a lovely surprise that almost makes me change my mind about the whole saving money on gas thing: A FLIPPING BEE GOES DOWN MY SHIRT.

If you know me at all, you can probably imagine what I did here. I am infamous for talking to myself, especially in stressful situations. I kept pedaling, but gradually slowed down as I got more and more worried. I was clutching the handlebars with one hand while the other held the little fiend trapped between two layers of fabric. I said repeatedly, "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO" and "OHMYGOSH OHMYGOSH OHMYGOSH" until I came to a stop and was able to remove the threat of a lifetime. I was, by some twist of fate, stopped right in front of where my best friend used to live. I don't know who lives there now, but I'm sure they're well acquainted with me by now. I did spend a good few minutes outside of their house doing a sort of "scared-out-of-my-wits-get-out-of-my-shirt-dance" and shouting "BE FREE, BE FREE!!!" to that sneaky little bee. It finally came out and flew away. I took a few deep breaths, took in my surroundings, and decided to remove myself as quickly as possible. After catching my breath and walking a few steps, I hopped back on and fought that headwind for the last stretch before my house. 

I arrived at my house sweaty and panting even though it was only about 70 degrees or less outside. And I decide that I need to start actually exercising. 
And even though it's uncomfortable and whatever, I somehow actually enjoy all this stuff! I love almost freezing to death, then nearly passing out of heat exhausting, and being attacked by wild creatures. 

Sometimes things are harder and don't make us feel good immediately. But once you are able to do it consistently, you can see all the good things coming from it and you feel a great sense of accomplishment. That's how I feel when I realize how much money I've saved, how much healthier I feel, and how many more crazy insects (mostly just bees) I have overcome. 
Yay for bike rides!

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