Monday, July 7, 2008

Sea Change - Bicycle Commuting

Well, there's no turning back now. I've committed myself to commuting by bicycle. 10 miles. Uphill both ways.

It all started a month or two ago when I mentioned to a couple coworkers that I had this brilliant idea; I was going to save money on gas and parking and reduce my carbon footprint all while getting in great shape and rediscovering my sanity, which has long been adrift in a sea of cubicles.

One simple idea. So much benefit. Of course I am by no means the first person to think of it. But no one else in my office commutes by bicycle so I feel like I've invented the goddamn Swing Wing. In other words, I think there's a good chance it's going to catch on.

The first time I mentioned it, I'm pretty sure I wasn't serious. I was just testing the waters. But having been met first with incredulity, and then bewilderment when it seemed that I might not be joking, I knew I was on to something.

Everyone I talked to had their own reason why it was a bad idea: impractical, too far, too dangerous, personal hygiene, Pittsburgh weather sucks (granted, it sucks), it's unprofessional (bullshit, your tank driving lazy ass is unprofessional!), time consuming, etc.

Was I bluffing? Maybe. Probably. And I got called out on it, hard.

Just to make sure I hadn't the slightest shred of credibility, I didn't even have a bike.

Me: "Hey Chet, I think I'm going to starting cycling to work. Whatdya think?"
Chet: "That's ridiculous. What kind of bike do you have?"
Me: "Pardon?"
Chet: "Your bicycle. What kind is it?"
Me: "I'm not sure I understand your question."

But, I got bold. I asked the office manager if he'd let me park my bike in the basement... hypothetically of course. I began speaking with more confidence about the idea, to the point where the term 'maniacal' may or may not have been used to describe my behavior. I borrowed my dad's old clunker (which squeaks and wobbles a bit and tends to shift gears only at unexpected and inappropriate times) and started riding in the evening and on weekends with a gusto not seen since before I turned 16. Surprisingly, it only took a few rides before I was able to manage 10 miles of rolling hills.

Anyway, long story short, after a few weeks of threatening, I went out and ordered this:




(Redline: Conquest)

I realize that I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, seeing as I haven't actually made the commute once. I haven't even picked up the bike yet. But I'm super-stoked to get started and I don't care how lame "super-stoked" sounds. It's been a long time since I've been this excited about something.

Welcome to Pilot Into Space: a bicycle commuting blog.

41 comments:

Dan McKinley said...

It is puzzling to me that this apparently such a radical idea. I guess this only makes sense in the country that gave humanity the monster thickburger.

Ten miles will be significantly easier on a decent road bike than on the insane Reaganomics mountain bike you have been practicing on. Those things are apparently intended for invading Nicaragua, not for daily use by real human beings. Pack an extra shirt.

Sam said...

Invading Nicaragua. Beautifully said.

Yeah, I've been reading a lot about some of the "draw backs" and hygeine seems to be the most commonly voiced concern. So I'll be taking a full chang of clothes, 4 sticks of deoderant, an industrial sized canister of Axe, and a preasure washer.

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