Monday, May 9

Happy Commutes

I've been very fortunate for the past three years to have a very bicycle friendly place of employment. I can keep my bike in my cubicle (even my Xtracycle!), there are showers and a locker room and my management is amenable to me dragging my bike through the office going to and from.

I do my best to keep a low profile. I use the service elevator and lock the bike up outside at the covered racks or in a rarely used stairwell when the weather is nasty. I try not to make a scene getting the bike in and out of the office and I do my best to minimize the wet and/or smelly clothing hanging around my cube.

My coworkers are tolerant at the least, and many are supportive and interested in my cycling. There are three or so other employees in my division that bike commute from time to time. I'm the only full time commuter I know of in the building though.

Each year there is a breakfast station out front on Bike to Work Day. I occasionally see citizens about the building wearing cycling attire and click-clacking around in their cycling shoes. The building isn't in the most bike accessible location in town, being at a much greater altitude than everything else in the area, but there is a bike path and some good bike routes that go right past.

I'm extra fortunate to work in a place that is in close proximity to some great cycling destinations, like Lookout Mountain Road, Green Mountain and North and South Table Mountains. The most direct route home for me would be OVER South Table. This summer I may break the OBS back out for some MTB commutes.

All of this has been the best incubator for my evolution as a cyclists. Oddly I made a hard left from my path as a recreational road cyclist and sometime mountain biker. These days I am a hard core, flabby-bellied family utility cyclist and full-time bike commuter.

As the temps climb as summer approaches I am mentally preparing myself to go back to lugging clothes and toiletries to and from work so I can shower here and not smell so bad after my commutes. Winter was kind with mild temps that were conducive to pre-commute showers.

I tackled an asinine "Winter Commuter Challenge" not so long ago to artificially introduce hardship into my daily commute just at a time when nature threw a heinous hardship at me in the form of deep snow over the landscape and absolutely frigid temperatures. I discovered in that week that I could simplify my life and go back to an earlier iteration of my cycling self and find happiness. I drew away from cyclo-centric behavior and dress so I would look and feel like a normal person again. I have enjoyed that discovery for some time now and I do not relish going back to packing clothes to and from work and rushing to get a shower at the eleventh hour.

I'm thankful I have the option no doubt. I will embrace the change of the season because warmer weather means less complicated preparations the night before, more comfortable clothing for riding and the chance to work on my farmers tan.

I've been able to wear shorts on my most recent two morning commutes which has been really nice.

1 comment:

  1. I have been missing those areas. I'm bummed because we've decided not to take the bikes on the trip in June. Might have to see if I can find somebody with a bike I can borrow...

    I wonder how the Xtracycle would go over in Powell County?