As I’ve mentioned I now live in Northern Ontario. The Boy disputes this – he went to renew his license the other day and he tells me that we unequivocally do NOT live in Northern Ontario – he checked the map. Anyway, part of the decision to move to suburbia is I’m currently working in Newmarket and I am determined to put off buying a car for as long as possible. So I’m part of the rare group of people who take the bus in York Region.
When we first moved to our apartment I was thrilled with its proximity to my work. I could (in theory) walk to work… that is if I wanted to leave for work about an hour before I need to get there, but I could do it. What was more likely is biking to work. I have been talking about it pretty much since we moved. In the fall I hadn’t moved my bike yet, and then this spring it went from rainy and cold to HOT so day after day I’d make excuses and say I’ll do it tomorrow.
Now it’s hot. And yesterday my sister suggested we go to the beach this weekend. Okay, pressure’s on. I get it. I have to start moving my butt. The Boy and I were going for walks in the evening, but since he works outside walking all day in the heat – he’s less and less interested in physical activity by the time he gets home. Somehow I don’t think this is going to be the summer I learn to play tennis. Nope, I’m going to have to do something on my own.
Then it happened – the final straw. I work with women that have a lot of barriers… all kinds of very legitimate reasons why no one could blame them if they spent the day in bed refusing to get up and doing anything in the morning. Yesterday morning I met with a group of ladies and it came out through our session that they had each overcome some obstacle to get there. Whether it was unsupportive family, sick kids, another appointment, depression the list of barriers goes on and on. But they all made it. Every morning I wake up when the Boy leaves the house at 5:40 and think – I should get up now, think of how productive I could be. I could bike to work. Or walk. Or go for a long walk, shower and then take the bus to work. But the pillow calls and the numbers on the clock scream at me, “Are you crazy?! It’s still in the FIVES!!” So I go back to sleep. But this morning I thought, “If these women can do it with everything they face… I can get up a little earlier (not at 5:40 though) and bike to work.”
So I did.
Here is what I learned this morning – tips for cyclists:
1. When you go outside and feel a little cool in your lulu capris and tank top – don’t be deceived it is still really hot out – you should not go in and change into a t-shirt.
2. Wick away clothes were made for a reason – it is advised that you wear them especially when you have them sitting in your closet. Cotton is not your friend.
3. Check your tires – especially when your bike has been sitting outside for about 3 weeks and hasn’t been pumped up since then. Even if they feel okay – they’re probably not, fill them up before heading out.
4. When you’ve started biking and realize that your tires are in fact quite flat – don’t keep biking, find the CLOSEST gas station and fill them up… do not wait until you are almost at work to stop there. Go DIRECTLY to the gas station – it’s worth the detour.
5. Probably a good idea to not make your first bike ride of the year/of about 3 years one to work. The phrase “it’s just like riding a bike” might be true – but it does take a little getting used to… especially given the flat tires… and when your entire bike to work is pretty much uphill.
6. Bring water. The radio may have told you it was only 18C outside – but that temperature is quickly rising and it’s probably hotter than they’re letting on.
7. If you haven’t been on your bike for about 2-3 years – it’s probably a good idea to take it in for a tune up before you get started… you probably need new tires altogether. Despite popular belief, these things don’t actually last forever… and if you’ve had said bike for at least 10 years – those tires have probably served their time, and deserve their retirement.
8. Don’t give up. Despite reasons 1-7 that might want to make you call the Boy and tell him to pick you up from work, because this whole biking to work plan was clearly a disaster – don’t do it. You got to work – you can get home.
So I’m biking home tonight. I’ll pack my bike in the car and take it for a little tune up, or at least get new tires. It’s a good thing to do even if I was hot and sweaty by the time I got to work. And now that I’ve done it once it will hopefully be less of a chore and more of a treat… well maybe treat isn’t the right word…