I’m not much of an activist, but I have taken action in support of our environment. As of this past Monday, I began what I hope to be a consistent plan to reduce my gas consumption, reduce mileage on my car, and increase my fitness level. I am currently riding a bicycle for the most idle-intensive leg of my 40-mile commute to work. Depending on the season, the idle-intensive phase consists of approximately 30-45 minutes of time over about 10 miles. I’m working my way up to this distance, possibly further, with each day that I commute on the bike. I started Monday with a 3-mile ride; Wednesday was 4 miles, and now Friday is at 6 miles. Friday is unique in that I went off my normal route to meet-up with a friend for the ride in. That may have added an extra mile. I’m trying to keep my average speed at or above 10 miles/hour so as to one day ride the whole distance in an hour or less. So far, this has not been a real problem. I have been able to keep my average up over 15mph during this innagural week. It has been 10 years or more since I last rode any, so I can only assume I’ll get better. The hardest part has been finding a place to park my car so it won’t get towed while I’m at work! That, and getting over saddle-soreness. I was told before that that was the part of my body that needed to get broken in slowly. A person of moderate fitness can probably hop on a bike and ride 12 miles, but the saddle pains will make them regret it. So it’s best to work your way up, if for nothing else, to break-in the tush.
At any rate, the ride has been exhilerating and not nearly as difficult as I thought, even in the summer heat. I haven’t ridden in the rain yet, but expect to. I’m still trying to outfit myself appropriately; bike gear and accessories can be very expensive. Right now, I’m trying to get some good panniers to carry my stuff. I’m using a great backpack to carry my laptop and a change of clothes, but this is less than ideal for several reasons.
As a side benefit of breaking out the old bike (13-14 years old, actually), Balthazar took an immediate interest in riding with me. He has done really well in picking up on the mechanics of riding. He’s still in training wheels for his first week, but I don’t think it will take him long to graduate.
It’s so funny because I’ve had this bike forever and never put any thought towards trying to make time for it. When I was younger and didn’t have a car, the bike was my only mode of transportation. I don’t know why it never occured to me that I could again replace my transportation with a bicycle, even if only for a small portion of my total commute.
So here I am, doing my part for the environment and being green. Fitting. I am sporting a tattoo of the Green Man on my shoulder blade.