Bike to Work Week: Friday Morning

Damn. I forgot my pants.

I can manage a lot of outfits, but the bike shorts/oxford ensemble is a tough sell.

I’ve been forgetting to pack at least one item a day this week. Monday, it was socks. Tuesday, a belt. Wednesday, an undershirt. On Thursday, I finally managed to get it all together, but for my ascot. And now today, overconfident from Thursday’s success, I failed to doublecheck the most essential item.    

My much put-upon ladyfriend offered to drive me my pants, an offer I painfully accept, knowing full well it completely negates my attempt to reduce the carbon emissions I’m responsible for. Such is my reverence for proper workplace attire.

Oh oxfords and bike shorts, when will the world accept you together as business casual ?

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Bike to Work Week: Thursday

These are the things I have come to expect from my daily biked commute:

  • A wet bike. No matter the weather the night before, my bike is always wet in the morning. Am I being pranked? The other bikes don’t seem wet.
  • A damp helmet. Not fully dried from the day before. Perhaps need to invest in other helmets if I don’t want to continue with these soggy starts.
  • Almost getting killed six times.
  • A daunting morning climb up the hill at Old Sauk, usually while being casually passed by some dorky 80-year-old dude in a yellow vest and bulging calves.
  • Self-consciousness about how I look in my helmet.
  • The pungent smell of decay from UW’s poorly maintained grain silos. Though it doesn’t smell like grain. Maybe they’re ham silos?
  • Awkward head nods to bikers coming in the opposite direction, silently acknowledging our ethical commuting choice or inability to afford gas.
  • Incomplete contemplation of the mundane. This morning: Whatever happened to the cherry they used to put in canned fruit cups? This afternoon: Is our go-to-market strategy based on a fundamental misunderstanding of our customers’ purchasing affiliations?
  • Student pedestrians: Dumbasses, all.
  • Student moped operators: Dumbasses, all.
  • Sweat. A lot.
  • The guy and his Airedale.
  • The repeated dilemma to stop at red lights and stop signs, or to embrace the biker outlaw spirit and fringe status by blowing right through.
  • The finger.

Bike to Work Week: Wednesday Evening

I caught a clear intersection at the bottom of the Old Sauk hill. This rarely happens. Usually I have to stop at the intersection at the bottom, killing all the momentum I built after going half a mile downhill. But this time, the intersection was clear, and I could just glide right through, propelling me for the next mile, cutting my time by 3 minutes. It’s a rare sweet feeling.

I also saw the guy I always see walking his Airedale Terrier. I had an Airedale growing up. Too bad it was inbred to insanity and terrified everyone. Is it just me, or do parents often get inappropriately aggressive dogs for their small children?

Eventually it would be put to sleep at the request of our neighbors, who’s son happened to have been slightly mauled by “Mickey.” Seeing this well-groomed Airedale every day on my ride home makes me think of old “Mickey” and my unsatisfying attachment to him. What the hell was I getting out of that relationship? It bit me, dragged me across yards, ran away. And yet I was always there for him. When he cut his nose after maniacally sniffing the rough garage floor, it was me as a weepy and pudgy 10-year-old who stayed up all night trying to stop the bleeding.

I kind of long for and resent that dog. And I kind of want to stop and pet this dog. But I don’t. I think I’ll probably end up bringing up “Mickey” which will probably take the conversation places this stranger does not want to go.

Plus, I caught a clear intersection this night. If I get short on material later this week, I’ll stop.

Bike to Work Week: Monday-Tuesday

Since life doesn’t pose enough challenges for me, I’ve decided to pose a few of my own.

When I’m not commenting on the Vore’s blog (which I’ve unsuccessfully lobbied to have them change the title to “Voretext”…no one appreciates me), I also hold down a full time job 7.4 miles away. Apropos of nothing (or if you think about it, everything) I’ve decided to bike to and from it everyday this week.

Lord knows why this will make a good blog series, but I need to stall while figure out what to say about “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” (the finest picker to play the blues or don’t you know?). 

I’ve been biking to work intermittently throughout the summer on my brand new Trek hybrid. It’s a 45-minute trip, 55 if I want it scenic. But this is my first attempt to do it 5 consecutive days. 

Monday was alright. Woke up with enough time. The hill at the beginning of Old Sauk Road is always a trial, a 60 degree pitch that goes half a mile. Makes me nostalgic for that 110 page thesis I once wrote. 

I’m pretty sweaty by the end of this. The factory floor bathroom at work has a shower, which it seems I’m the only one brave enough or careless to use. No problem for me. But I haven’t found a place to stash my laundry during the workday. I’ve been hiding it in my desk, which could get rank fast. I usually just take this home the next day by car. But since we don’t have this option this week, we’ll see how this develops.

The ride back wasn’t a problem. It’s a sweet ride down the Old Sauk hill.

Tuesday, I woke up a little late. So I pedalled a little faster. Even still, the tired mind wanders with monotonous physical activity. Tried to figure out how long it would take for me to get sick of it if I changed my first name to Ivanna.

“Hello?”

“Who is this?”

“Ivanna”

“Ivanna who?”

“Ivanna talk to you.”

Man, I get a kick out of that everytime.

Holy mole, I’m going to need some more dramatic tension soon, other than my moldering, desk-entombed laundry.

From 1 World 2 Wheels: A Trek Commitment

  • 60% of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation.
  • 25% of all trips are made within a mile of the home, 40% of all trips are withing 2 miles of the home, and 50% of the working population communtes five miles or less to work. 
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