Bike to Work Week

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It's May, bike Month.  Specifically this is bike to work week.  I want to bike to work tomorrow, we'll see if I can pull it off or not.  It won't be a far ride. About 3 miles I believe.  It will take a little planning on my part.  With the studio owning most of my free time it makes biking to work more tricky. I have not managed it since I opened the studio.  I've flirted with car free in what feels like a past life.  I may flirt with car free or car lite again. I'm in awe of you lovely people who have figured out how to take the plunge.  

very miss-matched cycling outfit, but hey it got the job done.
very miss-matched cycling outfit, but hey it got the job done.

Have you participated in bike to work week this week?  If not this week have you done it in the past?  What's stopping you from getting on your bike and riding away?  What's stopping you from freeing yourself from the car?  Do share how you've done it.  If you are brave share pictures of your commute! 

Getting Colder

The hardest part about getting up ungodly early in the morning during the week is that you wake up ungodly early on the weekend whether you like it or not.  You begin to hard wire your body for mornings.  That was the case this morning when I was wide awake at 4:45am on a Saturday, well before I actually needed to be moving around. What did this starving early bird do?

Yuppers! I went there.
Yuppers! I went there.

I ate this beast of a meal knowing that it was bitter cold outside (for May anyway), I had a big bike ride in my future  and there would be strong head winds.

Yes I ate it all.  Don't judge me.
Yes I ate it all. Don't judge me.

It was cold outside, and none of my friends were bailing on the "MS Gears and Cheers ride" I figured I couldn't either.  So we bundled up and headed to the grove winery in Gibbsonville.

This is before the hooded sweater shirt was determined to be a necessity.
This is before the hooded sweater shirt was determined to be a necessity.
Yes I wore the hooded sweat shirt the entire 22 miles, no this was not my first ride.
Yes I wore the hooded sweat shirt the entire 22 miles, no this was not my first ride.

This ride is a fund-raiser for MS research.  Great cause.  The ride was fantastic despite the cold, cloudy weather, threat of rain, and winds.  This ride actually had to be one of the most well-marked and supported courses I've ever ridden.

Not to mention when we got done there was this....

Wine glass with wine and LUNCH!
Wine glass with wine and LUNCH!

It seemed that the longer we were on the bike the colder it got, not sure if that was actually the case, but despite the weather it was a Seriously fantastic ride.  I was impressed.  How come there isn't more wine at the end of long rides?

Unbuckled

IMG_0924
IMG_0924

There is something about getting on a bike after a long absence from riding that leaves me feeling completely unbuckled when I start peddling.  If you've been spending the majority of your time in a car buckled in surrounded by metal and airbags you have a nice false sense of security.  When you get on a bike, even with a helmet, gloves, working brakes, sun glasses, and perfectly inflated tires there is still a feeling of nakedness, you're unbuckled, but more importantly you're free.  You're free from the trappings of a false sense of security.  You're completely exposed.

My goal today was to see if I'd be ok riding 23 miles next weekend durning the Rites of Spring.  It has been longer than I'd like to admit since I'd last ridden my beautiful bike.  After teaching a long hard power flow class this morning, I proceeded home encouraged my the sunshine and changed into my favorite light blue embrocation kit.  I'd be lying if I told you I was not proud of the fact that my kit matches all the way down to the socks, my sunglass perfectly accent my pink handle bar tape, and my gloves have pink accents that match too.  Yes, my outfit matches my bike.  I smile to myself, it feels perfect.  I check my free wheel, it's attached safely, I check my brakes, they work nicely, I pump up my tires, and wipe off the dust (yes, the bike had lots of dust on it).  I'm ready to roll.

Pink handle bar tape is key!
Pink handle bar tape is key!

I get out onto my street, and I uncomfortably clip in.  My clips still after all these years make me slightly nervous and I'm reminded how exposed on the bike I am.  I roll out to the main street and feel the air still slightly cool as it rushes past my skin.  I feel the warmth of the sun shining down, I wonder how this is going to go.  I think of turning back (I'm not sure why, there is nothing else to do today).   I get 5 miles out, and realize that I packed my phone, camera, emergency cash and road ID, but failed to bring a water bottle.  Serious Fail.  Oh well, I suppose I'll see how far I can get without a water bottle.

Ridding out of downtown through the "nicer" wealthier neighborhoods in town and notice that my legs feel pretty strong for not having ridden in a long time.  That's a pleasant surprise.  The sunshine feels incredible, I hope we've crested into spring.  Cars fly past and I have that feeling of being unbuckled again, of being naked, too exposed.  Maybe I should turn around.... I remember these feelings are normal on the bike (at least for me), especially if you haven't ridden in awhile, it takes a while to get used roads with cars, I remind myself I'll feel better when I get on the greenway.

What is it about being on a bike that makes you feel like your heart is going to crack wide open?  Have you ever felt that way?  It happens to me a lot when I ride alone. As I peddle up a big hill reminding myself of all of the things that I'm not doing right.  My cadence is too low, I'm not connecting to my breath, my form sucks.  It's not just on the bike though, it's life in general, lots of screw ups, lots of miss-steps, when will I get it right?  Before my eyes well up with tears I remind myself, it's a beautiful day, and the sun is shining and there is no crying on the bike.  Well, maybe sometimes there is crying on the bike, but certainly no need today.

I hit battleground park I'm 11 miles in and decide without a water bottle I should turn around.  My legs are starting to feel tired and maybe my mind has hit it's turn around point even if my body really could go longer.

It's nice to get home and have 20 miles under my belt for the day, I'm sure that The Rites of Spring will go well and now I'm confident that I can hang with a group just fine.  Time for lunch. Veggie Burger and a beer for sure!  Maybe I'll even ride to work tomorrow...

Pursuing Car Light, working toward knocking a bucket off the list.

very miss-matched cycling outfit, but hey it got the job done.
very miss-matched cycling outfit, but hey it got the job done.

Cycling, is a lovely sport, perfect recreation, great for the mind, great for the body, great for making friends, ideal for getting around.  Cycling is a passion, there is something very satisfying about being on my bike, on the road or on the trails, with friends or by myself it doesn't matter because whatever it is, it helps me connect to something in my soul.  The hard thing is that I clearly have many passions and not enough time to give all of them the time I'd like to give them.

Me and my friends from the bike NC trip in 2011.  This was day 1 best vacation ever.
Me and my friends from the bike NC trip in 2011. This was day 1 best vacation ever.

I'm determined to fit cycling and running back into my life consistently.  I have a strong desire to be at least 75% car free in my life.  One of the problems with that is that my living situation is a bit wonky.  I have my room I rent from a friend close to downtown, even still the majority of the time I'm at my Fella's house and he lives a solid 45 minute bike ride from downtown, where I work and where I teach yoga, not to mention my schedule is very tight even with driving everywhere like I do at the moment.

My awesome bike! Thank you Sophie for helping me with this beauty!
My awesome bike! Thank you Sophie for helping me with this beauty!

I know that to make this bucket list dream a reality, then I'm going to need to start biking into work from Cullen's house more often.  Realistically I can only do this on days that he can let the dogs out after work and days I don't have too tight a work/yoga teaching transition.  Don't forget Cullen and I are both responsible for keeping our canine friends happy and I need to make sure I'm pulling my weight.  That aside I know I can start by biking into work 1 day a week, maybe Monday's and see how that goes, if it goes well, then I could incorporate Friday's too.  That will be about 18 miles round trip and will be a good start.  There are things I have to navigate, like no showers at my place of work, and people from other departments looking at me like a crazy nut in my cycling gear hauling my bike up the elevator in spandex (my department has already seen me do this and they accept me and my outside the box adventures for what they are, luckily my floor JP12 seems to embrace it).

Bikes in my yoga studio yes, they are sports that go together beautifully.
Bikes in my yoga studio yes, they are sports that go together beautifully.

Wanting to ride your bike to work, one day a week or many days a week may not be outside the box where you work and live, but unfortunately it is a Lincoln, but every time I do it I'll be challenging the box and helping people to think differently.  Either way I get healthier and maybe the people around me get healthier too.  Greensboro needs people who are willing to do something different right?  If I don't try to change things in my life then they will always be the same.  In my cubical at work I have a picture of Gandhi, and I try to remind myself "Be the change".  It's true, you have to be the change.  You must be the change it if you want it no one else can do it for you.  If you want something go for it even if it feels nuts at first.

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Back long ago when I biked to work, I was only living a mile from work, I could walk or bike and it didn't make a difference and the route was so short I didn't need wear bike clothes, I would ride in sporting high heals and dresses. Yup, I definitely did that and would do it again.

Now it's different, the ride in is much longer and will require more planning ahead and will definitely require bike clothes. I'm thinking I'm also going to need to keep baby wipes at my desk to help freshen up after the ride in.  I'm determined to start, my new biking adventure will begin the first Monday in March when the fella is back to help me with the dogs.

My first and only adventure tri.
My first and only adventure tri.

Do you bike to work?  Have you thought about biking to work?  What is holding you back? Want to make a pact with me to ride to work one day a week in March and see where it goes?

VW Beetle Vs. Trek Women's fit Bike

I'm struggling... Today, it's society, work pressures, the desiree to be able to jump in the car and go vs. social responsibility.  That boils down to The VW beetle Vs. My beautiful Women's fit Trek Bike (yes, it's white and pink: If I could have had it all pink I would have bought it all pink)

I drove a lot this weekend.  I biked a lot this weekend.  I actually put almost as many miles on the bike as I did on the car and I think that's saying something given the fact that I drove to Lexington NC. and back.

Here's my struggle why the bike is better:

  • It's socially responsible to get rid of the car, physically and emotionally I can do all of my day to day on the bike.
  • The bike is better for the environment
  • The bike is better for my health
  • The bike is better for my wallet
  • Not to mention, I love, love love riding the bike all over town
  • I love the way it slows me down and makes me think about what I'm doing and how I'm investing my time
  • I think I'm safer on the bike than I am in the car

Here is why I'm not sure if I can give up the VW (even though I hate her)

  • She gets me to the yoga class I teach in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:45am.  If I didn't take the car, well I'd have to wake up at like 4am.  I could do it, but  I think I'd resent it.
  • She allowed me to jump in the car and drive to lexington spur of the moment to see someone very dear to my heart who was only 30 miles away.
  • How else will I get to the Raleigh air port the 3-5 times a year I fly out of Raleigh for work on little notice?

Do you see my struggle?  I want to do things that are amazing, amazing for myself, amazing to others, and amazing for our environment, but I'm struggling.

These few weeks trying not to use the car have been really great. I'm happy with not driving to work, as a matter of fact I love not driving to work.  I've made that commitment wholeheartedly.  I've even opted out of my parking space in the parking garage.  That will save me 120$ a year.  Not to mention I still get to park my bike in the parking garage.  I love the way it feels to ride my bike up Elm St. in high heels and see the faces people make, but I'm conflicted about the things above.

I suppose this is where people who are married kinda have it great, because you can go car-lite.  Splitting one car between two people or at least having someone you can count on to help you figure sh*t out.

I'd love your thoughts here.  So far, I don't mind riding in the rain when I have to.  I don't mind cold weather, and I know that even in giving up the car there are some "what if's" that you just can't account for, but the the spur of the moment work trips out of raleigh and giving up the ability to have an adventure at a moments notice give me pause.

Please tell me I'm being silly.

Please tell me to sell the damn car and stop being such a wuss.  Really, I could use the encouragement that it will all work it's self out.  Worse case scenario I hate going with having a car and buy a new one right?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Yours the conflicted one,

-Lish