This picture is in the public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)”]Last year I started riding my bike to work at the beginning of April. I rode until mid-October, until the time change and then it was too dark, even with a light. I loved riding my bike – no line-ups, no crowds, no listening to someone else’s music blare out of their earphones. Just fresh air and peace and quiet.
I took the bus during the winter and counted every month until I could get back on my bike. I purposely didn’t buy a public transit pass for April. My bike was ready and I had located the essentials = my panniers (to carry my stuff), my lock and my helmet. We have access to showers in our building, so it is just a matter of throwing on some weather appropriate clothing and saddling up. But when Monday rolled around, I found myself making excuses about riding to work. I wasn’t feeling well, I was tired, I was volunteering at school and riding would make me too late (It takes me about 40-45 minutes to ride, lock up my bike and shower and get ready)
But I have found I have been impatient, especially with M, over the last couple of days. He pretty much always tunes me out when his is watching tv or playing computer games, but yesterday, I could hear my voice going up a few octaves as I kept asking him to do something. I usually get out for a walk with a friend at lunch at least 2-3 times a week, but the last couple of weeks have been too busy. So I knew I needed exercise.
For me, exercise is a way of managing my stress and improving/sustaining my mental health. Too little exercise, even over a couple of weeks, has an impact. I get impatient, crabby and tired. Which just makes me less patient and even crabbier.
Cycling is a good fit for me – the distance is long enough so I am actually working at it, but not so long that it is arduous. I usually ride along a public pathway that follows a river, so the scenery is pleasant. The only real hazard is the geese – they like to graze on the grass bordering the pathway and it can be a bit nerve-wracking when a flock of them decide to cross in front of you as you are rolling down the path. Despite a couple of close calls, I’ve never made contact with a goose.
So this morning, I packed my clothes in my panniers, along with my lunch, threw on some warm clothes and headed out on my bike. I deliberately went slowly. It was a bit chilly to start but I warmed up quickly. I got to work refreshed and in a good mood. I don’t hate the bus, but getting there on my own steam is much more pleasant.
It wasn’t supposed to rain, but of course it did. My office window affords me a good view of the storms coming and going and I watched a series of them blow by over the course of the afternoon. I managed to get home in between storm fronts and again, it was enjoyable. It will probably take me a few days to back into the routine of being back on my bike. It may take a few days longer before I start to notice the positive effects. M probably still won’t answer me the first or third time I talk to him while he’s playing on an electronic device, but hopefully it won’t bother me as much. Plus I will start to get thighs of steel.
Update: This morning when I headed out on my bike, it was cold and there was a head wind that made me feel lie I was pedalling through molasses. My right leg wasn’t very happy with having to work so hard – I could feel the strain from my knee right up my thigh. The river looked gray and angry. But the sun came out about 5 minutes before I got to work. I had a warm shower. I feel much calmer and relaxed compared to mornings I take the bus. Must be all the oxygen.