Sunday, November 4, 2012

Re: Me and Biking

So here's the thing: I haven't been on my bike in weeks.

People ask me, and I feel like it's a lot of reasons and they all come out like excuses. But the bottom line is that it's just more annoying than it is fun. That matters, as I am not really into doing things that are super-annoying and un-fun. Allow me to enumerate some of the reasons why this is.

1. The commute to work on Olivia is always about an hour each way. I am incapable of speeding this up because, as I have mentioned, she and I are both Slow. That's a lot of time and somewhere around 40 minutes in, I am ready for it to be done. And yet it's not done. So the last twenty minutes feel so damn burdensome, every time.

2. Just to take the bike out of my building's basement is this epic struggle that takes 10 sweaty and infuriating minutes. She is wedged into my storage locker (the only place for her, really) and I have to wrestle her out of there (stop, lock door), weave her through the forest of other bikes and debris that clutter the basement, through the narrow hall, then (stop, park bike) prop the back door open, negotiate the extremely narrow area just outside the door (stop, park bike, lock door), up the 6 steps, bang my head on the grill that someone insists on storing there where it leaves only about 8 inches of opening for me and the bike to pass through, (stop, park bike) squeeze past the grill/dumpster, prop open the back gate, (stop, park bike) lock gate behind me, and then - ONLY THEN can I get on the damn bike. It is impossible for me to convey how exhausting and dispiriting this little interlude is.

3. To go through that wrestling match as the kick-off to an hour-long work commute is not the best way to start a day. Sometimes on weekends I think I'll do it, but - to go through all that just so I can run errands? Well, the car is right fucking there on the street. So much easier. For godsakes. My lease is up in March, I absolutely have to move somewhere that I can more easily access the bike. As it stands, this non-riding portion of events is a very serious disincentive.

4. And even when I have been in the mood, the weather went from sweltering jungle heat to gale-force winds, with very little in between. To put up with unpleasant weather for a 20-30-minute ride is one thing. But for an hour each way? No. Sorry, but no.

5. I have had to admit to myself that it's not cars that are the greatest annoyance/danger when I am on my bike. It's other cyclists. It's amazing how assholish some people on bikes can be. Now this would not normally be a deterrent, but when you add it all in with everything else? Well, let me just say that on the train, everyone is usually in their own quiet bubble, reading a book or playing with their phones. There is no struggle to get out the door to get to the train. There is no brutal weather inside the train. The commute by train take about 45 minutes. Can you see why I opt for the train?

If I were in training, then there would be more motivation to go through all that bullshit for a daily ride. But I am not in training.

Speaking of, I honestly don't know where I stand on training next season. Part of me wants to, but it's a vanishingly small part of me. I mean, the most lingering memory I have of training is the hate. As in, my hatred of training. You know how there are allegedly some kinds of pain you forget, like childbirth? Well, training is not that kind of pain. It is memorable. The pain is the outstanding feature. Now that Dan has told me that his doctor has not approved any bike-riding, there is not much that's pushing me to do it.

As a consequence of all this - my current non-riding and my not exactly fired-up attitude toward training - I have not been building a bike or even making plans for it anymore. I still may do it, sure. But right now, I keep thinking of other things I can use the money for. I don't know - it's hard to explain, but it's like something happened to push a giant PAUSE button on all my bike enthusiasm. I'm not fighting it, because -- well, because it's just a hobby and I have better things to expend my energy and effort and guilty conscience on. Either I will feel a renewed wave of obsession about it one day, or I won't.

But I do still love Olivia, and I am planning my next living space around her prominence in my life. I don't think I'll live any closer to work, so the commute can't change. But she'll have a safe and secure storage spot, where I can more easily take her out for a ride when the mood strikes me. So even if I'm never all bike-crazy again one day, I know I'll still always love a nice bike ride. That it will always have this place in my life, and it's an important place.

That's all I really know for now. But it's enough.