For years now, I've fantasized of combining my workout with my commute. The traffic in Atlanta is so dreadful (I believe we were actually #1 for badness in a few traffic surveys this year), and I spend so very much time sitting on my ever-augmenting backside...why not do something useful with all that time?
Last year, I began seeking out alternate routes to work. I found one that's all surface streets that I really enjoy and when I learned it was only 13 miles I began to think more seriously of biking it. There is a shower at my office. It's a weird thing, just sitting there in one of the bathrooms in the basement. No one has ever used it, from what I can tell. I consulted with our building manager who liked my plan to bike to work so well she had the plumber check to be sure the shower was working properly the next time he was in. That was very nice, but it suddenly meant I was probably going to have to do this thing. Deciding that the humiliation I'd experience if I had to admit to her that I wasn't really biking to work was the key to forcing myself to achieve this goal, I started telling everyone my plan.
Though my route is all surface streets, they're extremely busy surface streets. I pass schools and cross over the interstate and end up on Roswell Road, which is insane. That's all fine for the ride in, since I would only be doing this on days I pick the girls up from daycare and therefore arrive at work at 7:30. I'd be riding in before the traffic shows up. I leave the office to head to daycare around 4, though, and by then it's full-on rush hour here in the ATL. I would need another route home, and I would need to make it in an hour, so I would have time to put my bike away, jump in the car and get to daycare.
There are a lot of logistics involved. But I've told everyone, you see. Now I have to do it. I've been biking more, trying to get my speed up a bit and planning. I went to see the nice folks at Bicycle South, who sold me my bike and who were extremely helpful with my loose gear cables and in answering my bevy of questions. I did a test run on a Sunday morning a couple weeks ago. Twenty-eight miles round trip, and lots of hills. Oh the hills. You see them in your car, but the intensity of the change in elevation is something you just can't wrap your head around until you've biked them. I remained only slightly daunted.
Then it happened. The other morning I was biking with one of the women in the neighborhood nuts enough to go riding at 5AM and we were talking about the obstacles between my goal and me and she said "can't you drive part of the way and bike the rest?" As I pondered her question I realized something. I am dumb. Of course I can do that.
So now I've checked the weather and am planning a trip back to Bicycle South for a road safety kit. I'm thinking I'll make my initial biking commute this coming Wednesday, barring incident. For some reason the idea of it is sort of scary to me, even though I bike all over the place, often in a great deal of traffic, without much thought at all. If I park at Toco Hills shopping center, I shave just 3 miles off the entire trip, but that's plenty. So I'm ready. I think. I'm telling the blog now, so I'm leaving myself no choice.