I like to think of my legs as part machine. When they're pushing against the spin cycle that gets me around.
My Uncle John found an old bicycle in his garage, asked if I wanted it, I said yes, he fixed it up. I've had two fairly nice bicycles in the city that have been thieved from me. The more recent one, two years ago, I believe I spouted off about it here. So I've been avoiding. Yet wanting. Then avoiding, wondering if I should invest in such a vehicle, and if were to, I'd imagine the ways I can make it into a beater with duct tape and spray paint so it looks less desirable to the pro bike burglar to pawn off on the market for cheap bikes. I had often thought about going about buying a cheap bike, then wondering if I'd be inadvertently buying someone else's stolen bike, so it put the whole thing on hold.
But this opportunity, this garage bike, this ancient machine from my Uncle's college days, having spun him around Houghton, Michigan up there in the upper peninsula, yes back in the day, this is the beater.
I've also been itching to ditch CTA for awhile. Sometimes you need a break from public transit.
I've been biking to work for a few weeks and though I look like a bike messenger these days with my pants rolled up and bike gloves wrapping my hands, there's a ton of positives about this.
I feel more energized in the morning, more focused, ready to get down to work.
I feel less anxious in the morning. There's always this anxiety I seem to absorb when riding the subway, like everybody's stress and worries about the day are wafting up and I'm inhaling this and it makes for an odd and inexplicable nerve wracking first hour of the day. I don't have that with my bicycling.
It's 4.2 miles to work. So each day, I'm getting 8.4 miles of spin cycle cardio.
My commute has gone from 45 minutes to 22 minutes.
It's a lot of damn fun.
Doing errands after work is kind of easier, as you can propel yourself in and out of different neighborhoods more fluidly than with transferring buses and waiting and transferring.
It's a healthy thing, because in running some recent blood pressure checks, my blood pressure is on the high side. Biking is an integrated way to make sure I'm getting some exercise in the day. And as mentioned, feeling more energized in the morning, is putting me in a position where I can feasibly ween myself off coffee. Cutting back the 5 or more cup a day habit is, I think, a big step in getting this beast of a blood pressure score down. I'm 30 now, so this is the kind of thing I'm supposed to worry about. It is time.
Let's spin things morbid for a second. I've been thinking a bit about my own mortality, especially while riding my bike. For all of it's pluses, taking a spill could very well end it all. Yet, I don't feel frightened by it. I'm putting myself out there, getting where I need to go in an efficient, enjoyable way, that's life, yes? In fact, part of my lessened anxiety may be due to the notion that in comparison to the dangers of the road, whatever professional challenges I come across in the day are puny.
So while riding to work on Friday, I was thinking about spooky stuff since it was the 13th. I thought about what if I wiped out and became a ghost. I thought about a prank I'd love to pull if I had the chance. I'd hang out in the kitchen when someone was baking something in the oven. Then I'd turn it off while they walked away to do whatever they do in between. When they come back and wonder why it's still cold, they'll notice the oven isn't even on. Then they'll think they're losing their minds! When they turn it back on, I'll turn it off again. Until they catch on. This may sound mean, and I do have a bit of a latent mean streak, but it's also harmless, and I think, hilarious.
Point is, we're all just messing around. Bikes. Blood. Ghosts. People. Getting around and getting ahead.