One essential element of successful randonneuring is to enjoy riding one’s bike. I know I like to ride mine. Two weeks ago, I happily hopped on my bicycle to take part in “Bike to Work Day” even though it was my day off. See how dedicated I am? (Note: socially unacceptable bragging.)
However, in my four short (or long, however you want to look at it) years of randonneuring, I notice that each brevet season– what I also call Spring– I reach a point where the idea of riding my bike to the office loses its appeal and I throw in the towel on the bike commute. That happened this week on what I am calling “Don’t Make Me Bike to Work Week.”
Before Don’t Make Me Bike to Work Week, I was zipping everywhere by bike– going to work, toodling to the grocery store, and reveling in the feel of each ride. This past Monday that all stopped. Get on my bike? Yuck.
I know this feeling doesn’t happen to all randonneurs. Many of my cycling friends cannot think of a better way to spend each day than on their bike. Every single day! But not me! Bike lethargy enveloped me and rather than fight that feeling, I hung up the Sidis and put on my walking shoes.
During Don’t Make Me Bike to Work Week I was not a cyclist; I morphed into a pedestrian, Metro rider, and bus passenger. I think I carried it off quite well! This week I exercised my patience, rested my legs, and enjoyed reacquainting myself with the tunes on my iPod .
I liked being a pedestrian, except that it took me three times longer than my bicycle commute to walk home. Also, since I was incognito, no one riding their bike could identify me as a cyclist , which essentially eliminated all pre- and post-work socially acceptable bragging opportunities.
As a Metro rider and bus passenger, I sacrificed the control of my departure and arrival times to the whims of the rush hour traffic and the will of mass transit. Metro riding also reminded me of the morning crankiness and crowdedness that often pervades the morning subway commute.
When bike commuting, I sometimes moan and groan about the aggressive drivers (or even yell at them if I feel my life is in danger). Pedestrians and tourists freak me out with their unpredictable movements, particularly when that movement is right toward my bicycle. I get irritated when my work clothes don’t handily fit into my pannier, changing at the office is an inconvenience, and helmet hair– well, I just can’t stand helmet hair! Throw a series of brevets on top of it all, and my cycling verve fades.
There is nothing like Don’t Make Me Bike to Work Week and spending a few days as a pedestrian, Metro rider, and bus passenger to ebb those frustrations and revive my inner cyclist! Overall, I prefer being on the road dealing with the things cyclists do, and having full control of my schedule. I get to exchange hellos with my fellow randonneurs when we cross paths on our commutes; that’s a real treat! And cycling is cheaper than bus or Metro, which allows me to save my pennies for all those brevet medals I collect in my desk drawers.
This week the Sidis are on and I’m back to stuffing the panniers, enjoying the fresh air of the morning with my bike commuter brethren, and pedaling my way to the office. Hey everybody, I’m a cyclist again. (Please, ask me about my riding!) It feels great, and it’s all thanks to Don’t Make Me Bike to Work Week!