Bicycle commute right in my wheehouse
Finally rode my bicycle to work on Thursday – just a man and his trusty iron steed.
My vintage Peugeot mountain bike could’ve been a contender for creakiest contraption on the mean streets of Portsmouth. But at least its squeaky wheels drowned out the sound of my grinding knees.
Ever since I took a job closer to home, I’ve been flapping my gums about riding to work … one of these days. So official Bike to Work Day was my big chance to make my carbon footprint small – a knobby-tired, no-petroleum day of car-free karma.
Getting to work under your own power is said to be good for the heart and lungs, digestion, complexion, muscle tone and, of course, the pancreas. (Sadly, reports of a more robust and satisfying sex life remain unconfirmed.)
For those who’d like to try it but fear you may have forgotten how to ride a bike, it is, as the saying goes, “like riding a bike.”
First, use a damp cloth to wipe most of the cobwebs from your vehicle.
Next, check to see if the tires have enough air. (They won’t, so add some. Don’t worry about mixing 1993 air with 2014 air. And if you don’t have any air at your house, you can usually buy some for 50 cents at a gas station.)
Third, grasp your “handlebars” and assume the position. Once aboard the velocipede – shove off, old sport. Position your feet on the “pedals” and begin rotating them in a circular-type motion.
This should cause the bicycle to begin moving. Do not panic. Instead calmly utilize the handlebars to steer yourself in the desired direction, harnessing your innate sense of balance to avoid tumbling onto the pavement and cracking open your face and/or skull.
For additional tips on bicycling, check out my new worst-sellers “Road Rash: Friend or Foe” and “Does This Spandex Make My Butt Look Ridiculous?”
Of course, I was hoping to observe some wildlife. I’ve spotted deer and turkey while rolling to the newsroom in my horseless carriage. So, freed from the confines of my 2006 Honda Metal Box, surely I would spy a flock of federally protected bald eagles, maybe a beaver or a porcupine.
Truth be told, I wouldn’t know an upland sandpiper from a pied-billed grebe. But I made it to work in about 22 minutes and felt super all day long.
On the ride home, I opted for a quicker pace and made it in 15 minutes. Adding to the exhilaration, not far from my office a rambunctious jackrabbit bounded across my path, feet from my front tire.
Now, I may not be the best spokesman for the spoke-wheeled commute – not necessarily looking to proselytize the pedal-powered experience.
But if biking to work sounds like fun, my advice is to get out there and do it. And let neither creaky knees nor cranky derailleurs derail you.
-- John Breneman