Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The year of circumstances (not being quite right)

I'm trying to do a new year's reflection on all my blogs: a sort of recap and recalibration.

But this year, circumstances have been such that I don't get on the bike as much as I did. I used to have a job five days a week that was about seven or eight miles away depending on the route you took, and I could ride there in the morning and ride home at night, and I spent a lot of time with my legs going and my eyes on the path in front of me, or my head up and my ears tuned for the cars.

This year, though, I've been driving three days a week to a job 40km out along the highway: not something I can bike to. Well, I could. Sure, I could. And would I ever be in amazing shape right now if I did. . . But it's a matter of time. I don't have that kind of time. If cycling was a fitness thing for me, if fitness was a lifestyle for me like it is for some, then sure. I know there are a lot of people that ride that far to and from work. But I just can't take that much time out of my day. (And, leaving that job at 7 or 8 at night would have me riding home in the dark all the time, along back roads in Quebec. No thanks.)

But, one thing I've learned because of that is how much I actually do enjoy riding when I can. I'm no longer just getting up and riding to work in the rain or the snow or the heat because that's how I have to get around: I'm relishing the chance to go downtown now on the bike. No searching for parking. No digging for change to pay for parking. No running out to feed the meter. No stopping for gas, no scraping off ice and brushing off snow and not being sure if the car will start because of the deep cold. The bike starts, no matter how cold. I can store it inside. It costs nothing to park and it never needs gas or wiper fluid.

This winter has been snowy (very snowy!) and cold: not the best conditions. But I still get out on the bike. I still relish the feeling of being one of the (growing number of) cyclists who just bundle up and get out there, and who try to explain to their friends why riding is actually warmer than walking, or taking the bus. And my long term job searching goals now include the nice-to-have of being within biking distance: because I know (for reals) now how important it is to me.

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