I really like the idea of bike to work day: time in the sun before work, a casual ride in the sun, the sights, smells and sounds, a slightly smaller shoe size in my carbon footprint.
The idea is great. The reality, not so much.
Let me preface this by saying I've been a relatively serious rider for more than 25 years: I've ridden across Europe, about 1,600 miles, across England, up and down the Irish coast, through France and into Germany. When I lived in upstate New York, my bud Bill and I would shoot for a total of 50 miles afternoons between Monday and Friday with a long weekend ride. My favorites were Middletown, NY to Manhattan or Queens, with a ride over the George Washington Bridge[* and a few laps around Central Park to make 100 miles, a century ride. Bill's wife and my girlfriend du jour[* would meeting us for a night out and a ride back.
Recently though, my job has eaten my life. I've watched other riders out in the sun with a growing sense of envy, so when I remembered bike to work day, I put it on my calendar. The folks here were pretty cool with the idea.
I shot myself in the foot right from the start. I recently moved from Oakland to reduce my carbon footprint[*, and much of my stuff is still in Tupperware.
I ignored my own best advice, the Boy Scout motto of "Be Prepared," and didn't do the simple things that would have made my morning easier. I didn't check out my bike last night or dig out my gear. I also didn't think about breakfast.
All of which left me scurrying this morning. My bike: flat tires. Gear: somewhere in Tupperware. Breakfast: Hah!.
I'm a skinny little guy with body fat in the negative numbers. This sounds good, except I have little in reserve and have to eat pretty much constantly[* so food was the first order of business. Bagel: check.
It took me about 15 minutes do dig out my gear, much to the dismay of my dog, who gets really nervous when I start moving boxes around.[*
Having flat tires on a bike to work day sucks because, in theory, anyway, there's work on the other end and people tend to expect a person to, well, show up. Plus I had to walk a couple blocks in my bike shoes.
All things considered, it was a great ride. I got exactly what I was looking for: sun, some exercise and a fine ride to work. Being a reporter on a bike creates some problems; I had to ride to an interview with the police chief, for example, and I spent the day hoping there wouldn't be any breaking news, like a fire on the far side of town.
I learned a couple of things. I was reminded about how much I love to ride, and also how out of shape I am. I'm still in good shape for a guy my age, but it's that guy my age codicil that bugs me.
And while ride to work day was a good idea, it's the ride home from work, after doing my job all day that will bring the real test.