Archive for the ‘The Bike’ Category

Let’s harken way back. Who remembers how adamant I have been in my anti-biking stance? I scorned cyclists. I stomped my feet and swore I’d never be interested in multi-sport. Well, erm. Even though my plantar fascia aren’t too flexible, it seems my opinion about cycling has become more pliant, since it seems I really enjoy riding my bike.

This woman, who swore up and down that she’d never bike on the city streets because it was a surefire way to get killed, has become a bike commuter. Today marks my first-ever round-trip bicycle commute, and I have one main thing to say about it: I FUCKING LOVE IT!

It’s so much fun to get to work via pedal power. I love being outside. I love using my body and clearing my mind to and from work. It’s like playtime. I love my bike, I love the sweet clicky sound it makes when I coast. I love giving myself pep talks to get up hills, I love switching gears. I really loved the briny smell of the water as I biked along the East River Greenway. Oh, that’s right — we live on an island!

I love the intense vigilance I must practice as I scoot down Second Avenue and up First. I love taking a look around at the city and her angles (when it’s safe to do so). I already knew that New York reveals herself differently to runners than to pedestrians and motorists; now, I am starting to appreciate the city from a cyclist’s point of view. The slopes of my bridge treat me differently as a cyclist; I prefer the eastbound crossing as a cyclist (whereas as a runner I preferred the westbound incline). I like how I can greet the traffic cops face to face as they help me move safely with traffic. I like the anonymous fellowship with the other cyclists on the road; we’re not all the same, but we seem to be a tribe.

Here’s another thing: I like the physical exertion. Kids, it’s been a while! There’s no satisfaction like the one after you’ve panted and sweat in pursuit of a destination. I used to get that satisfaction through running; now it seems like I can find it in biking. I hope that proves true, because I love that happy sweaty feeling so much I want to bite it.

Side note: my butt is decidedly less sore (hardly sore at all, actually) after I ride the bike now. (#notaeuphemism, people.) How does that happen? Do my sit bones develop calluses or something? (?!?) Whatever it is, it’s remarkable!

I need to name my bike. ‘Cause I lurve her. She’s so pretty and sturdy.* I love how her wheels are not too skinny and not too fat. I love how I can pick her up and toss her over my shoulder if we need to get up and down stairs. Should I call her Isabel? Lucia? Bea? I’ll keep thinking on it.

So here’s the recap: I bike commuted today. It was fun; I want to do it again, as soon as possible. Sounds like a successful popping of the cherry to you, right?

*Did I ever tell you that one of the first compliments MM paid me about my appearance was to call me “sturdy?” He denies it, but he said it! I knew he meant that he was glad I wasn’t a twiggy kind of girl; I knew he didn’t mean that I was built like a tree trunk. But I still like to tease him about it.

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Legit and Fit

I’ve worked at my company for sixteen years, and with the brief exception of a year and a half when I worked from home, I’ve reported for duty every day at a big black office building in Midtown Manhattan. I’ve moved offices and floors, but I’ve spun in and out of the same set of revolving doors since July 1998.

my old office, all packed up.Tomorrow, my company will have completed a move of its corporate headquarters to one block away from the Freedom Tower, all the way down in the Financial District. I know basically nothing about this part of town. I’m switching from an office with a window and a door to an L-shaped workstation that leaves me out in the open and working just 3 or 4 feet from my peers in the marketing department (all our L-desks connect to form a cross). As far as transitions go, I’m not too flustered by this one.

Last night I did have a nightmare I couldn’t shake about the new work environment. In it, we not only moved to an open office floor plan, but we moved into dormitories where we were expected to live with our co-workers Monday through Friday. I remember feeling panic in this dream, that I failed to pack something essential from the old building. I spent half the dream wracking my brain and reviewing lists over and over again. I am curious how I will handle working out in the open like that. Anti-social habits I’ve developed over the years working in an office include talking to myself (pep talks, griping, musing), kicking off my shoes, laughing loudly, slamming my desk drawers shut, and cursing at my computer, among other things. Clearly, these are all habits I’ll need to save for when I’m home alone.

my office building is the left border of this photo.The new building also has bike storage, which dovetails perfectly with a good habit I’d like to develop: biking to work a few days a week. Today, I tested out a route. Basically, I ride over the Queensboro Bridge, down 2nd Avenue to 34th Street, hop on the Greenway along the river, then cut in to Broadway 1 block south of Fulton Street, at John Street, and pop onto Fulton once that pedestrian mall is passed. 2nd Avenue is pretty hairy to ride down during rush hour, so hopefully I’ll be able to handle that. This ride is over 8 miles long, and takes me about 50 minutes. It’s farther than I’d like, especially if I’m going back and forth each day, but I suppose it only seems far now that I’m a newbie cyclist. Once I’ve done it for a month or so, it surely will get easier as I get fitter.

Riding on the East River Greenway made me nostalgic. There were so, so many runners out, huffing and sweating. I had my own memories of running along that path on numerous long runs training for marathons. But, that’s all in the past. Now, I’m interested in finding the ways I can integrate cycling into my daily life, and in figuring out what type of cyclist I’ll be. I don’t see myself as a super-competitive rider on a road bike with all the gear that’s emblazoned with random sponsor brands. I just want to be legit. Legit, and fit.


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