Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Commuting by bike

Ah, commuting to work by bicycle. Could anything be better? I was just over on MTBR and someone was asking about tires to commute on which got me thinking of my commuting days. Man, those were the days. At the time I didn't really think about it too much. I was just trying to get some miles on my legs for an upcomming epic. I started out riding my old M2 Stumpie. I put on some narrow slicks and began my commuting in late summer/early fall. At first I was looking for the shortest distance to the office which was only around 3 miles. I would carry all my stuff with me in a messenger bag (Dress pants, Shirt, Shoes, Ties, Laptop, Socks, and unmentionables). I'd get to work around 7 or 7:30 and sit in my cube until I had cooled down, I'd then change in the mens room. After a few weeks this got old and I thought about joining the local Bally's at Pentagon City, but I didn't want to spend $95 a month and commit to a year at a gym when all I really wanted was a shower and a locker. I kept riding in, and started to enjoy the feeling I had getting to work all pumped up. I was losing weight and was feeling good, I even stopped using the elevator at work and only used the stairs (6th floor office). I also stopped going out to lunch everyday and started brownbagging. The shower situation was getting desperate, I was not cooling down quickly enough and since I was in a suit and tie office I was looking quite desheveled and sweaty. A couple of the guys at the office were members of the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City gym and gave me a buddy pass to try the gym out. After my trial week I was sold, this place was butter! The memebership guy was also really cool and helped me out by giving me a monthly "shower" pass. For a dollar a day I could use the Shower, sauna, hot tub, and pool. I was in heaven. I then increased my mileage and was actually going out of my way to pass the office and find different routes going north and east only to come south and west back to the office. I think my max distance into the office had grown to ~13 miles each way. With this new commitment, I purchased a cross bike which made the commute that much more fun. I found myself riding in the street more, rather than just on paths, sidewalks and shoulders. The following summer I did my epic ride (Wild 100) and burned out on biking. I sold the cross bike, stopped commuting, and didn't ride for like 3 months. I guess there is too much of a good thing.

Now, years later I long for the ability to commute. As I search for new jobs and places to live it weighs heavily on my mind. I want to live in a city where commuting by bicycle is a reality again. I want an operations type job where I can dress business casual so I don't have to worry about wrinkling a suit and tie in my messenger bag. Hmmm Seattle, Portland, DC, here I come


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