Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New (or rather Re-Newed) Attitude

I rode my bike to work Monday. I plan to ride again Wednesday and again to a meet-up event on Saturday. Each round trip to and from work is about 13 miles and the Saturday round trip will be closer to eleven.

Riding to work isn't new, but Monday was the first time this year for a few reasons. One, the weather for much of the bike season had been too un-predictable. Two, to be perfectly frank I was scared off the road. Riding a bike in city traffic is not for the faint-hearted. And while I've been riding Chicago neighborhoods since I was seven years old, and don't consider myself faint-hearted, last year I encountered some situations that proved a little stressful.

Third, Bella is ill. I've tinkered and tweaked, but what is ailing Bella will require more than I can manage right now. Luckily there was a long neglected bicycle in the storage area. I asked around and no one knew anything about the bike or owner. It appears she was left behind by a previous condo owner. Beyond some flattened tires and a broken rack she seemed in pretty good shape. I pumped some air in the tires, removed the broken rack and made a few other adjustments. I did some test runs around the neighborhood before venturing further out.

She did well on Monday, well enough that I'm confident she'll hold up for the subsequent rides. She's smaller than Bella and thus, just this side of being too small for me. As a result, rides longer than a six or seven mile stretch probably wouldn't be comfortable. The jaunts to work and back, and similar distance trips will be ok through the end of the season, I think.

I'm back out on the (city)road. Though still a little scared it felt good and I am determined. I need the work-out and I need to take back my streets. Careful, yes. I am. Very. Still, I made pretty good time (in) on Monday. Not shocked but a wee bit surprised. The ride home was longer only because there was more traffic and I wasn't as lucky with lights. I hope the pleasant weather we've been having decides to hang around a good while longer as it would be nice to get in three 10-13 mile rides a week through the end of October. In fact, it would be better than nice.

An aside to the woman with the short blue dress and fierce high heels, thank you, your legs are quite beautiful and double thanks for buying that ice cream cone. Yum.


  1. I think you very brave. Even in the neighborhoods it is unlikely I would get on a bike in your town - anywhere! Except maybe down that nice little path along Lakeshore where it's safe from everyone but other bikers and the odd stroller.

  2. Good for you for figuring out how to make it work.

    Do you know about bicycle cooperatives? They're a good way to fix Bella yourself. There are two I know of in Chicago:



    A bike that fits is always better than one that doesn't. Of course any bike is better than none. :)

  3. No way in hell I would survive a bike ride in Chicago. I can barely cross the street HERE without getting flattened.

    LOL, at you being a perve.

  4. Very Impressive.
    I used to ride my bike in NYC when I was young & - well- I wont say dumb, but I WAS stoned. Id ride to Central Park & around. Also I did that with roller skates too. I was 31/32. Once I got sober I stopped. Maybe thats why I made it to 62! Be careful.

  5. SQueeee!!! TO the bike, and freedom, and the girl in the fierce heels.

    The ice cream is a total bonus. :)

    Hope Bella gets better soon.

  6. I miss bicycle commuting to work! My office moved to a new building that I just haven't figured out a doable route to, even if I do combo public transportation and riding. (And I hear you about city streets; I was doing Westside L.A. commuting, which got hair-raising at times, and I ain't got much hair.)

    Congrats to you on your healthy and fun new habit. Hope you keep it up —and show off your own beautiful legs to the ladies.

  7. Keep it up, Deborah... I sweat too much when biking to ever commute that way, even if I could (which I couldn't as it'd be a LONG way to ride each way!)

    Great exercise and good for the environment though. You're a good example for us all...


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