Posted by: Karen | October 16, 2010

Bike Commuting and the 6th St Hill

I really, really enjoy bike commuting. I have great memories of riding my bike as a kid and teen, to school and my part-time job I wasn’t as dedicated to my bike as much then as I am lately, but it is very cool to ride so much again. I’m going to miss it when the ice comes (unless I conquer that challenge too), but until then I’ll see how much I can do.

My cough is ever so slowly easing off, and I’m feeling stronger than I was a few weeks ago. I have only been running about once a week, maybe twice, and not very far or fast, but I have ridden my bike to work every October work day so far except the 1st. I’m up to 88 rides this year; 22 more to go to achieve my goal of 100.

This week I rode all the way up a big, intimidating hill I’ve never conquered before, on 6th Street NE near the Elk’s Golf Club. Last spring when a path detour blocked my scenic, long, flat route, I tried several times to ride all the way up, but always ended up walking at some point. It’s STEEP. In September I was going to try it again, especially because now there’s another challenging detour on the NE bike path, but I got sick and put it off.

Wednesday morning this week gave the monster-hill a half-hearted go, knowing that I would likely get off and walk halfway up, and sure enough I did. At the same time I realized that it didn’t seem so hard to get halfway up as usual, and decided to set my mind to getting as far as I could the next day. What do you know, Thursday morning I just rode all the way up. It didn’t hurt. My lungs didn’t explode. I didn’t look at the top and just took it a couple of meters at a time. Friday I did it again, just to prove to myself it still wasn’t too hard. Yahoo!

Friday it began to snow as I was just getting to work. It snowed big flakes like crazy later that morning, but it all melted in afternoon sunshine and the roads were almost dry by the time I headed home. If I cycle to work on a day when a blizzard makes it unsafe to ride home, I’ll just leave my bike at work (take the bus home) and ride the bike home another day. Eventually when the weather makes it unsafe for me to ride I hope to run to work and home again a couple of times a week.

I like getting my exercise in during commutes. It beats getting up too early or cutting into weeknight evenings. It beats waiting for the bus. It really beats driving in rush hour and paying for parking. When I get home I’m done – I can change into comfy clothes and relax.

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