Yesterday (Wednesday) was Ride To Work Day in Australia. There is apparently quite a bit of environmental awareness in Australia, particularly in the ACT where bike paths and bike shops abound and much of life has been made easier for cyclists. (Whether this sentiment is shared by the rest of the country, and how deep it runs even among its most fervent self-identified adherents, is another question, but there is definitely a lot of bike enthusiasm in the ACT.) Fancying myself a good citizen, I decided to participate, knowing that it would be an adventure: the total ride is about 24 km (15 miles)…
I was accompanied by an experienced rider and new colleague who provided good cheer and a helpful model all along the way. We met at the small shopping center near my apartment at 7:30 AM sharp. Turns out it rained for the entire ride, which lasted about an hour and a half (20 minutes longer than my companion had thought it would), so when we finally arrived I was soaked through to the skin. The last 3 km (2 mi) were especially hard for me, being up quite a steep grade hill, so I stopped twice and each time walked the bike for about 100 m while my legs recovered a bit. I decided to view the adverse conditions as a test of my dedication rather than an excuse not to bike to work. (Others told me it was perfectly acceptable to bike to Civic and then take the bus the rest of the way, but that’s not exactly Biking to Work, is it?)
At the end of the trail there were pancakes, with all the fixings. Since I didn’t have a change of clothes (they’re all on a boat, really), I was provided with jeans and a shirt while my wet rags were spread out on the radiator.
While maybe not among my greatest accomplishments, I think it’s the longest bike ride I’ve ever taken in one stretch (so far). And it wasn’t really too bad, except for the last bit up the mountain which was virtually all anaerobic, even on the lowest possible gear. I’d like to make this a more regular thing, perhaps once a week just to get in shape, and work my way up to perhaps 3 times a week (MWF). All you folks who drive to work, if you’re under 40 and live within 15 miles of where you work, think seriously about doing this and saving a ton or two of CO2 each year! :)