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bike to work

I truly know absolutely nothing about bikes. I don’t know how to change gears, I can barely ride the thing, breaking (or is it braking?) is difficult for me, and if I get a flat tire I’m pretty much SOL. Alas, with this great knowledge I decided, with a little prodding from a co-worker, that it would be a brilliant idea to ride my untrained on the bike butt to work.

This is my bike. I literally know nothing about it, so that’s awesome. I got it for Christmas from my in-laws.

I mean a stationary bike and a real bike are kind of the same thing right? Anyways, I am used to a beach cruiser, and that’s about how far my biking experience goes. And I can spin the crap out of a bike too. I love spin class and if the “studio” I love to go to wasn’t $75 dollars a month, I would spin more often, but alas, stationary bike at the Y for me is awesome too. I work roughly about 7.5 miles from my office. My coworker helped me plot the least deadly route, and encouraged me this was a great idea. Also, said co-worker is like an Olympian in biking. I kid you not. Probably not the best person to have encouraging me to ride bikes since I know nothing. I have ridden my bike twice thus far, since getting it for Christmas. Both times, on the riverbed, where there aren’t cars.

I drove the route I was to take yesterday to get a feel for what I would need to look for and be prepared for. There were a lot of speed bumps, but mostly the route was pretty ‘gentle’ (I saw another race use that to describe their course and it made me laugh). This morning when I woke up, I told myself I could do this and got ready to come into work. I packed my backpack with clothes that were work acceptable, packed up my banana and put on workout clothes and running shoes and off I went.

It usually takes me 15-20 minutes to get to work taking my normal route. I usually leave at 8 and get here at 8:15-8:20. I left my house at 7:45 and traveled the route I had planned. It was scary at the beginning because I realized how big cars are! I remembered to check my surroundings, stop at stop signs and make sure I was always aware of what was going on. Of course I wore my helmet as well. I saw another biker not wearing a helmet and I almost said something, then I realized the hipster was probably going to jump me if I opened my mouth. I had my iphone playing pandora in my pocket on my backpack, so that made it a little more fun, but I am not going to wear headphones anytime soon. Most of the route is through pretty neighborhooded areas, which was nice. I love looking at houses and what different people do to their front yards. I’m also 90.

I got about half way here and was really enjoying the ride, the last two miles are the only area where I was a little fearful of my life, but I remembered to be confident in my riding skills, but still, I’ve read blog posts and have heard about many people falling, getting hit, hitting something, and it just scares me. I would have to say one of my biggest fears is getting hit by a car running or riding my bike.

The last two miles involve some pretty heavy street crossing, so I made sure I was completely aware of what was going on and was in control of my bike and myself.  It sounds stupid but this bike is so much lighter than my beach cruiser which makes it much more squirrely. The final two miles are also rather hilly, so that was another thing, I didn’t want to catch so much speed that I would go flying off into an intersection.

I must be honest, most of the time, I rode in the bike lane or sidewalk, and I used the crosswalks about 50% of the time. Until I am more comfortable with the bike, I will probably continue to do the same. I am not one to just act like car in the street yet.

Arriving to my office in one piece was pretty rewarding though. I changed over and realized I didn’t even sweat or get warm. I was most likely going so slow that it wasn’t even a work out. HAHA. I took me about 35 minutes to get here.

B asked me if I was going to keep riding my bike to work, and honestly, I did enjoy it, minus the areas that freaked me out, but I know if I kept with it, it would get easier and I would be more comfortable. Especially as the weather is so nice right now. So for now, I will keep doing it for a while on days when I don’t have a meeting. I also think it’s pretty important that I learn how to fix a tire. The ride was nice though, and though I was nervous, it was actually fun and a nice way to start off my day, dare I used the word relaxing to describe it?

Anyways, now I guess I have to ride back home. We’ll see how that goes now won’t we.


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  • Reply Shannon

    LOL I’m so proud of you! My work is 12 miles from home BUT the only way to get there is by crossing an interstate bridge that goes over the river…I can’t ride my bike on the interstate! ha!

    April 3, 2012 at 11:21 am
  • Reply Kelly

    I’ve been trying to commute via bike on Fridays. I’m always excited when I don’t die or get hit by a car. I usually stay on sidewalks or bike lanes because I’m still scared. Way to go! It gets easier…until you get sweaty and have to work lol. You look way more legit than I do with my milk crate on the back.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:25 am
  • Reply BikingBrian

    Sounds like you had a great start! I biked to work about half time for many years, but now I work from home. Though do get some practice with shifting, etc., out on the river trail on weekends, it will be one less thing to think about when you’re riding to work. Keep up the good work!

    April 3, 2012 at 11:37 am
  • Reply Steve

    Even your Olympian friend had to start somewhere. Way to get out there! Stick with it. Your running base will make you an incredibly strong rider…and vice versa.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:40 am
  • Reply Nina

    You’re going to have to put a basket on that bike and start riding to the market!! How cute with your basket of fruits and veggies and plenty of AVO!! So proud of you my healthy little lovie!

    April 3, 2012 at 11:51 am
  • Reply Meredith

    I too live about 7.5 miles (by bike) from work and have committed to riding my bike to work when the weather cooperates. I have even created a spreadsheet and am looking forward to seeing the cost savings of riding a bike versus drivin my car add up.

    April 3, 2012 at 11:53 am
  • Reply Carrie

    I am so glad to read about somebody else that is terrified of their road bike. I hardly use mine because it freaks me out so much! It’s so hard to control and I hate hate HATE being in traffic (I live downtown in a city, so traffic is pretty much a given). Good for you for getting over your fear though!

    April 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm
  • Reply Lauren @ Sassy Molassy

    Awesome job, Danica! Playing it safe is the way to go. I ride my bike to work on nice days (a few days a week in the summer) since Oregon weather isn’t beautiful all the time. It’s definitely a bit scary to get used to traffic and maneuvering so just take your time!

    April 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm
  • Reply laura

    So encouraging! I’m in LB (live & work), can your co-worker help me plot the least deadly route also? This may be the push I need. :)

    April 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm
  • Reply That Pink Girl

    This is awesome! Each time you ride you’ll get a little more comfortable. Promise! I think it’s great you are trying something new!

    April 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm
  • Reply Mollyberries

    My dream is to never have to rely on my car and use my bicycle to accomplish most of my tasks: going to church, library, post office and grocery store. I want to get a little cart for the back of my bike to carry my groceries in. When my husband and I move into our new house everything will be within a 5 mile radius that I need to get to, because I work from home. Keep up the awesome work! What a fantastic way to start your day!

    April 3, 2012 at 5:26 pm
  • Reply Nicholas

    This is totally awesome! It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. I hope to read about you still riding to work throughout the summer! Be safe.

    April 3, 2012 at 6:20 pm
  • Reply Abby @ Change of Pace

    That’s awesome! I totally think you’re being smart and safe, too.
    My husband rides to work as often as he can (since we live in a cold climate). I’d love to but am pretty scared of the rush hour traffic I’d be in. Hope you keep it up!

    April 3, 2012 at 7:07 pm
  • Reply Rebekah

    Good for you! My husband bikes to work, and I so wish I could! His commute is about 5 miles, and he gets there at least as fast, if not faster, than he would driving the same route during rush hour. Unfortunately, my work is about 10 miles from home, on very non-bike-friendly streets. If I had a shower at the office, I might try it anyway, but as it stands I’m out of luck.

    April 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm
  • Reply Sandy

    Sounds like fun and you can get some cross training in at the same time!! I wish I could bike to work but 40 miles is a little long and I would definitely be sweaty, and probably half dead from exhaustion!! Have Fun!!

    April 4, 2012 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Sokphal

    Biking in traffic is scary! Sounds like you are doing well though! I biked a few times from my house to work (when I was living in London). Biking in traffic with a red, double-decker bus behind you…yeah, kinda scary! I’m also scared of getting “doored” where you bike next to a parked car and…get doored.

    April 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Emily

    I LOVE your blog, but I’m usually too shy to post any comments. I have to say thank you so much for posting this though! I want so badly to be be a bike rider, but I’m terrified of riding my bike on the street. One of my goals this year is to start riding my bike to work (only about 3 miles in one the most bike friendly cities in the country). My bike-savvy fiance laughs at how timid I am every time we take our bikes out. If only I had a shower at work; it’d be so much easier to just run there. :)

    April 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm
  • Reply Ara

    Great job!!! You’ll quickly get used to riding on busy streets. When I first started riding my bike home from work, there is a VERY busy highway you have to ride on, where cars are going 55 – 65 mph and you’re just on a bike, with no bike lane. It was pretty scary the first couple of times, but you quickly get used to it. Also, if it makes you feel any better, I’m still not good at changing a tire and I’ve been riding for 3 years now. Haha! I need to get better at it.

    April 4, 2012 at 9:55 pm
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