Riding the Bike to Work


Last Friday, I bit the bullet and rode my bike to work.  If you read my last post, you know I was struggling with the extensive prep this demanded.  I often crab about all the reasons not to do something, and then suck it up and just do it.

But the experience was less than stellar.

I got out the door at my usual time. Childcare demands do not allow me to drop me son off any earlier, so I needed to tack another hour onto my day (not an attractive starting point for a Friday afternoon).  I had a full backpack, sans laptop but full of clothing and toiletries.  The pack was about 15 lbs.  This isn’t a lot, I know, but I wasn’t used to carrying an additional 15 lbs on a 12 mile bike ride.  I expected the ride to last as long as it did–about an hour.  I didn’t hammer the whole way–that seemed really against the point and I didn’t want to get any more sweaty than I already was.  I took the cross bike and managed to squeeze a travel coffee mug into the water bottle cage.

The road to work is scenic.  It’s really a lovely commute.  There are 200 year farmhouses, barns, meadows, cornfields, and dairy farms.  The road passes through the Holyoke Range so there’s a small hill to get over.  I chose this road to ride when I’m getting out on the bike for fun/workout.  But today–of all days, the manure spreaders were out.  Liquid manure.  Yes, it’s as bad as it sounds.  And with the humidity, there was absolutely no escaping the cloak of stench as I pedaled through Connecticut River Valley.

I passed a section of farmland and passed by a state reservation.  This is when the seat, which is a stock seat that came with the Specialized Tricross Sport, went beyond uncomfortable.  It actually started to feel as if this seat was applying direct pressure upward.  I’m not unaccustomed to the rigors of a small hard bike seat, but this seat qualifies for use at Gitmo.

Finally, I arrive at work.  I have the place to myself.  Shower time.  Let me pause a moment for this part of the post and ask you my dear reader–have you ever been naked at work?  Completely, utterly naked?  It’s weird, being nude just a few feet away from where your company’s System Administrator sits.  But I’m alone so I solider on, shower up, and reach into my bag for a towel.

No towel.

I forgot the towel.

I’m naked, dripping wet, and without a towel.  There are also, no paper towels left.  So I dry off with?  Yes–toilet paper.  Wow, this is awesome.  Just when I think this experience could not get any more fun, I realize the paper is the cheap kind that disintegrates as soon as moisture comes in contact with it.  Soon I have bits of white, wet toilet paper all over my body.

I have to end this whole experience. OK, just get dressed Karen!  You’ll dry off eventually!  Right–so I start to dress, and wait–where is my dress shirt?  Not in the bathroom with me.  I remember–it’s in my office.  I have no towel to cover up, but no one’s in the office, so I sprint down the hall to my office and grab my shirt hanging in the closet.  It’s on in a flash and fortunately none of my office mates decided to arrive to work before 9:00am before I’m fully clothed.

So, my experience wasn’t so fun.  But I’m not giving up on it.  I need to work out some kinks–definitely get a new seat, and a towel, and some much-needed panniers, and I might be back in the saddle.



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About Karen

Mid-life female amateur athlete focused on cyclocross, mountain biking, and road cycling.

One response to “Riding the Bike to Work”

  1. Steve says :

    Hilarious! I have no doubt I would suffer from many of the same challenges you faced, which is why I haven’t summoned the courage to commute yet. Congratulations on your perseverance!

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