cyclotic commute

This is crazy. That thought ran through my mind several times this morning.

It’s 6:15 am. It’s cold. My high powered bike light barely cuts 15 feet through the thick fog. My glasses fog up almost instantaneously, reducing visibility to only a few feet. Even though I’m wearing all the cold weather gear I have– arm warmers, leg warmers, vest, fleece gloves and hat; moving through the cold, wet air at 15 mph chills me to the bone. I can barely see the potholes in the road, so I bike towards the center of the lane where it’s smoother, which puts me at greater risk of being hit by a sleepy car driver.  This is crazy.

The causeway is worse. In addition to all the above, there’s the noise, the exhaust fumes of cars and the noxious diesel fumes of trucks. I am exercising to reduce my risk of heart disease, only to dramatically increase my risk of lung cancer. I breathe through my nose, hoping the mucous helps to prevent all that junk from hitting my lungs. From time to time I snort up and spit out the carcinogenic mucous. This is crazy.

If I’m going to keep this up consistently I will need to buy one of those Respro Techno bike masks, but I’m not sure if I’m in good enough shape to maintain a decent commuting speed with the reduced breathing capacity.

West Capitol is usually an easy ride. But today it’s scary. There are tons of driveways with trucks pulling in and out, and the visibility is poor. I slow down and ride on the left edge of the bike lane, away from the driveways but closer to the moving traffic. This is crazy. Luckily there’s not too much traffic here at 6:45 in the morning.

I finally make it to the Tower Bridge. It’s actually quite nice here. The fog has lifted a bit, so visibility is a little better. The fog makes the scenery feel almost surreal, as if I’m biking through a dream world. When I used to work at CalPERS, seeing the Tower Bridge always made me feel relieved– the sight of the yellow bridge meant my commute was almost over. But at my current job, it means I still have another three miles to go.

Speaking of CalPERS, their facilities for bike commuters were incredible. They had lockers and showers, but on top of that they had a keycard secured bike storage room. I thought I would never find a place that was as good for bikers, but actually my current job is pretty good too. There are lockers and showers, the only difference is that I park my bike in my cubicle instead of in a fancy bike storage room.

I arrived at work around 7:20 this morning. Not bad. A little over an hour. As I pulled my bike into my cubicle my coworker said, “Mike- You’re crazy.” I guess I am a little bit. The thought did cross my mind a few times…

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