It was Monday, and I felt like this was my chance to make a change. Every day is another chance, but Monday is different. It’s a day of conviction, and often sets the tone for the rest of the week. Spring had played a game of peek-a-boo the week prior, but this looked promising. It was only about 45 degrees when I woke up around 530am, but the air was calm. I stepped out on the balcony and didn’t freeze my butt off.
I checked the weather to find a high of 75. At that point, I knew that it was time to get serious. This was not just one warm day, this was the start of spring showing up on a Monday, and I had to do my part to let the people of the nation’s capital know that I was ready. I pulled my bike off of the balcony where it “hibernated” over the winter months, and brought it into my apartment.
I wandered around the house trying to get ready, filled with excitement to ride my bike, and anxiety of the long journey.
I finally had everything packed and ready for the journey. I opened the door and prepared to take my bike outside. I heard a door open and worried about being met by a neighbor in a rush to get out the door. I picked up my bike and walked swiftly down the stairs, in order to not be that awkward girl taking 20 minutes to carry her bike downstairs. By the way, I live on the 3rd floor. Yes, that means what you think it means…No elevators. When I got to the bottom to wheel my bike out of the door, I was met by my next door neighbor. I said good morning, as I wheeled my bike out of the door, and got out of the way. This was the time for one last moment for preparation before it was time to get on the road. I got my helmet on and turned on my Pandora radio. I coasted downhill and then it was time to start pedaling like a had somewhere to be. As I approached morning traffic, it got tough. I was nervous about the passing cars and how close they were to me. It became much harder as I pedaled past fast food restaurants, and big trucks. The chemicals were intoxicating. I was just rolling down the street breathing chemicals, I mean smoking indo, sipping on blended fruits.
Did I mention this is a 7 and a half mile trip?! I kept pushing, despite the fact that the weather actually wasn’t as pleasant as I thought it would be. The cold air hit my legs as I pedaled down the street, making it harder to go on. At this point, I am closer to the inner city, which had made a full transition from Chocolate city to mocha city, with extra whip cream. I started to feel down on myself. I watched as many people cruised by me with minimal effort on their bikes, while a struggled to keep going. Some of them even wore their work clothes! I grew angry thinking about how they must live very close to their jobs that they were confident enough to ride their bikes in their work clothes. It’s not fair that I can’t live in a reasonable place in the city, or that I don’t have a skinny bike, or body. It just isn’t fair! On one of my breaks, I watched as the young white moms and dads walked their children to school. No black people in sight, but fewer trucks, and more oxygen J Finally the capital was in sight. That meant only 20more blocks, but 15 more minutes, according to google maps, which must use the skinny white people with skinny bikes to determine the time, or 17 minutes on the bus. I waited at the bus stop. When the bus finally came, I was pretty much delirious from all of the vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke, on top of sheer exhaustion from the long journey. I awkwardly began to yank on the bike rack trying to remember how it works. After what seemed like 5 minutes, I got the rack down and began lifting my bike. It took me another awkward five minutes, so it seemed, to get it secured. I grabbed my basket and boarded the bus.
I took the walk of shame onto the bus to see that it was filled with people. I walked a few before deciding to take a seat next to a guy, who was probably thinking “why me?” I took a sigh of relief that was short lived when the bus didn’t start moving. I pulled my headphone back because I thought it had to be just my luck that I wouldn’t secure my bike properly, then the bus cuts off. In my mind I’m thinking the bus driver is about to show me how to properly use a bike rack. Ironically the bus just cut off for whatever reason that was not explained. That’s another story for never, since WMATA is in the midst of their latest issue.
Anyways, the rest of the way was smooth sailing. I get dropped off close enough to work to pedal the last block to the bike rack. I locked up my bike and headed to the office, where I unfortunately had to attend my team meeting in my riding gear. It had been so long since I was so last in the locker room, like last summer. There was no way that I remembered the access code. The 10 minute huddle seemed like a half hour while we stood around discussing our tasks for the week. You know when we got to my turn I was REALLY QUICK!
At the end of the meeting, I rushed back to my desk to find out the code, which of course required a few calls. It was just my luck that right after I got the code, a colleague came over to introduce a new team member. That first impression was definitely one for the books. Can you say AWKWARD? I actually said “Can you please not introduce me to anyone else before I get dressed?”
When I said the rest of the way was smooth sailing, I meant getting to work…On to the locker room! When I got there, I looked for an unoccupied locker to put my stuff, and took out my clothes, where I saw that I didn’t bring any shower items. After that long of a ride, a shower was not just a friendly option, it was necessary. At this point I had to get creative. I walk over to the sink where I see a fan. I looked back at the door and thought about how fast I could run behind the shower curtain. I grabbed a stack of paper towels, placed them in my bag on the towel hook, and got to showering. Shout out to the kind woman who left her bath and body works shower gel in the oh so convenient shower caddy! When I finished, I literally dried off my whole body with paper towels.
The rest of the day was the same ol’ thing, except I was really RELAXING. I am telling you, riding to the job really makes you want to get comfortable there, settle even. Not only did I not want to leave, but I just DGAF!
When the day was done, I went to get dressed and get started. By this point my butt was some kind sore…so sore I made my own butt pads for going home out of an extra pair of shorts. I did the same for the next day.
Yeah, it looked lumpy, but a lump was worth the comfort of my junk. I rode my bike 3 times last week, and got a little wiser each day. The combination of my bike,the bus, and Pandora made everything possible. Thank you to everyone who supported me and and to all the drivers who were so gracious, and didn’t run me over.
Do you bike to work? Ever bike in a big city? What was your experience?
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