So, bike-to-work season is officially here! I calculated that this is the sixth year in which I have biked to work at least some days, essentially spring through fall. The 23-mile round trip does get easier every year, and I hope it is taking some of the stress off my bones and joints that must result from the constant, repetetive motion of running.
A few words about my bike -- I purchased it from a company called "Bike the Sites," which rents bikes to tourists here in DC. They are located at the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Ave. So I wandered in one day, hoping to replace my thirty-year-old brown Raleigh -- which is a truly beautiful bike, but weighs a TON. Their bikes are kept in good condition, since they rent them out regularly, and they often sell off bikes when they get new ones. So in 2005, I bought a Trek hybrid for $100. It has served me well these last five years, and I do get it tuned up regularly (which costs more than the bike did!).
I see a lot of bikers on my commute with sharp-looking racing bikes, with thin wheels, which must be ultra-lite. They regularly zoom right past me. But I like the security of my fat wheels and heavier bike, even if it means more effort and time to get to and from work. I'm lucky to have a route that keeps me out of traffic for the most part as well -- I spend most of the 11.5 miles each way on the Capital Crescent Trail and the Rock Creek trail. And when I get up to the Lincoln Memorial, I cruise down past the Reflecting Pool and the WWII Memorial (a truly hideous memorial, by the way -- the WWII veterans really do deserve better), past the White House and up to the Washington Monument, then over to my office building. It's a really great commute, and makes me so happy to live in the DC area!!
I'll post again about the logistics of biking to work, which are important to make it a smooth commute that doesn't feel burdensome. There are a number of little things I've learned over the last five years of doing this that have really helped make the commute more enjoyable and less like "exercise."