The time has come to admit something to you all: Bicycle commuting is a lot easier when you work for yourself and set your own schedule. I actually never really realized this until last week when I got a part-time job and wanted to stick with my commitment to continue bicycle commuting. Wow, it isn’t as easy as it used to be, when I had no schedule to worry about and could go anywhere in my sweat pants!
My new job is just about 3 miles from my home – an easy bicycle ride. I also have the good fortune to have my shift scheduled for the middle of the day (usually), which means that in the winter time, it’ll be the warmer part of the day for both “ends” of the commute.
However, there are a lot of new factors I’m dealing with, that I didn’t realize before (when I was spoiled!).
For one thing, I’m always worried that I’ll be late. I tend to leave excessively early, getting there at least 20 minutes early. But I suppose better early than late!
Eating is an issue, too. Though my middle-of-the-day shift is great for traveling during the winter, it stinks as far as my eating schedule goes. I am not able to eat at all during my shift, due to how busy the schedule is. So I eat breakfast at 7:30 AM, a snack around 10 AM, then a small sandwich when I arrive at work around 11:30 AM, and then…I don’t get to eat again until 4 PM. It is hard to ride home when I’m so hungry, but I don’t like to eat right before I ride. So I end up eating a HUGE meal at 4 PM, then another small meal at 7 PM. Yeah, this job is going to majorly screw up my metabolism!
And now we come to the issue of appearance. I have to wear a low ponytail in order for my helmet to fit right, which means I either have to leave my hair like that all day, or restyle it at work. I also don’t feel as free to wear skirts as much as I’d like. But I have a few skirts that seem to be working fine, thankfully.
Storage is yet another issue. I don’t know why, but I always seem to have a lot of stuff that I travel with. My large messenger bag, water bottle and of course, with the autumn weather (super cold in the mornings, very warm in the afternoons), I end up needing yet more room for my coat and scarf on the way home. I have been putting everything in and on top of my handlebar basket but it has been awkward. My load of stuff gets pretty heavy and sometimes, my bike has fallen over (when I stop to adjust my helmet) from the weight.
Finally, the bike rack at work is out in the open. I’m worried about that when winter comes. I don’t want my bike out in rain or snow for hours.
Most of these things, I can’t really do much about. I’ll be asking if I can bring my bike indoors in inclement weather, but maybe it’s just something I’ll have to deal with. And the one problem I CAN fix – storage – has theoretically been solved. But that’s another story for another day.
In the meantime, I bought new tires for my mountain bike, since the old ones hadn’t been replaced in at least 7 years. It’s definitely ready for further commuting. And I’ll talk about my new commuting option in the next post, so stay tuned!