Saturday, March 10, 2012

The beginning of the end of the winter that never was

Daylight relocating time begins tonight.

Bike commuting begins tomorrow.

It's a matter of life and death.

The fat-tire commuter is ready for daylight operations. The shop has not placed a parts order yet, so I have not built the generator wheel that will make the bike ready for night. But daylight will do for now. It's long enough and getting longer. I've been looking out the window, stretching a little, feeling like a fledgling bird flapping on the edge of the nest, waiting to launch.

For a worker barely clinging to the lower end of the middle income bracket, sport for sport's sake is a luxury. For anyone, anything above the needs of subsistence is a luxury, but that's another discussion. In our society we get all we can and make benevolence a hobby. It's a dog-eat-dog rat race out there. But a few of us dog rats have figured out how to sneak in some sporty exercise and save some money at the same time. It's called transportation cycling.

This winter I accidentally conducted an experiment with exercise deprivation. I thought last winter was bad this way, but this winter was a complete disaster.

I got into bike commuting partly because I knew I was not an athletic person. I was not one to exercise just because I should. Bike commuting led me to racing, in which I discovered I was more athletic than I thought, but exercise always had to entertain me. Bicycling, hiking, cross-country skiing, rock and ice climbing are all ways to travel. They present problems to solve, challenges to overcome, and gear and gadgets to play with. To prepare for them I would be able to submit to a small amount of artificial exercise as long as I knew I would get out to play soon. The play connected to work because I seemed to find myself working in outdoor retail a lot.

One by one the less practical exercises have slipped away. Ice climbing fell out of the schedule first, followed quickly by technical rock. Cross-country skiing has suffered paradoxically from the pressures of working for a ski shop and touring center. That and the unreliable winters. I have less excuse for giving up hiking, other than lack of opportunity on a work day and too much to do on a day off.

Bike commuting, for all of its inconveniences here in the country, remains a reliable routine workout. I spent this winter feeling like I was in prison.

Snow fell last night. The trail could be interesting tomorrow morning. The temperature is headed for 50 degrees tomorrow, so whatever fell today will probably disappear completely from ground that had gone from white to mud on two days that flirted with 60.

I don't care. I'm going for a ride.

1 comment:

Steve A said...

Well said. I hate the idea of the waste of sitting in a car to go to work when I could check off the "exercise box" with little or no extra time spent. Even worse, is the notion of sitting in a car to travel to a gym so I can sit in a car for the trip home.