This morning I tried something I had not done in four years, but had been thinking about doing for some time, but seemed to lack the motivation.
I biked to work.
I live about five miles (as the crow flies) from work (about 7 miles on the parkway), and for the past few weeks kept telling myself, "You need more exercise. You need to stop coming home and sitting on the couch watching re-runs of Oprah, Everyone Loves Raymond, Two and a half Men, and Access Hollywood. And you need to stop eating Oreos, leftover Mac and cheese, and Fudgesicles while watching these shows, and saying to yourself, "I'll go run later. It's too hot out right now."
Soon enough, it would be 7pm and I hadn't done anything but learn where the young starlets are partying in Cannes and who's beach body looks disgusting in a bikini. I'll tell you whose does. Mine, that's who. Damn you, entertainment television.
By biking to work, I figure that I have an hour of exercise built into my day.
So last night I packed my backpack, found my old bike lock and key, set out my helmet and shoes and figured out what I was going to wear for work and laid out my bike clothes. I also packed my lunch and made sure I had everything set up. I would bike to the campus rec-center, lock up my bike, take my shower there, and then walk over to work.
I only forgot one thing...
It's really dark in the morning. Really, really dark. I leave the house at 5:30 and it's pitch black, except for the street lights. Riding around on the city streets is fine because there's enough light, but when I got down to the parkway there were plenty of dark spots. At one point I almost missed the bike path and hurtled down into the creek. I also think I saw some raccoons waddling along the street, returning from their midnight buffet at the dumpsters. It was a little scary; plus I wouldn't go on the street because I didn't want to get hit by a car. I usually wear sunglasses to protect my eyes, but that wasn't a possibility, so every time I went under a street light, I would hit a cloud of gnats. At least I got my protein for breakfast.
I also almost hit another biker. I was watching the road when I saw a bright light coming towards me. Only one light. "That's a really quiet motorcycle," I was thinking. Then, "Wow, that's bright. Pretty...pretty light...aaahhhhhhmmmmmm...." Then, "Holy crap, it's coming right for me!"
Turns out it was another biker on the path (with a headlight like I should have had) and I moved over at the last second. "Jesus!" I heard him mutter as he passed. Yep, that's me.... Jesus Christ on my bike. Of course, I felt like a dumb jerk.
So at lunch today I walked over to Freewheel bicycle shop and bought myself a headlight AND a tail light. The lights are really bright and have blinking and strobe options. I held one up and turned it on. The bright red strobe burned into my retinas and almost induced an epileptic fit. Yes, that will do nicely.
Because I certainly don't want to tangle with any raccoons.