As everybody on the planet knows, today is Bike-to-Work Day. Thousands of commuters participate in this event every year. Bike-to-Work Day was originated by the League of American Bicyclists in 1956 and is a part of Bike-to-Work Week, which is in turn part of National Bike Month. As the proud owner of a new bike and author of a new cycling blog, it is only natural for you to assume that I was pedaling merrily this morning on my way to the office.
If you made that assumption, you were wrong. And that makes me a loser. I have no defense and I plead guilty.
Now, if it pleases the Court, I wish to enter the following into the record as matters in extenuation and mitigation:
– I live a long way from my work – 35 miles away, to be precise. This isn’t a shocking distance for an experienced cyclist, but that would not be me. I could probably make the trek, but I am not sure what condition I would be in when I arrived, nor am I sure that I could make the return trip on 9-10 hours’ rest without something akin to a heroic effort.
– I need to be in the office by 7:30. Given my normal cruising speed of 14mph, this means I would need to depart for work by 5:00. If I wanted to appear in business attire, then I would need to shower and change, meaning a 4:45 departure. It’s dark at 4:45 AM and riding in the dark is on my list of Ways You Can Easily Be Killed While Riding A Bike.
– I considered driving part of the way, perhaps to the Occoquan River, and cycling the rest. That would get the distance to about 25 miles and would mean my cycling could begin at 5:45. That would be tolerable, especially since the first 6-7 miles would be on bike paths. How I would travel the remaining 18-19 miles would be quite dicey, however. As I sail up the Fairfax County Parkway, I see stretches with bike paths and other stretches with none. The combination of parking my truck in a park near the Occoquan and the prospect of navigating stretches of very busy highway without a bike path to separate me from the maniacs who drive the roads of Northern Virginia were enough to break my will.
So there it is: I’m a bum in the Cycling World. Given a year to conduct more planning, I promise to do better next time.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m now going to attempt to break the 30-mile barrier.