The Bike to Work Habit

I do this thing now, a couple times a week, that is to bike to work. It sounds so mundane especially when my walk is a mere 30 minutes (23 minutes when I used to be able to hustle) and it takes me ~27 minutes to get door-to-door with a bicycle (3.5-km distance). But consider this….

For 36 and a half years, up until October 2014, I could not ride a bicycle. And although 21 months have elapsed since that life-changing day I learned to ride a bike, I did not ride for 18 of those months. First, I had a little medical condition called being pregnant. And then I was post-pregnant. And then not being able to/wanting to go riding because it was time away from E.

But now, I’m back to work and the thought of a 30 minute walk under every weather condition Vancouver throws at you makes me shudder and I’m springing for the five-minute on a subway that follows a seven-minute walk to the station in said weather. For a two-station ride! Where you’re packed in like a sardine! For $2.10 a pop! (And no tax credit because I don’t buy a monthly pass.) Riding to work is the “free” solution to the ceaseless same-old although it’s not exactly like I can leave from home any later. But it allows me to carry more stuff because for some reason I’m carrying more stuff these days.

So, it was with some a lot of trepidation when it came to “Go Live” day three weeks ago. There are so many cyclists in Vancouver and all of them are better at cycling than I am and so many of them are militant and impatient. (Note: when I can set out at 7:30 to ride into downtown, cycling traffic is pretty light.)

Because here are the things I cannot/have not done yet:

  • Take a hairpin turn that is a right-hand turn (there are two on my route to work – for the first one, getting onto Cambie Bridge, I’m getting off my bike every time; for the second, getting off Cambie Bridge, I end up taking a really wide turn which is disruptive if there is oncoming traffic or someone following me)
  • Make a left hand turn with vehicular traffic
  • Ride in rainy conditions (or installed fenders) inadvertently had to on July 20 (installed fenders last weekend)
  • Take my left hand off the handlebars to signal started last week signalling to turn left, only when necessary
  • Generally, join vehicular traffic – I cling to bike lanes like crazy, often consulting the city cycling map [.pdf]

Basically, I’m a wildcard to those around me even though I’m trying so hard to be safe and conscientious!

One day soon, I won’t be huffing and puffing on the incline on Dunsmuir between Beatty and Richards and my composure and confidence when riding will match the laid-back fun look of my purple frame-white seat Norco bike!

On this day..