A long time ago, in a Valley far far away, I used to ride my bike a lot.
Like, a LOT.
And now, with the help of Google Maps, I’m going to bore the heck out of you while figuring out how far I was actually riding, if you’ll bear with me.
Starting when I was about 16, I was riding my bike 16km to school, the first six of which was down a windy mountain road until I hit the bottom of the valley, and then flat. Not a big deal, but getting home? In two years, I *might* have done that ride 1/3rd of the time. Maybe. I remember not having an odometer, so I was counting the rotations of my pedals while riding some long straight bits (Prest Rd. was psychologically difficult, even though it was straight and flat).
When I had my first post-highschool job, and first apartment, with my first post-highschool girlfriend, I was riding to/from work, and while only 7km, there was a horrifying hill called Mariner, which was a winding climb that was bad enough that I’d listen to car engines struggle on the way up, and listen to truck brakes grind and smoke on the way down. Psychologically, this hill was painful. The first week or two or riding up every day, I was having to stop, get off, and walk, or brakestand to catch my breath and stretch my legs . I worked with a guy named Boraz Carrera (pronounced like “Boris”), I think, who, in that “West Coast Italian Ehhhh…. no problem” way he had, explained that hill climbing shouldn’t ever be about pain in your legs, because “your legs can only hurt so much, and then they can’t hurt MORE, they just keep hurting the same.”
He might have been full of horse pucky on me not actually damaging my leg muscles, but damned if his advice didn’t work. I still look at a hill and go “Oh, ew, no.” but can climb it anyway, remembering Boraz’ “yoda-the-sherpa” advice.
When I was living in East Van, I was carless, and was riding 19Km to and from work, and can still fast-forward in my mind’s eye through the entire trip, and instantly hear Public Enemy’s opening to “Fear of a Black Planet” playing on those beautiful summer mornings. Still one of the best albums to cycle to, in my opinion.
Then there was a great dearth of bike riding, except for a short time when I was doing little zips (9km) around Stanley Park’s SeaWall, which was (oddly enough, pretty much flat).Â Like, maaaaaybe did that a half dozen times before my bike was stolen from the lockup in our basement.
Oh, but then I bought another NEW bike, (new to me) for $100, and then that got stolen from work.
Last Spring, I bought a brand new swankity bike.Â A Trek 7100 or something.Â Light.Â Sturdy.Â 21speeds of over-raised seat craziness.Â A few trips (and one care package from my mom) later, and I’m decked out for anything except black ice, it seems.Â If the weather’s +4 or better (allegedly 38, for our friends to the South, if you use Bob & Doug MacKenzie’s “double it and add 38” rule), I’m riding to work now every other day.
My little computer tells me it’s *just* shy of 11km when I use the routes I’ve picked for lowest psychological impact.Â Also, I want to arrive at work looking like I’ve been cycling, not looking like I’m REcycled (gettit? huh? haha? no? okay), so my ride TO work is slight hillier in the beginning than on the way home.
Google Maps is lying, but this is sort-of my route to work.Â Takes me between 35 & 45 minutes now, which isn’t too bad for an old dude like me.
Further news as events warrant, must go play Guitar Hero II and finish recovering DJBrokeman’s data from his drive that cacked on him recently.
Oh, and have a little hope for me in my board meeting tomorrow, okay, there’s still work to be done, but MAYBE it’s getting better.Â We’ll see.Â We’ll see.