This is Penelope. She is my sweet little 3-speed Vintage Raleigh. I've had her for 3 years, and some of my most joyful times have been riding her.
When I first got her, I was able to bike to work nearly every day for 8 months. My work was about 11 miles away, via a beautiful bike path for most of the journey. I had a flexible schedule, so if my commute took longer than anticipated, it wasn't a big deal. I was working in a lab, so if I didn't look great, that wasn't a big deal.
Since then, I have had two jobs before my current one. One job was 40 miles away, so that wasn't bike-able. The other was 12 miles away, but via unpleasant roads with very little shoulder and no bike paths. Again, not ideal.
Since my joyful biking time ended, my father passed away. I stopped exercising. I have gained 20 lbs. Obviously, I'd love to get back into the shape I was in when I was biking.
My current job is only about a mile away from the job I was biking to so happily. However, though I have worked there for a year, I have not biked to it yet. The schedule is not flexible, and in fact, I have to be there much earlier than my old job - most days by 7 AM. I am working with people all day, so it's important to arrive to work looking presentable, and it's a more physical job, so often, I am very tired in the evening, even with no outside activity at all...
I love my new job. It leaves my grinning on a daily basis. Spring has come, and I find myself yearning for Penelope.
The National Bike Challenge begins on May 1, and I really want to try biking to work. With some extra time and some dry shampoo, can I get to work without leaving at an insanely early time? Will it tire me out too much before a full day of work? Will I fall asleep even earlier than I do currently?
Or, will it leave me energized after a beautiful ride to work and an exhilarating ride home? I need to find out. Biking has been my favorite physical activity since I rediscovered it in adulthood, plus you can't beat the views on the commute...
(I also love hiking and yoga, but hiking is not an everyday thing, and I haven't worked up the gumption to do yoga - even at home - in far too long.)
If I can ride my happy little Penelope to my happy happy job, I may just become so happy that it's obnoxious.
I need to find out.
This Saturday is the second day of the National Bike Challenge. I happen to be working at 7:30 instead of 7. The weather looks lovely. I don't have to get the kids ready for school before work. I may just give it a go.