Imagine Northeast Iowa

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Myths About Biking: I'm not "Crazy"
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Myths About Biking: I'm not "Crazy"

I bike all year round in a variety of weather conditions; you can too!

You probably think I’m joking or “full of it” or perhaps I’m “hardcore” and a semi-professional rider. I’m very much not a semi-professional rider nor do I have aspirations of becoming one. I’m not hardcore by any means; extremely hot and cold days make me whine a lot.

I’m not “crazy” either; I just chose the mode of transportation that works the best for me. Walking would add more minutes to a cold commute and driving seems redundant when it takes so long to warm the car up. So long that I would already be half-way to work walking, or all the way to work if I biked.

People make choices every day on how they get from point a. to point b. and I chose to bike 90% of the time. It’s not always pleasant and I will not sugar coat commuting by bike as some sort of magical adventure that is perfect 24/7. It’s not and there are moments where I have really not looked forward to straddling my bike and setting off to my destination.

I don’t always find riding in the rain romantic and I do not always have fun riding in the snow. Then there are days where you combine the two and it’s not only raining but cold too. Then you have even more slippery roads to ride on. You aren’t just focusing on getting to your destination safely but are also focusing on staying upright. Basic rainy days can be survived with a good water-proof jacket and I’ve found a wind/waterproof layer in the winter months is immensely helpful with the snow and cold. Fenders are helpful keeping your cloths cleaner than they would be if you didn’t have them.

On hot summer days you have to deal with the fact you will want wipe yourself down once you get to work. Sometimes having a spare shirt to change into is helpful; at least you can pretend you didn’t sweat. You also need to remember to stay hydrated; keeping water with you on longer rides is vital.

When it’s cold and you are wearing a balaclava, it will become moist around your nose and mouth. I can honestly say that is one of the most unattractive things about me at that moment. I’m basically feeling like I’m giving myself a bath in my own spit. The rest of my face is warm and that makes up for the slobber-bath I just gave myself.

Obviously there are moments when biking to get groceries or to go to work aren’t glamorous. You get rained on, you get helmet hair, static hair, and cold or hot. To me those things do not matter so much as the fact I’m making a conscious decision to not use my car as frequently. I’m choosing to move my body to get to work vs. driving. This doesn’t make me crazy, this just makes me more mindful of my capabilities and my environment.

It took me years to get the courage and confidence to decide and believe that I could bike to work. I was pressured by a co-worker for years to consider purchasing a bicycle. I blew him off continuously until I woke up one day and had enough. I wasn’t very physically active and I wanted to make changes in my health. I figured even if that is all I did, bike to work, it’s still a physical activity much more than I had done for a long while. Biking unleashed a sense of independence I never thought existed within me.

Biking in all seasons and all weather conditions is not impossible, perhaps not always the most enjoyable, but definitely not impossible. It mainly takes common sense, proper attire, and some good ol’ determination. I love biking for recreation as well as getting to work and I generally never let bad weather stop me. I can’t lie and say some days I feel like my bike ride was junk; other days I’m feeling blissful and accomplished. Thing is, I do not hold onto those bad days or lackluster commutes. When it’s all over and done with, it was a ride and that is what counts.

Does that make me crazy? Well sure, I'm crazy about bike riding!

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