Tuesday, March 25, 2008

first ride

I had to go in to work tonight for a special project, and I knew I'd be there later than the buses run, so I rode my bike and it was my first ride this year. Back in college, I used to be hardcore and ride year round, but I have apparently grown frail and decrepit in my old age (I'm 28).

The weather was just about perfect for it, sunny and upper thirties with no noticeable wind, just cool enough to be brisk and keep you from overheating.

My body condition, on the other hand, was a little less than perfect.

Now, I'm in pretty good shape, don't get me wrong. I do a lot of walking, and I have a very physical job that keeps me fit, but the muscles used in walking are totally different than the muscles used in cycling, and cycling is so much more intense--it's more like running. I know that overall you use less energy cycling than you do walking to go the same amount of distance, and I'm not so decrepit that I'll be sore tomorrow--it is only two miles, after all--but getting to work was, erm, interesting. It makes it extra fun that going to and from work I literally go uphill both ways, although the getting-there uphill is much worse than the coming-home uphill. I love Duluth and I love biking but, oh man, these hills. I think I've already staked out the routes with the gentlest slopes and all the same I was panting and dizzy when I got in to work.

But coming home was nice. I can coast for almost half of it, and then the rest is either flat or is a very gentle rise, requiring just enough effort so that you can marvel at how fast you can travel by the power of your own legs.

There's a Critical Mass going on this Friday, but I'll be working, and I think it's supposed to snow, anyway. But I'm glad it's happening, I'm glad that even with all the crazy hills that there's enough bike people in Duluth to stage a Critical Mass. And in another couple weeks the DTA will
put the bike racks back on the buses, which will make it easier for weenies like me--bus up the worst of the hills, and then coast back down back 'em.

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