It’s been a long time since I commuted to work on a bicycle. But I used to do it so much that it all came back easily this morning. I am using my forced break from running to explore my relationship with exercise, competition and my physical body in more detail. For example, running made it easy for me to keep weight off but now that I can’t run, I need to pay more attention to how I fuel my body.
I used to cycle commute every day. From 1999 to 2003 I worked for the railways and cycled to work, first the 12km each way from Boondall to Bowen Hills, then the 24km each way from Bray Park to Bowen Hills. After I changed jobs in early 2003 until 2006, I cycled the 27km each way from Bray Park to the Brisbane CBD every day. I enjoyed my riding and especially enjoyed buying a new bike every 18 months (bicycles were cheaper back then).
Then I had a string of bad luck. First I broke a toe when someone opened a car door as I was riding past. Then two men tried to grab me off my bike while they drove past before swinging a hockey stick at me out the window. Then, I got wedged between a bus and a 4WD, barely managing to stay upright but hitting my head hard on the sides of both vehicles. The resultant concussion scared me and I had nightmares for a long time afterwards because I realised how close I had come to being run over by the bus. I stopped cycling for 3 years after that incident.
In 2009 I started cycle commuting because I had this ridiculous plan to cycle from Brisbane to Melbourne during the Australian summer. My commute was from the Redlands to the Brisbane CBD, a total of 45km each way. I got very fit very quickly for the three months I commuted but it didn’t help me on my planned tour. I suffered extreme heat stroke on the first day of my ride and had to return home where I spent a week experiencing the vomiting, dairrhea, inability to eat and Powerade cravings that come with extreme heat exhaustion. That was the final straw that made me scared to cycle.
Until 2011 when I got back on the bike.
In some ways, I think my leg injuries might be a blessing in disguise. Perhaps I am meant to overcome my fear of cycling and to once again embrace it as a form of recreation and transport. My cycle commute this morning was certainly enjoyable and relaxing. I have to ride down busy roads but they have wide shoulders. And I actually made it to work on-time for the first time this year because I didn’t have to go training, have breakfast, go to work. I just had to have breakfast and go to work.
My direct commute is just under 13km each way. It’s not far but there’s plenty of scope for me to extend my rides.
It feels good to be back on the pushbike commuting to work. I don’t know how long it will last because we don’t have showers but if I take things one day at a time I might find myself being a regular cycle commuter again.
Total: 26km by the time I ride home tonight.