Last week was a pretty good one for me in terms of getting active again! I went for a run on Tuesday and Thursday and my wife took the dog for a walk for a nice little walk on Friday night, too! We also got out on a short bike ride on Wednesday night. All in all, it was pretty awesome.
Now I will tell you about the preparation part. I decided to ride my bike to work at least twice a week recently and my first attempt was last Friday morning. In the interest of full disclosure, I live less than two miles from where I work so it’s not like I’m Lance Armstrong out there but hey, it’s something! I do have to be at work at 6 am so maybe that offsets the fact that it’s such a short trip. You may or may not have noticed that I said the first ATTEMPT was Friday morning so now I have to explain myself in a running diary format…
7:30 p.m. – My wife and I go to the local bike shop to pick up a bike lock, spare tubes, and the tools to replace the tube should that be necessary. SPOILER ALERT! This does become necessary.
8:00 p.m. – I pack my lunch, pack my bag for the morning commute (clothes to change into, work badge, house keys, wallet, etc.), and get familiar with my bike lock so I’m not screwing that up at 5:30am or so the next morning.
8:30 p.m. – Sit on my couch. This is critical because at 31 years old, that’s pretty much the end whether it’s Tuesday or Friday night. My friends will confirm this.
8:35 p.m. – “Maybe I should go out there now and attach my new bike lock to my bike with this convenient bracket the lock company has provided me. Nope. I have settled on my couch. It is finished.”
Somewhere between 9:30 and 10 p.m. – Sleep. Did I mention I have to be to work at 6 a.m.?
4:48 a.m. – Alarm goes off and I get out of bed immediately. w00t! Yes, it’s actually set for 4:48 a.m.
4:50 a.m. – Let the dog out and then go shower.
5:10 a.m. – I’m out of the shower and clothed to go biking. I put a bagel in the toaster oven while I go out to pump up my tires for the upcoming ride.
5:11 a.m. – I have a flat rear tire. -__- The rear tire is key because this means I will have to screw around with the chain at 5:11 a.m. if I have to change the tube.
5:15 a.m. – Attempt (again, ATTEMPT!) to pump up said tire and notice that the issue is a small hole in the stem (the thing where you pump the air into the tire). The following thought occurs: “It’s only a small hole. I can fix this with duct tape for now. Duct tape fixes everything.”
5:18 a.m. – Return from basement with duct tape and attempt repair. Well, of course the repair does not work and I decide that I have to actually replace the tube.
5:25 a.m. – Lament inevitable loss of bagel heat while removing tire from the bike.
5:30 a.m. – I remove the tube and put in the new tube and do so pretty quickly. I’ve done this exactly twice so I’m feeling pretty good at this point. I am also convinced I can still make it to work on time.
5:35 a.m. – New tube in, tire back on, flip bike over to pump up tire.
5:36 a.m. – Tire promptly flies off as I have forgotten to screw it back onto the frame! AAAHHHHHHH!! Cursing ensues.
5:40 a.m. – Tire has been re-attached, chain is in the right place, and my hands are more dirty than I could have ever imagined because of the bike chain. Hope is starting to fade…
5:42 a.m. – Pump up my tire and I realize that the tube is bulging out of the side of the rim. Really shoulda pumped it up more before I put it back on the bike. More cursing.
5:45 a.m. – Clinging to hope and start to deflate tire to put tube back in the right place.
5:47 a.m. – Tire deflation is taking too long so I cut my losses and decide to drive to work so I’m not late. Put my bike away and pick up pride.
5:50 a.m. – Clean my mechanic-esque hands as well as I can with Joy dish soap, change clothes, and grab cold bagel.
5:54 a.m. – Leave for work and somehow get there with a minute to spare.
6:05 a.m. – Re-heat bagel and proceed to eat what is now basically a bagel chip with hands still dotted with remnants of chain grease. You can bake a potato twice. You cannot toast a bagel twice.
So what did we learn today, kids?
#1: I need to complete all necessary activities before sitting on my couch.
#2: Check the damn bike the night before! Checking the tires the morning of the ride doesn’t hurt either.
Basically, I learned an old lesson yet again. Just be prepared and try to think of everything that can go wrong especially if you are attempting to do something new at 5:30 a.m. Brutal…
There’s a bit of a happy ending to my tale, though! This week I have ridden my bike to work for the past two days. I rode in on Monday and everything went just fine. Last night, I didn’t feel like doing it today but I overcame the urge to drive in today! I prepped everything last night and rode in again today and it’s a pretty awesome feeling! Obviously, the commute is short but it still works up a bit of a sweat in the morning. I definitely need to remember to pack a towel in my bag next time.
Thanks for reading!
-Dan Moran, The Moranimal