Back to the Bike and Bruised Fanny

I encourage you to continue to play in traffic. This shall end well.

Well, I’ve hardly moved in the past six months. Now it’s re-started.

I’m back on the bike-to-work routine. I put my suit and lunch in a pannier bag that is attached to my bicycle, and then strap my dog to my back. We jump on the lakefront trail and pedal ten miles to work. It’s not an easy commute. Beautiful, but not easy.

Two things.

First, the fanny. Every year this comes up. My fanny doesn’t get a lot of action in the off season. (insert sophomoric joke here) For some reason the cheeks totally forget what a small bicycle seat wedged up there feels like. After my first day of biking (20 miles total), the next morning is like fire back there. And that lasts for about a week. I’m sure it’s all bruised up and gross – I was about to make a “now it’s black, blue, and brown” joke but that was a little too immature, even for me. (but I did it anyway!) Jumping on the bike every morning is painful for my rear, but hey, I don’t use my fanny for much other than pooping, so I can deal with it.

Second, the goddamned wind. Chicago is known as the “windy city” and yes I know that is really a political reference, but it’s windy as all get-out, too. And, for some reason the wind always blows north which means my ride to work is brutal. I’m overweight, carrying a dog, and out of shape facing a steel breeze. It sucks.

Now to be fair the ride home is usually easier because the wind rarely changes direction during the day, so it’s at my back. But I’m also beat from the day so I don’t get to enjoy it as much.

What I’ve learned by riding my bike is that I don’t really love bike riding. I do it for the exercise. And it’s really tough for me. I’m also, once I start, no matter how difficult it is, unable to stop. If I want to just walk the rest of the way I’d have to hail a cab and figure out how to get the bike in that backseat behind the plexiglass. In other words, there’s no way out. I must keep going, no matter what.

I’ve been caught in 35 mph winds and torrential downpours.

So, at 7:30am if the wind is blowing 20mph in my face (this just happened yesterday), there’s nothing I can do but push on. It’s a great reminder that I am not in control of things. I just have to put my face into the wind and pedal even though I want to quit. Chop wood, carry water, and all that zen bullshit.

Aside from being beaten by the elements the other benefit is that I get to spend two hours a day with myself. Most of the time I just drone it out with music or podcasts. Since I don’t do transcendental meditation or anything that requires silence I really have an opportunity to learn more about myself. This means getting quiet and noticing what’s inside.

There will be a time where I’ll be remarried with children and quiet won’t exist except for when I take naps and lock the bedroom door from the inside. Daddy is sleeping and needs you to hang out near the television for an hour. Watch something. I don’t care. Good luck.

I am challenging myself this year to turn down the music and listen to what is going on within. Hopefully there’s something worth reporting. If not, it’s back to my medley of John Mellencamp songs that I’m embarrassed to have on repeat.

Within a week my fanny will be healed, my legs will be back in shape, and I’ll be digging the ride. For now, it’s uncomfortable.

Oh, and I don’t wear those lame skin-tight spandex clothes, so you can’t goof on me for that nonsense. Old Budweiser t-shirts and crappy gym shorts is my thing. But I do have a seven pound chihuahua in a backpack, so I imagine that is something to laugh about.

If you commute like me, good for you. Unless you’re a rollerblader. All those guys are dicks. It’s true.


I encourage you to continue to play in traffic. This should end well.

photo credit: thisisbossi via photopin cc

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