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Why I’m a Bicycle Commuter

by j j
October 2004, it was a Monday morning. Although I was obediently tucked into my cubicle and appeared to be working, it was just my body going through the motions. My mind was many miles away. I was shopping for my first bike in 15 years. I had gone to a local bike shop on Saturday and chatted with a salesman. He didn’t know me, but I knew him. We had been friends in high school back in the 70’s. He had no way to recognize me through the 350 pounds I was carrying. The last time he saw me, I was 170 pounds. He still weighs 160 pounds, commutes by bike every day, and has since 1978. He smiled politely when I told him my plan to lose weight and reward myself with a new bike once I reached my first goal of getting under 300 pounds.
My mind was racing with all the changes that had taken place since I last rode half seriously in the 1980’s. Indexed shifting? Disc brakes? Wow. My old 10 speed in the garage would never do. I tried to imagine the perfect bike for my urban trekking. I was thinking big – panniers, high powered lighting, fenders, the works. Trek, Giant, Jamis, Fuji, names I never knew. So many choices. As the morning wore on, I occasionally browsed some magazines and catalogues. I was pretty much worthless, I had the bike bug bad. I actually envisioned myself on the bike, spinning through the neighborhoods and city traffic at 20-25 miles per hour, never tiring. I could actually see myself pulling up at work, locking her up securely, and carrying my helmet and gear inside. I don’t know why it appealed to me so strongly to ride to work, but it did. Part of the appeal was the desire to lose weight, but there was more.
I wanted to be able to be self sufficient in the simple task of getting to work and back. I wanted to feel the road and the earth as I traveled over it by my own power. It’s akin to the same reasons people fly planes and gliders with no engine – it’s a natural high. I wanted to feel the rush of the wind, experience the openness, and smell the air with the wonderful aromas morning breakfasts and morning glories. I wanted to workout, wring out my muscles and chase away the fat. I could feel myself getting lean just sitting on my 8-way adjustable chair in my cubicle. This went on for weeks. Then it happened. I stepped on the scale, and buck naked, (and after I spit) I weighed 299.98 pounds. Close enough.
Next day I went back to the shop, and picked up my bike. It’s pretty much the most perfect commuter bike ever made. No pegs though. My friend Bruce smiled as I told him of my plan to lose weight and reward myself with a another bike when I reached 200 pounds.
(This is part one of a series – “Why I’m a Bicycle Commuter” Part two coming soon.)
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8 Responses to “Why I’m a Bicycle Commuter”

  1. SueJ says:

    I’d love to encourage other folks who think it’s the people who are already fit and focused who get into this.

  2. […] an you think. Click Here to read part 1 of my article. […]

  3. RL Policar says:

    7000 miles per year? DANG Sue! You definitely need to send us your story! We’ll be glad to feature you on our site. Let me know if you’re interested.

  4. SueJ says:

    I’m surfing for commuters… and I keep running into people who you just wouldn’t expect to be fitness nuts or something; yet I bet most car folks assume it’s a much bigger deal than it is. I know I never expected to be doing 7000+ miles in a year.

    Think I’ll make a collection of them…

  5. […] ?Part of the appeal was the desire to lose weight, but there was more. Full story at the Commute by Bike blog.   Leave a R […]

  6. jj says:

    Thanks guys – I’m still at it! I’m closing in on 250 pounds and I’m stepping up my riding to hit a goal of 3500 miles this year. My commute is 5.2 miles. Avg time is 25 minutes one way. Best time 22min and change. I started out taking 40 minutes, worked down pretty quickly to 25 min though – less than 2 months.

  7. Justin Alcober says:

    Great Story! Great Accomplishment!

  8. doggo says:

    Me next. I can’t wait. And I’m not waiting ’til I’m under 300.

    So that was 2004, how’d it go? How long is your commute? Thanks for posting that.

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