Friday, April 15, 2011

A blessing in disguise

My car has been having huge problems lately and thus I've had to go to the shop 3 times in the last week. Most notably, it was there all weekend and I was carless for a large amount of time (my fault for not picking it was actually ready Friday at noon but Happy Hour, reading, and general lounging took priority over getting it back).

Anywhos, the point of this post isn't to complain that my car is a P.O.S., which it isn't. It's held up pretty well and there's actually not that much wrong with it now that the problem's been properly diagnosed.

The real reason that I'm writing about car troubles is that it's made me get off my butt and bike to school/work. I mean, I don't live that far from campus. In fact, it's a little over 1.5 miles from my front door to my first class. It's even closer to my office (1.3 miles). I should be biking every day, right?

Well, there's a small problem with this commute. There's a MASSIVE hill at about mile 1.

See? Totally flat at the beginning, then a 7% grade at mile one. If you don't get the idea, here's a little close-up:

I wouldn't mind it too much under regular bike-riding circumstances. (That's a lie. I'd be cursing the whole way up.) But my commuter bike weighs about 30 pounds (no joke, I actually weighed it) and I end up showing up to class with sweat stains up and down my back, and under my boobs and armpits. Not sexy. Gross, in fact. I even thought about buying a new t-shirt at the bookstore yesterday because I was so embarrassed.

Anywhos, another big problem I have is that it just hurts so bad to get up that thing. My quads burn, my lungs ache, and generally, it's just a miserable experience. Last time I pushed myself hard up that hill (and by "hard" I mean I pedaled just hard enough to not stand in place), it hurt to breathe for 2 hours afterward. So yeah, not my happy place.

But with my car in the shop and me not wanting to leave my house 40 minutes early to catch the bus when it takes less than half of that to bike, I was left with no choice but to try biking again. I used to be too embarrassed to even think about walking my bike up that hill (confidence issues, you know) so I suffered pedaling up that damn hill. But now I don't care. It's the only way I can get myself to consistently bike to work/school instead of driving and paying an arm and a leg for parking and gas. And this way, I can stay on campus as long as I want/need without worrying that I've exceeded my maximum parking time. And burn some calories on a daily basis. So many positives!

So yeah, the car problems have been a great blessing in disguise. It was perfect timing for me to have to take it to the shop because it's finally warming up consistently (if you ignore the snow storm we got yesterday) and thus it doesn't hurt nearly as much to bike everywhere. I even biked to get dinner the other day, instead of taking the car. Granted, I should've cooked something at home instead of buying 740 calories of Panera Bread, but little steps, little steps.

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