ladies, ladies, ladies. prepare your cranberry juice and itunes library with Cat Power!
my name is Kylie, and i ride as often as i can with the Greenstreet Ladies. My husband and i just moved here to Omaha from Chicago (and right before that, Dallas) and we are jumping head first into this bicycle commuting lifestyle... let me tell you the story of my first month commuting.
let me start out with saying that there will always be a day where you will dread packing up your back-pack; (chrome bag, panniers, basket, whathaveyou) with the day's worth of necessities. depending on how far away your commute is, there can be quite a few things to pack up prior to walking down the steps of the back door and pedaling, pedaling, pedaling your way to work. (or the grocery store. or the coffee shop).
my commute to work is 7.5 miles. they are not terrible; in fact, the first two thirds are pretty encouraging- weaving in and out of my neighborhood to pacific and then the keystone for two miles. it's the end that tries so effortlessly at my spirits. riding the last 2.3 miles in my first month and a half of cycling (i rode my husband's late 80's Panasonic Touring bicycle to commute for a while-it was heavy, but wonderful) is nearly impossible for me. i have to take breaks, i have to walk up that damn hill on 88th and western... but then i have made it! with the worst over. (as long as plenty of time is left to cool off before my shift- preferably 45 minutes to an hour. rushing and stressing and quick-cooling is absolutely trying to my nature, and, thus far, is the worst that has happened to me in my commute to work).
so i have to pack a lot: an extra change of clothes, plenty of water, soap to wash my face, a book to read in order to relax again, lunch, my journal, etc. but, quite honestly, for the amount of money i save a month by not owning a car, the extra effort is worth it to my husband and myself. now, i DO wake early on rainy mornings and stare out my front windows and think am i really going to have to ride in this?! but then where is adventure? stepping out of our comfort-zones to try something new should be a daily ritual. i'm on my way.
last week the husband and i rode our bicycles a few miles up to bakers (we waited too late to run the errand due to heat and whole foods closed) to buy our first round of groceries to bring home on our bicycles. there is nothing like riding with another person. i enjoy it- but oh boy can the attempt to communicate be interesting on the first rides together. on top of this, it was 10:45pm. in the dark. (we have lights. but...)
so i got out the grocery list, and we started shopping. each time i would put one more thing in the basket i thought "this weight is going to be added to our already (presumably) over-stuffed panniers. is all this even going to FIT?!" and the husband would always say "yes, darling, it will fit. don't worry... have we grabbed the almond milk yet?!!" with the lack of faith i held in our 4 Jandd mountain panniers for the overall space capacity, and the amount of groceries we bought, my heart was like an anchor cast to sea.
that was, until it came to packing it all in..... and it did, actually, fit! the six individual serving assorted yogurts, eggs, milk, bread, beans, cereal bars, household cleaning products and a TON of produce... we took center home to 36th, and, after the first of a few great battles later to come with my bicycle's friction shifters on a classic 10-speed Raleigh Super Course from '83, we made it home. mission accomplished. :D
I am so grateful for this change in lifestyle; living in texas, my husband and i would average 50 miles a day in his automobile... and i am quite happy to be able to say our furthest commute each day is to Whole Foods and back: 15 miles. life is happy here in omaha. keep smiling.
be good to your kinsman!