back on the bike

Today I rode my bike to the van for the first time in almost two weeks. (Stupid tires.) It’s definitely darker and chillier already. But today my mood has also been way better, so I’m thinking about the fall…. (Already!)

The thing that makes cycling perfect is that it precisely fits into a block of time where there wouldn’t be anything else. It takes me exactly the same amount of time to take the bus as it does to ride, strangely enough, and I have to get from my house to the van & back again, one way or another. So it just fits.

Because, like every other damn person, the problem I have in getting regular exercise is the time/convenience factor. When I worked at the United Way, I belonged to the Y, and that always worked out best when I had a regular (aerobics!) class that I was registered for; even though I also loved swimming, it was just so freaking hard to get going out the door.

And the early morning exercise thing is intermittent at best.

So I’m looking out at the fall & winter and thinking: what the hell am I going to do?

The first step is just to get better gear for the weather. New lights, which I should really do in the next couple of weeks. A light waterproof jacket. And the rain pants, which are the critical component, and the thing I dread shopping for.

Tangential rant: I HATE shopping for “sport” clothes, at REI in particular. There’s some assumption at work there that if you are bigger than a size 14, you don’t deserve to be hiking/climbing/biking/etc. because they just don’t carry any big women’s pants. Tops aren’t that bad, but bottoms are just impossible. I don’t even like to think about the shopping trip we did right before I went to Austin: I must have tried on a dozen pairs of pants, and nothing fit. Didn’t matter if I went for the sale rack or the newest most expensive thing. Nothing my size at all.

So, yeah, you can see why I’m kinda hung up on the rainpants. (Plus, they are crazy-expensive.) But I need to do it.

That should carry me through November at least, and let me pick back up again in late February or early March fairly easily. But December, January, and the beginning of February…am I tough enough to take the cold and continuous rain? Should I be? (Remembering that as in June & July the daylight lasts forever, so does the darkness in January & February.) I’m thinking also, with some unease, about last winter’s sinus infection(s).

Quite possibly, then, I should also be thinking about protections vs. the cold. 99 cent gloves do work shockingly well, but something for the face & ears might be in order.

The other option is that sometime around Christmas (!!!!) I switch to an indoor activity. I’ll admit that I don’t have any enthusiasm about that option. The really nice Y in our area is quite a distance; there’s a bus that goes right by it from near the van dropoff, but it’s a half-hour ride. Or I could go to the one downtown.

But it’s expensive (relatively) and means specifically carving time out of my schedule. Same thing with walking around the neighborhood, getting an exercise bike, etc. I am sorta tempted to get one of those rigs to turn a regular bike into an exercise bike, but, again, kinda spendy.

Still, after the evidence of the last week or so, I know without a doubt that I need regular exercise for the mental health benefits, and I’m going to take that very seriously.