Exercise, Life of Johanna

Biking to work-the good, the bad, the dirty

I was a seasonal bike commuter for many years. But I never got the habit to stick. Biking to work in the morning was often a breeze, but having to get on the bike again, in the dark, uphill, in the rain, when I am tired – well that part was challenging. But nine months ago, in the midst of winter, I decided to just do it and not give up. Rain or shine, four days a week. With one rest day thrown in, to make it more bearable.

Bike commuting absolutely can be great, but not all the time. My point here is that sometimes non fun things can be really beneficial and the trick is to find a way to stick to it. Also a disclaimer, I don’t have a long commute, it is only about 6K (roughly four miles), but let me tell you, those four miles can feel mighty long when I am tired, hungry, have a headwind and it is raining too.


Up and ready with somewhere to go.

One good thing about biking in bad weather: The bike lanes are much less crowded.

And sometimes it is all good.

Gym bag to the left, lunch and random stuff bag to the right. Both made by me some eons ago.

Benefits of bike commuting
The environment. No air pollution. No nonrenewable fuels used. And it takes much less resources to produce a bike and much less waste when the bike goes kaput (and bikes tends to last longer than many cars!).
Hidden exercise. I get 8x25min cardio sessions a week, just getting to and from work.
It is pretty fast. In the city, biking is as quick or quicker as cars or buses.
More energy. I feel less tired in the evenings, especially during the dark months. Being outside and exercising is in fact recommended remedies for seasonal fatigue.
Great mental booster. Biking when the weather is bad makes me feel really though and hardcore.

Drawbacks
The weather does matters. In Sweden we have a saying “there is no bad weather, just bad clothes”. That is not entirely true. I have yet to see an outfit that eliminates head wind for instance.
The maintenance factor. Having to store the bike outside and using it a lot means I need to service my bike roughly twice a year.  And that costs quite a bit.
Bike hunger. Yes it is no fun getting super hungry with low blood sugar while on the bike. I try to combat that with eating a snack right before I leave work. But sometimes bad planning makes me miss that important step.

All said and done I am really pleased that I finally managed to overcome the hurdles and just keep going on my bike. It has paid off in dividends. Now when I get on the tram in rush hour I almost get a panic attack and wish I was on my bike again, feeling the freedom and the joy of moving my own body.

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2 Comment

  1. Reply
    joelle st-laurent
    September 10, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    i also bike to work!! i also love it, except for when its raining… i live in Malmö, so snow is hardly ever a problem 😉

    1. Reply
      Johanna
      September 10, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      And you hardly have any hills either! I am very envious of you :). I lived in Malmö for a year in the mid 90's and I loved the flat streets. And I really like Malmö too!

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