The other day I was reading this post from the T-Rex Runner (you should read her awesome blog by the way!) and it reminded me that when I bought my bike, one of my thoughts was that since I live in the downtown area of both of the towns that I live in, I would ride my bike EVERYWHERE. I’d ride to the bars, to the store, whatever! It would be awesome. I think I have only managed to do this one time, though, and that was because I was dropping my car off to get fixed and would have had to walk home instead, making biking preferable. Here are my numerous excuses:
- I just ran/biked and now I’m tired.
- Where would I lock it?
- For awhile, Kris and I were sharing a bike lock, so we couldn’t go anywhere together.
- Too nervous.
- I don’t know, probably laziness????
Today, though, I could not really think of any excuse. I was planning to go to the grocery store to buy ice cream and shotbloks (needed now that I’m getting to 10 mile + runs). The grocery store is only ONE mile from my house. The only real excuse I could come up with for taking my car was that I would have to find a way to cross over into 2 left-hand turn lanes. I decided that since I have done far scarier things (I’ve gone through a 6 lanes each way intersection on campus) I could probably handle it, though, and that the scary turn lanes were not a good enough excuse. I did wait for traffic to die down a little, though. The only other excuse I could think of was that I could not recall whether there was a bike rack at the store, but I have seen so many people riding their bikes to and from the store that I just knew there had to be one somewhere (there was).
Overall, my first real adventure at biking somewhere in a non-recreational manner other than campus went well. The turn lanes were not the scariest part at all. In fact, the worst part was probably the GIANT hill. I never realized how big that hill is in my car! It was also sort of scary because the hill has no shoulder and I was afraid that a car would hit me due to lack of room, but they all gave me plenty of space without even going in the other lane (the lanes must also be wider than I thought they were).
My only real issue was that I am so used to hauling about 75 pounds of stuff (slight exaggeration) with me to campus that when I was biking around with nothing in my panniers except my purse and u-lock that I kept getting a bit off balance and almost fell over twice! Once, I was turning my head to go over into one of the left turn lanes and almost fell over sideways (that would have been bad because there was a car directly behind me). The other time I held my arm up to signal a right hand turn while going downhill and braking and squeezed the brake too hard with my other hand while correcting my balance and almost fell over due to almost stopping. That would have been less bad because I was at a red light with no one behind me (meaning the hand signal was largely necessary, but I do like to practice).
One thing that makes me sad, though, is that when I bought the bike I really thought it would make going to the bars downtown more convenient. I always feel silly driving 1 mile to go to them, but it’s a bit far to walk. The more I think about it, though, the reasons that I do not want to walk are very similar to the reasons that I don’t want to bike. Yeah, it might take me a few minutes longer to walk, which is one reason that I don’t, but the main reason that I don’t walk is that I go to the bars at night, and I would be too afraid to walk by myself at night. I’d probably have to have at least one man or multiple other women with me to feel safe enough to go that far at night without a locked car door between me and the outside world. It’s not that I live in a particularly bad part of town* – I’d be scared anywhere. In fact, the only time I’ve ever actually encountered a creepy person at night was in my small 7,000 person hometown with almost no crime! I’m probably being somewhat irrational, as I’d be faster than most assailants on a bike, but I can’t help it. I’m going to the bar with a friend tonight and I am going to drive the short distance (it’s on my street for goodness sake!) to this bar out of paranoia 😦
So that I don’t end on a sad/paranoid note, one final thing to mention: I have started using Twitter again! Follow me if you’d like!
*Technically, I do live in the “bad part of town” where all the “people from Kentucky” apparently live. I’ve lived in some fairly shady places, and I have relatives from Kentucky who are totally normal people. Let’s just say I think the Indianans are overreacting.