Tomorrow, the students return to school. The last couple of weeks have been dress rehearsal for the real morning routine, which starts tomorrow and lasts until the end of May.
Will I ride every day? No. Commuting by bike three days per week is about all my body will handle right now. As the year goes on, more riding will probably make sense and feel welcome. I hope to end the school year riding at least 100 miles a week between utility and recreational cycling.
This isn't my first attempt at this resolution. Over the years, I've bailed many times. When that has happened, I've reflected some on why it happened. It all boils down to one word . . .
In a perfect world, I'd stay up late enough to watch the evening news and have some time alone with my wife, I'd leap out of bed at five in the morning, I'd do all of my ironing/food preparation/packing when I'm fresh, and I'd average 16 - 18 mph on the ride.
Yeah, that would be the life, wouldn't it?
Welcome to my world, as it really is, instead! Here's what I know I have to do in order to make the morning ride:
- Get sufficient sleep. Without at least seven hours of sleep (and I'm inclined to believe that 8 1/2 is my ideal), I'm brainless and tactless . . . two traits unbecoming of a good teacher or a good bicycle commuter!
- Fuel up! Being hungry sucks! When it comes to food, I have two rules: (1) I don't eat food that doesn't taste good; (2) I don't do hunger. I can take care of these by loading up at the vending machine between meals, but that gets expensive (not to mention fattening). So, I lay out breakfast the night before (and I eat half before the ride; half after) and make lunch and stash it in the fridge. I'm still getting the hang of planning sufficient snacks and such, but I'm closer now than when I first started my attempts at a bicycle lifestyle. What I eat is probably better detailed in a separate post. By the way, I include filling up my CamelBak as a part of my food preparation.
- Pack the night before. I've avoided doing that for any number of reasons ranging from my clothes getting more wrinkled to having to possibly unpack if I oversleep and run late. Since my clothes wrinkle some over the course of the day, I've decided not to worry about it. I'm going to keep a back-up set of work clothes ready for the occasions when I do oversleep; this violates another rule of mine (don't do unnecessary work), but I think that my Eagle Scout roots are going to win on this one, and I'm going to choose to "Be Prepared."