How Biking to Work is Changing My Life

I started my new job in February, and thought I had my daily commute down pat. But, it was taking approx. 40 mins each way to only travel 5 miles. And that’s when the metro runs smoothly. For those who don’t live in the DC area, the metro RARELY runs smoothly. If it’s not literally on fire, some random drunk is on the tracks, or they’re doing much needed repair work on the tracks. Either way, the trains are frequently delayed.

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(This is an actual website)

A lot of people bike to work in DC and I realized that the obstacles to biking to work (shower, gear, weather) weren’t really that difficult to surmount. My biggest initial hurdle to biking to work was my actual bike; I only owned a tri bike (which I’m obsessed with), and there was no way I was going to park my tri bike outside the office during the day. So, I turned to the very competitive DC bicycle sales Craigslist. It’s kind of like Family Feud when you have to press the red button first even before the question is finished. I missed out on a few great bikes, including a gorgeous old school Bianchi, before I finally scooped one up. I picked up a perfect 1980s Schwinn Super Le Tour and after adding new tires/tubes, it cost me a total of $170.

I’ve been bike commuting to work for a little while now, and it is changing my life!

1. Sleep quality has increased.

It’s no secret, I’m really good at sleeping. There are few things I’m good at, but sleeping tops the list. I didn’t realize that my sleeping could get even better though. I’ve been getting a solid 9 hours of sleep since starting my bike commute, and I basically sleep like a rock through the entire night.

2. More time on the bike.

This is pretty self-explanatory, but I’m getting in a full hour of bike riding per day, which is slightly more than I was getting previously. I initially would metro home from work, which took 40+ mins, hurry and change, grab my tri bike, throw it in the back of the truck, drive to my ideal biking spot, only to have an hour of daylight left to get in a ride. It was frustrating limiting myself like that. Now I get to bike home from work, sometimes taking the long way home, and I have plenty of daylight.

3. I no longer hate going into DC. 

People who live in the DC suburbs, like myself, generally tend to strategically plan going in DC proper. The transportation issues are generally: the metro (yet again) and/or parking difficulties and/or uber surge costs. But now, with my commuting bike, I don’t loathe going into DC. I actually enjoy it! DC is one of the most bike-friendly cities in America and I never feel unsafe on my bike in DC traffic.

4. More time for other triathlon training.

This is fairly obvious, but I get in at least 5 solid hours of time on the bike per week, just by commuting to work. It frees up more of my time for other triathlon training, or, you know, eating and sleeping.

5. I’m happier!

I’ve always been a fan of riding a bike. It’s my favorite leg in triathlon for a reason!  I used to bike to school when I was a little kid, and there’s just something about flying down the road with the wind in your hair. I always end up with road grime in my teeth after a bike ride, because I cannot stop smiling. And now I get to start every day with a bike ride, I just feel so lucky.

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