Today is a special day. I got up this morning and did not want to get on the bike. It was dark, cold, raining. I’ve done this hundreds of times before and I have hundreds of dollars worth of technical gear to do it with and I still didn’t want to because I knew, at some point on the ride, I would be cold and uncomfortable – suffering – and it would suck. I knew I would get out there and I would start to doubt. All those things everyone else asks and says about riding a bike to work in this kind of weather would come up in my head and I’d have no good answer. All the usual responses – mental health, fitness, sustainability, adventure – they’d all seem stupid in light of the moment. I’d just be an idiot riding my bike in the rain.
When the moment struck, I thought, “I’m going to take a picture to show how much this sucks. It’ll show people. And when I get to my cush, warm office and I’m drinking my fresh, hot coffee, I’m going to post it to Instagram so everyone knows what a badass I am and then I’ll bask in the glow of validation, community and virtual high fives.” Of course it took a few tries with my high-tech phone to get the photo right. Then as I rode on I felt a little better. Then I thought, “I’m not even half as hard as guys like @elexplore and @rayzahab. Those guys push themselves for DAYS at a time. I’m riding 45 minutes to work.”
Then I thought, well but, they have high tech gear, and sponsors and even after days or weeks, they go home to their friends and family and laugh and share stories. I mean, they share stuff to Instagram too, so how bad could it actually be? Then I was reminded that there’s so many people out there experiencing PROFOUND levels of suffering and discomfort – both internal and external – and they’re not going to be able to post to Instagram about it, and their not gonna get the virtual high-fives and they might not have anyone who wants to hear their stories even when they’re dying to tell them. They’re just going to try and make it through one. More. Day. I’m glad I was able to ride my bike to work today. It was just an ordinary day like any other. Special.