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For the last year or so, I've been trying to become a better bike commuter. It's hard to live up to the example of my husband, who has commuted by bike practically every day in rain, snow, sleet or hail since we moved to Bloomington in 2005. Of course, he's a dude and a dude that works in a bike shop at that, so messy hair, runny mascara, or smudged/wrinkled clothes aren't an issue for him. Luckily, I'm now in a job where I wear jeans most days, so I don't have to worry about running up a dry cleaning bill, although I still won't ride to work if there's a decent chance that I'll get wet. I'll also admit to keeping a flat-iron in my desk drawer to tame the damp-ish wind-blown look before my co-workers arrive, although my current wavy, asymmetrical hairstyle seems to only get better with a 15-minute bike ride.
There's also the issue of security. Neither my current nor my last job really allowed me to bring my bike inside with me, and I didn't want to leave any of my racing bikes locked to a bike rack all day. Then when I got my current cyclocross bike, I kept my old one as commuter bike. I added a rack and milk crate to the back and bolt on skewers. This made things tons more convenient than they were before. I could just throw my purse and lunch box on the back, and I could feel decently secure U-locking a wheel to the dumpster, old-fashioned bike rack at work that isn't very accommodating for the elaborate cable-locking through both wheel and frame that is required for bikes with quick-release wheels. At least the rack is in the parking garage and sheltered from the weather. It is also within site of the parking garage attendant, so if anyone were bold enough to bust out an allen wrench and try to remove the locked wheel, it would quickly raise suspicion.
So with all of the modern conveniences, I started commuting significantly more last summer and fall. Enough so that when the 2012 Giant catalog came out, I couldn't help but drool over the pretty mocha-and-pink themed women's Via 2. Adam has been through a myriad of different commuter bike options and for the last year or two, a men's singlespeed Via has been his summer vehicle. As dorky as it was, I thought it would be fun if we both had city bikes. So when I sold my Anthem last winter, I bought this with some of the profits:
I went full-on with Beautiful Godzilla aesthetic and had to search far and wide for a basket big enough to hold my purse and lunchbox that was also white to match the fenders. I had to forgo typical cycling channels and ended up with this for $19.99. Not such a bad deal. I also like to head straight from work to gym, so I needed a way to carry my workout clothes without adding anything more to my already over-capacity basket. I remembered Laura posting a cute, brown pannier bag a few months ago when she also purchased a brown city bike, so I tracked one of those down, as well. (No Bontrager at Bikesmith's)
So I'm fully equipped to point that there are basically no longer any inconveniences associated with commuting for me, and the beautiful spring weather that we've had lately is only helping my motivation. I do need to get a warmer coat for next winter (I'm not going to do the layering and hand-warmer stuffing that I do for sub-freezing training rides) to extend my comfort zone a bit more. I know most folks of the traditional cycling training mindset would say that commuter miles don't count, but since I withdrew myself from the training log olympics last year (with great success), I don't really feel the need to focus on my totals too much, anyway. However, logic tells me that as long as it is not otherwise interfering with my recovery, and extra 2-3 hours of low-level aerobic activity per week is probably going to be beneficial for my fitness, even if I don't look bike-racer cool when I'm doing it.
I most certainly will look some kind of cool, though...