Man up, sister. That’s what my inner voice told me tonight as I rode home from work. For the first time since I started this challenge I got caught in a little rain. It wasn’t even rain. It was a cold mist. And I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops. I watch multiple weathercasts every day. I have meteorologists at my fingertips willing to give me personal forecasts. But I am never prepared for the weather. I always get caught without an umbrella or coat when I need them most. And so for the first 10 minutes of this evening’s ride I was whining in my head, “Wah! I’m cold. This biking idea was stupid. I want to be at home already. Why didn’t I pack pants?” Then I started to scold myself for having the nerve to complain when it’s misty and 70. Man up!
I actually berated myself for much of the ride. I find I have these inside conversations with myself more on my bike than anywhere else. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a car radio or a phone call filling up my brain space. The conversations with myself are sometimes helpful. I think through ideas about projects at work. I create to-do lists. But most of the time I just make random observations and give a running commentary. Today my brain was all over the place. I went from yelling at myself about being a weather wimp to, “OOOhhh pretty yard. Is he carrying a dolly and boxes on the back of his bike? He is. That woman’s kinda creepy. Ew, smoker’s cough. I want soy sauce for dinner. Salt. I’ll be dehydrated tomorrow. Huh, I think I have more cellulite than last summer. That sucks. Wine. I deserve wine for riding in the rain. Birds. Too many at once are scary. My neck hurts. I wish I could stop thinking.”
I really do wish I could stop thinking sometimes. It is the blessing and curse that come with my rides. The solitude can get old on those days when you find yourself really annoying, like today. At least I actually listened to myself and stopped for wine on the way home.
Angela Keegan Benson is the Assistant News Director at WCCO-TV and a mother of two. On August 1, 2011 she began her quest to live one full year as a bike commuter. Follow along as she figures out how to mesh the cycling culture with the demands of parenthood and an affinity for 4-inch heels. And yes, she’s committed to sticking it out through February storms. For more Cycling In The Cities, follow @Angela_Keegan on Twitter.