Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bikes and a pair of 3 inch heels.

Last night I wore a little black dress with a gorgeous pair of patent leather, three-inch heel, Nine West beauties. Today, me and my tennis shoes are soaked in mud from a good, long ride on the Keystone trail before stopping at the Starbucks at 72nd & Dodge to journal and enjoy a frosty frappachino. The funny thing is, I used to put my bike in the trunk of my car and drive out to the Keystone for a ride. Now, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that fact.

I love contrast and opposites--yin & yang--being girly and flirty one night and tough and muddy the next. Cycling has opened me up in a way I hadn’t expected and sorely needed. For that, I am incredibly grateful and achingly sad that this “challenge” has come to an end. That’s not to say I won’t continue to ride, but there’s nothing more motivating than feeling as if the “world” is watching. I can see why those television reality shows work.

This experience has taught me a lot: that I am capable of surviving Dodge Street on a bicycle; that I can shower and be ready for work in about 15 minutes; that I can enjoy riding through puddles and the feeling of mud spraying up my legs; that I have a lot of fantastic and supportive people in my life; that men really squirm at references to menstruation.

What’s been interesting is the unexpected changes that have come about effortlessly. I’m recycling more, walking if I don’t have my bike (i.e. instead of having a friend drive around the block to drop me off at home, I walk) and I’m craving healthier foods. My body has changed significantly in the last month, as evidenced by the fact that I am now wearing clothes I haven’t been able to wear in four years. Shopping just got a lot more fun.

I’m also ready for a serious cycling revolution to occur. It’s time for this country to surrender its reliance on automobiles and suburban strip malls. Omaha desperately needs a better trail infrastructure for commuters and a much more cycling-friendly driving community. When I took on this challenge, I had no idea I’d been joining the ranks of these underappreciated rebels who are more than entitled to their fair share of the road. Now, I’m proud to be even just slightly on the periphery of this courageous bunch of crazy endorphin addicts.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Kristin is skipping Yoga?

I have been cheating on yoga with my bike.

That’s right. I am having an affair with my beautiful, sparkly-blue, shiny, slightly dirty bike. I can’t help it. I keep thinking about yoga…I really do. I find myself yearning for Bikram. It is my centering agent. It is my practice and my prayer.

I have made several internal “commitments” to go to yoga, but then life happens and there’s my bike staring at me from the garage…watching, ready, fun.

So, I hop on and yoga gets left in the dust.

As freeing as cycling is, there are a lot of little irritations to work around. Many of Omaha’s sidewalks are not well kept. They are disheveled, neglected and unfinished on Dodge and Farnam Streets, in particular. People block the sidewalk, they don’t trim trees and bushes, and pull into the crosswalk so I can‘t safely cross the street. I can see the day coming when, while not paying attention, I die in some freak accident because the sidewalk suddenly ends in a steep cliff. Admittedly, I like the danger of Dodge Street and pushing it…riding up the hills, hard. I revel in the shades of green along the trails and the striking smell of fresh lilacs. But, today I almost ran over road kill and there’s nothing like that stench first thing to wake you straight up out of a morning fog.

And then there’s the sweat. I don’t glisten; I sweat like a middle-aged man at the gym desperately trying to reclaim his lost youth. And, that’s fine first thing in the morning or late in the day, but it doesn’t leave the best impression to ride to a meeting, show up a half an hour late because of bad planning and proceed to spend the first fifteen minutes of that meeting wiping dripping sweat from my face. And I won’t even talk about what’s going on under my clothes during the meeting.

Annoyances aside, the truth is I’m addicted. I get high off of the endorphins. I rode to work today and I don’t think I came down all day--one colleague asked me what I‘d snorted on the way in. “I rode my bike,” I said in a glazy daze.