I am very lucky when if comes to bike commuting. Even though this has been the year without a winter, it can be damn cold in the morning. Case in point, today it was 25 degrees outside. I also like to sleep in as much as possible. These two combined make it hard to bike to work.
However, since Michelle and I work together, I get to throw the bike on the rack and drive in with her, then ride home. However, with not riding in, sometimes I forget things…
Now I should fess up a bit. I have been known to forget things I need when I DO take off riding from the house. Long before this 15,000 mile blog was started, I was heading out on the first 40 mile ride of the year one fine winter day. I took off, and flew down the steep hill to the Interurban trail. Halfway down I noticed my head was FREEZING!
This didn’t make sense. I had a stocking cap, and a helmet and a helmet cover. I should be toasty. So at the bottom, I reached up to tighten the helmet…. Which was NOT there. DAMN, I was getting ready and excited and flat forgot it. It was a long steep 2 mile climb back to the house, and I am not proud to admit that I called Michelle that day, to ask her to bundle up and brave the cold to bring me the helmet. Bless her heart she did it! Good thing she loves me!
Fast forward to nowadays, and I have forgotten a few things in my commutes home.
Most often the forgotten item was the sunglasses. Since I send my backpack home with her each evening, I sometimes forget to take out the glasses. One day I got fed up, and went next door to REI to buy the cheapest pair they had ($50!) These now stay in the top drawer of my desk at all times. If I forget the good ones, I have these ready to go.
I have forgotten to bring bike shorts more than once! This annoys me to no end as I like the padding they provide. Luckily though, I have a locker at work and a pair of work out shorts. It is not a comfy, and being nylon they are a bit slippery, but they get me home better than wearing 501s! Luckily I have built up enough butt callouses that 17 miles without padding doesn’t hurt.
So far I have never forgotten a jersey, but if you ever see me ride home in a polo shirt you know I finally did.
More than once I have forgotten my clipless shoes! I cycled 10,000 miles before I ever bought the pedals and shoes you need to do this. Now, I hate going even 1/2 a mile to the store without them. I do have the pedals that allow for clips or regular shoes.
So if need be I can ride home in my work shoes, and I have done it, but it sucks! The last time I forgot them I drove back home to get them (a little foreshadowing here).
I can say though, it has been quite a while since I forgot anything…. until today.
Last night I was down with the Manchild, and then got my quarterly (every 3 months) hair cut (someday I really need to do a before and after selfie). Normally I do the stairs afterwards, but for some reason I was tired and just not feeling it. I got home, got the yard waste and garbage to the curb, and got the bike prepped for the day.
I got to work, locked it up downstairs and noticed…No helmet!! DAMN!!
I will tell you, like most people my age, I grew up not wearing a helmet. Hell, I didn’t really start to until the kids were born and I had to be the good influence. But now, I feel safer on the bike commute home wearing one! Crap! What to I do now.
Many ideas went through my head.. . I could go to the bike rental stand and borrow one over night. (yes I know this would be considered wrong)
I could go to REI and buy one, then return it, no questions asked, tomorrow.
Editors note: I consider this BAD REI karma!
I could ride home without one. (Michelle and mom woulda been mad!)
I could skip the ride and drive home.
In the end, I again drove home at lunch and got the helmet. It was a gorgeous day outside, and getting warmer. I’d be a damn fool to waste a day like this. Next year at this time it could be snowing! This is also my last commute home day this week, I didn’t want to miss it.
However, I played it smart. In the shed I have 2 spare helmets. One of them now resides in the bottom drawer of my desk! To paraphrase an ex boss of mine (remind me to do a post on him some day!) “As god as my witness, I will never be without a helmet again!”
People thought I was crazy to waste the gas just to be able to bike home. These are the folks who just don’t realize how happy cycling home makes me, and how much less stress there is in my life when I do ride. It was well worth the trip!
I did make one final bad decision though. With the bright sun, I took off without wearing my helmet liner hat. Remember that hair cut I mentioned? 2 miles in, and my head was freezing! So yep, I pulled over and put it on. MUCH better!
The ride home was great, and I am very happy I gave up a lunch hour for a quick trip home. My dad always said “You’d forget your head if it wasn’t attached!”
He is probably right!