RIDING TO WORK: BIKE COMMUTING ISN’T PRETTY, BUT IT SURE IS EFFECTIVE!

From Gore Wear

Katie Macarelli shares her experiences of riding to work, whatever the weather, in Colorado

U Got That Look

When you picture someone who says they like to use their bike as transportation, you might have a vision of someone pedaling a Dutch Bike with loaves of bread, flowers and happy children spilling out of the cargo-portion. Or perhaps you picture a trendy hipster-esque person on their fixie, wearing the perfect scarf and jeggings. I am far from both of those things (though I DO have a penchant for scarves and have a “go-to” pair of jeggings I found at Goodwill 2 years ago).

I recently turned 40 years old. I don’t ride my bike gracefully to and fro in the streets of my city; sitting up, head held high, taking in the sunshine and blue birds. Nope. I’m a little bit of a mess.

In the mornings, I’m usually juuuuuuuuuuust on the verge of “running late” after drinking too much coffee (while listening to NPR in my kitchen) cursing at political sound-bites after my two teenage daughters get on the bus. The relaxed, happy commuter look is additionally thwarted by the fact that I am in survival mode—dodging spacey drivers for the 5-6 mile daily commute to and from work. *Today, for example, I literally put my hand on the side of an RTD bus through a round-about because the driver just HAD to pass me in the right lane, though technically I was going the speed limit and the other lane was empty.

After work, it’s a different crowd. People are less sleepy but often more angry. I’m still running late—but now I’m late to get home to my family. It’s a constant battle that working parents have within themselves every day: the work/life balance…or lack thereof. That scale is always out of whack in my head. And this doesn’t even begin to touch upon the whispers of inadequacy, self-doubt, self-deprecation, self-loathing, and blah-blah-BLAH.

And so I ride my bike because it helps. It helps everything. I also listen to music (one headphone in my right ear). That helps too. I have rediscovered my love of music and now seek it out with the same force I had as a teenager listening to U2 cassette singles. There is just something about finding the perfect song to crush the pedals as you cruise past cars in the bike lane. My recent retro-favorite is “U Got That Look” by Prince and Sheena Easton. That’s right. I said Sheena. Easton.

I have been cruising a good 25-30 mph down the steep hill right outside my house to work to this song now for at least a week. It’s my spirit song when I don my high-vis GORE vest and Handlebar Mustache socks. And you better believe I sing it. If you were to GoPro me, it wouldn’t be a pretty sight or sound but it works for me. Because I’m 40 and “I Got That Look.”

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