What’s the best way to start a new habit? I don’t know, but I’m going to find out on this journey. I get overwhelmed by the idea that it only takes 27 days to start a new habit, 27 days IN A ROW that is! I struggle with the idea of that kind of commitment; I have a child, I have a job, I have side jobs, I have appointments, I have depression, I have anxiety. I have a lot of things that make it incredibly hard to commit to 27 days because life happens. So, how is this going to work, I don’t know, but let’s find out!
First, I should introduce myself; I’m Amy! I’m the newest team member over here at Planet Bike. I have long used my bike on the weekends to get my kid to the playground or get us to a neighborhood restaurant, but this new job has me inspired to turn my casual riding into a new habit! Over the next year, I invite you to follow along as I adventure a whole new world of bicycle commuting!
This started when I found myself staring wide-eyed at our product wall trying desperately to understand what I might need for my first ride. This is where my co-worker found me and I tried to act cool and said, “Well, it’s going to be light out when I come in and go home, so I probably don’t need any lights or whatever…” Wrong! She promptly hooked me up with a few small lights that can be easily added to any bike and informed me that, “You have to be seen to be safe.”
The Real Day 1
In the morning, armed with my helmet, my old craigslist bike (with newly mounted Button Blinky Safety Set) and all the enthusiasm of a kid going to the dentist I started my ride.
Enter my first hurdle: Getting out in the street! When I’m in my neighborhood with my child in the carrier I have anxiety about him being side swiped by a car when on the streets, so yes “I AM THAT MOM” and typically ride on the sidewalk. But this time, I was riding solo, so I hit the road. I found myself hugging the cars lining the residential streets so people could pass me and standing up on the pedals to huff it across intersections. I don’t think either of these are the safest ways to ride but until I build confidence and comfort on my bike, I don’t feel safe taking up space that cars typically occupy.
The second hurdle came just about half-way through my 7 mile ride when I felt like, well to be frank, I just don’t want to be doing this! I doubted very seriously if this was going to work for me. I got to the point in my route where it comes off the traffic-free bike path and follows a highly traveled four lane divided road. I was feeling bad about my stamina and hungry! I had no idea where the smell of Mexican food came from at 7:40 AM but I wanted it! While waiting to cross the busy intersection, none of the cars seemed to notice me, so I had a minute to catch my breath and talk myself out of the pity party going on in my head.
I successfully navigated the road crossing and not far down the busy road my route moved back onto a tree lined path, which was freshly dusted with the first fall leaves. It was beautiful and peaceful as it carried me almost the rest of the way to work. As I emerged from the wooded path, I caught the downhill of the rail crossing, and glided into the Planet Bike parking lot.
I left my house very early, fearing exhaustion or a flat tire so I made it to work before most and as everyone trickled in, I was met with high fives and genuine smiles of encouragement. I had done my first ride! I am one day into however many days it takes to turn me from a timid mom bike rider into a true bike commuter.