Biking to work

I have to travel nearly two and a half hours every day to work. Two buses there and back, 30+ minute journeys each, and waiting time in connection. I try to make the best of it, by carrying a book or two, but I do miss my morning and afternoon bicycle rides to work. They were short enough to not get in the way, and long enough to build fitness, energy and power.

When I worked as a retail assistant in Scotmid in Portobello, it took me 20 minutes to get to work via bicycle. A straightforward 3.4 miles – streaming from Leith across Seafield and the Promenade. With the wind behind me on a good day, it felt like a blanket of speed, hair and just enough sweat to be comfortable. A change of clothes and bodyspray in a pannier if needed (Edinburgh weather varies!), and boom – I was ready. Energised, awake and enough piss and vinegar to get fired right into the job first thing in the morning.

Two and a half hours vs 45-odd minutes. 105 minutes extra, five days a week. 8 and three quarter hours extra to myself a week. That time adds up. I used some of that extra time available to me. I often cycled straight to the Pleasance gym to lift – I read, coded and swam a lot more as a consequence of that liberated time. I’d never been fitter in my life. I don’t think I’ve been happier either.

I berate myself for losing fitness and strength. I know what that feels like to have – it has the odd effect of making everything easier – and to lose it through neglect.

A good work and life balance is important. Perhaps I should invest time more wisely.


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