Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life on the road

Once upon a time, I rode my bike to work. Depending on where we lived and where we worked, it ranged between a quick 4 km spin through the streets of midtown Montreal, to a 35 km stretch along the waterfront after we moved to the 'burbs. I rode because I could, because it added an almost indescribable dimension to the day, because I knew it was incredibly good for my long-term health, because it gave me two wonderfully Zen-like stretches of time during the day when the phone wasn't ringing and life wasn't intruding.

I haven't had much need for the commuter bags over the past couple of years because I've been working from home, but all that changed last week (click here if you're just joining the fun.)

The drive to the office is now 100 miles (160 km), and as much as I'd love to cover the distance on my bike, it'll never pass the "are you nuts?" test. So I've swapped two wheels for four, pedal power for internal combustion. I'm slowly getting to know the OnRoute staff on a first-name basis. Heaven help me.

I'll admit to missing my bike commute, the culture of preparing to ride, of getting my head in the game and methodically transitioning between the road and the office. I miss the feeling of moving myself long distances with nothing more than my legs, of being so in touch with the road as I moved between work and home.

But life goes on. And when opportunity called from the big city way east of here, I couldn't say no. With so much of our lives rooted in the community here in London, we won't be moving anytime soon, so I'll be driving. Watch this space over the next while as I share words, images and who knows what else from the stretch of highway 401 between Mississauga and London.

Your turn: Got any long-distance commuting tips? I'm all ears.


Anonymous said...

Each winter, the deep cold takes my bike commuting away for a dark, long stretch of time. I grieve the loss of that quiet Zen space, the methodical bike-packing, the early morning swoosh of the tires.

Each winter, I find a new normal. Awkwardly, stiffly, disjointedly. Without my bike for company, my office is lonely, bleak and sterile.

Find your new normal. Plan it. A Very Long Commute such as yours will offer a lot of time for outprocessing, quiet thinking and reflecting.

Congratulations on your new job, Carmi. It's a perfect fit for your comprehensive skill set and will open many doors.

Be patient with yourself, as you adjust to all the changes. And breathe. Mostly, just breathe.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

My husband had some long commutes during his career, especially the 4 years that he worked in Washington, D.C. Audio books were his choice of passing the time, and we now often travel long distances with a story or two from the library speaking out of the little boxes in our car.
He also had his own choice of music on iPod that would help him decompress from a stressful day.

Stay safe and alert on those long drives.

James Shelley said...

A solid podcast playlist redeems even the longest of commutes.