This past Saturday, I had a meeting to attend at 8am. I set my alarm for 6:45 in order to be there on time, which is probably the earliest I’ve gotten up in months. I don’t get to work these days until around 9:30, 9 at the earliest.
I biked over to the coffee shop in the Dogpatch, and instead of taking the circuitous, more mellow route with less traffic and more bike lanes, I braved the Cesar Chavez way. It’s more direct, but depending on the time of day, it’s pretty terrifying because you’re sharing the lane with lots of highway-bound, fast-moving cars, with no space of your own.
I had forgotten how amazing the City is early on weekend mornings. Biking on this road normally makes me feel like I’m taking my life in my hands, but at that hour on a Saturday, I had the whole thing to myself. There were no cars out — everyone was still sleeping or enjoying breakfast or doing things other than driving like maniacs. It was great.
Biking used to be a pretty big source of stress for me. I allowed myself to get really, really angry when cars cut me off or didn’t respect me on the road – I would yell, bike frantically after them, make a waving-arms-scene in their rear-view mirrors. I biked in constant fear of getting hit. It was no way to spend close to an hour of each day, and the effects of that stress and anxiety rippled out into other aspects of my life.
Somewhere along the way, in the last few months, I stopped getting mad, and I stopped being afraid on the road. I bike defensively, for sure, but I’ve taken on a very calm mindset about my daily commute. Not only has this allowed me to enjoy biking much more, but I feel like that calm has rippled out into the rest of my life, too, replacing the anxiety and anger that had been there before.
“. . .honey, you cannot wrestle a dove.” – The Shins