Now that 2014 is ending, I’m celebrating my first complete calendar year of bike commuting. I’m lucky to love close enough to work that it takes only a few more minutes to bike than to drive. That’s the key to daily bike commuting. Yes, some days it rains, and some days it’s cold… but you can conquer both of those with the right clothes. But I can’t change school schedules, and if it took too long to bike I couldn’t make it a daily routine. It would have to be an occasional treat. I’ve also learned that I’d rather get rained on than be stuck in traffic in a dry car. I’m not sure how many days I drove to work in 2014, but it was probably fewer than 10. I’ve certainly spent more time on my bike than in a car.
I’m spending more time on my bike, but so far it’s been safer. Hooray!
What amazes me about this is I spent the first 38 years of my life avoiding physical activity. I’m bad at sports. My 13 years of Pro Club membership went mostly unused. (I enjoyed the “Extreme Body Makeover” group fitness class for about 2 years, but I dropped it when Alex was born and never looked back.) So yeah, the 40 year old me is quite different than the 30-year-old me, or even the 20-year-old me. Some of the changes are obvious:
Other changes are less obvious, like how my doctor isn’t worried about my cholesterol any more. One unexpected consequence of biking is it completely extinguished my night-owl tendencies. For most of my adult life, my usual bedtime was around midnight, and I’d wake around 6:00 AM. 9:00 PM to midnight was my most productive time of the day. But now, I’m just tired after dinner. Forget focus and productivity… I’d rather fall asleep at 9:00. Many nights, I do. As a result, I’m sleeping more. For the most part, this is a good change. I feel better with more sleep, and I think it makes me a better parent, too. I’m more patient when well-rested.
But here’s what makes me sad. My photography and writing have been on a slow decline since my peak year of 2009, and losing nighttime productivity just pushed it off a cliff. Here are the trends, excluding December 2014:
This is particularly bad because my memory is awful. Take 2003, for example… before I started taking photos or writing. I barely remember that year at all. When 2019 rolls around, I worry about my ability to remember 2014.
So I’ve started something new this month that I hope will become a habit in 2015 and beyond: I’m completing my metamorphosis to a morning person. I’ve been getting up at 5:00 AM Monday-Friday. 2 of those days are for CrossFit, but that leaves 3 mornings for editing pictures and writing. So far it’s working. I’ve written as much in December as the other 11 months of 2014. Same for sharing photos. This makes me happy; let’s see if it lasts.