25 July 2009

Two problems, two wheels

Over the last few months, two problems have forced themselves on my attention. First, the parking lot where I park for my job has raised its monthly charge from $75 to $110 (an increase which would have eaten up half of this year's cost-of-living raise from my employer, except that we're not getting one anyway because of the recession). Second, the weight I gained during the long period before October's surgery, when I couldn't walk properly, is not going away anything like as fast as I'd hoped.

These two problems might seem completely unrelated, but I've come up with a single solution for both. I bought a bicycle.

Portland is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the US, and many people at my job ride them to work. Cost of parking at work for a bicycle: $0, which is $110 lower than $110 is.

Bike-riding is also real exercise -- and, according to my surgeon's office, it's particularly good for anyone who has had the specific operation I had.

I haven't ridden one for almost forty years, but it's surprising how fast all the necessary habits come back once you call upon them. What my first practice riding session did make clear, though, is that sedentary living for decades really, really leaves you out of shape. After just twenty minutes I was out of breath, muscles aching, the whole bit. Luckily I have plenty of time to build up to the point of being able to use it for commuting. But it's a forceful reminder that evolution never designed us to sit still all day and get flabby. We don't realize what we've done to ourselves until we have to stir ourselves to unaccustomed activity. Sedentary exis-tence weakens and ages us -- it is, quite literally, no way to live.

Well, enough of that. I am not going to end up as just another middle-aged guy with his stomach sticking out over his beltline. Nor am I going to keep paying a ridiculous amount of money for a parking space. Two problems, one solution -- with two wheels.


Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Sound's like a sure winner on that bicycle thing. But regardless of the exercise and even parking...you probably admit...that bikes are kind of fun just to cruise around on in town too. That is one of the thing's that I also reckonized about PDX when I visited there... it is a very bike friendly city it appeared. And that's the thing too...a person get's a cost of living increase or whatever...enjoy's it about a week or two...until everyone makes sure they get their piece of what you got.

Take care Guy..........

25 July, 2009 11:07  
Anonymous Rita said...

$110 a mth. just to park! wow. Getting a bicycle seems to make sense on so many levels. Good for you.

25 July, 2009 11:20  
Blogger Conrad Strong said...

Infidel I can relate, as having dealt with both problems myself. You'll love the bike riding and it's great exercise. I bought a bike a while back and like you, had not ridden one in decades. I should get off this computer and go ride. If only ranting about politics was good exercise, I would be fit as a fiddle.

25 July, 2009 12:53  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I'm feeling very positive about it. Even with the brief practice ride this morning, I could tell I'm going to like it. It's just a matter of regaining skills and building up stamina.

Rita, I certainly wish my commute from home to job was the same length as yours! Deciding whether to drive or not would hardly be an issue. :-)

The funny thing is, that parking lot at work is huge and always has lots of empty spaces. The management there bombards me (and presumably other customers) with e-mails asking me to refer other people who need parking. So it's not like the area is so overwhelmed with cars that they can charge whatever they want.

25 July, 2009 15:41  

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