Why I Still Love Biking to Work After Dealing With Poo and Floods


It’s January, so naturally I am thinking about how I can improve my health. I eat well most of the time (kind of a job requirement), but I can definitely work on my physical fitness.

I am already thinking ahead to the half-marathon I somewhat regrettably registered for in August. Mostly I am worried because my knee has been bothering me when I try to run 5km, let alone 21km. We’ll have to see how this half-marathon thing goes.

On the bright side, I did manage to snowshoe up Cypress Mountain last weekend with my very fit, marathons-are-a-breeze friend. Luckily, my sister tagged along so we could unsuccessfully try to keep up with her together. My friend kept luring my sister and I up steep hills with promises of unsurpassed views. Good thing she was right. I might not have forgiven her otherwise. It was stunning – but I hate hills.

cypress mountain hollyburn peak

When it comes to working activity into my everyday life, I love Dr. Mike Evan’s slogan, “make your day harder.” I try to live by that: I take the long way to the kitchen at work, drink 10 cups of tea/coffee/water a day so I have to get up to go to the bathroom frequently, I get off the bus 2 stops early and take the stairs at the skytrain, etc.

I also started biking to work in mid-October 2015. I was a bit hesitant to start biking to work as, historically, I am a complete klutz and somewhat oblivious on a bike.

When I tried biking in Paris, France I was hit by a car. Mind you, drivers there are crazy. I also crashed my bike trying to avoid a pedestrian in Vancouver. That crash sent me to the emergency room and I ended up on antibiotics because my road rash got so infected. Then, my bike was stolen from my own back yard. Bikes and I don’t have a great history.

But, I was determined to ditch my ~45 min transit ride to work in Burnaby in favour of a 30 min (flat – woohoo!) bike ride. I would get some fresh-air, exercise, and save money on transit. I geared up with a used bike, a new helmet, lights, and a good lock. I even found rain pants at Canadian Tire for $9! (…. which subsequently ripped off — while I was biking — just get some good ones from MEC.)

bike to work

I was just getting into the swing of biking (through rain, wind warnings, and icy frost) when bike to work week (BTWW) started on Oct 26. On a torrential downpour type morning, I was so excited/proud to pull up to a BTWW tent on my route as a true biking commuter – rain or shine. I even got free stuff: biking socks and a water bottle!

As I rode away, I briefly heard other bikers talking about a route that was badly flooded. I happily thought, “That must be some other route…” and got on my way. It was Halloween at work that day so I was trying to make it there early to blow-up my “bunch of grapes” costume.

halloween grapes

As I rode over a bridge, I noticed a skim of water on the path just ahead. With visions of my Halloween costume distracting me, I rode full speed into the “skim” of water and stopped when I was about 2.5 feet underwater. My panniers were almost completely submerged. I guess there was a dip in the path there that I forgot about!

In a bit of shock, I looked back and realized I was about halfway through the flooded portion of the path. So, I picked my bike up and trudged through the rest of the flood. With water sloshing in my boots, I biked the last couple of kilometers to work.

I was happily surprised to find everything in my not-waterproof-according-to-the-packaging panniers to be completely dry! Although people at work were quite curious as to why there was a trail of water following me.

If that incident wasn’t enough. I had another fun biking escapade shortly after that. I get the pleasure of biking under a sky-blackening murder of crows every evening on my way home. This was interesting to witness at first, but then I learned that (apparently) crows never forget a face. I started to feel like they were watching me. It was especially creepy around Halloween. It reminded me of The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock.crows

Finally, I decided I needed to document this strange event I witnessed every night. So, one night I stopped to videotape the thousands of crows flying over me. In my mind I was thinking, “They are watching me. They will probably poo on me for this.”

I got my video and snapchat and quickly started biking away. Then, it happened. A huge poo landed on the front of my helmet with an audible smack and started seeping through the vents and down my forehead. Then, another poo hit my shoulder! Yuck!!!

I pulled over, hoping not to be hit again, and rummaged through my panniers for something to wipe the poo off with. I couldn’t find anything. Other bikers kept stopping and asking if I was ok, trying to hide their laughs then they saw what happened. Frustrated, I wiped my helmet through the tall grass beside me to try to get it a little cleaner.

I looked down to my horror as I realized I had wiped my helmet through a huge, soft dog poo! Trying not to scream, I went and found some shorter, cleaner looking grass and wiped what I could of the poos – yes, multiple poos – off my helmet.

Then, I put it back on (it would be very unsafe not too) and rode home accompanied by the lovely smell of eau de toilet. When I finally got to my dinner date with friends that night I drank a very well deserved large glass of wine and vented a little.

After all this, I still absolutely love biking to work. Seriously. I have good stories to tell, which I can laugh at now, and I feel so great after a bike ride. My tiny legs are getting a lot stronger too. Soon those hills will get easier. Making my day a little harder has (overall) been a lot of fun! I am even reducing my environmental impact while I am at it. Each time I bike to work, I save 3.2 kg of greenhouse gases from being emitted compared to driving. See my HUB stats for just over 2 weeks below.

biking to workAnyway, my point to this long, self-deprecating story is that if I went through this and still love biking, it must be worth it! I can assure you that you will have better luck if you decide to bike to work. Try it and tell me how it goes. I’d love to hear your stories!

(Also, here’s a great infographic below explaining how to keep the family safe while on the roads!)


Ultimate Guide to Family Bike Riding: Carriers for Kids
Source: Blog

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