So today (Saturday) my coworker/friend Kendra and I rode our bicycles to our school, just to get an idea of how long it would take. On the way there we took a foothill road, and on the way back we followed the subway (above ground, of course). The round trip was 20 km (12.4 miles for those of you who are slaves to ancient rulers) and took almost exactly two hours: 75 minutes to get there, and 45 minutes to return. We spent about 10 minutes on a dead end going (an extremely uphill dead end), but came back pretty much directly.
Following the subway was a fairly level course, and I've decided to try riding it to work almost every day for the following reasons:
1. In March I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Rather than tackle the causes, the doctor put me on medication. This brought it under control, but Horyon has been worrying about it the whole time. Last week she bought a book about it, and has decided that I need to bring my blood pressure down by more natural means than taking a pill every day. And of course, losing weight is one way to bring down blood pressure. Regular exercise being one way to lose weight, and not being one who frequents health clubs (loud music, bad smell, bright lights and no alcohol, it's like the worst half of the bar scene), I need exercise I can enjoy.
2. Riding bikes is fun. Working to the top of a hill is a challenge, and coming down the other side is like a well-earned reward. A good, long, low-access downhill gets the wind blowing through your hair and clothes, and 15 mph feels like daredevil breakneck speed.
3. It is a surprisingly low stress way to travel. Even in a big city like Busan, it is relaxing for me. Driving a car in Busan is stressful because when the fight or flight urge comes, the only option is to turn up the music. But when you're on a bike you can almost always burn off the adrenaline by standing on the pedals and just working the bike with a vengeance. And it is very satisfying to pass cars while they wait at a traffic light.
4. Taking the subway costs about $2 round trip. The bike is expensive, but it's already been paid for. I can pump that $2 right into other bad habits.
5. Taking the subway to work, together with the walk at both ends, takes about 30~35 minutes, depending on how long I have to wait for the train. The bike route back today took 45 minutes, but I'm thinking that I can bring that time down by optimizing the route and getting my rather large behind in gear. An extra 15 minutes is no big deal, especially since...
6. Exercise wakes me up. I will shop up for work with a fresh mind, if not the freshest arm pits.
7. It's a good example for my students of living green, maintaining good health, and being unafraid to be different.
8. It's a good way to stay warm in the winter. When pedestrians are bundled up and shivering, I find that I am unzipping my jacket to avoid sweating too much.
9. I am reducing my carbon footprint on the world.
10. Just because I have ten fingers doesn't mean I need ten reasons. I'm saving that last finger for someone who truly deserves it on the road.
In an attempt to encourage myself through better record keeping, I will attempt to make a small Roblog post every day, letting the world know whether or not I am keeping this commitment, and giving those who care a chance to encourage me. Check back frequently, and maybe I can even throw in a picture of the kids from time to time.