Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Daily Commute

or, "How Biking in San Francisco Reminds Me of Rugby"

After a week of commuting between San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and the Mission by bicycle, it occurred to me why I'm having so much fun going to and coming from work: it reminds me of rugby! Some readers may know that I played rugby for three years at the University of Pittsburgh. It was a club sport and I played on the B-side for all but the last 4 months or so, but I stuck with it because it kept me in shape, I was always learning new strategy and it was certainly a good way to release stress during difficult semesters. After I realized the other night that commuting by cycle provided the same thing for me here, the similarities just kept piling in. Here's my running list:
  1. Both are excellent sources of aerobic exercise.
  2. Biking safely in SF requires the hyper-alert mental status that keeps a rugger from getting clocked.
  3. Ruggers and bikers must remain aggressively protective of their space.
  4. This is the first time since rugby I've consistently worn stretch pants.
  5. I get up really early to ride.
  6. I work out late at night.
  7. Showers twice a day in odd locations.
  8. Climbing Haight St. kind of reminds me of running stairs.
  9. Avoid taxis at all costs.
  10. "Why are all of my clothes sweaty?"
  11. There are some rules that must always be followed and there are others that you can get away with breaking most of the time.
  12. There will always be folks who are much faster, in better shape, have more skill and are harder core than I.
Well, that's all that comes to mind for now. The bottom line is that I'm having a great time in SF, even if it's mostly consisting of working long hours, staying in to study and commuting between the two. By the way, I found this excellent website that plots a course between A and B on a bike that takes into account hill grade, total distance and more.

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