For the first time in ages I bike-commuted

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Long ago, when working in Washington, D.C. at one of my first journalism jobs, I was a bicycle commuter.

It was a spectacular commute. I lived in Arlington, Va., not far from the Arlington National Cemetery. Every morning I would zoom through the cemeteries’ grand entrance, whip by the Marine Corps War Memorial (commonly known as the Iowa Jima memorial), and zoom mostly downhill into the nation’s capital.

It was a thrill to ride by national monuments, such the grand U.S. Capitol dome.

On the return, uphill leg, I’d usually wimp out and ride home with my bike on the Metro.

I thought of this today when, for the first time in decades, I again commuted to work on a bicycle. It is a new bike, which I got as a freebie when I bought a car. I am thrilled to again have a two-wheeler, a few years after my last one was stolen out of my St. Paul garage.

Obtaining a new bike roughly coincides with my employer’s move into shiny new digs with all manner of new amenities … including (drum roll) showers, which are the essential element making bike commutes palatable and practical.

My maiden bike commute this morning wasn’t as glamorous as my long-ago ones in D.C., but it was just as glorious.

As in Washington, D.C., it was mostly downhill into downtown St. Paul and across the Robert Street bridge to my office near the West Side.

Riding by the Peace Officers Memorial and the Minnesota Capitol dome, currently draped while the building is undergoing an extensive renovation, echoed my time in the U.S. capital.

The return, uphill leg was torture, and I’m not in the best shape these days. I have a hunch I’ll emulate my old D.C. routine and ride the Metro Transit light rail home.

Still, I am thrilled to be exercising more. I hate exercise unless it has a purpose, like getting me where I need to go. I plan to do a lot more of it this summer.

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