Monday, January 5, 2009

Aaron's New Year's Resolution

At dinner with Jackie’s family on New Year’s Eve, we discussed our 2009 goals and New Year resolutions. When the conversation came to me, I said that I was going to ride my bike to work every day of 2009. Precisely at that moment the weather patterns shifted, the jet stream reversed and the polar winds took a turn towards Sörup, Germany.

The company that I work for has only about eighty employees. Even so, on any given day I find twelve to fifteen bicycles at the rack by the side door. Eighteen is the record! This doesn’t include the three or four mopeds and scooters that are regularly parked there. One day last fall, I drove in to work because it was a little rainy. Wow, did I get flack from my fellow riders! Even my boss had something to say about my fortitude (or lack thereof)!

When I worked at Pfizer in Kalamazoo I had the goal of bicycle commuting at least fifty times per year, an average of about one day per week. I met this goal for the last few years I worked there. Often there would only be two or three bikes at the rack where I parked, even though there were about 2500 employees at the site. Just a few dedicated riders, but they kept me motivated.

Biking to work every day of ’09 seemed like a reasonable goal after experiencing a mild Northern Germany December. There had been only a few days below freezing and no snow accumulation. Last night as I lamented going back to work after three weeks of holiday, I looked out the window to see that it had started to snow- really snow! I heard kids laughing and playing, and our neighbor shovelling the drive. I remembered what my friend Jan had said when I went to work by car last fall- There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes. I have a warm jacket, a hat, gloves and a hand knitted scarf. I even have some new waterproof pants that easily slide over my work pants. No excuses!

On my ride in this morning I saw parents pulling their kids to school in sleds. The train stopped at the station and people walked a few blocks to work in the snow. I even saw other bicycle tracks along my route. I made it to work safely and parked my bike at the rack- all alone. The snow storm was the talk of the office. A bit later, I heard Jan arrive at his desk. I looked over with a knowing grin as he took off his heavy coat and waterproof pants. I guess there will always be at least two bikes at the bike rack!


Anonymous said...

Wow, ambitious resolution Aaron! Gotta love the irony, a giant snowstorm to start you off. But it sounds like you're fighting through it big boy style. Just watch out for the Inevitable Snowman - I hear he lives up that way.

MOM said...

Great resolution!! I know you can do it! I am wondering about your shoes though....snow-proof? Enjoy the rides.

cortina said...

Oh yeah "ingen dårlig vær, bare dårlig klær" is the saying in even rhymes. i'm sure the northern norwegians made up that saying to make themselves feel better. because to the rest of the world there is ONLY bad weather up here.....i have ridden my bike (or walked) every single day to work, like everyone else, and here it REALLY snows A LOT and can be quite windy! so suck it up! :) however, the norwegians are smart. they have WINTER TIRES for their bikes! but i'm the real viking here because i'm still using my "summer tires" in the middle of winter! hope you too can come visit soon!

cortina said...

AND i totally take the kids to daycare on the sled!!! i love little things like that! what a perfect means of transportation!