The Joy of the Return Commute

After a rough day, riding up this sunny, low-traffic side street works wonders for my legs and my mood.

I have great coworkers and a fun, creative job that I really enjoy and am slightly under-qualified for, which I realize is basically the holy grail of employment scenarios. But my work necessarily comes along with the same slate of minor frustrations, annoyances and occasional inter-office silliness that accompany most desk jobs, so that the end of the work day sometimes finds me a little cross-eyed and slightly peeved. That’s why I’ve come to see my bike commute home as one of the most important parts of my day.

When I’ve been sitting at my desk for too long, the physical activity of a bike ride is just the remedy that I need. If I’ve really been a slug that day, I’ll add an extra mile or two to the ride and get up some speed, and by the time I’m home I feel like I’ve actually worked out a bit and earned the right to relax.

When I’ve been feeling sadly disconnected from nature in my temperature-controlled office, my return commute gets me right back where I need to be. It only takes a few minutes of biking in deep snow, howling headwind or baking heat to remember what season it is and feel appreciative of indoor comforts.

When I’ve had a frustrating day – a project that’s taking forever to come together, a coworker who I’m just not meshing with, or my own occasionally rotten work ethic getting me down – I’ll take the commute home a little slower. I use that time to think about the problem I’m having in the calm mentality that biking forces me into, away from the distractions of emails and texts and coworkers popping in and the radio and whatever. Sometimes I’ll just zone out, letting the wind on my face and the rhythm of my pedaling put me into an almost meditative state. These slow, thoughtful rides give me much-needed perspective so that by the time I’m home, that work problem is a distant memory.

If something about the work day has left me feeling less than my best, riding my bike home always seems to reset my mood. And if I’ve had a great day at work, biking home feels like a victory celebration! The result is that I almost always get home feeling relaxed, happy and grateful to live and work in such a sweet place. Evenings feel full of possibility, sort of like new days themselves. For me, that’s reason enough to bike to work.


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