There is nothing like that feeling of absolute dorkiness the moment you get to campus, sweaty from a long-distance bike ride and have to walk through campus.
Your peersâ€”hair done, make-up on, and most often with coffee or boyfriend in handâ€”team the walkways on their way to class; meanwhile you, huffing, puffing and sporting a huge backpack and a nerdy helmet, steer carefully through them to the nearest bike rack.
Oh wait, you mean that hasnâ€™t happened to you?!
Well, as I sit here reflecting on my senior year, those are some of the great moments that stand out in my memory.
When I decided to live in a house about three miles away from campus, I never could have guessed the glorious intricacies that my daily bike commute would entail.
Iâ€™d like to take this opportunity to share with you some highlights from a year in the life of an off-campus commuter, a beastly biker, a piddly peddlerâ€”namely, me!
First thing you should know: I am really, really hot. All the time. All day, eâ€™ery day.
Jealous?Â Donâ€™t be, because when I say I am the hottest kid on campus, I mean it quite literally.Â Especially in these humid spring monthsâ€”itâ€™s getting to the point where I need a spare change of clothes and a towel with me at all times.
Additionally, I am Ã¼ber fashionable.Â Hand-in-hand with my natural hotness, I make runway models look ridiculous when compared to my fanciful wardrobe choices.
Among my favorite accessories is my safety-first helmetâ€”it goes with everything!Â Of course, the occasional plastic poncho is a mustâ€”not only is it exceedingly stylish, but also protects both body and backpack from pesky precipitation!
On days when my mid-thigh, padded bike shorts donâ€™t fit the bill, pants with a rubber band on the leg are a fabulous alternative.
You may not believe it, but I am not only popular and good-looking amongst my peers, but all the dogs in my neighborhood really like me, too!Â This fact can be attributed less to my style and more to the reality that I am the best, most entertaining part of their day.
As they chase me, barking and growling down the street (and frequently, up hills), I try to remember that they are having the time of their lives and to forget the myriad reports of feral dog attacks in San Antonio.
Really, itâ€™s a mutually beneficial relationship, because those playful pups give me all the motivation I need to do a speed workout.
As if thatâ€™s not enough, San Antonio drivers love me, too.
Whatâ€™s not to love about bikers, really? Although we may impede traffic at times, we provide comic relief to make up for it.
Itâ€™s always fun to watch a newbie biker at stoplights when she canâ€™t get her feet out of the clips in time and gently, oh-so-slowly, tips over.Â Â Or when, full speed ahead, the gear shift suddenly catches and she is jolted into a wobbly mess.
Or there are those really amusing times when she doesnâ€™t get a good kick start and almost falls over in the middle of an uphill intersection.Â (I speak in the third person here because Iâ€™d rather pretend that none of that has happened to meâ€¦)
Besides all of that, people generally think Iâ€™m a B.A. and assume I am either a hard-core environmentalist or a fitness nut.Â When compared to the much lamer realityâ€”not having an alternative mode of transportationâ€”Iâ€™m inclined to let them think so.
Overall, itâ€™s been a great experience biking the commute every day. My cool index has increased substantially (if you donâ€™t believe me, just re-read this column); my calves are buffer than ever; and, most importantly, I will never, ever take a car for granted again.