Stored on my hard drive, I have 48,913 emails from my three different current email accounts. 20,259 of those emails are unread. I also have a bunch of email saved from two other, now defunct, email accounts. Jason has suggested that I go through the emails and throw stuff out, but I have resisted following his suggestion because it sounds like work.
This blog is supposed to be about my biking and since I have these emails, I decided to look through old accounts to see if I can find evidence of my first rides. I started riding by commuting. My commute was 3 miles in each direction and all technical. The ride to work contained a difficult to navigate light that was on a hill. I had to learn to unclip and restart on the hill, usually surrounded by morning commuters in cars. At first I just walked up the hill, because I could not get restarted in traffic on an incline. Eventually I got better and was able to do it. The way home was in heavy traffic through highly congested shopping areas that had head-in parking, pedestrians, parking and unparking cars, and complicated traffic lights. Eventually I got the hang of that, too. The ride was only three miles. I certainly did not gain any fitness from the efforts, but I got very good at dealing with traffic and I got over my fear of heading out the door. I live in a city. I needed to learn how to deal with cars and this commute taught me that skill. These commutes lowered the activation energy of heading out the door on a bike and gave me the confidence to cycle regularly.
I was delighted to have found the email I sent my mom about my first commutes. Apparently I practiced the route a couple of times before attempting it on an actual work day. Jason went with me for the first week. I started in August of 2003. The letter described the amount of time the commute took, it described the hikes I had done with our particularly personable poodle, it described hawks I had seen, and it described an incident at work, an incident about which I had completely forgotten:
I fortunately have a lousy sense of smell. The other week, our morgue ran out of room in the refrigerators and a body was left out for a day. The whole third floor lab area apparently reeked, but I didn t even notice.
Honestly, I do not think that anyone else is interested in this incident or the contents of this letter, but I was quite amused by it and I am delighted to have been able to relive these events. I might follow Jason’s suggestion of going through my old emails, but I have no intention of throwing anything away.