Rookie Commuter: Convincing, or trying to convince…

“Look at how lean I’m getting,” I said. “I feel so fit; I beat some cars up a hill on my way over here.”

Looking at my girlfriend expectantly, her response was an immediate disappointment.

“Well, I’d hope you’re in good shape, you don’t have a car,” she said. “It’d be weird if you weren’t fit, seeing as you have to bike everywhere.”

This is not what I hoped for. Ideally she would have replied, “Oh my goodness, you’re right! Look at your abs, your quads. You are so fit and sexy. Can you teach me to commute by bike?”

If my bike was a bit out of shape starting out, my girlfriend's is the bike equivalent of a couch potato.

If my bike was a bit out of shape starting out, my girlfriend’s is the bike equivalent of a couch potato.

All vanity aside, her desire to choose her bike over her car is what I was trying to get to. For me, riding my bike around town has been an awakening of sorts. Cruising along bike lanes as cars sit backed up in traffic, I can’t help but feel a similar sentiment as those who find crossfit, or veganism, or Jesus.

“It’ll change your life,” I tell her. “Just give it a try. Open up to something greater than yourself.” I was getting a bit carried away. Drawing a parallel between a bike and Jesus will do that.

Scowling at me, she said, “I work half an hour away by car, on a highway. Not at an ice cream shop down the street.”

Cutting deep, I respect it. Isn’t that the pillar of any healthy relationship? Finding the other’s insecurities and using them when necessary?

“I didn’t mean commuting to your job,” I said, backpedaling. “I meant biking to the farmer’s market, or to the park, or to school once the semester starts.”

“But it’s haaawt,” she whined. “And I get so sweaty. And then I’m just sitting in class, wet and smelly. Being smelly is your thing, not mine.”

Being smelly is kind of my thing.

At least spiders and other insects are taking advantage of the abandoned real estate.

At least spiders and other insects are taking advantage of the abandoned real estate.

I’m sure my situation is not unique for couples, or even friends, where one person is an avid cyclist and the other isn’t. The question I have been trying to answer is how to go about convincing said person into at least trying it out, without the obvious pitfalls of insinuating that he or she needs more exercise. Or, god forbid, make her think she has weight to lose. Which she doesn’t, she is already beautiful– and is also probably going to read this column.

So the solution I’ve come up with is to make the transition into biking as easy as possible. Offer to fix their bike, promise them it is perfectly safe, assure them you will show them the best routes around town.

“But what if I get hit by a car?” she said.

“You won’t get hit by a car,” I scoffed. “Don’t be ridiculous.”

“Oh, I’m being ridiculous? Didn’t you JUST get hit by a car?”

“Yeah, but that won’t happen to you.”

“Why won’t that happen to me?”

And on and on.

The unwillingly willing participant. A good sport for letting me write about her, and a better sport for putting up with my smell.

The unwillingly willing participant. A good sport for letting me write about her, and a better sport for putting up with my smell.

No matter how enthusiastic you may be, chances are your significant other won’t be on the same level of excitement about biking. But I suppose I can understand that. I mean, I haven’t seen the light when it comes to crossfit, veganism, or Jesus, and I can only imagine that frustrates some as much as my girlfriends lack of interest in biking frustrates me. My girlfriend did, however, say she would give it a go if she has a good bike to ride. So looks like I’m going to have to stand by what I said I would do. Shit.

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