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TheRookie Commuter Instead the decision to move off the road and into the bike lane was made for me by my empty bank account. Unlike looking at myself in the mirror there are no angles that improve the outlook of my checking balance. Its just a double digit number apologetically looking at me from my bank statement as if to say And you still havent bought groceries this week remember So as my rusty baby-blue Toyota Corolla is stored away Ill begrudgingly join the wave of com- muter bicyclists. My dearly beloved leaving me because I cant afford to buy her nice things. But before I commit to sweaty arrivals at every destination I have some ques- tions I need answered. Questions like do I need to wear bike-specific shorts I realize the extra padding is there for a reason but I just think Im a bit young to look like Im sporting adult diapers. And do I have to don a skin-tight shirt with strange pockets for my daily commute Sure the aerodynamics might save me a few seconds but at what cost A chafed nip- ple And another chafed nipple In addition to the outfit there are gaps in my bicycling knowledge that I would like to have filled before I give up my car. How do I change a flat tire without sobbing on the side of the road Should I wear a helmet Or should I simply enjoy the wind in my hair and possibly the pavement on my skull Are there rules for biking at night In the rain The snow And if not laws perhaps a few suggestions Ive decided to document my journey into this unknown world for the benefit of others who are dealing with bouncing checks or those who are just tempted by the fresh air of a morning commute -- on a bike not through a rolled-down window. I need to get my bike tuned up find a more comfortable seat learn traf- fic laws and reduce my overall riding stupidity. If someone needs to make a fool of themselves it should be me not you. You have important things to do. Me Im just a recent college graduate working at a job scooping ice cream soon without a car to get there. A rookie commuter if you will. Ideally Id be giving up driving for the health benefits of bik- ing or perhaps the environmental impact or maybe just to look bet- ter in my new shorts shorts my boss insists show too much thigh. I dont think they show enough... By TIM DRUGGAN-EPICH Buried forgotten but now a necessity. Just the thought of digging it out makes me tired let alone the actual riding. 42 BikeLife Boulder Keep up with the Rookie Commuters weekly column every Friday on BikeLifeCities.com