I believe I’ve achieved a new level of bike commuting: commutosis
Lately, I’ll be sitting on my butt at a computer — like I am right now, and you probably are too. But I’ll be working away, and I won’t remember immediately how I got to work.
Did I drive?
And I’ll think for a couple of seconds and remember, Yes, I bike commuted today. But nothing notable happened.
Those of us who have car commuted for any length of time know this phenomenon. I Googled “commuter amnesia” and all the top references described it as a horrible affliction.
”This is time lost out of their lives,” explains psychologist Dr David Lewis who analysed the study’s findings. ”Since many people spend at least a working day each week travelling to and from their jobs, it means over a working lifetime commuters could be obliterating some three years of their lives! People suffering from even small levels of stress and discomfort during their journey will experience Commuter Amnesia and unless something remarkable occurs they will remember absolutely nothing about their journey.”
People’s brains develop a coping mechanism for handling the stress — the scientific term for it is “commuter’s amnesia.”
Ever driven somewhere and, upon arrival, had no recollection of the drive? You’ve experienced it.
Apparently the main proponent of the idea that it’s an alarming problem when a commuter zones out is Dr. David Lewis. I don’t want to bash another doctor today, because I did that recently. I do believe that commutes can be stressful — car commutes in particular. It’s just a bit of an overreach to conclude that commuter amnesia is always a symptom of stress.
I look at bike commuter amnesia as a good thing. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m unconscious or not alert. It means that bike commuting is a low-drama part of my day. I’m not struggling or suffering through it, I’m just doing it. It’s my new normal.
I’ve been a bike commuter for my whole career — although in some jobs I was more dedicated than others. But before I started with Bike Shop Hub, I worked from home for a few years as a consultant. I usually biked to meet with my clients, but that didn’t happen every day. So I’ve only been bike commuting consistently — daily — for about a year now. It seemed normal to me already. But there must have been a part of me that was whispering to myself, Way to go, bike commuter!
Now that little voice is saying, Whatever.
So I guess I’m now congratulating myself for ceasing to congratulate myself.
I decided to start running again for some cardiovascular exercise. I expected the first time to be a miserable experience, because in my mind, I hadn’t been getting any exercise. I only ran about four miles, but was pleasantly surprised not to end up curled up on the floor with stitches in my sides. This bike commuting — the only exercise I consistently get — has ceased to seem like exercise. It has ceased to seem like anything other than getting to work. But the treadmill’s failure to inflict suffering indicates that my commuting really is exercise.
Today I tried to add a little excitement to my commute by riding one of my three project bikes into work; this slightly menacing Diamondback Sorrento from the ’80s.
This is the bike I bought for my stepson as a joint fixer-upper. It needs a lot of love, but I wouldn’t expect him to ride a bike that I wouldn’t ride myself.
I still spaced out.
Do you experience bike commuter amnesia? If so, how many months did it take before you reached this level of enlightenment?